IS IT TRUE December 3, 2013

Mole #3 Nostradamus of Local Politics
Mole #3 Nostradamus of Local Politics

IS IT TRUE December 3, 2013

IS IT TRUE that merchants across the City of Evansville expressed such an outrage to City Officials over the fines that Franklin Street businesses were threatened with by the Area Planning Commission’s so called “Sign Nazis” that both Mayor Winnecke and County Commissioner have backed down and used the power of fiat to “suspend” the fines until the laws can be “modernized”?…this is all well and good and in spite of channeling President Obama in the use of executive orders to cherry pick preferred provisions of laws, at this time, if this is legal, it was the right thing to do?…the City of Evansville along with many other American cities are carrying the weight of many legacy laws that in retrospect are burdensome, oppressive, anti-business, and even wasteful of taxpayer dollars?…the arbitrary enforcement of laws of questionable value are just the kind of thing that undermines respect for the rule of law?…given the idiotic law, the enforcement official who went Deputy Dog on us, and the temperament of the population Mayor Winnecke and Commissioner Abell have taken the right temporary action?…this temporary action needs to be followed up ASAP with a change in the laws so that idiocy, followed by lawlessness, followed by a nod and a wink familiar to GOOD OLD BOYS does not become the mode of operation again?

IS IT TRUE that we would be neglecting the obvious if we did not ask the question, “How did it get to the point that an act of Deputy Dog, set the merchants of Evansville off to the point two executive orders were needed during the Christmas season?”…many things in Evansville that are legacy problems can be blamed on past mayors but this is not the case this time?…the excessive fines and business unfriendly sign laws can be traced back to a time when Jonathan Weinzapfel was Mayor of Evansville and current Mayor Lloyd Winnecke was the head of the Vanderburgh County Commissioners?…somehow in spite of secret meetings to take away the Homestead Tax Credit and shove the Ford Center down the people’s throats these two guys found the time to appoint people to the Area Planning Commission to do their bidding and recommend these ridiculous laws?…if the truth is told Mayor Winnecke just used his dubious authority to use an executive order to “suspend” the APC from enforcing a law he was one of the architects of?…this is sounding more like Washington DC every day?…all we are missing is some grandfather statement like “if you like you sign, you can keep your sign?”

IS IT TRUE it does merit some investigation as to just what prompted a sign restriction law in the first place?…the CCO went out last weekend and took about 50 pictures of temporary signage in the City of Evansville and have included some examples at the end of this column? …we wonder if the owners of the signs posted below got the approval from APC and paid the required permit fee so they could display them? …assuming a sign law is deemed necessary by the people of the town it should not be elected officials and their appointed puppets in charge of defining what is acceptable?…that should be business owners who are really the drivers of the economy and are quick to make decisions?…we would suggest that a real blue ribbon committee of business owners like Raffi Manna, Amy Word, Andy Dillow, Mike Weber, Terry Oates or even some downtown merchants take up this cause and tell our elected officials what they want?…without private business earning profits and paying the bills there will be no Evansville?…it is about time the government of Evansville learns this lesson?

IS IT TRUE all of the reports out for the shopping over the Black Friday weekend indicate that for the first time in seven years retail sales for that big shopping weekend have dropped from the year before?…with the official government statistics telling us that unemployment has dropped, wages are rising, credit is easier to get, and that the sun is once again starting to shine on the American economy this phenomena would seem to be unexpected?…there has to be a reason for lower spending when all things that drive the spending are asserted by our government to be improving?…there are three possibilities in the following order first of which is that America has changed its consumerism ways and has become a practical nation during the last year, second is that the government statistics are nonsense, and the third is that the pall of uncertainty over the looming implementation of ObamaCare and the cost of health insurance has traumatized the American public?

Cross Eyed Cricket Sign

Lottery Sign

Sign on Fence

Sidewalk Sign

Flu Shot sign

Mattress Sign

car wash sign

sign on Truck

All Must Go Sign


  1. “(Weinzapfel and Winnecke as mayor and county commissioner)found the time to appoint people to the Area Planning Commission to do their bidding and pass these ridiculous laws …”

    While it may appear a technicality to both CCO editors and their readers, fact is the APC board members do not write, enact, or enforce sign codes as is inferred by this IIT.

    The way it works is APC board members become board members by appointment from the mayor, the county commissioners, the city council, EVSC, the county council, or alternately by virtue of their holding another elected or appointed position as specified by state law.

    The APC staff, from time to time with the help of appointees from special interest groups, write code language which then is presented to the APC board, usually with a modicum of discussion and usually with just a glowing explanation by the staff. APC board then votes to recommend adoption of the code language by the city council and the county commissioners who in fact are the legal bodies which enact code ordinances for the City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County. The APC cannot enact ordinances, only recommend them to the city council and commissioners.

    APC staff enforces the sign codes. Staff members are assigned different areas of the city and county to monitor, report violations, and deliver warnings and fines. The staffer who monitors West Franklin Street is not the same staffer who monitors Green River Road, for example. Some staffers have been on staff for decades longer than other staffers, so the “gung ho” factor plays into enforcement to some degree. By the same token, a more level headed and tempered approach may result when a staffer has served under a 20 to 30 year series of directors, boards, and administrations.

    Also, persons who place or hang signs and banners in violation of the code usually are given a warning before a fine in nearly 100% of the cases. Business people in Evansville also know they can beg forgiveness more easily that ask permission. In other words, they frequently take the chance that they can violate the sign code or evade paying the permit price, and if caught the worst that can happen is a ticket amounting to twice the price of the permit. More often, the violation goes undetected or unpunished.

    This information is provided so that critics and commenters of the current West Franklin Street Fiasco can temper their remarks and assessments of the issue.

