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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Eyes front!

I get a kick out of seeing all the "human signs" out in front of various businesses, like the guy with the "$5 pizza" sign at Clinton and Rudisill. The ones who dress up are especially interesting -- the tax place on Broadway sends out a Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam to entice us in March and April, and there's a barbecue place on State that has even trotted out a pig now and then. These walking advertisements add a touch of eccentric whimsy to the otherwise boring urban landscape. But they're apparently too much for the bureaucrats in Richmond, who want to ban them:

Foster said that the sign regulations, part of a proposed larger overhaul of the city's zoning ordinance, address commercial messages on private property. As such they do not affect people with political or religious messages on public property such as sidewalks.

"We're not regulating freedom of speech issues," he said.

[. . .]

Foster said that the concerns for road safety motivated the ban.

"It's an active moving sign that would maybe take someone's eye from the road," he said.

Of all the distractions competing for our attention while we're driving, this is the one they want to ban? Well, it will just deprive a few small businesses of the traffic they depend on, so screw 'em. Thank goodness they're paying attention to First Amendment issues. If I crash into the car in front of me while gawking at the bikini-clad PETA protestor in front of KFC, at least I'll know nobody's free-seppech rights are being violated.

It's really not a question of whether most local governments will overreach into their busybody bag of tricks, is it, but of how soon.


Bob G.
Mon, 06/21/2010 - 2:12pm

By ALL means, let's remove those nasty PEOPLE with signage from businesses...
And leave ALL those (overly) annoying blinking LED signs UP instead.