POLITICAL SIGN SEASON
BY: PAT HUNTER
Last Thursday as I arrived at the Tech Center to attend the Loudon County Board of Education workshop meeting, I was greeted at the door by new board Chairman Bobby Johnson Jr. He was talking about how he had been to THE HUNTER REPORT and he hadn't seen any 'Huntin'.
Aiming to please, I went "Huntin' this past weekend for political campaign signs. The signs were placed in public right of ways located in the Lenoir City limits on Saturday (Sept. 16). It's not quite time for Open Season Political Signs unless the election signs are located on private property.
At least some very anxious political candidates started placing election signs in public right of ways. Johnson (SR) and Johnson (JR) were spotted putting up signs in the ditch on Harrison Rd./Old HWY 95. That's a no-no in Lenoir City given the passage of a new 30 day before election political sign ordinance was unanimously approved (Second Reading) by Lenoir City Council including Councilman/Lenoir City Board member Bobby Johnson SR. As a side note: Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr. was absent for the 1st Reading of the ordinance.
In April - May 2012, acting on numerous complaints Mayor Tony Aikens suggested reducing the number of days from 60 days to 30 days for political signs. "I think that is plenty of time myself to look at them."
Initially, Councilman/Lenoir City Board member Bobby Johnson SR opposed the ordinance and wanted to scrap all signage in the city according to the local newspaper. The new political sign ordinance only impacts city right-of-ways and not private property.
Johnson Sr. was
quoted in the local paper as saying ""I've
been involved in those signs and I've been just as guilty as anybody that has
run for an office. Especially if you get up here on that (Highway) 321 you've
got them lined up there and these tourists come through here," Johnson said. "I
know a lot of people want to put the signs up, but we've got a newspaper and
we've got radios. ... From my part, including me, I would just as soon as do
away with it. Let's go another way in advertising."
It seems like Johnson and Johnson didn't bother to read the new political sign ordinance that Councilman Bobby Sr. and others voted unanimously to approve on Second Reading (Johnson was absent for the 1st Reading) the Ordinance before plastering political campaign signs all along Lenoir City public right of ways including Lenoir City Hall.
Lenoir City's new regs reduce the time for public office election signs from 60 to 30 days of the election date. In this case election day is Nov 6, 2012, so back up 30 days and earliest date to place signs on public right of ways would be is October 7th.
Lenoir City Codes Enforcement Leslie Johnson will oversee the enforcement of political signs, but the question remains will the the rules and regulations apply to the decision and rule makers or just a select few.
As it turns out it was a Hunter's Dreams when I went "Huntin' and found the mother load of Elect Bobby Johnson (SR) to City Council signs. Thank you Bobby Johnson (JR) for your great "Huntin' idea!
THE HUNTER REPORT
EXCERPT – LENOIR CITY MINUTES
April 09, 2012
The City Council met in its regularly scheduled meeting on April 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. Mayor Aikens and the following Councilmen were present. Henline, Hines, Shields, Simpson, and Wampler. Dale Hurst, Jim Wilburn, and James K. Scott were also present. Councilman Johnson was absent.
A motion was made by Shields and seconded by Wampler to approve the Planning Commission’s recommendation (approval) of an Ordinance to amend Chapter 6-Section 1-604 of the Lenoir City Zoning Code in regards to sign structure definitions and the regulation of Public Election signs. The following vote was recorded: Henline, Hines, Shields, Simpson, and Wampler voting AYE. Councilman Johnson was absent.
May 14, 2012
The City Council met in a Public Hearing at 6:45 P.M. The Public Hearing was for an Ordinance to amend Chapter 6 – Section 11-604 – of the Lenoir City Zoning Code in regards to sign structure definitions and the regulation of Public Election Signs. Following the Public Hearing, the City Council met in its regularly scheduled meeting at 7:00 P.M. Mayor Aikens and the following Councilmen were present: Henline, Hines, Johnson, Shields, Simpson, and Wampler. Jim Wilburn was also present. Dale Hurst and James K. Scott were absent.
A motion was made by Henline and seconded by Johnson to approve the second and final reading of Planning Commission’s recommendation (approval) of an Ordinance to amend Chapter 6 – Section 11‐604 – of the Lenoir City Zoning Code in regards to sign structure definitions and the regulation of Public Election Signs. The following vote was recorded: Henline, Hines, Johnson, Shields, Simpson, and Wampler voting AYE.
Second and Final Reading. Ordinance 2012‐5‐14‐1974.