We love the snazzy banners on the light poles promoting Albany’s emerging downtown. They’re attention-grabbing and tasteful; quite a promotional tool, indeed.
One problem: They are illegal.
The signs are the City of Albany’s latest in-your-face message to citizens and businesses that our municipal government and the people who run it are above the law. We don’t take issue with Downtown Manager Aaron Blair for hanging the banners; more power to him as he tries to carry out his mission. That’s his job.
But the downtown signs need to come down until the City’s ridiculous anti-business sign laws, particularly those regulating and taxing temporary banners and otherwise restricting personal property rights, are modified.
(Did you know that political signs also are exempt from the code? How incredibly convenient for incumbent politicians, huh?!)
The City truly showed its colors last year when it stacked the deck by appointing a committee loaded with government officials to ensure that real folks – in particular, the people who rely on signs to advertise their businesses — didn’t have a rightful say in the process. City Manager James Taylor, who was an assistant manager at the time, made it clear at the time that the City considers itself exempt from its sign regulations, but – upon being pressed – he assured business owners that City officials would abide by the sign law.
That hasn’t happened, of course.
When asked to weigh in on the matter for this report, Taylor – as usual – refused to comment.
Taylor reports to a higher authority – the Albany City Commission. Let’s make some changes at the polls and elect people who will ensure that laws and rules apply equally to government officials and the citizens who pay their salaries.
By Kevin Hogencamp