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Topic: Farmer sued for political signs< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 10:25 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Farmer, township at odds over M-6 signs
Signs on semi trailers criticize Obama, socialism

Updated: Friday, 22 Mar 2013, 6:15 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 21 Mar 2013, 8:58 PM EDT

By Henry Erb
GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A cattle farmer is fighting a Gaines Township zoning ordinance to keep a couple of trailer-sized political signs on his property.

A crowd is expected in 63rd District Court Friday as Vern Verduin takes on Township officials who are trying to force him to remove his signs.

The signs, which are visible from M-6, are posted on two semi-truck trailers parked in Verduin's pasture.

One reads "Marxism/Socialism = Poverty & hunger." The other reads "Obama's 'mission accomplished.' 8% unemployment. 16 trillion debt."


http://www.woodtv.com/dpp....6-signs


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 10:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The county has a sign ordinance that the farmer is in violation of.  If he wins, all that will happen is they reduce the square footage of all signs, and he still has to take down his political signs, or reduce their size.  In truth, that is all that is at stake.  One size for advertising his product, another size for politics.   His free speech is not being threatened, just the size of the sign proclaiming it.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 10:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Right, he just needs to put a 4x5 sign up closer to the road, not out in the pasture.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 11:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Zoning ordinances and free speech aside I'm consistently amazed by how many people don't understand the President came in with an 11 trillion dollar debt and that Reagen tripled the debt and Bush 43 doubled it. The sign implies all of the debt is Obama's fault which we know is ludicrous whether our President signed off on the added debt in response to the worst financial crisis in just about any of our lifetimes or not.

Could the Administration sue for libel?

Also Socialism/ communism doesn't "equal" poverty since it unequivocally and dramatically raised the standards of living of the vast majority of people in China, Cuba, and Venezuela and was incredibly succesful for the Incas, etc.

And of course there would be no one to drive by and see his signs without socialism since public highways are unequivocally socialist endeavors.

This kind of ignorance and divisiveness, likely racism IMO, is an embarrassment to any real American.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 11:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sure thing, maybe some racism, ignorance for sure, not knowing that the GOP owns the ND as well. In fact, considering that it took 200+ years for the US to accumulate 1 trillion (900 billion) in national debt, in 8 quick years, Ronald Reagan tripled it. But GOP partisans won't be talking about that.

As for the signs, well that's what you get in a free society, or not.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 11:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Monte,

I really appreciate your sig line however much I don't like the reality of it. Let me know if you ever make it to the GYE.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 12:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Mar. 23 2013, 11:57 am)
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Monte,

I really appreciate your sig line however much I don't like the reality of it. Let me know if you ever make it to the GYE.

The French commune?

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 12:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Was the zoning ordinance already in place?  Or was that ordinance voted in after the fact -- to muzzle the farmer's freedom of speech 'by other legal means' -- without explicitly saying so?

Lots of governments use 'other legal means' to muzzle people's freedom.  Registration, permitting and zoning are all favorite tactics.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 1:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I support the farmer's right to free speech.
I also support the right for the township to enforce their zoning and signage ordinances.

The farmer should post his signs in accordance with the local codes, like everyone else is required to do.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 1:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:19 pm)
QUOTE
Was the zoning ordinance already in place?  Or was that ordinance voted in after the fact -- to muzzle the farmer's freedom of speech 'by other legal means' -- without explicitly saying so?

Lots of governments use 'other legal means' to muzzle people's freedom.  Registration, permitting and zoning are all favorite tactics.

Quite possible it's a liberal enclave and the message just pissed too many off. Or he thought that because it is deep in his pasture it would be immune. At any rate, the big winners in these disputes are the attorneys on both sides. The farmers going to spend a bunch of money defending his "right" and the residents, via tax dollars, are going to spend a bunch of money making him take them down.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 1:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Good one.  The same could be said about a southwestern trim of teal or purple, with little Kokopelli's or zia symbols, in a staid Wonder-bread white neighborhood (for Latino solidarity - think there was a case of an Anglo doing this against her HOA in TX) or even painting the trim bright red and putting mini-swaztikas or hammer'n-sickles if one wanted to get some revenge on the neighbors.  Everyone has an inherent right to property (otherwise no one in their right mind would buy a lot of stuff), but what if the visual impact lowers neighboring property values?  Do we really own anything if we (or our heirs) eventually sell it or is it in reality a long term rent? Getting a little away from the OP, is there really home ownership if a municipality or even HOA can put a lien for non-payment of taxes or dues, respectively?  

That's why we have lawyers I guess.  I'm pretty sure this one has been duked out in court before but interesting in terms of changing American real estate landscapes.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 1:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh, that's a great topic to start, for sure. Property taxes themselves preclude property ownership, being the county can seize your property for not paying them.
Digression though, I know.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 1:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montecresto @ Mar. 23 2013, 10:26 am)
QUOTE

(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:19 pm)
QUOTE
Was the zoning ordinance already in place?  Or was that ordinance voted in after the fact -- to muzzle the farmer's freedom of speech 'by other legal means' -- without explicitly saying so?

