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The Suburbanite
  • Political signage rules must be applied to all

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  • It is so interesting to me that in politics, what is “good for the goose” is not necessarily “good for the gander.” I guess I am naïve, and you can call me a Pollyanna, but I always thought that elected officials played fair and by the rules when it came to enforcing their own policies.
    On Jan. 30, some unidentified and unsponsored signs sprouted up in Coventry Township urging the community to vote against Issue 1, the bond/levy for Coventry Local Schools. A disclaimer was not printed on these signs as is legally required by the Summit County Board of Elections. These signs were also placed on private property without the property owner’s permission, and many of the signs were placed on vacant property, again, without the property owner’s permission. Signs were also placed in the road right of way.
    When concerned community members contacted Coventry Township trustees and the zoning inspector, they were told that, with a levy, there is no way to trace who had placed the signs and the township is powerless.
    Interestingly, though, the township has a political sign requirement policy that states, in part: “Permission to place a sign on private property must be obtained from the owner of that property.” “No Political Signs may be placed within any road right of way (typically that would be closer to the road than the telephone poles).”
    Some of you may recall several years ago that the Coventry Township zoning inspector required and enforced the removal of Coventry Schools Levy Committee signs in support of a school levy. The signs bore the legally required disclaimer and were placed properly. How are these two incidents different? Coventry Levy Committee had signs that were forcibly removed. The unknown and unsponsored signs are allowed to stay. Fair? Ask your trustees.
    Again, the goose and gander were not treated fairly and equally. I would ask that the person who spent money to have those unidentified signs made please step forward. Make your voice heard. If you feel that strongly in your convictions, you should be able to put your name out there and own it.
    Kelly Jo Ratcliff 
    Coventry Township