Political sign placement sparks controversy - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Political sign placement sparks controversy


We're just about two weeks away from Wisconsin's historic recall elections. Campaign signs have been a very popular form of political expression. But, where you place those signs is important, if you want to keep them on display.

David Ackerman thought he was just supporting his favorite candidate. But, when his political signs were removed from his own front lawn, Ackerman was confused.

"I was surprised they would just pick them up and take off with them," he said.

On Saturday, a city inspector told him his signs were in violation of city code and asked they be pushed back, closer to his home.

"I agreed but then I forgot about it and then I came out 45 minutes later and noticed my 2 political signs were missing and I looked down the street and saw the pick up truck taking signs," Ackerman explained.

"We have to take them if they are in the city's right of way, which is city owned property," Wausau Chief City Inspector Bill Hebert said.

Ackerman said he didn't even know there were rules about where signs can and can't go.

"They need to get the word out that they have to be off the city's right of way," he said.

City leaders say all political signs must be behind the sidewalk, farthest away from the road and out of the city's right away.

But, what if you don't live near a sidewalk?

Tom Christopher lives on a busy road in Wausau. He says he didn't know about the placement law either.

"It's too bad they don't give you a list when you go to pick up signs that tell people your do's and don'ts," Christopher said.

Hebert said the city tries to educate people on where their signs should go.

"If you don't have a sidewalk, a good marker is the cut in your driveway," Hebert explained.

A cut like the one in Ackerman's driveway. Where his new political signs now sit.

"They're not that visible, but that's fine."

City leaders say if they see a sign in violation than they will ask the homeowner to remove it. If nobody's home, the sign will be taken and can be picked up at the Department of Public Works.

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