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Town Square

Town's inaction is political bias.

Original post made by Marcus Ogawa on Nov 1, 2008

I'm reaching out to other resident's of Atherton because there is a serious problem with how political signs have been handled in Atherton that inadvertently causes a town bias.

Here are the _facts_:

1) There is a political "Yes on 8" sign not one block from my house on Marsh Rd. and Middlefield that is on public domain and has been up since late Friday night.

2) I went directly to the Atherton police department and complained around 10:30am about the sign and was instructed it would be removed immediately by the dispatcher whom I spoke to in person.(Irregardless of my political stance on the subject, ALL publicly left signs should not be left up in public domain in accordance with town ordinances.)

3) Eight hours later, I see the sign is still up and sitting against the rail.

4) I drove to the Atherton Police department to lodge another complaint. The officer on duty informed me that they had been ordered not to remove any political signs by their higher ups as they wanted to remain politically neutral. I was also informed that the earlier dispatcher was a temporary worker and apparently had not been informed or was not told till later about this mandate from above. Higher ups were cited as the police chief and town manager.

5)They also informed me if I removed the sign I could be prosecuted for theft, and that if an officer sited me doing so, I could be held accountable. I was also informed, if I posted a "No on 8" sign, I would be in violation of the town ordinance and would be cited by the officer for doing so.

6) I requested when and how could the sign be removed, and was informed that the matter was being forwarded to the department that handles the streets, and that the earliest they could come out would be Monday. In other words, the sign will not be removed from public domain until a day before election day, and will have been up for three days while the town knows of its presence.

Those are the facts. Now here is what I want to say:

The Atherton civic governance in place, by refusing to take down all political signs and refusing to take action until Monday has in effect supported a political statement irregardless of their claims to political neutrality. By claiming I will be cited for putting up a sign in public domain, but by refusing to remove a sign in the very same public domain, they are choosing when to enforce the law. Furthermore, by refusing to take action on removing any political signs until Monday, the town management is in spirit willingly lending itself out to supporting "Yes on 8."

It is clear to me that this is an attempt by clever pundits of "Yes on 8", associated with the town or not, to take advantage of any loopholes in town ordinances. I however would would like to think the civilians I entrust the stewardship of my hometown of 16 years would be competent in realizing when they are being bamboozled, and sincerely hope they will take action immediately.

Sincwerely,

Marcus T Ogawa

Comments

Posted by Marcus Ogawa, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2008 at 9:11 pm

*Update*

The sign in question is no longer standing. I'd like to think the town did the right thing and not some civilian who took the law into their own hands.

If it was the town council, well done in reacting quickly, and I thank you all for your political neutrality and expediency.

-M.T.O