Silly season in politics

Dateline: Tue 07 Oct 2008

Political signage -- or expression of free speech -- has become a subset topic of this year's election in Indiana.

The latest flap is the city vs. Burnetta Sloss-Tanner, 72, whose side yard at 3529 Central Avenue in Indianapolis has been a garden for politcal signs. Right now, the Democractic precinct committee woman for 44 years has signs up for Lou Rosenberg, Andre Carson, Michael Rodman and Barack Obama.

Neighbors, she says, help themselves to the signs. "They come and take them and put them in their yards," she explains. "People look to me for leadership, and nobody has ever questioned my signs in my yards."

Not until a month or so ago, when she received a letter from the "Metropolitan Department of Compliance," of the city of Indianapolis, threatening her with a $2,500 fine unless she removed all but five signs from her premises.

She's not going to do it.

"I have not taken one sign down. And I will take it to the state supreme court if I have to. I am a woman of color, and I have fought for my civil rights for years."

The issue, she says, is not partisanship; she would defend the right of a Republican or any other political party member to have as many signs as she has in any other yard.

She does question the timing. Her home, she notes, is in a well-traveled, well-seen location, across from a school and a day care center. None of her signs are on the sidewalk. The are on private property. Besides, this is hardly something she started yesterday.

"After 30 years, why are they now asking me to take my signs down? Why is it all of a sudden Big Brother?

Why, indeed?

P.S. Thanks to the patient reader who tipped me about this. I should be in my own home by this weekend, so there should be a little more attention to detail. Thanks to all for patience.

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