- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Harold Brazil lost his re-election bid for the D.C. Council in September, but the memory lingers on on Capitol Hill, where his tattered campaign signs still hang — a violation of city election laws.

Mr. Brazil said yesterday that he was unaware of two signs still clinging to light posts at the intersection of Sixth and D streets SE — a reminder of his defeat in the Sept. 14 primary and a violation of D.C. law, which states that political campaign signs must be removed from public spaces within 30 days after an election.

“Personally, I haven’t seen any,” said Mr. Brazil, adding that he hired three persons to remove the signs after the primary. “You assume that you’ve got the lion’s share of them, but it’s a difficult thing.”

Still, D.C. officials say Mr. Brazil is responsible and faces a $30 littering fine for each uncollected sign.

“Ultimately, the onus to remove the signs falls on the candidate,” said Mary Myers, spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Public Works. “Each candidate signs an agreement to follow campaign laws. It was probably just an oversight by the campaign manager.”

Miss Myers also said the faded signs eventually become “unsightly litter” along curbs and sidewalks.

“You’d have to ask the [candidate], ‘Don’t you care about the neighborhood that you claim to represent?’” she said.

The department has received no recent complaints about uncollected signs, she said.

Mr. Brazil, a Democrat, was a D.C. Council member for 13 years before losing his at-large seat to Kwame R. Brown in the primary.

“As far as I know, there’s just an isolated [sign] here and there, but we’ll get them down, too,” he said.

Inspectors with the city’s Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Program issue most of the notices for poster infractions. But they often have their hands full with other sanitation issues, particularly illegal dumping, Miss Myers said.

She also encouraged residents to remove the signs.

“Residents should feel empowered to take them down because it becomes visual blight,” she said.

Virginia has no deadline for politicians to take down signs, but the state’s Transportation Department mails letters reminding campaign offices of their duty to remove the posters. In Maryland, politicians have to remove their signs from public property by Nov. 17, 15 days after the general election.

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