Campaign Sign Violations Anger Real Estate Agents

FRESNO, California

Campaign signs have popped up all over the place in the last month -- some big, some small. Most of them are legal, but one on Blackstone near Ashlan is not. It's on private property and the property owner never approved it.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs.

The scenery on Herndon Ave. is filled with a proliferation of political signs for many of the races on the June ballot.

The city of Fresno has five rules about the placement of campaign signs and most meet the standard.

Signs for judicial candidate Gary Shinaver and Congressional candidate Richard Pombo are in violation because they're on private property without permission.

"I hired a sign company and they assured me the signs would be placed appropriately," Shinaver said.

Action News also found dozens of campaign signs nailed to commercial real estate signs.

The agents say nobody asks their permission, but the illegal signs go up every election season. It costs them time and money.

Although the city could enforce the code violation, they don't have the staffing to stay on top of it. So the real estate agents have to take the signs down themselves.

Many of the signs will last all the way through the election, unless opponents raise the issue, as they have in Shinaver's case.

Is it an unfair advantage? No, I wouldn't say it's an unfair advantage," said Peter De Young, who does public relations for Judge Jim Petrucelli, the incumbent Shinaver is trying to oust. "It's a dishonest advantage."

The sign companies know how to make it tough to get rid of their illegally placed signs. They use lift trucks to put the signs up really high, where they're hard to take down.

The one on Blackstone and Ashlan is more than 10 feet off the ground and even if you climb up the pole, you can barely reach it.

Shinaver says he'll have all of his illegally placed signs removed, but whoever takes them down will need a ladder.

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