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Cocoa Beach: How Can A Small Sign Be A 500 Pound Gorilla?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Three posts in one day? We are busy!

If you live in Cocoa Beach, the other day you woke up to simple red and white signs advocating voting “no” on Ballot Question #1, the question that raises the permissible height of buildings within the City.

No one seems to know where the signs came from, who purchased them, placed them, etc. (We certainly don’t know which means we cannot answer questions as to where you can get one for your home.)

The problem with the signs are two fold.

First, electioneering signs like this are required to have a disclaimer which is specified in the Florida Statutes, Chapter 106.143:

(c) Any other political advertisement published, displayed, or circulated before, or on the day of, any election must prominently:
1. Be marked “paid political advertisement” or with the abbreviation “pd. pol. adv.”
2. State the name and address of the persons paying for the advertisement.
3. State whether the advertisement and the cost of production is paid for or provided in kind by or at the expense of the entity publishing, displaying, broadcasting, or circulating the political advertisement.

Secondly, the signs have, in some cases, been placed on private property without the permission of the property owner. That’s something that we can’t condone either.

We have covered the lies, misrepresentations, legal issues, and the City’s actions on this issue extensively and it would be hypocritical of us to demand that those supporting the Ballot Question #1 should be treated differently than those who are opposed to it. So while the red and white signs have suddenly become a 500 lb. gorilla in the room, we have to say that whoever made and distributed the signs missed the mark and were not complying with the law.

The solution is simple, if you support what the signs are saying and have one in your yard, we suggest that you take a indelible marker and write “pd. pol. adv.” followed by your name and address. That will make the signs legal.

With that being said, we were following another forum on the issue of the signs and an interesting theory was posted as to why they signs did not contain the required disclaimer. The moderator said that it was possible that the person or group that made the signs feared retaliation from those in City Hall or from others who support Ballot Question #1.

That’s an interesting point and one with merit.

For example, one of our supporters and staff members who lives in Satellite Beach was harassed and denied City services because we dared to criticize the City Council and the City Manager. When a petition in Palm Bay was being circulated concerning rolling back language in the City Charter concerning special assessments, staff members at City Hall were told not to sign the petition as it would place their job in jeopardy. We have seen in other cities where businesses of those who criticize governments have been invaded by City employees looking for code violations. We have seen people who have opposed City Halls be stopped and arguably harassed by police. We have seen Cocoa Beach Commissioners sit on their hands as people were removed from meetings or threatened with removal from a meeting for making legally protected comments.

We realize that we are getting into tin foil hat areas here, but as these incidents have happened, we don’t think that it is wrong to say that people can and do fear the overwhelming force a City can bring against individuals who dare to oppose governments.

(Heck, we get emails from people here that say they would love to comment but fear retaliation from local governments.)

We are not anarchists. We are not against the rule of law. We think those who made the signs and positioned them illegally were wrong, but their wrongs can be corrected by individuals taking ownership of the signs and putting them on their property where they cannot be touched legally by those supporting Ballot Issue #1.

This can and should be a grass roots effort started by some well meaning, but legally misguided person or group. If you believe in the message the signs contain, you can and should support them.



8 Responses to “Cocoa Beach: How Can A Small Sign Be A 500 Pound Gorilla?”

  1. Sandy says:

    I found out about this blog post on the “Cocoa Beach Vote” Facebook page and the comments there are exactly as described here. Some people seem to have totally lost their minds over these signs and have gone on unhinged rants. They can’t tolerate anyone who share their POV. It’s pretty comical and pathetic at the same time.

  2. NeedASign says:

    If someone shares with you where we can get signs, have lots of friends who want one and we all have sharpees…
    TIA

    • AAfterwit says:

      NeedASign,

      Thanks for the comment.

      If someone wants to write us (we’ll keep their name and email private if they want) and say they have signs or know where one can get a sign, we will certainly let people know.

      As of now, we have no clue where to get one.

      A. Afterwit.

  3. Hometown says:

    I’d settle for the name of the local print shop that made them up, I imagine they could easily print more signs quickly and I’d go purchase my own. I too have a sharpie ready to go.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Hometown,

      If we get it, we’ll let you know.

      Most local shops can do the job for about $15 we think (not including Sharpie.)

      A. Afterwit.

  4. Percy Veer says:

    We got two signs from a recycle bin (with the owners permission), added the required disclaimer and bought two sign stakes from the local hardware store for about $7.00. If your so inclined you can probably just take a picture and bring it to a local print shop to have your own signs made. Just be sure to stay below the $500 limit, or you need to form an official committee, also,make sure to add the disclaimer to the sign to be compliant with state requirements.

    Not sure if my signs will do anything to let folks know they are being misled or not but I feel doing something is better than doing nothing and then whining about it later.

    I still think our best chance is to get the facts out to the residents through word of mouth so tell all your friends, if you don’t want taller buildings to Vote No on CB Question One, this will keep our current 45′ height requirement as it’s been for the last 15 years or so.

  5. Hometown says:

    Please encourage residents to spread the word to vote no on question one. I don’t have a Facebook account but occasionally look at Facebook group postings, as soon as anyone tries to speak out against this amendment the same 4 or 5 trolls gang up on them, start the name calling and doing anything they can to discredit their opinions. Don’t be mislead this amendment will increase the building heights in town and add traffic congestion. I think the fact that the pro “build taller” crowd has spent over $35,000 to push this through makes it pretty obvious this amendment will only benefit the developers while doing nothing to help our residents, the lagoon, the sea turtles, etc. they are trying to buy your vote by flooding social media with misleading information and outright lies. Don’t fall for the mass propaganda, if you don’t want taller buildings and more traffic you need to tell all your friends to vote no on one and re-elect Commissioner Williams.

    Make sure to refer your friends to ROH site so they can see the real facts in the CB posts and make the right decision.

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