OP-ED: Campaign Signs Are 'Visual Litter'

Keep Islip Clean's executive director offers reminder that placement of candidate signs on public property is illegal.

Editor's note: the following was submitted to Patch by Nancy Cochran, executive director of Keep Islip Clean.

A sure indication that election season has begun is the proliferation of political signs planted as far as the eye can see. It is understandable that candidates want to increase name recognition with the voting public but unfortunately pole and ground signs are not legal on public property within the Town of Islip, and with good reason. These signs are “visual litter” which become ground litter with time.

Judging by the number of complaints received at my office, I can assure you that the voting public is not in favor of these signs because of the blight they cause. Therefore, I call for a bipartisan effort on behalf of a clean community: please remove all signs immediately after Election Day.

meredith September 20, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Walter Isaacs September 21, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Agreed, Judy Pempenella and "just the facts" / "the has been blogger" would do well by getting out there and cleaning up that trash.
MomWI September 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I have been wondering who to contact to complain about this. I see these signs all over. There should be some regulation about candidates having to remove signs. The fact that they don't on their own makes me feel like they have a real disregard for our community.
noelfeustel September 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM
A group of neighbors here in Bayport/Blue Point conducted a model Board of Education campaign recognizing the issue of visual litter last May. Our three person, divergent thinking, reformist slate of candidates had political signs printed. Hundreds sprouted on supportive household lawns throughout the community. BBP looked like one of "Christo's" environmental works of art, such as Central Park's "The Gates" or "Running Fence" in California. They were everywhere, including car and store windows.... The day after our slate swept the election, every sign was removed, the cardboard recycled, and metal holders saved for reuse next May. They will be used in 2113 by a follow-up slate of three more defenders of public education, who will continue this tradition of also being opponents of visual litter. This proves that a local political campaign can be done neatly.
Nancy Cochran September 21, 2012 at 09:30 PM
We at Keep Islip Clean consider this a big problem. I've never heard anyone say anything positive about these signs. I commend the Bayport/Blue Point Board of Education for showing the right way to use them. I'm in the process of finding the correct local phone numbers for both parties and will then encourage people to call!
thorn October 19, 2013 at 08:59 PM
you might want to take a look at this, and then just make sure the signs are gone after the election. In particular, page 16 >>> http://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Municipal_Control_of_Signs.pdf
Nancy Cochran October 21, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Good information. It is my understanding that all signs, political or not, are not legal without a permit on public land within the Town of Islip. This applies to pole signs as well. Basically, if you want to put up a political sign, it must be on private property.


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