Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Signs of the Times

"...And the sign says anybody caught trespassin' wil be shot on sight..."

Campaign season is here again. How do we know this? Well, aside from the almost daily fodder of mail from the candidates (or at least one of them), there are those huge, ugly, and, for the most part, patently unlawful signs that mar the landscape of what was once suburbia.

You know. VOTE FOR (fill in your favorite candidate); RETURN (with or without deposit); RE-ELECT (me, because my signs are bigger than the other guy's).

Aside from the eye pollution, and, in some instances, the danger to pedestrians and motorists alike - signs blocking the line of sight along roadways and at intersections and distracting the already limited attention of drivers - many if not most of these political banners and placards are illegal. Yes, ILLEGAL - in blatant violation of TOWN Oridinance that prohibits the posting of signs (even on private property) without permit. [There they go. Every official at Town Hall standing for election running down to the Board of Zoning Appeals to file an application for a permit to "maintain a sign..."]

We all know, of course, that - at least in the Town of Hempstead - Ordinances are enforced more in the breach than in practice. Could you imagine one of the eight Town Inspectors roaming the Turnpike removing illegal campaign signage? [Wait. There goes one Inspector now. Look at him dutifully remove, rip up, and shred that Re-Elect Dorothy Goosby sign. What a trooper!]

No, every year we complain about the illegal proliferation of these signs - posted on building walls, hung as banners from the facades (part of the Town's Facade Improvement Program, no doubt), stapled to utility poles next to the STUFF ENVELOPES poster, slightly to the left of the CARS WANTED sticker, and as free-standing monstrosities, some as large as billboards - and with each passing election there are more of them. [Mostly the same names, of course, but who's looking anyway?]

To be fair, both major parties bear blame here - yet it is abundantly clear who has the advantage, both strategically in position and by sheer numbers. On an unofficial count along a stretch of Hempstead Turnpike, for instance, signs for Republican candidates outnumbered those touting their Democratic rivals by a margin of 6 to 1. [And if you throw in every time the name KATE MURRAY, SUPERVISOR appears, you can run that up to about 20 to 1.]

Sure, the candidates have to get their names out in public view. Some, obviously, don't care where or how. We saw an elect WRIGHT, DISTRICT COURT JUDGE lawn sign embedded amongst the weeds and trash in front of an abandoned storefront. Now there's poetic justice for you! [By the way, is this the same Gerald Wright who now sits as Chair of the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals? Nice job, Jerry. You are planted in what you reap!]

Reports are also coming in, from several quarters, that lawn signs for one Town of Hempstead Supervisor (could that be, Kate Murray, perhaps?) are prominently displayed in front of single family homes known in their respective neigborhoods to harbor illegal accessory apartments. [See, and you thought the Town of Hempstead wasn't doing enough to seek out the illegal apartments. Kate found 'em, and is courting the votes of both landlord and tenant!]

Some of these signs are downright funny. One for - who else - Kate Murray on Long Beach Road proclaims RESPECTED ON WALL STREET ~ TRUSTED ON MAIN STREET. Sure, the Town is respected on Wall Street. With taxpayers asked to feed the Town meter year after year (a 12.8% increase in 2005), purported surpluses notwithstanding, who wouldn't be happy to lend the Town money. Add on that debt, fellas. We'll simply tax 'em more next year to pay off the interest!

As for TRUSTED ON MAIN STREET, well, Kate, you could break your arm patting yourself on the back for finally closing the Oceanside Motel after all these years (watch for the wrecking ball - with a caricature of Kate Murray on it - to come crashing down shortly before Election Day), but let's face it, most of the "Main Streets" in the Town of Hempstead - particularly in the stepchild unincorporated areas - look like crap!

But we digress. The problem here is too many signs. Unsightly signs. Illegal signs. Blocking out the scenery - or simply obscuring other signs. To the candidates, apparently, it is the more the merrier; bigger is better. To us, the beleaguered residents, it is just another sign of disrespect.

