It’s that time of year again – election season. Even when I’m indoors, typing up a story at my work desk, I can tell. That’s because I get all kinds of calls from people talking about signs. You know the ones – they’re usually red, white and blue with one name written in a huge font. Yes, campaign signs.
Ron Altman, a candidate for Clarkstown Superintendent of Highways, said many his signs have been missing.
“They’ve just been disappearing,” he said. “One was busted in half.”
Altman estimated about 200 signs have been missing so far even though they were on private property and followed all the local laws.
According to Joel Epstein, Clarkstown’s code enforcement officer, signs must be placed on private property with the owner’s permission. Typically, signs should be 10-feet away from the curb, but that could vary depending on the property, he said. The town has become even more strict after passing a sign ordinance a year or so ago that limits the types of signs that can be displayed.
Epstein said the Building and Highway departments have impounded anywhere from 500 to 1,000 signs so far this fall. Many were campaign signs but there were also real estate, weight loss and other advertisements in the mix. Officials perform “random sweeps” of the streets about once a week, he said.
“I think Clarkstown has been very thorough the best they can…to keep the rights of way clean all year long,” Epstein said. “It’s not like we’re out there with every available force all the time. We do the best we can and I think the town looks great.”
Some, like Nanuet resident, Vincent Pacella, would disagree. He said he has seen Pascack Road plastered with campaign signs for days at a time.
“They’re on the guard rail, the street signs, you name it, they’re all over the place,” he said.
And though Pacella said he would like to see the signs removed, he doesn’t think it should be the town’s responsibility. Instead, he would rather the candidates be forced to remove them.
“Something should be done but I don’t think we should be spending taxpayers’ dollars to remove these things,” he said.
Epstein said late October and early November tend to be the worst times of the year for campaign signs. But in just a few days, he said they’ll all be gone.
“The silly season is almost over,” he said.
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