I was on the City Secretary Office's website looking for something the other day when I noticed a new addition in bright red letters: "NOTICE: PROHIBITION OF ADVERTISING ON PUBLIC PROPERTY." It goes on to quote Section 3-1(a) of the Dallas City Code, which says that it's ...
"... unlawful for any person to...paste, stick,...or place any advertisement, handbill, placard, or any printed, pictured or written matter or thing, for advertising purposes, upon any...public property, or to knowingly permit the same to be done for his benefit."
The oh-no-you-don't goes on to say that "City staff will be strictly enforcing the prohibition of advertisements on public property," referring to campaign signs stuck in front of public schools, rec centers, libraries and any other government building in which voting is taking place, early or day-of. If someone from the city espies a sign, it'll get yanked and tossed by code compliance. And that, as they say, is that.
I called City Secretary Deborah Watkins to make sure I hadn't somehow missed this warning in years past. Nope, she said, not at all: "The provision is not new. But it's the first time it's been posted on our website."
Says Watkins, the city is "enforcing it very strongly this time, more than in the past, because we'd gotten a lot of inquiries during the November election. A lot of the candidates were fussing about each side having more signs than the other, and we said, 'Well, nobody's supposed to have signs posted.' So that's why it's there." She laughs. "We're kinda of doing our job."
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