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The "Kruzan for Mayor" limestone yard sign

Scott Tibbs, December 28, 2003

I took the above picture today.

Three and a half years ago, former County Commissioner Brian O'Neill and former County Surveyor Kevin Enright attempted to pass a yard sign ordinance that would have places unnecessarily strict restrictions on the size and number of political yard signs leading up to an election, limiting the signs to five square feet. This created a firestorm of controversy, as several people (including yours truly) showed up at the county Plan Commission meeting to protest these infringements on political speech. Many people felt the Democrats wanted to take away an campaign tool used effectively by Republicans in a hotly-contested election. The proposal passed the Plan Commission but was defeated 0-3 by the County Commissioners.

The yard sign limits would mirror those already in place in the city of Bloomington, an interesting fact considering the sign on Country Club Road. This "Kruzan for Mayor" yard sign is larger than the limits allow. This sign does not violate any city codes as it is located outside the city, and because it is not a temporary sign, it may not violate any city codes even if it were in the city. But it certainly goes against the spirit of the law, especially considering it is for a city election.

It also seems a bit much to have this sign still up nearly two months after the election. It is an accepted practice to remove political yard signs after an election. Candidates and parties are generally expected to pick up their signs within a couple weeks of an election, and the newspaper usually notes this. While it would be difficult to move a large limestone block, the paint could be removed. It is interesting that the H-T has not mentioned this large limestone sign on a major road into town from state road 37.

Of course, I am not suggesting any action be taken against this sign. The property owner has every right to his political free speech. What this illustrates is a double standard when it comes to political free speech.