Illegal signs and posters on utility poles, public walls and trees have long been an eyesore in the city. Many civic organizations’ volunteers have spent countless unpaid hours removing these posters so their neighborhoods can remain neat and clean-looking.
A piece of proposed legislation by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and several other Council members would destroy those efforts by rewarding those who prefer to remain unaware of existing laws that prohibit defacing public property.
Quinn’s proposal would in effect give small businesses and nonprofit organizations free “get-out-of-jail” cards for their first violations. This is wrong. The various business and merchant organizations that support this legislation should instead attempt to educate their members that it is illegal to defile public property with their advertising.
It is difficult enough for the city Sanitation Department to enforce the existing law. There are enough loopholes that allow companies to skirt the rules by using cell phones and bogus addresses, making it nearly impossible for them to be tracked.
Why create new loopholes for them? That is exactly what this legislation, if passed, will do. The number of illegal signs will greatly increase.
Rather than cater to a few business groups that should know better, Council members should support the efforts of those small businesses that advertise legally and not at the expense of our neighborhoods.
The Creedmoor Civic Association