Monday, April 30, 2012
Town of Sandwich political sign policy
Get your copy here.
A few observations about this policy:
1) There are many places where it's difficult to get a sign ten feet off the pavement, although my house is not one of them. Sometimes, the state road crews will pluck signs along Routes 6A and 130 that are within their right-of-way, which is 25 feet from the center of the road. My suggestion is to do your best to comply with this rule.
2) Only three locations on town property are allowed for political sign placement (other than at the polling locations on election day). They are a) on the corner of Cotuit Road and Quaker Meeting House Road across the street from the liquor store (where the public safety building is being proposed), b) at the island where Route 6A and Old Main Street meet (across from the fish hatchery), and c) at the grassy area adjacent to the DPW entrance. In each of these three areas, only one sign per candidate is allowed. Did I mention that in each of these three areas, only one sign per candidate is allowed?
3) Every other town-owned parcel is not available for political signs nor is any state property. You know that island at the intersection of Quaker Meeting House Road and Route 6A? The one with the flashing red light?
4) There is a "gentlemen's agreement" that we wait until 30 days prior to an election to erect signs. The policy allows for 60 days, convenient for statewide and countywide races for which there is a primary and a general election. The reality is that 30 days is plenty of time for us to get used to the signs and stop "seeing" them. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that erecting a sign on private property would be upheld by the Supreme Court no matter when it's displayed. Something in the U.S. Constitution about that, as I recall.
Here's my takeaway on this: If a candidate for select board, school committee, planning committee, or any other elected position is unable or unwilling to follow this straight forward policy, then that person doesn't deserve my vote. No discipline on the easy stuff means no discipline on the complicated stuff.