  2. Although the sign laws governing temporary signs need some changes, there is a new type of sign that is gaining popularity, LED signs. And leaving regulation to the business community as to what is an acceptable LED sign usage is a poor idea. People who live near some of the new signs are blasted with lights pointing at their bedroom windows in my neighborhood. The intensity of some of these signs is damn near blinding at night. When any LED sign ordinance comes to the table at the APC, LED sign makers and salesmen are quick to dismantle any attempts of new LED sign ordinances. That is their resolve on this.

    Although your article does not specifically address LED sign ordinances, it does address the need to change the governing Board that makes these changes. And without representation of the immediate and adjacent neighbors or neighborhoods, I do not believe that a bunch of business owners are going to vote for any new LED sign restrictions that are CURRENTLY needed.

    The right of the people to NOT be blinded at night by a sign at an adjacent business should be considered and given just as much weight as an anti-noise ordinance.

    As it stands, I could pull up in front of your house with a trailer attached LED sign, face it toward your bedroom window and blast away. AND there is nothing that you currently can do about it.

    I see this as a personal liberty issue and not a “Sign Nazis” issue. And populating the Board with a bunch of business owners does not seem to represent ALL in this matter, just the business owners. I do agree that changes need to be made with the temporary signs, but even more changes need to be made regarding LED signs.

    Thanks for being a voice in the community!


    • I agree with you on this. LED lights are great for their energy-savings, but their intensity can be obnoxious if not regulated.

    • Very well stated, Brent. The last time APC held a public forum for this issue (the LED signs) it was a bloodbath. The sign companies brought all their head honchos and legal teams, coming both locally and from around the state and nation. It was a travesty how they did everything they could to derail the LED sign regulation update.

      Sign ordinance changes will see fierce and stubborn (and downright stupid) opposition from the various sign companies. I will guarantee that any changes to the current regulations on signs will be an absolute blood bath of argument and opposition from the sign companies. Every time that sign changes have been proposed the sign companies not only appear locally in person, they bring their corporate management and a team of lawyers to whine and complain that their business is being restricted and that the city and county are unfairly treating them and that any change in the sign ordinance just has to be an unjust treatment that will result in lost business, lost wages, lost jobs, and on and on and on. There have been multiple attempts to “clean up” and make local sign regulations better for the community, but the “powers that be” have always folded in the face of the corporate sign company complaints and gripes.

  3. CCO, What business owners? Who are you speaking for? Was there a meeting that they all showed up to and you got their statements from that?
    Do you have emails from them that you can post on here with all the pictures?
    Your pictures show that signs are up at businesses. So what? Signs are allowed. Without saying if the pictured businesses paid the fee to display the sign, your pictures don;t really mean anything.

    • Since you believe you know everything, why don’t you just tell us ignorant folk whether or not the fees were paid for these signs.

      • If this was a real news site, the person taking the pictures would have gotten out of their car and asked the businesses if they paid the fee. That is called getting some info to support your story. Since this site is only a blog site, they make NO effort to support most of the stuff they put on here.
        The folks like you want anyone who questions the CCO’s half-baked post to defend ourselves. Funny.

        • Here is what is funny. The CCO blog was the first thing of wide readership to report on the sign nazi situation. Two days later the Courier chimed in along with the TV stations. Two days after that the mayor and Marsha Abell rolled over and suspended the law for modernizing. Without the CCO this would probably not have happened. Maybe this is the tail wagging the dog but the truth of the matter is the dog needs the crap kicked out of it and Evansville’s mainstream media does not have the courage to do such things. Sometimes it takes a blog written by people who don’t give a damn about political correctness to jolt the powers that be into shape. Hell, if it weren’t for the CCO you would have had your tax credit taken away.

          • If you remember correctly, this story broke over a long holiday weekend. As soon as city/county government resumed it was addressed. Stop trying to present it like after days of heat from CCO Mayor Winnecke and Commisioner Abell broke down. Based on my knowledge of their feelings about these types of regulations, I knew it would be addressed immediately. I have yet to meet anyone downtown that is not a fan of FSEA and the fresh air that they are bringing to W. Franklin St.

  4. As the above pictures show, and I am positive that these are not the worst examples that exist in Evansville, there is a need for regulation.

    The regulating body should be representative of the population at large and I believe that they should look at best practices and the achievements of other cities in the Midwest for the developing of local ordinances.

    You have to start with an agreement on how you would like Evansville to look in a perfect world, then work towards that goal.


    • Why limit it to the Midwest. The most beautiful places in this country are most certainly not in the Midwest. If we are to be mocking birds in our regulations lets not limit our mocking to one of the uglier parts of the country.

        • That is beautiful. I notice there are no signs, no roads, and no people to obscure the beauty of nature.

          • A few years ago, my company relocated me to Maryland and I moved to a city called Columbia. Columbia is not an incorporated city. It is a planned community created by a multi-millionaire named John Rouse. The “city” is currently ran by Columbia Association and the have countless ordinances, similar to a HOA. It is a very picturesque community with trees everywhere, several public pools and parks. The city does not allow signs for businesses to be over a few feet tall. I don’t know the exact height, but I’ve never seen one taller than four foot high. Also, all of the utilities are underground. It is easily one of the prettiest places that I have ever lived.

          • Phyllip:

            Columbia made it into the top 10 cities, #8, in 2012, but take a look at who was #1.


            • Thanks, here is how CNN portrays Evansville. Job Growth -7.1% over 11 yrs., median family income is roughly half of the best cities average, test scores for reading and math substantially worse than the best cities average, and both personal crime and property crime rates are double. Of course housing prices are lower because no one wants to live where crime is high, wages are low, children are dumb, and opportunities are shrinking. Sounds like a shit hole to me. The performance over this period of time is brought to you by the three amigos (Winnecke, Weinzapfel, and Lloyd).


