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Signs Signs Everywhere there's signs - a response to Mike Rotkin
Response to Mike Rotkin's article regarding signs and fliers.
Signs Signs Everywhere There’s Signs
by Tim Rumford
Mike Rotkin recently had article in the Good Times about political signs and the blight they bring upon our city, admitting that he had 250 of them in his own election. He posed the problem of having huge political signs everywhere, on development, vacant lots and private property being too much of an eye sore. I agree to a point, although they disappeared quickly after the election and measure G had much to do about signs this election year. Other years have been far less troublesome, but I am no fan of large signs. However, why did Mike take the time to write this article when we have so many huge issues facing Santa Cruz?
He sighted one “small” election sign on a lawn, as “grass roots”, the sign representing to him a single vote for a single house and a single family. He seems to feel that we should restrict the size, times and places when a person running for office and the public can puts up political signs – limiting signs to only being up a month prior to the election. The article makes it sound as if his saintly progressive intention is to keep Santa Cruz a city with fewer signs likening them to billboards. His recommendation is a new law. This law would increase fines for putting up signs and more important, fliers, on public property (telephone polls). It would also restrict the signs to be up one month before an election only. All Rotkin’s recommendations for a new law were posed as questions, asking for public input.
Now his one house - one-vote- one-family grass roots progressive feel good notion may sound good, but he forgot some people, just a few thousand -- the homeless. They cannot display their “small sign” to make their BIG political statement in the “grassroots” manor he described.
The public has used signs on public property such as poles for everything from lost dogs to lost children and politics for eons, which would the city go after? This would affect all of those things unless illegally selectively enforced.
I would also like to know exactly which candidates illegally used vacant or private property for their large signs. This was a direct accusation and Rotkin owes the other candidates and public an answer.
The following appeared in Cops and Courts in the Sentinel in the middle of the election.
November 6, 2006 SANTA CRUZ Cops and Courts
Fliers attack candidate Rotkin
Reports were made Sunday of people posting political fliers around downtown streets that painted City Council candidate Mike Rotkin in a bad light.
Rotkin said he saw copies of the fliers "full of ridiculous stuff" after some friends of his removed them from telephone poles and took some to his house.
The fliers were stapled onto telephone poles around noon and stated he supports police abuse and doesn't support the homeless, Rotkin said.
His friends told him they followed the people that were distributing the fliers, two men between the ages of 18 and 20, and took the fliers down right after they were posted. The men reportedly hit Center, Chestnut, Washington and Cedar streets, then ended up inside a downtown area home.
"The point is they're not signed by anybody," Rotkin said. "It's not the way to do politics."
No charges were filed; no crime was committed that I am aware of accept stalking perhaps. Why this appeared in Cops and Courts at all is a mystery to me. I have seen violent attacks not make Cops and Courts.
The backlash from this small article was more signs. The next morning I awoke to a city being quickly “cleaned” of 1,000’s of anti-Rotkin fliers. They missed the poor neighborhoods in and around the beach flats where the fliers remained for some days.
Some of the history of the now infamous ant-Rotkin campaign as well as public comment can be at -
Political fliers, political art and public expression on public property in the form of fliers on telephone poles and many other fashions have been around since the beginning of paper and pen. It will continue as a way for any person to express dissent. It seems Mike Rotkin lives in his own little bubble. Many feel we judge our society by how we treat our poor and our dissidents. A person of his stature should be protecting the civil rights of these people, not thinking up another Santa Cruz ordinance made not to beautify the City, but to control dissenting voices from people who may not own a lawn or like Mike Rotkin’s politics.
I like the idea of less large signs, fliers are different, they are the voice of dissent. We need campaign reform, but not this way.