A Sign Ordinance? Aren’t There Bigger Fish to Fry?

So, we live in the land of the free, right? We have the right to do as we wish on our own property, right? Wrong! WALB reports that Code Enforcement officers are cracking down on violators of a new sign ordinance.  Local car dealerships are up in arms, since it bans all kinds of things like streamers, flags, banners, you know…the stuff you’re used to seeing around car lots.

To quote Mr. Gary Willis from the report,

“It’s just anti-business. That’s the bottom line,” said Willis. According to the city’s updated sign ordinance adopted last year, they’re in violation.

“We’re trying to survive, trying to do whatever we can do to make it from day to day,” said Willis.

And another lot owner.

“If I can’t advertise, the profitability of my lot is going to decline to the point that I can’t make a living. And I certainly won’t be able to pay my employees,” said Lawson Auto Sales Owner Jeff Lawson.

Quite frankly, they’re right.  The idea of sign ordinances is to make a community look more presentable to outside traffic.  Visitors will get an impression of a community from how business signs look.  I really do understand that the idea is to attract visitors and businesses to Albany.

I have an idea that the City of Albany may want to look at.  It’s a crazy idea, I know, but perhaps it’ll work.  Here it is.  Instead of worrying about signs at lawful businesses who are trying to make it through the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, let’s focus on another element that puts Albany in a bad light…criminals.

Now, stay with me here, but here’s my thinking.  People who look at the community size won’t really care about what kind of signs Lawson Auto Sales has up, but they just might care about running gun fights down the streets of Albany, or the rash of home invasions that’s been plaguing the city in the last few days.

Yes, I know Code Enforcement is a different division of city government.  However, the City has finite resources.  Instead of utilizing those resources to hit businesses that pump much needed tax dollars into the city, use those resources against those who violate the most basic laws of society.

We have a crime problem in Albany.  Something has got to change in this town, and frankly I’m at a bit of a loss about what to do.  However, I’m pretty damn sure that it’s not banners and streamers that are the problem, nor are they gambling machines in the back of conveneince stores.

To the City Leaders of Albany:  Yes, I have been critical of you.  As a voter, it’s my job to dissect what you do.  However, we all want the same thing.  We want Albany to be a great place to live.  We want to attract industry and therefore jobs to town.  We want to clean up the streets and make Albany one of the best places to live in the US.  We may disagree about how best to go about it, but we want the same things.

However, I think anyone can see that sign ordinances aren’t really the issue.

Fair Disclosure:  I happen to have a couple of old friends from High School who own car lots.  I have not spoken with either of them about the new ordinance, and frankly it doesn’t matter.  I doubt  you’ll find a Libertarian OK with laws like this.

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