Monday, March 04, 2013

Transparency in Government

Transparency in government is usually a good thing. Being transparently full of crap, well..... not so much.

The City of Racine has just passed an ordinance concerning signage in businesses. "If you drive around town, you will see a lot of businesses with an inordinate amount of signs in their windows. We didn't have any regulations, so people were plastering things in their windows" says associate planner Jill Johanneck in this Journal Times article. "It is not only unsightly, it also raises some safety concerns" continues Johanneck. "If the police are called to an address and they can't see what is going on, it can cause some hazards."

But not all clutter is equally dangerous, apparently. Neon paint or paper and hand drawn lettering is apparently now a no no. But what of other clutter? My own store window is full of enticing products but is apparently exempt from the ordinance. The public safety issues, however, if there really were any, would be identical.

I would agree that some signage is ugly and unprofessional, but then again, so are some bureaucrats. Not every problem has an easy legislative solution.

On the other hand, maybe the public safety issue is legitimate. In that case, every business or home should have an unobstructed view convenient for public safety viewing. Of course from a public safety perspective the area could be rather small and be surrounded by garish blinking hand written neon signage.

Let's call it the Public Employee Examination Portal.


BradK said...

Dear City,

Thanks for making it harder for a business to put up posters of local artists, plays, musicians and events that spend a lot of money advertising via storefront window flyer, as a favor from the business owner.

I'm sure Minuteman and Econoprint appreciate your "help" as well.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people in City Hall have way, way, too much free time. Most of them should be put on part-time status.
They are so far out of touch they will never come back down to earth.

Denis Navratil said...

BradK, I suspect that this is one of those ordinances created for a particular store or two, which will be quickly forgotten and not enforced. But perhaps not. At any rate, at the moment the ordinance includes neither carrots or sticks. Still a pointless ordinance that pisses me off.

I agree anon though I would go further and suggest that many jobs should be eliminated, starting with the associate planner.

Denis Navratil said...