TxDOT orders political signs be taken down
By LeaAnne Klentzman
Since June 22, 2010, the sheriff’s chief deputy, who has been running for his boss’ job since January of 2009, has been sent three different letters from the Texas Department of Transportation about his political signs that have been cropping up like weeds across the west side of Fort Bend County.
According to the June 22 letter sent to candidate Craig Brady, TxDOT stated, “Please be advised that TxDOT regulates political signs erected and maintained on private property along regulated roadways in accordance with the highway beautification provisions of the Texas Transportation Code and the Texas Administrative Code.”
TxDOT went on to tell the chief deputy that his signs did not qualify for exempt status as outlined in the Code because they were placed prior to the timeframe allotted in the rules for posting campaign signs. The letter further stated, “Your cooperation in complying with the law is appreciated.”
No signs came down; more went up. In fact, on July 1, undercover narcotics officers were photographed out erecting more Brady for Sheriff signs during business hours.
In a second letter to the chief deputy, dated July 5, 2011, TxDOT reiterated that the signs were not in compliance and that they must come down citing the Code for Political Signage on both Interstate and Primary Highways as well as Rural Roads. The July 5 letter states, again, that he is in violation because they are up outside the allotted time frame of 90 days prior to an election or no more than 10 days after. The chief deputy was specifically given five days to take the signs down before risking TxDOT “forwarding the matter to the Attorney General’s Office for handling.”
No signs came down; more went up.
On July, 12, 2011 TxDOT issued a letter to the chief deputy’s Houston attorney stating they were in receipt of the attorney’s letter but disagree that Brady is in compliance. TxDOT pointed out the specific codes that the campaign had violated and was again given 5 days to remove the signs once the attorney received the certified letter dated July 12, 2011.
No matter how the time is figured, the last directive of 5 days to remove the signs should be up by this Friday. The end of this story has yet to be written.