- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Political signs have been popping up in Lafayette more and more in recent weeks for the upcoming fall elections: all of them in violation of the city’s sign regulations.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/Sb4Omh ) a little-known section of the city’s code prohibits political yard signs on public property and allows the signs on private property only within the three months of balloting, which for the Nov. 4 election would be late July if the timeline was pushed back for the Oct. 21 start date for early voting.

“They can only do it 90 days before the election, so they are way ahead,” said Lafayette City-Parish Director of Planning, Zoning and Development Eleanor Bouy, who said her staff is sending letters to local candidates asking them to comply with the sign law.

Bouy said she and her staff began noticing the first political signs just after Easter and have watched the number grow.

Most of the signs around the city are for two of the most active races this year, the contests between incumbent 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson and challenger Keith Stutes and between incumbent Lafayette City Marshal Earl “Nickey” Picard and challenger Brian Pope.

Picard said he was not aware of the regulations on political advertising before being contacted by The Acadiana Advocate and, after speaking with Planning, Zoning and Development, has decided to remove his signs until closer to the election.

His opponent, Pope, has several signs around the city but declined comment when asked whether he was aware of the regulations on political advertising, explaining that he was on vacation with his family and did not have time to research the issue.

Harson said he learned of the city’s regulations earlier this year but decided to begin distributing his campaign signs anyway when supporters questioned whether he was running because they saw only signs from his challenger, Keith Stutes.

Harson said he would comply if the city requested that he remove the signs “and will assume that my opponent will do likewise.”

Bouy said no decision will be made on enforcement actions until the candidates have time to comply after being given notice of the city’s regulations.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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