Lots of governments use 'other legal means' to muzzle people's freedom.  Registration, permitting and zoning are all favorite tactics.

Quite possible it's a liberal enclave and the message just pissed too many off. Or he thought that because it is deep in his pasture it would be immune. At any rate, the big winners in these disputes are the attorneys on both sides. The farmers going to spend a bunch of money defending his "right" and the residents, via tax dollars, are going to spend a bunch of money making him take them down.


Not just liberal -- but people use laws to trample on the rights of others all the time.  People who automatically believe you just need to follow the laws on the books are naive.

As an example, there are any number of instances where neighborhoods use zoning laws to block non-Christian (and even Christian) places of worship!

It is actually a good thing that we have a court system to safeguard our rights.  Building a mega church in a small neighborhood with narrow streets and no parking?  That's where zoning laws come in.  But blocking a church or temple in an area with ample space and all?  Possibly a case of tyranny exercised by a majority against a minority -- and that's where zoning laws can become tools for abuse!

In fact, my own church was built only after a threat of lawsuit! The city of San Marino used to have an ordinance that forbade the building of any place of worship within the entire city!  That was a clear trampling on people's right to worship.

But back to topic -- it's why I would question the circumstances of the law in question  -- and not just the signs themselves.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montecresto @ Mar. 23 2013, 10:26 am)
QUOTE

(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:19 pm)
QUOTE
Was the zoning ordinance already in place?  Or was that ordinance voted in after the fact -- to muzzle the farmer's freedom of speech 'by other legal means' -- without explicitly saying so?

Lots of governments use 'other legal means' to muzzle people's freedom.  Registration, permitting and zoning are all favorite tactics.

Quite possible it's a liberal enclave and the message just pissed too many off...

Is there any indication that these ordinances were hastily drawn up after the fact?  Or are you guys just defaulting to the anti-govenment, conspiracy theory?

Similar zoning and signage codes are quite common in American communities and are rarely created with the intent to muzzle people's freedom.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:30 pm)
QUOTE

(Montecresto @ Mar. 23 2013, 10:26 am)
QUOTE

(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:19 pm)
QUOTE
Was the zoning ordinance already in place?  Or was that ordinance voted in after the fact -- to muzzle the farmer's freedom of speech 'by other legal means' -- without explicitly saying so?

Lots of governments use 'other legal means' to muzzle people's freedom.  Registration, permitting and zoning are all favorite tactics.

Quite possible it's a liberal enclave and the message just pissed too many off...

Is there any indication that these ordinances were hastily drawn up after the fact?  Or are you guys just defaulting to the anti-govenment, conspiracy theory?

Similar zoning and signage codes are quite common in American communities and are rarely created with the intent to muzzle people's freedom.

Defaulting?  Nope.  But asking open questions, certainly.

In contrast, taking media articles at face value is what I view as naive. You can count on the media to leave out facts -- left, right or center -- to encourage emotions and sensations.   In the end, the farmer might just be an ******* -- but who really knows?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The article offers very little information.  That is why I asked you the question.
Based on the info provided, it's quite a leap to imply that the township may be really just trying to muzzle the farmer's rights.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 3:30 pm)
QUOTE

(Montecresto @ Mar. 23 2013, 10:26 am)
QUOTE

(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:19 pm)
QUOTE
Was the zoning ordinance already in place?  Or was that ordinance voted in after the fact -- to muzzle the farmer's freedom of speech 'by other legal means' -- without explicitly saying so?

Lots of governments use 'other legal means' to muzzle people's freedom.  Registration, permitting and zoning are all favorite tactics.

Quite possible it's a liberal enclave and the message just pissed too many off...

Is there any indication that these ordinances were hastily drawn up after the fact?  Or are you guys just defaulting to the anti-govenment, conspiracy theory?

Similar zoning and signage codes are quite common in American communities and are rarely created with the intent to muzzle people's freedom.

I'm certainly not contributing it to any great conspiracy. Did you click the link and scroll down to the "comments" on the article. Almost every one of them is from locals, and almost everyone is in support of the farmer, so perhaps not a liberal enclave. That said, if the message didn't piss anyone off, there quite possibly would be no law suit.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:37 pm)
QUOTE
The article offers very little information....

Exactly!  Hence, my questions.   :;):

And what little info there is -- begs the question why:

1.  Advertising signs have a 32 sq. ft. limit, but...
2.  Political signs have a 20 sq. ft. limit.

Looks to me 32 sq. ft. is deemed to be sufficiently unobstructive / unintrusive.   Looks also to me that the town politicians may have some explaining to do.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:38 pm)
QUOTE

(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:37 pm)
QUOTE
The article offers very little information....

