I haven't posted on this in a long time, but the street spam problem in Austin continues to be very bad!
I have interacted with Austin's CE, and they are good guys, but they are over-worked and under-staffed. Also, I sense a lack of resolve on their part, probably due to "battle scars" and defeats in the past. Furthermore, I have corresponded with other sharks in Austin who have been around the block on this a lot more than me. One thing that they said is that in the past when Austin CE has taken a spammer to court, the judge always threw out the case because no one could identify the culprit who placed the sign. This is in spite of a pretty clear code that says that beneficiaries of the sign are subject to prosecution (full citation is Austin Code of Ordinances, Volume II, Title 25 Land Development, Chapter 25-10: Sign regulations, Article 6: Regulations applicable to all sign districts, Section 25-10-103: Signs prohibited in public right-of-way):
Is there any expertise that either CAUSS or Dallas based CE's could lend to this matter? I am worried that the longer this goes on, the more that spammers will realize that they are "bullet proof" to any prosecution in Austin.
In the mean time I will continue to pull signs, write letters to newspapers and govt officials, and interact with other Austin citizens who are concerned about this issue. However, I would really like for the City of Austin to be less apathetic and more proactive toward this problem.
#1. "RE: Problems in Austin" In response to Reply # 0
I know it's bad form to follow up to my own posting, but does anyone have a web reference to the Phoenix ordinances related to street spam? I thought I heard that they were able to craft it in such a way that beneficiaries of the spam couldn't hide behind some technicality like they are doing in Austin now.
#2. "RE: Problems in Austin" In response to Reply # 1
Phoenix? I know that Dallas has successfully gone after the "beneficiary" of spam signs. Just ask Larry Duncan of AMC computers, who was relieved of approximately $2,000 by the Dallas court in 1999! -- Remora Remora@Resourceful.com
#3. "RE: Problems in Austin" In response to Reply # 1
IMHO, think the first thing we need to do is, get Austin talking and communicating with Dallas, Plano, Addison, Farmers Branch and Houston.
Next thing is tactfully advise Mr. Washington that we (CAUSS) are requesting a Public Awareness Demonstration Permit on a given date. We did this in Dallas in January of 2000. Under first admendment rights it's NOT required, but it put them on notice we're serious as sunday school about this business.
If you can get me some telephone numbers where I don't have to play the telephone tag bit, that will go a long way in getting us started. I spoke with them once before and their attitude was somewhat nonchalant, as I recall. We think that can be changed ovde time.
I can almost guarantee that if we put up 300 to 400 signs in the Median strip on Congress Avenue, it WILL get somebodys attention. This was exactly what we did in Dallas and you can believe it when I say it got attention, especially when every TV station in Dallas aired the footage that Saturday night.
We started receiving calls on Sunday and the phones didn't stop for almost a week. It wasn't too long after the demo that we had our first meeting with the two top CE folks of Dallas. After the meeting things began to happen.