Jim e-mails: Dear Mr. Answer Person,
What is the law concerning posting political signs in public right of ways such as county ditches and city boulevards? I have seen a number of signs in county ditches during this campaign. I understood that this was an illegal practice."
Mr. Answer Person says: You're right--the practice is illegal. I discussed the City of Decorah's rules in a September 8th column--you can look it up under our "New Archive" tab.
As for Winneshiek County's rules, here's why County Engineer Lee Bjerke has to say: "Political signs are not to be in the right of way as it is a violation of Iowa Code."
The problem, as Bjerke points out, is that it's often difficult to determine where the right-of-way is! Says Bjerke, "Right-of-way varies all over the county." So sometimes what looks like a violation isn't a violation. As a rule, however, look for fences, the tops of slopes, etc. and you can be pretty safe in figuring out where the right-of-way ends.
Bjerke finishes by saying, "The county can and may pull any sign that is in the right-of-way without warning or compensation. We have done this in the past!"