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CAUSS, and related issues

WFAA-TV (text narrative of CAUSS Rally in Dallas) 1/29/2000

DALLAS Jan 29 -- Phil, who uses his first name only, prefers to be known as "Hammerhead." He's a self-avowed "sign shark," eager to snatch away urban eyesores.
His group has a collection of hundreds of signs. All of them are illegal when they're posted on street corners.
"They're lowering our values and making our neighborhoods look like flea markets," he says. "That's what makes me angry."
Phil formed a web site and a group called CAUSS -- Citizens Against Ugly Street Spam.
They're grabbing every sign they see. On Saturday, they piled them all at Preston Road near LBJ Freeway so drivers could see what a blight they make.
CAUSS has phoned most of the sign posters, including a man who flooded the area with computer signs last year. According to Phil, "he just laughed and said he'd put up a couple hundred more because the signs are cheap."
But that man wasn't laughing last November. The city of Dallas hauled Larry Duncan to court, where he was fined nearly $2,000.
While Dallas seems almost overrun with these signs, this group has high praise for three area towns -- Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Addison -- which CAUSS says are street spam free.
That's not to say Dallas isn't trying. Code enforcement officers do patrol on weekends taking down illegal signs, but they barely make a dent.
"To me," says Phil, "it's the same thing as somebody driving by and throwing a bag of trash out of their car window."
CAUSS is hoping to light a fire and get even more people to become sign sharks.
"It only takes a second to hop out of your car and grab it. And if hundreds and hundreds of people are doing that," Phil says, "the signs, they won't last."

Reporter: Vince Patton
Copyright: 2000 by WFAA-TV Co. All Rights Reserved.

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