Exactly!  Hence, my questions.   :;):

And what little info there is -- begs the question why:

1.  Advertising signs have a 32 sq. ft. limit, but...
2.  Political signs have a 20 sq. ft. limit.

So why follow up your legitimate question with a conspiracy-theorist editorial?
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:43 pm)
QUOTE

(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:38 pm)
QUOTE

(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:37 pm)
QUOTE
The article offers very little information....

Exactly!  Hence, my questions.   :;):

And what little info there is -- begs the question why:

1.  Advertising signs have a 32 sq. ft. limit, but...
2.  Political signs have a 20 sq. ft. limit.

So why follow up your legitimate question with a conspiracy-theorist editorial?

The more I read the article, the more questions I have.  Good thing we have the court system -- where everyone, regardless of stature -- can be heard.

Laws ought to be written for good reasons.  Can you think of a good reason why a political sign must not exceed two-thirds the size of an advertising billboard -- by law?  Maybe the town politicians do have good answers -- but it's definitely a legitimate question -- and it's also about guarding our freedoms vigilantly -- or risk losing them.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 3:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:46 pm)
QUOTE

(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:43 pm)
QUOTE

(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:38 pm)
QUOTE

(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 12:37 pm)
QUOTE
The article offers very little information....

Exactly!  Hence, my questions.   :;):

And what little info there is -- begs the question why:

1.  Advertising signs have a 32 sq. ft. limit, but...
2.  Political signs have a 20 sq. ft. limit.

So why follow up your legitimate question with a conspiracy-theorist editorial?

The more I read the article, the more questions I have.  Good thing we have the court system -- where everyone, regardless of stature -- can be heard.

Laws ought to be written for good reasons.  Can you think of a good reason why a political sign must not exceed two-thirds the size of an advertising billboard -- by law?  Maybe the town politicians do have good answers -- but it's definitely a legitimate question -- and it's also about guarding our freedoms vigilantly -- or risk losing them.

I agree with you regarding our court system.

I missed the part about 2/3's.  Political signs generally fall under the same codes as all other signs.  

Sign ordinances are generally in place to keep communities from looking like one big advertisement.  Zoning ordinances are generally in place to keep land uses consistent with one another.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 4:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Per the article:

"The Township cited him for violating its sign ordinance, which restricts the size of political signs to 20 square feet.

But under the ordinance, you can have a bigger sign to sell a product than to sell an idea.

"You can have a 32-foot advertising sign. I don't get that," said Verduin.

That commercial element is why Verduin's lawyer thinks his client will win in court. The US Constitution, he says, gives political speech more protection than it does commercial speech".


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 4:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 1:00 pm)
QUOTE
Per the article:

"But under the ordinance, you can have a bigger sign to sell a product than to sell an idea.

"You can have a 32-foot advertising sign. I don't get that," said Verduin.

That commercial element is why Verduin's lawyer thinks his client will win in court. The US Constitution, he says, gives political speech more protection than it does commercial speech".

I missed that when first read the article.

A legitimate question IMO.  I would be interested to hear the town's response to that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 4:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I added one more line to my post above -- that the town restricts political signs to 20 sq. ft. -- but allows sizing up commercial signs to 32 sq ft.

Yes, it will be interesting to hear the town's side of the story.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 4:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Interesting size limit anyway. 32 sf. Is a sheet of plywood. Apparently no billboards are within this towns limits.

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(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 1:08 pm)
QUOTE
I added one more line to my post above -- that the town restricts political signs to 20 sq. ft. -- but allows sizing up commercial signs to 32 sq ft.

Yes, it will be interesting to hear the town's side of the story.

If they allow this one farmer to ignore the ordinance, they'd better be prepared for all candidates, PAC's, etc. etc. to also ignore it in the next election cycle.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Mar. 23 2013, 3:46 pm)
QUOTE

(Ben2World @ Mar. 23 2013, 1:08 pm)
QUOTE
I added one more line to my post above -- that the town restricts political signs to 20 sq. ft. -- but allows sizing up commercial signs to 32 sq ft.

Yes, it will be interesting to hear the town's side of the story.

If they allow this one farmer to ignore the ordinance, they'd better be prepared for all candidates, PAC's, etc. etc. to also ignore it in the next election cycle.

Yep.. the town may have backed itself into a corner by allowing commercial signs up to 32 sq ft.  They'll have to come up with something else that doesn't favor commercial speech over other speech -- esp. political.  But I'm sure other towns have gone through this... so they'll figure something out...

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 8:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ads can be 1 full sheet of plywood, but political signs only 1/2 sheet.  Seems pretty simple to me.  Farmer has tractor trailer sized signs, in his field.  How can this not be an infraction?  Seems he can reduce the size of his signs, to 32 or 20, depending on the court ruling.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 10:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm like Doc Sarvis, I just don't like billboards.  :;):

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2013, 10:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

The average billboard is 200 s.f. So this town is very conservative on signage.

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» Quick Reply Farmer sued for political signs
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