City removing ‘illegal’ Prop. 200 signsby Blake Morlock on Oct. 18, 2007, under Local
Citizen Staff Writer
Workers are taking down campaign signs that the city says have been illegally placed, to the consternation of Proposition 200 author John Kromko.
Kromko is seeking to repeal the city trash-collection fee and put limits on how the city’s water utility, Tucson Water, expands.
All seven City Council members oppose Proposition 200, and Kromko says the city is illegally using its police power to undermine his effort to win voter approval of the measure Nov. 6.
State law forbids city staff from endorsing or working on behalf of a political cause while on duty.
“The city is fighting against its citizens,” Kromko said. “Regardless about what you feel about (Proposition 200), you might as well be fair.”
A city administrator said the crackdown on illegal signs was prompted by neighborhood complaints about A-frame signs in front of businesses and political signs planted around town in the wrong places.
Signs placed in the city right of way or on private property without the property owner’s permission are being removed no matter what’s on them, said Eliseo Garza Jr., director of the city Department of Neighborhood Resources.
“This is not a targeted effort for one type of sign,” Garza said. “Whether the sign is ‘Vote yes’ or ‘Vote no,’ it will be removed.”
In the past, the city has contacted candidates and political action committees before signs were removed, Kromko said.
The city did not call Kromko ahead of time but has since been in touch with him, Garza said.
The stepped-up enforcement of the city sign ordinance began in early September and so far 593 signs have been thrown out, or “impounded” if they are found to have a monetary value, Garza said.