City of Atlanta Drags Feet on Illegal Yard Signs Littering District 3 (UPDATE 3)
UPDATE 3: A City of Atlanta vehicle was spotted on Anderson along with a city worker picking up illegal yard signs.
UPDATE 2: Interim Commission Pierre Johnson has said the City’s SWEET Team (Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Team) will be inspecting and removing any illegal yards.
UPDATE 1: The City of Atlanta City Attorney Nina Hickson writes, “The departments… have been properly and promptly advised of their responsibilities.”
(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta’s District 3 is currently littered with hundreds of illegal campaign yard signs placed in public spaces, using spaces owned by the taxpayers of Atlanta to improperly promote the campaigns of several candidates running in the March 19, 2019 Special Election.
The most egregious offenders appear to be the campaigns of Shalise Young, especially in Vine City and English Avenue, where there as signs for Mrs. Young at every intersection; Byron Amos; and Jabari Simama. Several signs are in public rights-of-way promoting the campaigns of Greg Clay, Ricky Brown, Mesha Mainor, and Antonio Brown.
Atlanta Progressive News has obtained over one hundred photographs of campaign yard signs that appear to have been placed illegally by one or more campaigns.
APN’s News Editor–the present writer, a candidate for District 3–sent a batch of photographs and listed intersections–to City of Atlanta Portfolio Manager for Customer Service/311 Brittany McClure on February 08, 2019.
However, the ten exceptions to the general prohibition are listed in City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, Part II, Sec. 138-13; there are none for Special Elections.
Today, Municipal Clerk Foris Webb III, who is also the Election Superintendent, sent a notice to all candidates: “It is imperative that you adhere to the Campaign Sign Right of Way Laws.”
“This and all other election information regarding the 2019 City of Atlanta Special Election may be found on the Atlanta City Council Website at http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/council-divisions/municipal-clerk/2019-city-of-atlanta-special-election. The laws are attached and listed below…” Mr. Webb wrote.
Young – English/Jett
Young – Jett/Paines
Young – Alexander/Paines
Young – Hairston/Neal
Simama, Young, Antonio Brown – Neal/Brawley
Young – Sunset/Jett
Young – John/Sunset
Young – Griffin/Jones *Note: Young lives on Griffin, making it likely she has observed the signs.
Young – Griffin/Sunset
Young – Jones/Sunset
Young – Neal/Griffin
Simama, Mainor, Ricky Brown – MLK/Rockmart
Simama – MLK/Brawley
Amos, Simama – Magnolia/Brawley
Young – Brawley/Spencer
Young – Boone/Griffin
Young – Griffin, north of JOnes
Young – Jett/Griffin
Young – Fox/Griffin
Amos – Echo/Hollowell
Young – Jones/Maple
Young – Jones/Walnut
Young – Elm/Jones
Simama – Boone/Flowers
Young, Simama – Washington Manor/Mayson Turner
Mainor, Young – Chappell/Boone
Young – Holly/Boone
Young – W. Lake Drive/W. Lake Ave.
Young – W. Lake/Ezra Church
Young, Amos – W. Lake/Calloway
Young, Clay, Simama – Anderson/Calloway
Clay – Abernathy/W. Lake
Antonio Brown – Ollie/Lena
Amos – Ollie/MLK
Clay – Knight Park park property
Clay – Abernathy on-ramp to I-20
Amos, Mainor, Clay – Marietta/Hollowell
The City of Atlanta prohibits the placement of campaign yard signs on public property, according to City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, Part II, Sec. 138-13.
“Any signs found upon any public property, not in compliance with this section, may be removed by the city,” the Code states.
“The person(s) responsible for causing the unlawful sign to be placed on any public property may be held responsible for the cost of removal,” the Code states.
“These persons shall include, but are not limited to, any individuals or businesses whose advertisement, message or information appears on or is contained in any sign or notice unlawfully placed on public property,” the Code states.
The signs also violate City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, Part III, Sec. 16-28A.012. (“Signs in the public right-of-way.”)
The Director shall conduct an inspection to ensure compliance. Sec. 16-28A.013(c) (“Procedures”).
“It is the policy of the city to encourage that all signs within the city be brought into compliance with the terms and requirements of this chapter and of Part 16 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta.” Sec. 16-28.014(a). (“Nonconforming signs”)
“Any sign installed or placed on public property or right-of-way… shall be deemed to be an illegal sign and shall be immediately removed by the owner or be subject to immediate removal by the city.” Sec. 16-28A.012(b). (“Signs in the public right of way”)
“Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of an offense and punished in accordance with the enforcement provisions of chapter 30 of Part 16 of the Code of Ordinances. This chapter shall be enforced by the director…” Sec. 16-28A.015 (“Violations and Enforcement”)
“Each sign installed, created, erected or maintained in violation of this chapter 28A shall be considered a separate violation, and each day of a continued violation for each sign shall be considered a separate violation when applying the penalties of chapter 30 of Part 16.” Sec. 16-28A.015 (“Violations and Enforcement”)
At a Candidates’ Briefing held by Municipal Clerk Foris Webb III, attended by all campaigns, on January 09, 2019, Mr. Webb said that the City of Atlanta would not tolerate illegally placed yard signs and that the Department of Public Works would retrieve any yard signs illegally placed in public spaces.
It is not immediately clear whether the candidates themselves are aware of the signs having been placed, or whether the signs were placed by overzealous volunteers.
However, for campaigns that have dozens of illegally placed signs throughout the District, it is unlikely that the candidate himself or herself is unaware and has not seen them.
If the City of Atlanta does not take immediate action, pursuant to its non-discretionary obligations under City Code, an action for a Writ of Mandamus will be filed in Fulton County Superior Court on Monday morning by the present writer.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2019)