Oro Valley campaign signs turning heads

Oro Valley campaign signs turning heads

ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There are signs of all different kinds - for speed and location.

This time of year, like clockwork, Oro Valley goes campaign sign crazy.

One by one, a new one is added as the residents and candidates prepare for and promote the primary election Aug. 28 and the Nov. 6 general election.

"It's clutter," said Oro Valley resident Barry Bruno. "At the end of the season, they'll take them all down and everything will be pretty again."

Some are standing upright while others have fallen, unable to weather the literal and political storms.

"They all bleed in. It's just one after the other. There's no way you're going to stop and look at each one as they go down the road," said Oro Valley resident Phil Shumway.

For those who have called Oro Valley home for more than a decade, Martha and Mike Staten have watched the signage get out of hand over the years.

"This year we've noticed that the signs have grown in size," Martha said.

"No postage stamp signs anymore. These are the size of windows," Mike exclaimed.

Because a campaign sign is not enough anymore. These days, an alleged endorsement is essential. Some are more serious while others have become prickly fun.

One sign, at Tangerine and First, claims a mayoral candidate is "Endorsed By This Cactus." An arrow points to a barrel cactus nearby.

Other endorsements have been thrust upon a fan favorite: a city-owned statue that sits on the east side of La Canada, just south of Moore Road.

"The tortoise is much beloved here in the neighborhood," Mike Staten said. "It would be hanging a particular St. Patrick's Day hat. Or something associated with Halloween. You name the holiday, there'd be something."

"And you never saw who did it. Never saw a car pull over," Martha Staten said in a perplexed tone.

But could you consider this an election holiday? Because current candidates somehow secured the vote of the inanimate object.

A sign hangs just below the neck of the metal tortoise, connecting two campaign signs, saying, "Endorsed By This Tortoise."

"I'd rather not see the tortoise have political signs. I'd rather him stay out of the political fray," Mike Staten said with a chuckle. "I think the tortoise is a-political. He's not taking a stand one way or another. He's there for all of us."

According to the Town of Oro Valley, the rules and regulations for political signs are not something they handle on their own.

"Like other jurisdictions, we just reference what's in Arizona state law (ARS 16-1019), so we're not doing anything unique up here," said Misti Nowak, Oro Valley's Communications Administrator.

Town Clerk Mike Standish oversees the political sign complaint process. Nowak said that, according to state law, someone would need to file a formal complaint with the Town of Oro Valley.

"(The Town Clerk) would then investigate the disputed sign to determine if they are in violation and warrant removal. The only exception to this is if there is a safety issue, such as a sign that was blocking sight visibility in an intersection. In the case of safety, Town staff is allowed to go and remove the sign without waiting for formal complaint (and then the sign owner is notified)," Nowak explained via email.

Standish explained that in the eight years he has been serving as Town Clerk, Oro Valley has had fewer sign complaints filed this year than any previous year.

Those signs will stay, for now, until the end of the election season. Then the Statens can have their sweet statue back.

"It's kind of silly. It's silly that we would care about a metal tortoise having a political attachment," Martha Staten explained. "Put the sign somewhere else. Leave the tortoise alone. There's plenty of other space up at the corner."

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.