We recently reported that a group of candidates for elected positions representing all or portions of Waterford Township at various levels had signed a pledge against erecting political signs well in advance of the upcoming primary election. We agree with the spirit of the pledge initiative, and ask candidates across the lakes area to show restraint and refrain from erecting their political signs until one month before the August primary or November general elections.
Incumbents serving at the county and state level, as well as a candidate for the 51st District Court, have pledged not put up campaign signs until a month before the Aug. 7 primary. State Rep. Gail Haines (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield), who is spearheading the pledge initiative, said public displeasure over signage in Waterford led her to take the pledge.
According to Haines, local ordinances previously prohibited putting up political yard signs until one month before an election. Signs then had to be removed within a week after the election. However, she said recent court rulings have allowed for campaign signs to be displayed at any time, therefore overriding local ordinances.
Others joining in on the pledge include state Sens. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake, Commerce, Milford, Highland, West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Wixom, Walled Lake and Wolverine Lake) and David Robertson (R-Waterford); state Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake, Highland); county Commissioners John Scott (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield), Jim Runestad (R-Waterford, White Lake), and Tom Middleton (R-Waterford); and Andrea Dean, who is running for the 51st District Court seat currently held by Judge Jodi Debbrecht, who was appointed to that position by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
From the get-go, it was clear the coalition had its sights set on Debbrecht, who has had campaign signs posted in Waterford for some time. For her part, Debbrecht said any negative feedback she’s received has come from people affiliated with her opponent.
Although we hold claims that Debbrecht has destroyed the community by already posting campaign signs as overblown, we support the intent behind the pledge.
While candidates — and citizens, for that matter — have a First Amendment right to post campaign signs or other political speech whenever they choose, it would be nice if the spring season landscape could be enjoyed by one and all before campaign signs sprout up like dandelions. That can be achieved if candidates voluntarily postpone execution of their speech rights until early July. Then, those signs should be retrieved within a week of the primary election. Further, we’d be pleased if those who make the cut and move on to the general election withhold the reposting of campaign signs until early October, and then remove them by mid-November.