          • Press, Columbia/Ellicott City is regularly near the top of these lists. It takes some getting used to because it initially has a fake, Stepford Wives type of feel, but once you’re there for a while it is great. I loved the diversity of the city. My son’s school had 81 different languages spoken at home by its students. They had an event called International Day where the families would bring in dishes from their country. Each part of the school was a different continent. The city has different areas called “villages” and each village has a village center where the grocery store, gas station, etc. were located. There were no churches, they were called interfaith centers where each religion shared the space. In all honesty, it was an experiment for a guy that had more money than anyone would ever need. 50 years later, it is still thriving as designed.

    • Senseless. Which of the signs in this photo montage were offensive to you and why?

  5. I agree with Brent Jackson comments. I too what to thank the CCO for being a voice of this community.

    • Indeed it is! I think that signals that Pence and Zoeller are surrendering on this issue. Their internal polls must look like it would be a loser on the ballot.

      • They have not yet begun to surrender. They are very possibly readying themselves to cave to the inevitable though. Anything they do at this point regarding the discriminatory HJR 6 will be done for political gain, not born of good intentions. The horse has left the barn on this one. The politicians hopping on the wagon at this point get no prize but their eager head nodding is appreciated. We don’t leave it to the voters to continue institutionalized discrimination. Those who point out the result of the popular vote in states that have held one on the issue simply underscore the need to keep things like this out of the hands of the easily-led rabble.

        Regarding the properly reviled sign ordinance, it is getting what it deserves. The huge temporary banner signs should be seriously regulated and chalkboard menus, etc. should r/barely be. The sixth sign down should remind us that those good girls must be able to advertise too, as long as they don’t win the C/P Platinum Prize for best whatever and banner up.

        • I agree on the signs,too.
          I just don’t think the Mayor would not oppose the Bill if it hadn’t been okayed from “above.” It may well be part of a plan to show such overwhelming opposition that it would grant Pence a little cover to “back off.”

    • I support HJR-6 because I have no problem with the people of Indiana deciding if they want to add this language to our Constitution. It’s funny that I was told to live with it because the people have spoken when re-electing that clown to stay at 1600 Pennsylvania, but the people can’t decide on this. That’s because regardless of what any polls say when it is presented to the people, same-sex marriage is defeated, even in ultra-liberal California.

      • There is some difference in an election and voting on the civil rights of other human beings, Phyllip. We are supposed to elect leaders, but I don’t think we get a vote on simple human rights.

        • Until the government put its nose where it doesn’t belong, marriage was a religious ceremony. You had issue with crosses at the river, but you don’t have a problem with the church and the state intermingling on this issue. Where does it state that marriage is a right? Stop with the rhetoric. Same-sex marriage is an infringement upon the religious rites of others.

          • No, weddings are religous ceremonies. Marriage is a legal contract, and has been since Biblical times.

          • Do you not know the difference in “rites” and “rights”? I assume you mean “rights”, and it isn’t unless you are forced to attend a same-sex wedding or enter into one.

          • A wedding is religious ceremony that starts the holy covenant between man, woman and God. That covenant is commonly referred to a marriage. Others wish to infringe on this rituals (see “rites” earlier). Either way, marriage is not a civil right.

          • Let’s step through this using logic for a change rather than religious fervor.

            If: marriage is a religious rite
            And if: state and religion should remain separate (as Jefferson suggested)
            Then: state has no say in marriage, including its definition, nor should it even recognize them

            The state should recognize whatever legal unions people choose to devise amongst themselves. The state is not a repository of moral ideals, it is an arbiter, a mediator for resolving contractual disputes between free men and women. We have allowed the state far too much power. Religious people are the #1 subscribers to state power…insofar as it serves their ends. The minute the state tries to perform its role as a blind arbiter, religious people are often the first to lodge their complaint. Social conservatism is a twisted and contradictory philosophy.

        • We do not elect leaders, we elect representatives. But do they truly represent us? I hardly think so!

          • Agreed! That’s why I’m a fan of the referendum. Let the people decide. The only problem is that we get people that vote on emotion instead of intellect. That’s how we got stuck with Obama for 8 years.

        • It is not a civil rights issue. The state is not obligated to license every relationship that might request one. Further more, if it was about civil rights, then all unions based on consent and commitment should be licensed.

        • Brad, A wedding is a religious ceremony. (Although all weddings are not religious ceremonies) A marriage is what two people make of a wedding and is usually confirmed by vows to one another before witnesses and God. A marriage license is a contract granted by the authority of the state and the state grants ministers as myself as an officiant the authority to legalize a marriage which is recorded with the county clerk. One neither has to be religious or in love to obtain a marriage license. So there is no second amendment conflict in current marriage laws.

          • Oops, there are second amendment issues in marriage, A father’s right to bear a shotgun. There are no first amendment conflicts.

          • I agree. That’s not what I was trying to say. All I’m saying is what the state recognizes in a “marriage” is just a legal contract between two people. A ceremony or pledge of love, as you pointed out, is not even necessary.

            So, in reality, your real “marriage” before God and your “marriage” before the state are two different contracts.

  6. Phillip I am suprised you are pro hate because after reading several of your comments I thought you were …….

    THe Law OF Hate: HJ0006
    Marriage. Provides that only marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. Provides that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized. This proposed amendment has not been previously agreed to by a general assembly.

          • We all know that there’s a difference between “politicians” and “the people”. Semantics.

          • Phyllip, you were all for letting politicians decide who got taxpayer money when it came to a hotel.

