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Too early for NH 2020 signs

Imagine how our county roadways would look if every controversial county program or initiative was considered to be tied to a campaign or an election, and all kinds of 32-square-foot signs were therefore legal. None of us would be winners because as we drove around town we would have to look at big ugly signs. Littering public roadways with signs is only one avenue for free speech, and I believe limiting political signs to the political season is a good way to strike a balance between private property owners’ right to free speech and visual blight. I guess other people felt the same way, and that’s why we have a sign ordinance.

County officials are choosing to regard the “no on NH 2020” signs that have been up for months part of a political campaign. However, the NH 2020 political campaign will truly begin 90 days before NH 2020 proposals face a vote. At that point, specific measures will be put before us, the merits of which can be debated intelligently. Currently NH 2020 is only a name for a fact-finding, opinion-gathering public process, and so the “no on NH 2020” signs can only mean “no resource and open space planning,” which is not a sensible choice for ours or any other California county.



And speaking of political signs, while the quasi-legal NH 2020 signs stand, twice this week clearly legal campaign signs on private properties along Rough and Ready Highway have been illegally taken down. Izzy Martin’s signs are small and attractive, and I hope that whoever is taking them down is caught and held accountable.




Stephanie Mandel

Nevada City


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