Marin IJ

Article Last Updated: 11/11/2005 07:21 AM

Friday Readers' Forum
Marin Independent Journal

Banners are important

The IJ's Nov. 5 editorial "San Anselmo sign flap is risky business" argues that San Anselmo might have to discontinue its street banners in order to prevent them from being used for political campaigns, such as the Measure B property tax, Proposition 73 or Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's reelection. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Street banners serve a useful purpose in our community, to promote local non-partisan events and to foster civic pride. Like many cities and towns, including San Francisco, San Anselmo law provides that street banners may only be rented out for "charitable or civic events."

There is no question that a street banner advertising the Marin Ski Swap, which appeared recently, is neither charitable nor civic. It is a commercial ad.

And by no stretch of the legal imagination could one conclude that a street banner saying "Yes on Measure B" is advertising a charitable or civic event. It is a campaign ad, pure and simple.

The town erred when it failed to follow its own ordinance and allowed a political banner touting its proposed Measure B tax - which then opened a Pandora's box for political banners of all sorts in town.

To solve this problem, San Anselmo should not eliminate street banners altogether, but rather, it should enforce the banner ordinance it already has and limit street banners to "charitable and civic events." That would quickly end the banner problem.

By the way, while the town is at it, it sure would be nice if it could also enforce the sign ordinance against Ford Greene's blatantly illegal sign.

Chris Hunt, San Anselmo


Hub Law Offices 711 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, California 94960-1949 415-258-0360