In the “it would be funny if it were not so petty” category: The Daily Progress is reporting that Ken Boyd’s campaign is upset about signs. Signs are the least of Ken Boyd’s problems as he heads into June 8th. [No I am not inferring some scandal, just a reference to where KB has stayed throughout this entire race...somewhere in the middle of all the candidates.]
TDP should get it’s facts checked as there is one certain inconsistency; ” One of McPadden’s “very enthusiastic” campaign volunteers placed signs in improper spots in Charlottesville, McPadden said, but the volunteer met with the city’s Department of Public Works and is no longer making that mistake.”
What they failed to mention is that after a volunteer met with the city that they discovered that the signs in question were McKelvey’s signs. Oops.
The congressional campaign of Albemarle County Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd is crying foul over his rivals’ campaign signs placed illegally in the public right of way.
“It’s the people’s land, not the candidates’,” said Paul Wright, Boyd’s campaign manager. “I don’t understand why anyone would think it’s OK to put their signs there. It’s against the law.”
With Tuesday’s seven-way Republican primary fast approaching, more and more campaign signs are appearing alongside major roadways and in the median of heavily traveled routes such as U.S. 29.
A survey of the Charlottesville area’s roadways Wednesday turned up signs from the campaigns of Michael McPadden, Jim McKelvey, Feda Kidd Morton and Laurence Verga.
McKelvey’s campaign manager, Brian O’Connor, said he would be happy to take down his campaign’s signs — so long as all the other campaigns did the same.
“The law is the law. If someone complains and wants the signs to come down, I’d be happy to comply,” O’Connor said. “But every campaign had to do it.”
Once the election is over, O’Connor added, all of the McKelvey signs will be removed.
“The election is less than a week away,” he said. “All my signs will be coming down.”
McPadden, an airline pilot from North Garden and a first-time candidate, said his campaign has been careful to ensure that signs are placed appropriately.
“We’re pretty sure we’re right on the law with all this stuff,” McPadden said.
One of McPadden’s “very enthusiastic” campaign volunteers placed signs in improper spots in Charlottesville, McPadden said, but the volunteer met with the city’s Department of Public Works and is no longer making that mistake.
“We think we’re doing the right thing,” McPadden said. “Word doesn’t always get out, but most of our volunteers are pretty well versed in where they can put signs and where they can’t put signs. We’re comfortable with it.”
Commercial or political signs are prohibited in the state-maintained right of way, which is generally 25 to 150 feet from the road’s centerline. Virginia’s Department of Transportation is authorized to remove the signs and may levy a $100 fine per sign.
“It is our responsibility to police those areas,” VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter said. “It is against the law to place any sort of sign in the highway right of way, whether those signs be political or commercial.”
VDOT workers usually remove signs when performing other tasks, such as mowing or maintenance. VDOT rarely levies the $100 fine, Hatter added.
Albemarle County workers also remove signs from the public’s right of way, but they do not take political signs. The county entered into an agreement with VDOT in February 2009 that authorized county staffers to confiscate signs advertising “goods, merchandise, property, business, services, entertainment or amusement activities” — but not political campaign materials.
“All that the county has been authorized to [take down] is advertising signs,” said Albemarle County spokeswoman Lee Catlin. “And political signs are not considered advertising.”
Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, said campaign volunteers sometimes get a bit overzealous with placing campaign signs. The worst offenders, he added, are those who leave their campaign’s signs out long after the election is over.
Gibson said he understands why Boyd’s campaign might be frustrated. “Everyone who plays by the rules always wishes the others played by the rules too.”
Boyd’s campaign has been feeling pressure from supporters to blanket the area with signs but is instead choosing to follow its understanding of the law, Wright said.
“I would rather people think we aren’t campaigning hard — which we are — than think we don’t have respect for the law,” Wright said. “I don’t think the end justifies the means.”
The GOP primary election is Tuesday. The winner will face U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Ivy, in this fall’s general election.