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Everywhere a Sign



I appreciated reading Carolyn Ayres' letter ("Sign Here," April 3), and I agree with her that the one with the most political signs (and most TV commercials), likely has the most financial backing, and is least likely to act in the best interest of the average citizen.

But I fear Ms. Ayres may have missed the larger implication of the story of Fortuna suspending its sign ordinance by passing an urgency ordinance. What was left off the NCJ article ("Blog Jammin'," March 20), was that the Fortuna meeting opened with City Attorney Dave Tranberg stating that "one candidate for district attorney had already put signs up in violation of the city's ordinance and that she was currently in violation of the law." Whenever this happened over the past 30 years, the procedure was to notify the campaign in violation of the law and instruct them to please have their signs removed and not be re-installed until the appropriate date. The candidate in this case was Maggie Fleming, who is endorsed by three of the five Fortuna council members. Now since the rules weren't meant to apply to the good ol' boys themselves (or their friends) they simply suspended the law in order to accommodate their candidate.

I'm opposed to any laws that infringe on free speech and, in particular, ones that restrict political speech. Fortuna should eliminate all restrictions. But this story is not about free speech. It's about the culture that ran Humboldt County for most of the last century and one that lost some of its prestige and power in 2002, with the upset defeat of Terry Farmer as DA. Those same folks, including the Deputy Sheriffs Organization, see a chance to reinstate that administration by electing Farmer's former DDA, Maggie Fleming.

That's the real story.

Richard W. Salzman, Arcata

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