So, what is it we, the people, can do about all of these signs? First off, if you see one posted on a utility pole or other public property, take it down. Next, complain about the signs - to the candidates, their respective parties, and in Letters to the Editor of your local papers. And then, do what we've been urging residents to do every Election Day - VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATES WITH THE FEWEST SIGNS!


  1. Thank you for your support! I'm Bob Wilson, and I approve of this ad. Paid for by Friends of Bob Wilson for Senate 2005.

  2. What are you guys going to complain about next???

    OOH I got it bumper stickers they take drivers attention off the road - BAN them as well

    Give me a break - you were right about one thing both sides do it to each other signs are put up whether in legal places or not and both sides REMOVE them

    Can't wait to see these postings as we get closer to election day because your favoritism to one side is so blatantly OBVIOUS!

  3. ABSOLUTELY. And we will continue to "favor" every elected representative and/or candidate for public office - regardless of party affiliation - who works (or, in the case of a candidate, pledges to work) for the public good!

    A good government - a government for the people, and not for themselves or the political machine they so obediently serve - is what we are committed to. Elected officials who serve their constituents first and above all - with passion, with effectiveness and with a sense of obligation to the community. That is what we are after.

    Now go put THAT on a bumper sticker!

  4. Why don't we just vote for the people who actually get results, instead of those who spend much of their time - and much of our money - telling us what they are going to do?

    As Mr. Mezzapelle wrote in his article, elected officials work for US, the taxpayers. They are on OUR payroll. We should stop being intruments used to tool their engine, and zombies programmed to obey their commands - whether conveyed by letter, by photo, or by billboard.

    If an ordinary citizen put up one of those billboard-sized signs, not only would the Town make him take it down (assuming a complaint was made and an investigation commenced), there would most likely be a hefty fine to pay.

    Apparently, what is good for the goose has little to do with what's good for the gander!

  5. OOH sure we should all believe that the "Community Alliance" is only out for the policitican or public officer who best serves the people???

    You have got to be kidding me; EVERY posting or article you guys publish have one common theme it is to bash or blame the TOH & ANY REPUBLICAN you can!!!

    You claim to be an umbrella organization comprised of civic-minded individuals and community groups whose objective is to promote and enhance the quality of life of every Long Islander, that is certainly the farthest from the truth!

    You are only promoting or enhancing
    the Democratic Party candidates period!!

    I also pose this question are you a "Non for Profit" Organization?

    Because if you are then you CANNOT endorse any political party directly.

  6. The Community Alliance is NOT a Not-For-Profit organization. In fact, The Community Alliance is not incorporated. Just a rag-tag, grassroots, shoot-from-the-hip hodge-podge of the few who actually give a damn about the many.

    All are welcome - indeed, encouraged - to join forces with us in the campaign to build a better community and, yes, to take back our Town from the entrenched, the ineffective, and the downright inept.

    The Community Alliance is self-funded - literally - accepting no dues, donations, PAC money or funding from any source (not that anyone has offered, mind you).

    We are sustained by the intentions of good people whose desire is to see a better day for the residents of our Town, our County and our Island. We are motivated by the self-interest of creating (and recreating) a suburban quality of life befitting the promise of Long Island - a sustainable and affordable way of life we can enjoy and our children and grandchildren can be proud of.

    The Community Alliance is not for everyone. The faint of heart. The short of vision. the bereft of hope. For all the rest, The Community Alliance provides an outlet for ideas, a forum for discussion, and, above all, a vehicle for change.

    As for endorsements, for whatever they are worth - we CAN make them, and we will. What will be made of such endorsements, as with the opportunity to make a real difference on the local scene, is for the electorate to decide.

  7. Are your " endorsements" from the Community Alliance or are they just from the author of the articles?

    You say you are an organization of Civic Associations but do these associations have a "say" in who you "endorse" under the banner of "The Community Alliance"?

    I'm sure not all who join your rag tag team agree with the "endorsements" you make?