You can tell Election Day isn't far away. Hundreds of political signs are littering lawns everywhere and the majority of them are placed in illegal locations. Katie Gibas has more.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Yes, the political signs are protected under the First Amendment. But municipalities have laws limiting when and where you can post your sign. In the City of Syracuse, you can't put them on public property, including the piece of lawn in front of your house between the sidewalk and the street
Are political signs visual pollution or part of free speech? That is the question.
"It seems like an issue that people have let pass. But it is very prevalent and the amount of signs on public property has accelerated over the years," said Dennis Heaphy.
Political signs are everywhere, sometimes dozens in one spot. But most of them are placed in illegal locations.
Heaphy said, "What has precipitated it is pretty much an atmosphere of disregard. The idea that the politicians, who we should trust, put their signs, they are the biggest offender, on public property with what seems no regulation."
The City of Syracuse has a law that says that no one can place signs, posters or notices on any city property, including trees, lamp posts or parks. And while you're required to mow that piece of grass between the sidewalk and the road, it's actually city land.
"I think, perhaps, by the prevalence of these signs, it may seem too onerous for the city to actually enforce them. But I have to make people aware that there is an actually, well-stated ordinance against this," said Heaphy.
But the signs on public property aren't just a nuisance to some, they're costing taxpayers.
"The DPWs have to come out and pick them up when they're on public property. They're taking away from a lot of services, yeah. The time that's spent by the DPW picking up signs that have been left there," Heaphy said.
So exercise your First Amendment right and put your sign on your front lawn, but don't make it visual pollution by putting it on the other side of the sidewalk.
A spokesperson for the City of Syracuse says the DPW policy is, in the interest of free speech, they leave all signs unless they pose safety issues.