The chairman of the Democratic Town Committee has asked police to put a halt to Republican campaign signs shaped like stop signs posted along local streets.
Ellery Plotkin filed a complaint with the Police Department Monday morning about the octagonal GOP signs that urge voters to "STOP Raising Taxes Vote Republican."
Police Sgt. Suzanne Lussier, the department spokeswoman, said six of the GOP signs were removed by officers after their placement was deemed to violate state rules or created a traffic hazard.
"From here on out, it will be referred to the (Republican Town Committee) or the (Democratic Town Committee) chairman," Lussier said. "We don't have the time or resources to do this, unless they are a hazard. They need to monitor the postings of their own signs."
According to state regulations, "No person, firm or corporation shall place, maintain or display upon or in view from any highway any unauthorized sign, signal, marking or device which purports to be or is in imitation of or resembles an official traffic control device or railroad sign or signal, or which attempts to direct the movement of traffic or which hides from view or interferes with the effectiveness of any official traffic control device or any railroad sign or signal and no person, firm or corporation shall place or maintain, nor shall any public authority permit, upon any highway any traffic sign or signal bearing thereon any commercial advertising.
Under the statute, traffic authority that has jurisdiction over the road on which offending signs are placed, can remove them without notice.
But James Millington, the GOP chairman who also is a police officer in Shelton, said there is no way anyone would mistake the Republican campaign signs for a real stop sign. He said they were purchased from www.victorystore.com, "They've sold thousands and thousands of them throughout the country," he said.
The signs are smaller than a regulation stop sign, and Millington said he doubts any motorists are stopping for them. "People don't stop for real signs, never mind a 22-inch-by-22-inch sign on the ground," he said.
He also lambasted Plotkin for wasting police resources, diverting officers' time away from investigating and stopping crime in town.
Plotkin said the Democrats did not ask police to remove the signs. "We know there have been complaints from some people driving, being distracted by these signs that look official," he said. "We merely brought it to the police's attention."
They haven't asked police to take all the signs, Plotkin said, "but the police seem interested in removing the signs that are close enough to the road."
No signs are supposed to be in the town right-of-way. A quick check around 11:30 a.m. Monday found two of the signs in question at the intersection of South Pine Creek and Spinning Wheel Road.
"I am asking that Republicans do not call police to complain about any Democrat signs," Millington said, adding that anyone who has had a sign removed by police should contact the RTC. "We're not calling or filing complaints."
As for Millington's criticism that Plotkin and the DTC are asking police to waste time on the complaint, Plotkin said it is not up to him to determine how police spend their time. "The better question is," he said, "why would Jamie Millington, a police officer, allow his committee to violate a statute?"
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