          • Brad, I am not going into the hotel debate again. It’s old news, find some new material. I just answered questions about it on yesterday’s IIT. See that. Plus for you guys making the Phyllip Davis / Lloyd Winnecke comparison chart. Here’s an issue that our opinions differ greatly. However, I agree with him that there are other matters that are much more urgent.

          • Typical… You’d rather avoid those issues where the cracks in your philosophy are widest.

          • I’m not avoiding anything. I told you to look at my post from yesterday. I’m not going to keep answering the same question over and over. No matter how many times you ask me, the answer remains the same. You’re a one trick pony. Get some new material.

          • Sometimes I sound like a broken record with my 3-year-old. “Stop saying the same thing again and again and again,” she’ll say. There are only so many ways one can argue with a child. The lesson here is change your silly, contradictory arguments and I’ll adapt my counterarguments, or might even agree with you. Until then, the hotel issue will be Kryptonite to you just like it was for Wayne Parke, who has been curiously absent of late. Guess he passed the dunce cap to someone else.

          • Are you freaking crazy! Hotel = Kryptonite? Geez. First of all I’m not Superman. I have never ran from my position on the hotel. Like I said yesterday, $37.5 million invested with projected returns of $385-420 million in new spending and $125+ million in new wages is an acceptable proposal and responsible spending in my opinion. I don’t care if you or anyone else disagree because it’s all speculation. None of us know the future, but I prefer to speculate in favor of the strength of our community and invest in it rather than let the city slip further into decay. The truth of the matter is this is the only thing that you feel comfortable trying to argue with me. I’ll mop the floor with you and your $40,000 vocabulary in a debate on most subjects. Dunce cap? You’re the one that argues the same tired hotel crap no matter what the subject that we’re discussing. Keep using your big brain words and thinking that makes your arguments sound.

      • I really am having trouble with how one’s “rites” get infringed on. You’re in over your head, and speaking gibberish. Try to get a grip.
        I’m going to practice a favorite “rite” of mine this evening, playing cards and drinking a couple of glasses of wine with a few neighbors.

      • Another hypocrite who rails about less government control but yet wants to dictate who another person can marry. Typical.

    • HJR-6 is a resolution to allow a referendum on the ballot for the citizens to decide whether they want that added to the Constitution. Stop buying into the rhetoric. These decisions should have been in the hands of the voters all along. I imagine they would have if it had not turned out so badly for Prop 8 in 2008. If that had went differently, every other state that has passed it by legislation would have let the voters decide. This is just another one of the sneaky things that our government officials try to push their agenda on us without us even noticing.

      • This issue is steeped in rhetoric. I am amazed at the number of thinking people who think they are following a movement when they are following an agenda.

        It would not be legal to vote deny homosexual marriage or write an amendment that would single out homosexual marriage as not recognized. However, a constitutional amendment defining marriage is legal and must be passed by referendum.

        If the idea of the state licensing homosexual unions was as popular as some are saying, then they would not fear HJR-6 or they would propose an alternate definition of marriage.

        A line will be drawn at someone’s convictions, and someone will claim that to be the victim of discrimination. I would love to hear what some believe the definition of marriage should be and how they would decide who is granted and who is denied the right to marry.

  7. Well, here’s an important “sign” for your Southwestern Indiana area. Check out what SABIC innovative plastics is investing in Mt.Vernon…..

    Carbon sequestration and environmental sustainability projects moving forward. (sign)

    The Sabic company (Riyadh) sponsored the November International Conference and Exhibition for Industrial security,its the 16th conference overall. Read the company release at for more on this.
    The Vice Chairman and CEO Mohamed AL-Mady made an statement showing the SABIC commitment in reference to carbon sequestration sustainability on a actual incremental and global basis. (Sign)

    Also if one looks into that company and its impact on the local economy you can see just what categories of “good jobs” will be sustainable as we become effectively carbon balanced for the planets environment,forward. (Signs)

    International exhibitions and conferences(pssst,conventions?),jobs in science,and technology,including Bio medical and chemistry applications forward.(More signs)
    This is good for contemplation as I see it,this is a “sign” that can be applied to a VISIONARY PLAN.

    I also wonder just what Vectren’s take on all this is,and how the SABIC adjustment effect that companies operational functions? Moving forward.

    Climate change actions are no longer just a “sign” it has become an global human touch point,and effectively a historical turning point one at that. (large flashing bill board)

    While your city tweedle’s away its directional focus on simple things like a small district businesses unique, and charming mind you way’s to communicate venue offerings, Somewhere? Some community is all over techniques to visualize the big picture involved.

    That would be ones ability to go out and partake in some local fare and its entertainment offered thereof. (districts Commerce)

    You know the middle east is a really good Climate Change model some what,they really do depend on the global trade in commodities, energy and other fair trade markets. The trade business involved drives that,their climate ain’t the best so to speak,so jumping in to sequester climate change isn’t an option for them. (“Sign”)

    While speaking of the Middle east,please check out Israels CleanTECH ventures especially the emerging waste water sewer mining operations being modeled globally now. (Signs)

    The need, drives innovation. (imagination,focus)

    The Cool, Unique, Quaint, signage has more use if the ones whom read them might have a job that supports the expense of the perceived visit. (picture focus)

    Better whole unit, community advertising. (projection/objective/result)

    Administrate the “sign Nazi’s” while they are still in the “infant brown shirts” stage. (Ernst Rohm, “signs” study the method of store front markings,and promotional political gatherings,uck! (historical sign)

    “He who marches to music rank and file,has been given a large brain by mistake,since for him the spinal cord would suffice.” (Albert Einstein)

  8. This was posted yesterday on the CCO site under the IS IT TRUE for Monday, and it bears repeating.

    “The Franklin Street Sign Fiasco should be a lesson to all Area Plan Commission members, all City Council Members, all County Commissioners, and yes John Friend and Al Lindsey too.

