The Placard Police!

By Nancy Black

Photo courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

I was furious when I saw it. My brother, who was hoping another candidate would win the presidential election that year, just laughed when he saw it. In the dark of one night, some vandal(s) had defaced our Obama for President sign, which hung on the fence of my mother’s home. They used black spray paint to draw one of those huge circles with a slash through it — like a no smoking sign symbol but without the cigarette in the middle.

This wasn’t just a little sign either; it was one of those big 5’ X 5’ signs, and we donated money to our candidate’s campaign to get it. Luckily, and probably unbeknownst to the delinquents, the sign was two-sided, so I was able to turn it around to the graffiti-free side and rehang it on our property.

What bothered me the most about the incident was that the creeps who were acting out on their stupidity were just feet away from my family while they were defiling our sign. The thought of having some ignorant thugs — who probably weren’t even registered to vote — right outside our door gave me the eebie geebies.

I got that creepy feeling again this week when I received a voice message from a reader. It said, “Calling regarding putting an ad in the paper [to] remind people that [the] City of Dallas has an ordinance saying that it is illegal to put election signs up in yards.” He has pulled 19 out of his neighborhood yards within the past few days.

Oh, my. That is one ad I will not sell. Just so everyone is on the same page, it is NOT illegal to have political signs on your personal property. It IS illegal to remove someone else’s political signs from their property, though. 

Oooo, wee, I would be so mad at that man if he even thought about touching my “Beto for Senate” sign, which now graces our home’s yard. We have video surveillance of our house and I would not hesitate to call the police and press charges if someone came onto my property and removed my political sign, or anything else, for that matter.

The reader/caller was confused on the municipal regulations of political signs in Dallas. According to Kris Sweckard, the director of code compliance for the City of Dallas, it IS against the law to place a political sign on public property. It IS illegal to place a sign at a voting location more than two days prior to the election. And it IS the law that all political signs must be removed from public property within two calendar days of the last election.

But it IS still against the law to steal — anything. That self-appointed placard policeman may end up in the back of a squad car. I’d vote for that!