Concerns over election signs

November 1, 2009 8:28:18 PM PST
Election Day is almost here and that means more and more campaign signs are popping up. Candidates are trying to get their messages out, but some homeowners are worried about the signs trashing their neighborhood, especially in west Houston.

When retired real estate attorney David Hannah walks outside his west Houston neighborhood, he doesn't see political signs, rather he sees litter.

Every political season for the past ten years, Hannah says he's run into the same problem -- dozens of political signs on the grass outside his subdivision. While he says he has no issue with the particular candidates per se, he does have an issue of where their signs end up.

"You can place campaign signs on private property for people who support a particular candidate, that's fine, but not in the public right of way," said Hannah.

The law is clear. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, it's illegal to place any political signs on the public right of way. That includes trees, telephone poles, traffic signs or any other objects. If found, the signs can be removed without notice with the sign's owner possibly billed for the expense.

Hannah says he's seen signs sit for months after a campaign is over, only to become an eyesore.

"It becomes trash in the roadway," said Hannah.

A spokesperson for the City of Houston says once a complaint is phoned in, crews are sent out to examine the signs and remove them if they are illegally placed. In this case, the City says it's unaware of any formal complaint.

For Hannah, who's considering removing the signs himself, he wonders what will stop others such as business owners from doing the same.

"They say, 'If the politicians can do it, why can't we do it?' And they do it and that's more litter," said Hannah.

The City says if you have any issues about signs that may have been placed illegally, then you are urged to call 311.

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