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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

City officials hunt down Scott Wagman's errant signs



ST. PETERSBURG -- The calls trickled in at first. Then came a slew of complaints.

Overnight, roughly 600 Scott Wagman for mayor signs were suddenly everywhere -- medians, next to sidewalks, curbs -- and residents were not too happy about it.

The city's codes compliance department assigned an investigator to pluck errant Wagman signs across St. Petersburg today after receiving an unusual number of complaints. There were so many signs, the investigator asked for help and a second investigator was also assigned to the task.

"There's quite a lot of them," said Todd Yost, director of codes compliance. "That is not the appropriate place to put them."

City candidates sign a form acknowledging that they are familiar with the city's sign placement rules. Signs are prohibited in the right of way.

Wagman said he purchased 600 signs after supporters observed he didn't have as many as his rivals. The signs were distributed Tuesday night because absentee ballots are mailed out today.

Wagman said his campaign had not intentionally violated city rules.

"We did have some overzealous campaign organizers that didn't listen to instructions and put them in the right of way," he said.

Wagman has several days to claim the signs from City Hall before they are thrown out.

There is no penalty, Yost said.

The signs were found mostly along the downtown shore, Snell Isle, Central Avenue and Fourth Street N, Yost said.

By 4 p.m., most of the signs had been removed.

Yost could not immediately say how many city dollars were spent on the sign cleanup.

Wagman said he had avoided putting up too many signs before because he doubted their usefulness in swaying voters. He won't be putting up new signs any time soon for the same reason.

UPDATE: Yost said Thursday his staff is still picking up Wagman signs. "We're not done yet," he said.

Cristina Silva, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:59am]


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