Effort to limit NH 2020 signs a shameful mistake | TheUnion.com

Effort to limit NH 2020 signs a shameful mistake

We have but 350 words to detail the error of Nevada County’s ways when it decided to crack down on those signs opposing Natural Heritage 2020, so you’ll need to insert some adjectives on your own:

1. This decision pours gas on a raging fire. It gains almost nothing – the removal of a few signs that annoy some people – at the expense of further deep division of the community.

2. It supports the belief that the county supervisors are so insecure with themselves that they can’t brook opposition.

3. It’s based on a badly written code that limits political signs. What exactly is a political sign? One reading “Peace” in a time when the United States is at war? One reading “Land for Sale” at a time when private ownership of property is debated in some circles? Everything is political, and this county code can’t be enforced in a reasonable way.

4. If NH 2020 signs are political, then two sitting members of the Board of Supervisors – Bruce Conklin and Elizabeth Martin – reasonably could be assumed to be targets of the signs. If there is any hint of their involvement with the decision to enforce the code, both should be pilloried.

5. It supports the fears of those who believe that a heavy-handed local government would tromp onto private property in pursuit of the political agenda supported by the Board of Supervisors. Anyone remember the Property Owners Bill of Rights?

6. It raises the question why the county has been so slow to enforce its code. If the signs are illegal now, they were illegal when they first sprouted a year ago. This question, unfortunately, has yet to find a plausible answer.

7. The whole thing carries a strong odor of censorship.

In late January, we said that the NH 2020 signs had outlived their political usefulness and should come down as a matter of smart campaigning by the foes of NH 2020. The county’s decision to tear them down, however, gives new power and new meaning to the signs.

We can only hope this mess gets into court quickly.

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