    Typically, APC staff writes the sign codes in house with assistance from selected representatives of special interests groups. The code revisions then are sent to APC board members in their info packets a few days before the meeting in which APC will vote to recommend the code changes. But sometimes the updated code language is plopped down on the APC desks, in chamber, immediately before the meeting. In either case, the APC board members generally do not carefully read and fully digest the code language before voting on it.

    To make matters worse, whenever there are sign code changes, the big boys of the billboard and electronic sign industry flood the phone lines and monopolize the APC meetings with loud, vocal remonstrances against anything that might infringe upon their freedom of unrestricted advertising. The result is that the little details of the code language, such as those that regulate sandwich boards on sidewalks and small banners in restaurants windows, are totally overlooked.”

    The press release by Mayor Winnecke and County Commission President Marsha Abell would like you to believe that this issue only goes back to 2012, but it actually goes all the way back to 2009.

    The press release is here:

    The Evansville City Code that regulates Signs is Chapter 18.140, and can be found at the following website:…/Evansville18140.html…

    What is interesting about this is that the types of signs being regulated in this instance are “sandwich boards”, which do not even appear in the regulations. So the Franklin Street signs seem to be in limbo?

    However, on April 13, 2009, the Area Plan Commission published a “memorandum” that was a clarification on the above mentioned ordinance, and it specifically outlined three types of signs:

    1. Banners
    2. Temporary Yard Signs
    3. Other Temporary Signs

    It is this third category that the “sandwich boards” and “side walk signs” on Franklin Street are apparently being lumped into.

    The copy of the memorandum can be seen here:

    It is very interesting that there is a category for “banners”. Just look at the photos the CCO published today with banners all over the place. How many gas stations, convenience stores, and who knows how many others, have a veritable multitude of banners hanging from every available inch of their building and parking lot. According to the attached memorandum from Area Plan Commission, it states that “Each business with an occupancy permit may only have 1 temporary sign at a time”. Read that again and notice the quantity: ONE BANNER! I personally have a hard time believing that all the various convenience stores and similar types of businesses have only “1 temporary sign at a time”.

    And if you pay close attention to the Evansville Sign Ordinance (18.140.020 on Placement) it states in section (C) that “Each sign requiring a permit shall display the permit number”. Far be it for me to argue the point too much, but if you look at just banners alone in Evansville and Vanderburgh County (especially the great pictures rom the CCO today), I would ask that you look and see if you see the “permit number” affixed anywhere on any banner or “temporary sign”. Ignoring for a moment the entire Franklin Street area, how many “banners” across the city and county are limited to “1 per business”, and I dare you to find the required “permit number” on those banners.

    The “sandwich board” signs on Franklin Street add to the attraction of the West Franklin Street community. The businesses on West Franklin Street are being told that the current 2009 memorandum would require a $25 per 30 day fee for “sandwich boards” and “side walk signs”, but is that totally true? If the West Franklin Street business is under the regulated square footage of signs allowed for that business, then why are the “temporary signs” not included in the signs allowed for that business. If the business is already at capacity for signs, then the West Franklin Street business could apply to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) for a variance. History shows that sign variance requests in Evansville have a very high percentage of approval rate, which would allow the West Franklin Street businesses to use the “temporary signs” without a monthly fee.

    I have to agree with numerous parts of what the CCO is stating on this issue. The enforcement of sign violations by Area Plan Commission is primarily complaint driven, where enforcement happens after someone notifies them of a business with a “sign problem”. Just like other departments in Evansville and Vanderburgh County (for example, the Parks Department), APC does not have enough time or staff to just drive around looking for APC issues to enforce. They respond to complaints, and issue a warning to a business that is violating current regulations. I personally think that is a fair and equitable way of enforcing regulations (in this case, the sign ordinance), where they are given a “warning” prior to any fines or sanctions.

    That being said, the CCO has made it very clear that they hold the city, county, and all department heads or supervisory staff responsible for knowing the regulations regarding comp time and wage and hour regulations, and I agree with the person who posted yesterday (see above) that business owners are responsible for making sure that their actions are appropriate and within current city and county ordinance requirements. I understand that sign regulations are not exactly easy to understand or find, but all it takes is a phone call to Area Plan Commission and they can request guidance on whether their sign is “legal”. IMHO, the bottom line is that in both instances, comp time and legal signs, the person, owner, or manager of each of those entities is responsible for knowing the rules and abiding by them. In the instance of the signs rules, if the rules are not what you like, you should feel welcome to contact the appropriate entity (elected officials, department heads, actual city and county departments) and advocate for a change in the “sign rules”, but until such time that a change is made, the rules in place are what should be followed.

    I also agree with the person that posted yesterday (see above) and predict that the sign ordinance changes will see fierce and stubborn (and downright stupid) opposition from the various sign companies. I will guarantee that any changes to the current regulations on signs will be an absolute blood bath of argument and opposition from the sign companies. Every time that sign changes have been proposed the sign companies not only appear locally in person, they bring their corporate management and a team of lawyers to whine and complain that their business is being restricted and that the city and county are unfairly treating them and that any change in the sign ordinance just has to be an unjust treatment that will result in lost business, lost wages, lost jobs, and on and on and on. There have been multiple attempts to “clean up” and make local sign regulations better for the community, but the “powers that be” have always folded in the face of the corporate sign company complaints and gripes.

