Free Speech Press Release

11.01.05

Beachwood Blocks Posting of Different-Sided Political Signs

BEACHWOOD, OH– The ACLU of Ohio today sent Margaret Ann Cannon, the Law Director for the City of Beachwood, a letter demanding the city cease restricting different-sided political yard signs posted by residents.

The letter follows reports that the city decreed that residents may not post signs advocating different candidates or positions on different sides of a political sign. The issue was first reported in The Sun Press, where Building Commissioner John Korinek stated that such signs violate the city code. Allegedly, Korinek removed some signs and contacted owners to facilitate removal of other signs.

Korinek also said that such multiple issue or candidate signs may only be erected if facing parallel to the street so that only one side of the sign, thus only one of the opinions, is visible from the street.

ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Jeff Gamso said, “Residents have a right to endorse multiple candidates and positions on issues. There is simply no reason why a person should not be able to express his or her views on more that one candidate or issue on a single sign.”

Gamso went on, “It does not serve any sort of governmental interest for the city of Beachwood to allow residents to post political signs but to restrict the speech that may appear on them or that may be visible to passers by.”

In the letter, Gamso also reminded Cannon that Election Day is fast approaching and that all would be best served by a prompt response to this issue.

“While free speech is always a concern, it is particularly critical that people be able to express their political views while many voters are considering their positions on various issues and candidates,” Gamso added.