City Of Irvine Confiscates My Political Signs
Things are already starting to heat up in Irvine. The past few weeks myself and a few other Irvine activists raised some money and bought some signs to be put out over the city that said "Goto www.irvinetattler.com". Within one day of putting them up, they were gone. I suspect they were ordered to be yanked out by the powers that be at Irvine City Hall(read that as The Larry Agran Cabal Inc), but I'm not certain yet. I'm going to do a lot more digging today on this issue. Stephen Smith wrote this morning on his website, Irvine Tattler, that the signs were ordered to be taken down "because the city had received some complaints about them". That has got to be one of the lamest excuses of all time. They took them down because they were starting to have a small impact. Stephen wrote that hits to his website nearly tripled after the signs were put out. I faxed over a letter this morning to City Hall that read as follows:
May 15, 2008
TO THE IRVINE CITY COUNCIL:
Over the weekend of May 10 and 11, I exercised my free speech rights under the United States Constitution and the Irvine Municipal Code by placing temporary political placards on public property open to the general public. The signs promoted IrvineTattler.com, a web site that expresses opinions about Irvine political issues. These signs were paid for and placed by me as an expression of my opinion about Irvine politics.
On the evening of May 12, I saw that the signs were missing. I placed over 100 of these signs and now I can't find them anywhere.
I carefully researched the legality of these signs. The Irvine Free Speech Ordinance says:
CHAPTER 6. FREE SPEECH RIGHTS
Sec. 4-14-601. Prohibitions.
No person shall interfere with the exercise of free speech rights by persons within areas open to the general public in shopping centers, apartment complexes and other private or public property open to the general public. As used in this section, "free speech rights" shall mean the right to freedom of speech, the right to solicit and collect signatures on petitions and the right to distribute literature or display temporary signs or placards of a political nature; provided such activities do not result in the obstruction of entrances, exits or passageways or create a threat to public safety.
(Code 1976, § IV.L-601; Ord. No. 90-3, § 1, 2-13-90)
The ordinance is quite clear that I have the right to place temporary placards of a political nature on public property open to the general public.
If you or your staff removed these signs, you are in violation of Irvine law and the First Amendment of the Constitution and I expect you to immediately return the signs to their original locations.
Please contact me immediately to explain if you know what happened to these signs. You can call me at (949) xxx-xxxx or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
cc: Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
Sean Emery, Orange County Register
R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
Rick Reiff, OC Business Journal