The Editor's Back Fence

Department of More Money Than Sense, "S" Stands for Stupid Division

Sunday October 19, 2014 - 12:23:00 PM
Four illegal campaign signs on one telephone pole!
Four illegal campaign signs on one telephone pole!
Here are the names of some of the backers of signs illegally posted on telephone poles along Ashby and Tunnel.
Here are the names of some of the backers of signs illegally posted on telephone poles along Ashby and Tunnel.

Early this Sunday morning as I was drinking my coffee I got a call from a neighbor who lives just off Ashby/Tunnel.

“Did you see all those signs on the telephone poles?” she asked indignantly.

Did I see them? Yes, and I’ve already pulled down four of them which were all on one telephone pole in front of my house on Ashby.

Folks, these signs are blatantly illegal.

It’s not only illegal to post campaign signs on wooden telephone poles, but the law requires, if I remember correctly, that campaign signs must be identified with the name of whoever paid for them. And nope, these signs don’t do that either, unless you count the URL at the bottom:

For those of you (most of you I’m sure) who don’t remember or never knew what Measure S is, it’s a referendum on the gerrymander promulgated this spring by the Tom Bates machine’s Berkeley City Council faux-prog majority as an attempt to knock off Progressive District Seven Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

If you oppose this gerrymander, therefore, you will vote No on Measure S. It’s confusing, I grant you, but you can remember it if you think “S is for Stupid”. Vote No on stupidity, every time. 

One of the signs does list three machine politicos as supporters: Berkeley Mayor-for-Life Tom Bates, his wife State Senator Loni Hancock, and their protegee Asm. Nancy Skinner, plus “most City Councilmembers”, names and/or cities not specified. The website lists as endorsers only these individuals plus one U.C. professor and two of the most conservative Democratic organizations in the county. But that’s not enough disclosure to meet the requirements of Berkeley’s election law, I’m pretty sure. I’ll check with the Fair Campaign Practices commission on Monday and let you know. 

Will Bates, Hancock and Skinner or their allies be cited for breaking the law? Don’t hold your breath.  

Why do I call this “The Department of More Money Than Sense”? It must have cost someone a pretty penny to print up all of these non-biodegradable plastic-coated signs and pay someone to nail them to telephone poles. And you can be sure that outraged citizens (including me) will pull them down in no time! 

The first report of the Yes on Berkeley’s Measure S campaign committee, covering the period up to September 30, said that District 8 lameduck Councilmember Gordon Wozniak had contributed $1,000, his aide (and niece) Kristin Hunzicker (a major backer of the disputed ordinance) gave $900, and someone named Linda Swift gave $200.  

No other contributors were listed. But you can be sure that more cash will have come in by the time of the final report. Meanwhile, Wozniak’s constituents (including me) have to put up with (or pull down) these unsightly and illegal signs posted at their front doors.