Loudoun Board Looking To KILL The Volunteer Illegal Sign Collection Program

By Loudoun Insider

This is so shameful I can hardly believe they would even consider doing this.  Advertising and political signs are not allowed to be placed in the rights of way of public roads.  It’s illegal to put them there.  But VDOT has enough budget troubles without sending guys around 24/7 to keep collecting this hazardous trash.  So Loudoun County has a very successful volunteer program where trained volunteers do this work FOR FREE, helping to keep Loudoun roads safe and attractive.

So what’s the big problem with this???  Well, goddammit, the builders and developers hate it because they lose tons of ILLEGAL signs.  And waddyaknow, politicians hate it because they are especially fond of breaking this law, ESPECIALLY the local Republicans (who know completely control our government).

Everyone”s favorite local political sugar daddy, barely elected Delegate David Ramadan, is one of the worst offenders of this, along with LCRC political Godfather Dick Black.  Their illegal roadway signs were a constant eyesore along our roadways this past fall.  Ramadan’s sign boys were everywhere and even harassed one of the volunteer sign collectors to the point that he snapped back with some not so nice words.  The sign boys got that on video and posted it up here and there, but we never saw the lead-up to that moment.  The new Board members will now use this as their excuse to get rid of this program.

So in keeping with the overriding theme of this Board, paybacks, one of their first acts will be to kill this program as payback to those who helped fund their campaigns – the builders and developers and David Ramadan, and Godfather Dick Black as well.  Here is the link to the staff report for this item, pay special attention to the motions at the end.  They’re not doing this to keep things the way they are.  This program costs Loudoun very little in minimal staff oversight,  and provides its citizens with a great service – keeping our roadways safe and free of trash.  But does that matter to this Board?  Apparently not – this program ticks off their masters, so it must be done away with.  Unless there is enough of an uproar to keep it.  Do your civic duty folks – let’s see if they listen.


Comments

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    Oh this is going down not because of cost (it is essentially free) but because of developer interests. Over 50,000 ILLEGAL signs taken down by volunteers FOR FREE and they are going to kill it. Please don’t try to tell me you are conservatives. Conservatives do not shut down volunteer programs that provide a valuable service to the commuity FOR FREE.

    If you look at how it made it past the last BOS you will see that both York and Delgaudio opposed it. They are going to kill it.

    There are only two viable alternatives for the WHY of it. Either they wish to have us tax payers pay for the enforcement of the law or they do not think that the law should be enforced – that it is perfectly alright to violate said law.

    Again, I hate to tell you I told you so but I pointed out that the Republican BOS then candidates openly violated these sign laws. This is just further demonstration that they think that they and their contributors should be allowed to violate county laws with no negative consequences. Who is surprised?

  • AFF says:

    Let them kill the program. I’ll continue to pick up illegal signs whenever I damm well please, as I and many others did before the program began.

    I’ve actually thought about posting signs that read “I am an illegal sign. Please call Jim plowman at 540 …… Tool and ask him why he won’t enforce the laws of the commonwealth”.

    Or “roadside signs advertising housing developments are illegal. If we can’t trust developers to follow the law how can you trust them to build you a quality house?”

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    Aff, I agree with your sentiments and I believe I may join you in your endeavors. But 80+ volunteers and 50,000+ signs for essentially no money? That is a successful governmental program in ANYONE’s book and these crooks should be called to task if they end it.

    I thought Gov. Bob came up here and tolds these guys to not do anything stupid until after the 2012 elections! Does he know what they are up to so far?

  • BlackOut says:

    Let me get this straight someone or a group sees a need to cancel a program powered by volunteers, that costs nothing to the taxpayer and helps clean up the streets.

    First I say a whole heck of a lot of more important things to be work on before even considering this. Second, canceling this program is absolutely an asinine idea.

    It’s a fair question LI poses, who’s behind this and why? The rational is hard to find without digging into individual motives.

  • Mike2321 says:

    The voting public clearly doesn’t care at all about campaign signs. If they did, then wouldn’t the candidates with fewer campaign signs have lost their elections?

  • James Young says:

    What Mike said. I have little problem with politicians’ signs, because the difference between them and developers and others who place signs is that politicians REMOVE them — for the most part — after the election is over, because it’s good politics. Others don’t.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    This is a valuable nearly cost free program for the county. getting rid of it for political reasons and paybacks is shameful. I don;t know how people who vote for this will be able to sleep at night. But I’m sure they will.

  • Martha Polkey says:

    If they end the staff support of the program, we just go back to the way things were: those of us who believe everyone should obey the law continue to enforce it, free, by cleaning up road trash.

    And note that every current supervisor has violated the law, as have their fellow violators who made generous campaign contributions. So that is the important take-away.

    What the real estate industry usually does in these cases is to buy enough votes in the General Assembly to get a state law passed that, with incredibly obscure language, removes the obstacles to their practices–last session, if I recall, it was to allow signs to stay up for three days (i.e., Fri, Sat, Sun, ya think?) before a violation is registered.

    Also note that current state law provides for a fine of $100 per sign that could be levied. It could be collected and used for…transportation improvements?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    This is a perfect opportunity for citizen action in the face of an unethical government. Will they call the Sheriff or State Police when concerned citizens decide to pick up this trash on their own?

    And speaking of fines, forget that ever happening, just like the fines that OpenBand should have paid for missing their franchise renewal. Only the little people pay fines in Loudoun County.

