Gilroy residents could be seeing campaign signs lingering across the city well past the Nov. 6 election.
The City of Gilroy Email Express this week included a reminder to residents and candidates about recent amendments to campaign rules that allows signs to stay up for a long time, because of a First Amendment court case.
The email stated, “Recently it came to the City’s attention that its sign regulations pertaining to “political signs” may have First Amendment issues as a result of recent interpretations of sign ordinances by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Changes were made at a Sept. 10 City Council meeting and changed the ordinance so that noncommercial signs are treated the same. A noncommercial sign is anything that has to do with religion, politics or ideas; as opposed to a commercial message like advertising for a service.
Community Engagement Coordinator, Rachelle Bedell said the changes made to the city ordinances are marked with a ‘strikethrough.’ She told the Dispatch, ““Strikethrough” indicates which part of the ordinance is changed. The sections removed are shown as text with “strikethrough” and the additions are shown with underline.”
What was removed was Section 1 of the ordinance stating, “(13) Political signs or placards which are erected less than ninety (90) days before and removed less than ten (10) days after the election for which they are posted.”
Now the ordinance allows for signs to be posted more than 90 days before the election and taken down more than 10 days after.
However the ordinance is still clear, no type of sign is allowed in any city right-of way.