published Friday, April 9th, 2010

Signs of the times

by Cliff Hightower
Audio clip

Richard Hutsell

Peppering the sides of city roundabouts two days ago, campaign signs informed motorists of "Gobble for Congress" and "Levi for Trustee" campaigns.

The problem? It's illegal.

Two years ago, the Chattanooga City Council voted to amend the city code and prohibit election signs from roundabouts and medians.

PDF: Chattanooga city code regarding political signs


A section of the city code regulates political signs. Some of the rules include:

* Political signs cannot be placed in roundabouts or medians.

* Signs must be seven feet from the curb or street.

* Signs must be removed 15 days after election day.

* Signs cannot be nailed or posted to sidewalks, lampposts, telephone poles or trees.

Source: Chattanooga City Code

Now, each candidate gets a copy of the rules, said Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, deputy administrator for the Hamilton County Election Commission.

"I give them a three-page article," she said. "I've told them to go by it. Every candidate gets this. They don't read it."

Campaigns for County Trustee Carl Levi, who is running for re-election, and Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble, who is running for U.S. Congress, placed signs along the roundabouts of Access Road near the Chickamauga Dam this week. Alerted to the law, representatives of both campaigns quickly took them down.

Other campaign signs have been seen along the roundabout at the foot of Signal Mountain's W Road.

City Zoning Inspector Richard Hutsell said when city workers see the signs or hear complaints, they will take them down and alert the campaigns.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Middle Tennessee State University Poll

Article: Kyle Shows Strong Numbers

Article: McMillan campaign raises nearly half million

PDF: Financial disclosures for Democratic candidates for governor

PDF: Financial disclosures for Republican candidates for governor

Article: Candidate Haslam highlights his plans

Article: Cammack tells others: 'Show me the plan'

Article: Ramsey raises more than $1 million

Article: McWherter leads Dems in gubernatorial fundraising

Article: Bradley Democrats host candidates

Article: Opponents downplay funding for Haslam

PDF: Haslam_finance committee members

Article: Haslam gains backing from two Wamp allies

Article: GOP governor hopefuls stump at Lincoln Day Dinner

Article: Gibbons lashes out at governor’s race rival Haslam

Article: Wamp raises $250,000 in Knoxville

Article: Tennessee: Prominent Democrats still undecided about gubernatorial race

Article: Davis says Appropriations seat worth giving up on gubernatorial bid

Article: Tennessee: Wamp dismisses Ramsey’s slight on gubernatorial race

Article: Tennessee: Lieutenant governor considering joining gubenatorial race

Article: Ramsey says Wamp not 'catching on' in Tennessee governor’s race

Article: Tennessee: Wamp says values votes will help him

Article: Chattanooga: Wamp draws crowd, solicits support

Article: Tennessee: Wamp files for gubernatorial bid; Kisber weighs race

Article: Tennessee: Governor’s race to be a long haul

Article:Update: Rep. Wamp will seek governor's seat, asks local Pachyderm Club for support

Article:Tennessee: Wamp running for governor; Berke weighing race

Article: Frist out, Wamp in for governor

Article: The gubernatorial kickoff

Article: Tennessee: Wamp running for governor; Berke weighing race

Article: Tennessee: Race to succeed Wamp could get crowded

Poll: Would you vote for Zach Wamp to be governor of Tennessee?

Article: Tennessee: Frist out; GOP eyes 2010 race

Article: Tennessee: Wamp touts poll saying he’s top GOP pick for governor

"I hesitate to shed blame on a particular candidate," he said. "Sometimes, they don't even know where all of their signs are."

He said the city never has cited anyone to court for not complying. Most of the time, the placing of the signs is inadvertent, he said.

But the rules are in place for safety measures and to ensure drivers' visibility, he said.

When contacted Wednesday, Mr. Levi said he did not know the signs were on the roundabouts.

"You're not supposed to have them there," he said. "I know that."

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell/Chattanooga Times Free Press Traffic goes around the roundabout near the Chickamauga Dam.

He said things sometimes happen with his signs that he does not know about. He said County Commissioner Bill Hullander, who is running against him in the trustee race, called him last week to tell him two "Levi" signs were put in front of Mr. Hullander's campaign headquarters.

Jeff Lewis, spokesman for Sheriff Gobble's campaign, said Wednesday some "overzealous" volunteers placed signs all across the city where they shouldn't be.

"I've been pulling them up all week," he said.

He said sometimes volunteers can get too carried away and not think of the rules.

"They're on fire and want to do something," he said.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Lockandload said...

Gobble for Congress, eh? That's rich...

April 9, 2010 at 1:06 a.m.

Perhaps the Times Free Press should have given more thought to this article before picking on these two candidates when this is an issue involving many campaign signs from various candidates. Pehaps it would have been better to simply address the issue at hand in general terms rather than cherry picking particular campaigns to include in the story. If you mention one campaign's signs being placed illegally, perhaps you should mention them all. Just a thought.

April 9, 2010 at 9:13 a.m.
powers said...


April 11, 2010 at 9:33 p.m.
JoeCuppa said...

Gobble's and Van Irion's signs also flood the right of ways in Bradley and Rhea. Robin's are just over the line and there just are many Chuck or Tommy signs out yet.

May 20, 2010 at 4:41 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.