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Reader comment--more about political yard signs

Posted: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 10:42 AM

Jim Dale writes: Dear Mr. Answer Person: I was somewhat surprised when you published a question and opinion about the removal of political signs that had already been removed for a whole week within the legal requirements. While you do not print full disclosure of names on simple questions, it seemed to me you had crossed the line of political opinion when you printed email comments from this "anonymous John".  I assumed, however,  he wanted more than answers to a simple question when he wrote to a media source rather than address his question ("What city department is responsible for enforcing the ordinance regarding political signs removal?") directly to the city clerk. Be that as it may, I thank John for expressing his protest in the mature method of free public speech rather in the style of many of the vandals who simply stole or destroyed signs sometimes tossing them in ditches along county roads.
Let me add accuracy, however, to your answer. Being one who helped both hang and remove the signs to which John objected, I give you fuller details. We used that bluff precisely because of its picturesque beauty. Not only did it reveal an attractive exposure for our candidates' signs, but because these candidates were the ones who in their party platform and their personal commitments are pledged to saving the environment and its beauty. I too, along with Shirley Vermace, would encourage you, John, to park your car and walk those ditches to keep America clean and beautiful. Or better yet encourage our legislators in Iowa to pass an improved bottle and can bill by raising the refund deposit from $.05 to $.10 thus making the polluters pay the bill and bringing back profitable, motivating can recycling centers.
Here are a few more ways we can together help end pollution:
1.    Pass a Constitutional amendment that reverses the Supreme Court ruling in "Citizens United" which removed the limits on the volume of money super PACs can pour into our elections to pollute the radio and TV air waves with negative ads and lies while not revealing who they are at all.  
2.    Lobby for legislation to strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency in Iowa so they can actually enforce the rules protecting our ground waters from CAFO manure spillers and violators.
3.    Press your County Supervisor to establish regulations to protect the impending problem of sand miners and frackers who are increasingly disturbing our sub terrain to get more fossil fuel to burn. In fact you might consider ways to use less fossil fuel yourself and thus not add more CO2 to an atmosphere that is melting the polar ice cap, disrupting climate balance and poisoning the air we breathe.
4.    Encouraging better use of farm chemicals that are collecting in the Gulf of Mexico where along with oil spills are creating dead zones killing fish and plant life and many people's source of living. (and perhaps increasing cancer in all of us)
5.    You might even object to the volume of commercial signs that block our highway vision of Iowa's beautiful endless rows of corn and beans.

These are just a few more lasting concerns than a few weeks of political signs that practice legitimate freedom of speech in our democratic society. Let's work together on this. We may be in more agreement than we realize.

Mr. Answer Person replies: A few explanations are necessary about how Mr. Answer Person operates.  We want to encourage readers to ask us questions.  So unlike when Jim Dale or someone else sends us a letter to the editor, we use only the first name of a person who asks Mr. Answer Person a question.  Yes, we realize sometimes an opinion is mixed in with the question, but we're trying to keep our eyes on the larger goal of being an information resource for readers. 

Our purpose in posting John's e-mail was to inform readers about the regulations that cover political signs, not to discuss whether it was proper or improper to put up one particular political sign, or to discuss whether the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision ought to be overturned.  Those issues are better left to letters to the editor--such as the one Jim Dale has written.

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