    I would like to say that I am optimistic that the current sign issues on Franklin Street will result in better sign regulations that give proper treatment to all businesses in Evansville and Vanderburgh County. But based on what has happened before each time the discussion of signs happen, I am not holding my breath. The “corporate masters” who benefit from the current sign ordinance and the lack of equal enforcement will complain long and loud, and I will be curious to see what our various elected officials (Mayor, County Commission, City Council) do to resolve the sign issue. It should not be as complex as it is made out to be, but like everything in Evansville and Vanderburgh County, we seem to always make things harder than they should be.

    • I have a terse answer for your lengthy post… Abolish the APC.

      What makes you think we need an authority handing out indulgences, i.e. paid permits, for a sign? If having such signage is so inherently dangerous or wrong, why allow a loophole with the purchase of a permit? The very fact that such permits exist is a testament to their arbitrary and superfluous nature.

      This is about nothing more than control and revenue generation. These regulatory bodies are like tapeworms in the digestive tracts of commerce.

      • Brad

        So you are advocating for total anarchy for sign regulations?

        There are very valid considerations why there are reasonable limitations in the sign code, and it has nothing to do with “control and revenue generation”, which on its face is an absurd statement.

        Regulations on sign are in place for the protection and welfare of people who do not have unlimited funding to “buy” whatever they want! It appears that your thought is that “the more the merrier” when it comes to signs.

        So if a business owner has “no limit” on what they can spend or build as signage, you would allow them to build as big and as many signs as they please? If a business has an acre of ground they can build as many and as large a sign as they want? I guess any homeowners that live near a business or the businesses next to your pals with unlimited signs are just SOL?

        Your method would allow any business to put up absolute disasters for their neighbors and the community at large. If a huge corporation (I will use Wal-Mart as an example of a business with deep pockets) want to build multiple 10,000 square feet billboards on their property and light up those billboards with 1,000,000 watt lights, I guess you think that they have a “right” to do so just because they can?

        Furthermore, your statement that the regulations on signs are “control and revenue generation”, I dare you to produce a single fact that shows that fee generation from signs has ANY impact on the total budget. Considering that most of the sign fee’s are in the $25-$50 per month range, it is ludicrous to think for a second that would generate any real revenue for the local government.

        Abolish the APC? That is stupidity at the finest point you have ever graced us with. So you would tell homeowners that have protection against a landfill being placed next to their subdivision, or established homeowners that rely on zoning to keep a livestock or hog farming operation from moving in next door, that those people cannot rely on decades of established land use and zoning that they are just tough out of luck?

        Zoning in urban neighborhoods is not merely a system for protecting the market values of individual properties, but rather is a device to protect neighborhood residents’ interests in their entirety, including consumer surplus in their homes. Zoning is aimed at preventing, or at least limiting, precisely these kinds of changes in the use of property that are disruptive of a neighborhood’s character because they are inconsistent with current uses of the neighborhood. These include changes in density, as well as shifts from residential to commercial or industrial uses. The primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible. In practice, zoning is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing residents or businesses and to preserve the “character” of a community. Allowing “unlimited” signs just because YOU deem the APC as a “tapeworm” is beyond foolish.

        Abolish the APC? I guess you would advocate for no government at all, which leads to anarchy and numerous inequity to all members of the community.

        Worst idea ever!

        • How dare you question Brad! He used several big words so his idea must be intelligent and well-formed. Libertarians are agents of chaos. No real ideas other than smash the status quo.

          • There are no new ideas in politics. In fact, there are only two real ideas – freedom and control. My idea is freedom. Yours, like most others, is control.

        • Your fallacy is in assuming that just because someone CAN do something that they WILL do it, and furthermore, that control is required to keep order. This is almost never the case. Just because i CAN go buy a pack of cigarettes and a 5th of vodka and drink and smoke myself silly doesnt mean i WILL, nor does the fact of the illegality of heroin mean i will NOT go shoot up heroin.

          In your crude, hamfisted assessment of “anarchy”, you have forgotten the innate psychological and sociological forces at work among human beings. You also discount that the expense involved in signage is prohibitive, that garishness in signage does not equal more customers (something proponents of garishness find out all the time), and that fear of litigation due to damage or injury caused by errant signs poses another natural barrier to their proliferation.

          Your reaction to my suggestion of APC abolishment is knee-jerk. Your expectations of the consequences are based more on your own fears than any reality.

          • Sigh. Where to begin to refute the inane and babbling non-response by you

            History shows (in terms of land use and zoning) that the bigger the corporation (and the deeper their pockets) that when they CAN do something that they WILL do it. There is a reason that laws constantly evolve to keep up with the changes in our society. And laws are created in order to fit the needs of the people.

            Whether you agree you agree or like it, the fact is that zoning codes have evolved over the years as urban planning theory has changed, legal constraints have fluctuated, and priorities have shifted. All of these combine to allow reasonable people (something you have no clue about) to live and work in some semblance of harmony in their community.

            Your “point” that excessive signage is “prohibitive” is probably the biggest farce in your comments. I will once again use Walmart, which has revenue in 2013 of $469 BILLION dollars, an increase from the 2012 total of $449 billion. You can do a quick web search (you do know how to use the internet, right?) and see over a million articles of communities negotiating and/or arguing with Walmart over their massive intrusion into communities, and one of the points of contention is their external signage. It runs the gamut of the number of signs on their building, the size of their pole sign (which can rise hundreds of feet tall), to the number and size of billboards around the Walmart location. Since Walmarts are moving further and further into locations that border right up against neighborhood homes (look at the west side Walmart), allowing a multi-billion dollar corporation unlimited and unfettered ability to “self-regulate” is monumentally ignorant.

