Legalized Lawn Sign Theft In The Burbs
For most of us, if we wake up and find our political yard signs gone, we've probably been hit by the opposition. If you live in the uber ritzy community of Elm Grove however, don't be mad at the other side. Chances are pretty good that your signs have been swiped by the local police!
No kidding. Your tax dollars at work.
During my show Tuesday, I received a call from an Elm Grove resident who told me that the local police were swooping through neighborhoods in the middle of the night pilfering political yard signs. Naturally, I was somewhat skeptical. This is precisely what is happening though!
Elm Grove is one of those communities that seems to have rules for everything. I guess that it's therefore not surprising that they have a lawn sign ordinance which regulates how close to the road that signs can be. Specifically, signs can be no closer to a sidewalk or roadway than seven feet.
My guess is that most people are unaware of this ordinance. Common sense would suggest that you should be able to display signage anywhere you choose on your property. This however is Elm Grove where common sense is, well, uniquely uncommon.
In a world where officials had an IQ above plant life, the remedy for violating the sign proximity law would be to tell the homeowner to move the sign a few feet further back. That's not how they handle things in Elm Grove however.
Apparently, on at least one occasion last week, police swept through the Village in the middle of the night taking all offending political signs from yards. Further, police did not inform homeowners of the sweep. If a resident called the Village to report the theft of their yard sign, the cops would admit that they were the culprets. Otherwise people were left to speculate on the identity of the thieves.
Listeners tell me that there are plenty of non-complying signs still standing the the Village. I don't know about that. The Chief of Police, Jim Gage, does confirm though that his department is currently in possession of about 20 McCain signs and 6 Obama signs that they liberated from residences throughout the area.
Where's the ACLU when you need them? Talk about voter suppression!
I'm not suggesting the disparity in signs seized reflects the political leanings of the cops in Elm Grove. Frankly, I imagine that there are are lot more McCain supporters than Obama supporters in Elm Grove - and therefore lots more McCain signs. That said, the cops seizing yard signs in the middle of the night with no notice reflects a disparity in rational thinking on the part of law enforcement - and more than a little arrogance.
It also signals a police department with way, way, way too much time on its hands.