  • This will be, indeed, an interesting vote. There’s absolutely no reason to end such a voluntary and free program – other than the special interests you identify which would include the politicians themselves.

    The only potential change would be to require that the volunteers do it in a non-discriminatory manner, meaning you can’t just pick up all the R signs and leave the D signs alone. In my quick review of the program, I didn’t see such a provision.

  • Elder Berry says:

    Yes and sign season (nonpolitical version) is just starting isn’t it. It often seems that at $100 a sign we could end our budget problems just with the illegal signs. No, this is the developers speaking through their mouthpieces because there is no question the signs are illegal and half the time it seems to be illegals who are putting them up. The volunteer program was working quite well so I guess that alone is a reason for these stone age retreads to get rid of it. Cut down trees and put up popsicle sign litter.

  • BlackOut says:

    Has this Board done anything yet that was talked about during their campaigning? Seems like all the highlights are unrelated to anything discussed during the campaigns.

  • Pragmatist says:

    Come on Blackout, this is step one in bringing jobs to Loudoun County…first, kill the volunteer program, then hire people to pick up the signs! There’s your job creation!

    Can volunteer fire departments be far behind?

  • Tom Conway says:

    Nietzche was right: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Has anyone noticed the uptick in those clusters of small developer signs on Rt 15 around the Outlet Mall? They are there. You know the ones — ganged up together in threes, fours, and fives…

    They are all in the VDOT right of way.

  • Fred says:

    Nice try LI, but you could be a litte more forthright and say the ungarnished truth… “So the Loudoun County Democratic Committee has a very successful volunteer program where trained volunteers do this work FOR FREE, helping to keep Loudoun roads safe and attractive from any sign promoting Republican candidates.”

  • edmundburkenator says:

    The election season is a different animal Fred.

    I thought the group was for all of the advertising that was being done on public right of ways (asphalt advertising, are you single?, Ryland open house, etc…)

    You can’t be ok with that crap littering the ROW can you?

  • Andrew Wexton says:

    So, Fred, you think Democrats care more about cleaning up the County, or that Republican campaigns violate the rules and litter more? Both may be true, but Republicans are just as welcome to become trained volunteers and help out.

    Must everything be so partisan? Can’t we all agree that the signs are road spam, and that lawful and authorized volunteers who help clean it up are a good thing?

  • liz says:

    Nice try, Fred. But this past election season had fewer Dem signs up in the roadways because the Dems knew that the roadways were being policed by the volunteers and didn’t want to spend money on signs that would just get pulled up.

    Which reminds me, since I’m friends with him on Facebook, I’ll let Andrews know his (legally placed) signs are still up on the corner of Waxpool and Ashburn Village.

  • BlackOut says:

    Fred, political signs are a fraction of the roadspam that effects our byways year round. Election signs only show for a few months every couple of years. The major offenders are karate schools, nail salons, handyman services, etc.

    If the goal here is to allow politicians freedom to put up signs than make the effort about that. Then we can talk about how ridiculous Fairfax County roads looks during election season.

  • Isn’t a bigger problem with campaign signs the fact that some homeowners associations restrict or ban them outright? I’m with you on addressing that as a constitutional issue.

    Agree, most of the road spam is commercial. Partisan responses to this are a red herring.

  • liz says:

    Most HOAs (by no means all, though) allow up to X yard signs from up to Y days before the election, with X and Y varying by HOA.

  • BlackOut says:

    HOAs can regulate the placement of signs on common areas and amongst the homes of members.

    HOAs have no jurisdiction over regulations of signs in VDOT right of ways. Even when those right of ways go right through the HOA proper.

  • NateDogg614 says:

    Speaking of campaign signs, someone should tell Speakman that one of his larger signs is still placed in the US 50 median right by the Loudoun/Fairfax county line.

  • BlackOut says:

    Somewhat lost in this discussion is the consideration of the large neon Las Vegas style sign Loudoun One is asking for. It gets an up-down vote tonight I believe.

    Check out the video demonstration of the sign on Leesburg Today. The sign depicted is only half the size of the one proposed.

    In my opinion it is hideous and if approved will open the door for other instances of eye pollution.

  • Glen Bayless says:

    I am speaking this evening against these signs…it would be nice to have some support in the meeting room!

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Why am I not surprised???? Janet Clarke is leading the charge to question and kill the sign program. We should be more business friendly and save and store these signs for the poor business people who place them on public property, she says.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    It’s dead! 8 to 1 with Williams against.

    They are soooooooo concerned about liability.

    Right.

    Staff will take over the task once a week.

    Right, they’ll spend lots of time on this.

  • BlackOut says:

    I am still holding out judgment on Ms. Clark but I’d sure like to see something positive that she is behind. Promoting roadspam as her economic development plan is beyond comprehension. What a stupid initiative.

    Again, I ask has this board or it’s members done anything yet that they campaigned on? If they are listening people are noticing and so far not an impressive start.

    Cudos to Williams for voting against the stupid sign reversal.

    (apologizes for cross post originally placed in wrong thread.)

  • ANONYMOUS says:

    LI wondered-

    “This is a perfect opportunity for citizen action in the face of an unethical government. Will they call the Sheriff or State Police when concerned citizens decide to pick up this trash on their own?”

    Yes

    There have been recent arrests in Loudoun County of citizens picking up roadside signs in VDOT ROW. Stay tuned

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