            Your pathetic attempt at humanistic psychology that holds that people are inherently good falls flat when it comes to many major corporations, and that is backed up with cold facts. I am not discounting anything, and I hate to burst your little bubble, but signs are not “prohibitively expensive”, especially for companies that generate multiple billions of dollars.

            There is no laws on the books in Evansville or Vanderburgh County on “garishment”, which is an vapid term for the purposes of this discussion. Maybe you forgot that little thing called the First Amendment? As long as a sign does not violate certain provisions long held about the First Amendment, there are no regulations involving the “appearance” of what a sign looks like. Of course, you are probably one of the people that thinks the First Amendment “stifles” businesses and how they advertise.

            “Fear of litigation due to damage or injury caused by errant signs poses another natural barrier to their proliferation”. WTF are you babbling about on this one? First, WTH is an “errant” sign? Are you trying out your thesaurus and found a new word to use? ARe you trying to refer to a sign that is one that is “straying” from what most signs look like? If so, see above paragraph on First Amendment.

            My “expectations of the consequences” is based on real-world experience in Evansville and Vanderburgh County, and the photo spread the CCO bravely provided prove my point! The CCO photos prove that any business with a couple of hundred dollars can go out and purchase multiple banners and hang them all over the place. At what point do we as a community have a right to say “enough”? Our community has a right and an obligation to reasonable regulation of outdoor signs. Nobody with an ounce of common sense would argue that we just let businesses build as many and as large signs that their budget will allow. Do you actually intend for us to believe that the vast number of billboards in Evansville and Vanderburgh County are an attractive aspect in our community? Are you telling us that if billboard companies, using new technology as it develops, should be allowed to build monstrous signs with millions of watts of light output? I guess you would say that all the numerous safety studies that have PROVEN that these illuminated signs are becoming more and more of a safety hazard should just be ignored, and that we just “trust” that nothing will be built that is dangerous for our community?

            Regulations are part of everyday life, and they are there for a reason. If you wish to be overtly stupid as you indicate with your vodka and heroin example, it just proves you do not understand the necessity of laws and regulations in American society. Laws are much like rules. Laws set limits and keep us safe.

            “We have laws because without laws the world would be chaos all over. People would be able to do whatever they wanted to. People could hurt or even kill one another. That is why the founding fathers of our country came up with the Constitution including the Bill of Rights and the twenty-six amendments. All of them consist of laws. Most of the laws are obeyed. When they are not, the person breaking the law is punished. Sometimes laws seem unfair and need to be changed. The government is constantly changing and making new laws”

            Deal with it. Get your head out of the sand, dude!

          • I’m not banging out anymore responses to you on an iPhone. You don’t even know what “garishness” is and you think someone has to use a thesaurus to know what “errant” means, by which I clearly meant “not in the right place”, as in “dangerously placed”, or “wantonly placed”.

            Until you can show me an example of a community with no sign ordinances and show a clear causality between this lack of regulation and the madness you insist is a direct consequence, you have no argument. Your assertions are based in fear, not reality.

          • Brad Linzy

            Such a sad little person you are. I owe you no explanations. I thoroughly trounced your silly little “scenarios”, and (as usual) when your responses are proven wrong, you retreat into to you “Nya! Nya! Nya!” stage like a kindergartner.

            The simple FACT is that no modern city of is without zoning and planning law, and thru that they will have laws relating sign control. Another FACT is that the evolution and growth of zoning and urban planning was done over the last century, starting in the early 1800’s, and the beginning of the regulation of signs was STARTED by the people in the billboard and sign industry. They recognized that in order to survive and be acceptable that they needed to “self-regulate”. They worked with government to develop an agreement to control outdoor advertising.

            Below are two scholarly articles on outdoor advertising. If they are not too far over your head, you might learn a few things:


            An article in the Journal of Law and Politics
            made the comment that “…the American public
            has consistently found outdoor advertising to
            be intrusive, ugly, crassly commercial, and a
            taint on nature. The story of billboards in
            America is thus characterized by an ongoing
            struggle between an expanding industry and a
            resistant public.”

            If you want proof that uncontrolled or large quantities of signs (scientific proof), then try this paper:


            “This paper provides an approach and findings in an attempt to quantify the effects of billboards on real estate values in Philadelphia, and multiple measures of prosperity in 20 cities across the United States. Across these multiple measures, billboards were found to have negative financial and economic impacts. In Philadelphia, there is a statistically significant correlation between real estate value (as measured by sales price) and proximity to billboards. Properties located within 500 ft. of a billboard have a decreased real estate value of $30,826. Additionally, homes located further than 500 ft. but within a census tract/community where billboards are present experience a decrease of $947 for every billboard in that census tract. Income for strict sign control cities is higher than that for not-strict cities. Furthermore, the home vacancy and poverty rates for strict control cities are lower. Having strict sign controls does not negatively impact the economic prosperity of a city.”

            READ THAT LAST SENTENCE! It is clear that just a little actual research proves the point that there is a correlation between sign control and public perception of their community, and most importantly, “strict sign controls does not negatively impact the economic prosperity of a city”. But they do allow for a much more aesthetic community thru reasonable regulation.

            As for you wanting to prattle about the clarity of your postings, we all know that you love to see your opinions go unchallenged on on. However, you prove yourself to be unable and ill-equipped to argue about sign ordinances. So jump off your little one-sided bandwagon you are spluttering thru life on and do a little research to educate yourself. Otherwise you will be stuck at “the little kids table” while the grownups actually have meaningful discussions and topics affecting the community.

  9. Concerning the sign laws in Evansville, I’m surprised that the sign police haven’t gone after the people that hold signs (inches from traffic) on the traffic islands of Green River and Burchart Roads.

