City has problem with ordinances

August 22, 2008 12:00 am

To the editor:

Ordinance 2893 is a "comprehensive revision of city regulations regarding traffic regulation." Section 3, Powers of the City Manager, says he shall "exercise the following powers based on standards established by the State Department of Transportation, and recognized traffic control standards...."

Section 6, "Private Marking Unlawful," is poorly constructed, and a comma appears to separate painting or marking on a sidewalk from the prohibition of "anything designed or intended to prohibit or restrict parking in front of...." If you literally separate the purpose and context, the ordinance would not distinguish between the sign at York's (now removed) and your child's hopscotch game. If that is the "clear" intent and spirit of the ordinance, we have a problem.

Graffiti charges require an intent to cause damage. Bella's dots were intended as decoration and made to be washed off when the downtown celebrations were over. The example Petry proposed, intended to harass the Herald, would be graffiti. That law is not blind or stupid.

Many stores placed signs on sidewalks and street posts during the celebrations. The week following the polka-dot affair, there were signs taped on street posts which the police, in "full-enforcement" mode, walked by and ignored. Ordinance 3030, Section 3 (g) and Ordinance 3112 may apply to signs on public rights of way, however, examples of non-enforcement are everywhere.

In this case, the most applicable rules appear to be under Ordinance 2426, Section 10 (1) and (2). Subsection (2) actually provides an exception for signs during an approved public event.

The city has used poor legal judgment in the past. The citation against Calder for "violation" of Ordinance 3030 is a case in point. It wasted our taxes and her time and money.

Brocato initiated the "tempest in a thimble" by misusing his public office to attack a council member, getting deep into pre-election politics himself. He does not supervise Gail Duman nor Beverly Calder. They supervise him and have every right to question what he says and how he performs. That is the job of every council member, not just them. It is duty, not politics.

Clair Button

Baker City