Saturday, March 15, 2014

Suspend it now. Discuss & Revise Later If You Must.

Fortuna Rethinking Sign Ordinance - Thadeus Greenson/The Journal

The Friendly City has long had one of the most restrictive election sign ordinances in Humboldt County, preventing residents from bedazzling their yards with political pleas until just 30 days prior to Election Day. The county allows signs 90 days prior.

But the Fortuna City Council will consider passing an urgency ordinance Monday that would suspend section 17.05.180(D)(1)(b) (the sign ordinance) of the city municipal code for six months, essentially allowing a signage free-for-all from now through November. Mayor Doug Strehl said he raised the issue at a prior council meeting and there was a consensus to bring the item back for a full discussion....

No city council seats are up for election this year. In fact, the only high-profile race Fortuna will have a hand in deciding is that for district attorney. So where do city council members’ allegiances lie in that particular race — the only local race that promises to be impacted by Monday’s decision? Glad you asked.

According to candidate webpages, Counsel Members Mike Losey, Sue Long and Tami Trent have all endorsed Maggie Fleming’s bid for the position. Councilman Dean Glaser has endorsed Allan Dollison’s campaign. Strehl has not publicly endorsed any of the four candidates vying for the position. So, it will be interesting to see where Monday’s discussion goes and if any candidate’s supporters make a concerted effort to show up and weigh in.

As to why the council is pursuing an urgency ordinance to suspend the sign rules instead of simply changing the ordinance, it takes a months-long public process to change a city ordinance. So, in order for any changes to take effect before the June primary, an urgency ordinance was the only option. In the backdrop of all this, there’s also a larger legal question....

◼ Earlier: GOOD NEWS! Sign Regs in Fortuna to be suspended for this election? UPDATED

One question regarding suspension is whether or not it will mean that candidates require a sign permit for each and every sign. The current ordinance exempts political signage from that onerous requirement.

The whole thing is ridiculous.

Suspend it now. Discuss and revise it later when you're out of the heat of the campaign.

And the ordinance has no teeth anyway.


  1. Political sign ordinances are unconstitutional. This is not news. Every town has them but when challenged they back down, or lose.

    excerpt: Over the past several years, there has been a steady stream of cases in the state and lower federal courts involving broad restrictions against residential signs. None of these cases has upheld a ban against small residential signs of a political nature. Yet, as illustrated by Ladue, the issue has continued to arise periodically.

  2. Fortuna loves to pass rules, laws and ordnances, in an effort to control "others",but of course, being the ultimate "good ol boys", the rules don't apply to them or theirs.
    Why do you think their pulling out all the stops for the one candidate they feel then trust, so the Deputy Sheriff don't have to be looking over their should in one of those very rare occurrences when they get overly zealous and kill an incessant person.
    The fact is, this rarely happens but when I does, you don't prosecute cops for wrongful death. Maggie knows that, just as Terry did.

  3. I honestly don't understand why this is a political issue or why someone on another blog is saying that letting all the candidates put out signs earlier than 30 days is somehow a conflict of interest. Especially if Mr. Strehl is the one who brought it up.
    It seems like they are trying to be more open about letting people participate in the democratic process- a good thing for everybody.

  4. Otis Driftwood3/15/2014 7:22 PM

    Anonymous at 1:08 PM. You seriously should consider night school and enroll in grammar/spelling classes.


Comments are open, but moderated, for the time-being. Good luck.