  10. Everyone will buy things online. The decline in spending over the weekend will likely be offset by increased online sales. The bottom line is you’re hoping for the economy to fail to advance your agenda. I’d personally rather people spend less on China made junk.

    • Well, Henry Fonda portrayed Steinbeck’s (Grapes of Wrath)part well in John Fords movie adaptation.
      Unique screen name I guess,might be copyrighted, all though.maybe not as a blogger wraith,however. 😉

    • That’s the way I see it, too. Preliminary reports are showing that is probably what happened.

  11. Participation by the church is not needed for a marriage to be legal. It might be a moneymaker for them, to stage the rituals and all, but it is not legally necessary. Me and my wife allowed no superflous mumbō jumbō at our wedding. We spent the money saved on good whiskey. I don’t blame the church for wanting to own marriage but it just isn’t going to happen. They already own war. It is time for Indiana to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples.
    It looks like the greedy money-taking that occurred on Thanksgiving cannibalized Black Friday sales. It was a wash, if you ignore how piggish the merchants came out of it looking.

  12. Seasonal Retail Commerce? When all and is said and done, bottom line time, the question to be answered is: Did total sales increase , or did the early sales “plan” just “push” the calender, as of result of a market share fight, without producing a overall uptick? Time will tell. I am against the workers being forced to work Thanksgiving, so I hope the corporate greed takes a black-eye on this one.

  13. It’s days like today that I wish CCO had audio accompaniment so I could hear the song “Signs” by Five Man Electric Band. “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…” C’mon everybody, you know the words.

    • That song is anti property rights. It posits the idea that property ownership is a “sin”. It’s amazing how many of those hippie songs I used to jam to that I can no longer agree with. Critical thinking…it’s a curse.

      • The only pro capitalist song I can think of from that era is Joe Walsh’s “Life’s been good to me so far” and it is apologetic for being wealthy. The rappers on the other hand are not afraid to flaunt wealth. What is most disgusting to me are the damn Hollywood actors who rage against capitalism while demanding $50 Million per movie, tins of Beluga caviar, and a private jet to get them to place to place. I have nothing against what they are paid but it is inconsistent with their rants. We need to write some songs about money and the good it does for society.

        • They pay real taxes though. Not those trust fund capital gains taxes. I have more respect for somebody who has been rewarded financially for their talent than somebody like, say, Mitt Romney who inherited wealth and grew it on the backs of slaves in China. Yes, they are slaves.

          • How about a Kennedy trust fund baby? Where does Bono file his taxes? How about John Kerry avoid playing taxes on his boat? Or Hidden deducting his underware on his 1040 as charity?

            Since I assume you never been to China maybe you should ask one of those slaves over there how they would like to go back to their farms in the country. You will think slave when the ACA controls your health care.

          • Indeed they do. The caviar and the rides in private jets are however deducted from their taxable income. As I said, I have no problem with what these people are able to negotiate for their talent. They are not so innocent about making movies offshore to save production costs though. The production companies are no different than an industrial capitalist who makes shoes in Indonesia with 50 cent an hour labor. My problem with Hollywood is when they speak like the proletariat but live like kings.

            There is nothing wrong with inherited wealth. Ask the Bridges boys, Charlie Sheen, Kate Hudson, Michael Douglas, or hundreds of other modern actors who have not only inherited wealth from actor parents but they got their jobs through their parents connections. Sounds allot like your pal Mitt to me. At least Romney created some permanent jobs in America outside the popcorn stand with his efforts.

            In case you didn’t know, Romney gave his entire inheritance away when his dad passed. He had already made his money as a turnaround guy. I am certain it did not hurt him to be the son of a prominent politician in building his businesses. Romney pays real taxes too. He just plays a different role than the folks in front of the camera.

            What do you think of President Clinton making $20 Million a year giving speeches. I am fine with it but he is sort of pimping the presidency for his own gain. His acting skills on stage pay him well too.

          • Man oneme and Joe Wallace,you fellas in Evansville stop it… now I’m hearing Josh Turner sing’in about Bill Clinton……

            P a LAY in the pResi dENT and a feel”in yo pAInnnn….pAAAAiiinnn….

      • I don’t care. Sometimes you can turn your critical thinking down and just have fun. You’re so uptight you probably have diamonds growing in your a–. There were a lot of pictures of signs. That reminded me of the song. No further analysis needed.

  14. Signs Signs every where there are Signs. Too many Signs blocking my view and distracting my view of the road while trying to pull out of the parking lot and onto the street.

    Who gave these merchants the right to put up all these signs any where they want to?

    I say we need to regulate all these signs.

    • Another sign Coyote: Real stuff for us to ponder.
      the Forecast discussion from the Paducah NWS NOAA site this morning used the word “accretion”eek! “The blues” with that one.
      Acceretion “The growth of precipitation particles by collision of a frozen particle with a super cooled liquid water droplet which freezes upon impact.

      Ceiling down,to surfaces on the ground,power,lines trees,over passes bridges, receiver/transmission antennas, cold vehicles,aircraft and such.
      Their talking Thursday evening on in your local region and maybe some amounts continuing through the weekend with another weather surge coming. Windy as well, Good for your power lines “not so much”.

      (Real Signs to watch)

  15. Large banner type signs are tacky but who am I to tell an owner that. This all can be handled in the neighborhood. If neighbors are complaining they should write a letter to the business owner. Word of mouth is the best advertisement and nobody wants to lose their neighborhood business. Some will comply with a neighborhood associations request while others won’t. Those that do not can watch their sales dip. Those little signs on Main need to remain next to the business by the door. Placing them out in the walking and sitting area outside is just rude. If others are moving them then perhaps you should throw them away.

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