Whisler Chimes In on County Sign Debacle

If you haven’t been following the Baltimore County political sign debacle, now might be a good time to jump on board.  In a nutshell, Steve Kolbe from Towson puts up a 4×8 Ehrlich sign on his private property.  County code enforcer gets an “anonymous tip” and forces Kolbe to take the sign down.  Kolbe takes down sign, brings on lawyer, Mike Pappas, and takes the County to court siting freedom of speech infringement.  County responds maintaining, not only that their law does not violate free speech, but that the enforcement of that law was not politically motivated. Oh really?  Let’s ask that question to Don Albright of Essex who was asked to take a legal 4×8 sign off of his business because Ehrlich wasn’t a declared candidate.  Too bad the county ordinances say nothing about the official status of candidates.  Given the ground swell in the Kolbe case, it didn’t take long for the County to back off this one.

Now that you’re caught up, it’s time to expand the issue a bit.  Three years ago, Clarence Bell, backed by the ACLU, filed a similar lawsuit against the county siting that their 45 day rule on all political signs was unconstitutional.  The higher courts agreed and the County was ordered to remove the ordinance.  Guess what?  They didn’t.  To this day, the county code still states that all political signs are illegal until 45 days prior to the primary election.

In an affidavit , submitted to Kolbe’s attorney, Mike Pappas, Steve outlines Mike Moehler’s, Baltimore County code enforcer, insistence that the ordinance still stands.  It wasn’t until Kolbe’s lawsuit came up that Moehler backed down saying that the law was no longer in effect.  We’re seeing a theme in Baltimore County, aren’t we?

I wonder where those anonymous callers were on July 3rd in both Arbutus and Catonsville as political signs, both 2×8 and 4×8’s, went up on residential properties.  Get this.  Some were even for incumbent County Councilmen running for County Executive.  And some of those signs are still up, despite complaints from non-anonymous callers.  Selective hearing maybe?

This is what you get when an entire county is run by one party.  There are no checks and balances and the fight to remain in power, especially in this particular election year, becomes more important that our rights as citizens.  Remember what it was like to have representatives who actually represented you?  This is why it is so important to elect Steve Whisler to the County Council.  He is not just another politician.  He’s been advocating for our communities for over a decade, down in the trenches fighting against the uncontrolled spending and under the table deals with contractors.  He’s helped neighborhood after neighborhood protect what is important to them.  he has the extensive knowledge and experience to go in there and do what is right, focusing on the next generation not the next election.

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