For all the talk of stolen campaign signs this political season, plenty remain along Pasco roads a week after Election Day. Those on private property are legal. A county ordinance doesn't require candidates to remove them until 15 days after the election. That is a week from today. We're hopeful, however, the elected office-holders and unsuccessful challengers might be proactive, rather than procrastinate on cleaning up the clutter.
Conflicting regulations don't help. Under state law, candidates have to make a good faith effort to remove signs within 30 days of the election. Curious then how signs for unsuccessful primary candidates still remain from the Aug. 26 election. Not only that, they remain in another county. Drive west along County Line Road separating Pasco from Hernando and notice the Pasco candidates' signs on the Hernando side of the road. At least two remain for candidates defeated in August.
They would be wise to follow the lead of the more environmentally friendly campaigns. Take for instance Republican state Rep. John Legg of District 46. He wants the members of the public to notify him if they see a remaining sign from his political campaign. (See letter elsewhere on this page.) It's a good strategy. Don't worry, we already told him about a sign in Gowers Corner that he promised to remove as soon as possible.
With a few exceptions, most candidates have taken down the large 4-feet-by-8-feet signs. If only someone would claim responsibility for the McCain/Palin placards still on the landscape. The majority of the remaining signs are the so-called snipe signs, the low-to-the-ground signs favored by real estate agents and others trying to grab drive-by attention.
The list of candidates with remaining signs is lengthy. Here's a sample of whose signs we saw the past two days: Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Circuit Court Clerk-elect Paula O'Neil, School Superintendent Heather Fiorentino, Commissioners Jack Mariano and Ann Hildebrand, unsuccessful Democrats Terri Conroy, Kim Bogart, Steve Donaldson and John Russell, Mosquito Control District candidate Nancy Britton and judicial hopeful Robert Angus Williams.
Then there is Sheriff Bob White. His large green signs with his picture remain intact and the campaign even added a post-Election Day gratitude to voters. "Thank you,'' the signs now read.
Imagine the "you're welcome'' the sheriff might get in response if he expedites removing his share of the visual clutter confronting Pasco motorists each day.