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Thread: Sign bounties: a solution to the snipe sign virus?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Sign bounties: a solution to the snipe sign virus?

    It snapped into my head sometime Saturday afternoon, when I passed by an intersection where there were at least ten snipe signs -- those Coroplast and cardboard announcements promising quick weight loss, prosperous home businesses, cheap mortgages, cheap health insurance, cheap fill dirt and so on.

    I think I've got an answer that will end blight from snipe signs and bandit signs once and for all.

    Sign bounties.

    The concept is actually quite simple. A municipality places a bounty on every snipe sign - 25 or 50 cents or so. (Snipe signs cost about $3 to $5 to make, so it's not worth it to make signs for the sole purpose of turning them in.) Pull down some signs, take them to a sign collection center (local code enforcement department, perhaps), and get your bounty.

    With a sign bounty, rights-of-way and utility poles would be cleaned up FAST, with what will be the equivalent of dollar bills hanging off utility poles. With the bounty in place, a snipe sign poster will be less likely to post a sign, knowing that it's worth cash to someone who pulls it down. The cost of a sign bounty program would be far less than hiring full-time "sign police" to remove snipe signs.

    Who would object to such a plan? Certainly not a Chamber of Commerce or business association -- what interest do they have in promoting multi-level businesses? Herbalife dealers, perhaps. Oh boy. Maybe sign companies, which tend to have louder collective voices in public meetings, but they're peddling a product that is illegal as it is.

    Shortcomings? A few, but they're easily resolved

    1) Cross-border sign snatching. If Community X offers a sign bounty, and Communities Y and Z next door don't, those seeking bounties will visit those communities, take down snipe signs there, and turn them in at community X. Essentially, Community X is paying to clean up X, Y and Z. This can be solved if a sign bounty program is administered on a regional basis; with the county or counties, cities, towns and the electric utility company contributing towards sign bounty fees.

    2) What signs have a price? Real estate signs, for instance, are often displayed on weekends only. They're a bit of a nuisance, but they're usually gone on Sunday night. Some communities tolerate them, while others yank them out along with their multi-level friends. The bounty program could exclude snipe signs that are permitted or tolerated (garage sale signs, lost dog signs, or whatever the case may be.)

    3) "The Michigan deposit," for lack of a better term. Aggressive sign hunters could visit other cities and counties to find signs to return for the bounty. By limiting the number of signs any person may turn in for a bounty (for instance, only 100 signs at a time), it would be economically unfeasible to visit municipalities a good distance away just to pull their signs and bring 'em back.

    Whatcha' think?

    (BTW, in my town, I have a zero tolerance police towards "street spam." Real estate signs advertising development located in the town is tolerated in moderation on weekends, and that's it. Usually, snipe signs are pulled immediately after they are spotted, and I do some quick research to find the poster. They get a nastygram (and second offenders go to the Code Enforcement Board!), and the streets stay much cleaner than those of adjacent municipalities. The word is getting out -- don't spam my little town.)
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
          Downtown's avatar
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    That's pretty clever. A friend of mine spent a year at Gwinette County, GA, and on Saturdays, current planners had the option to spend the day pulling snipe signs for time and 1/2. The sign bounty is a much cheaper solution.

  3. #3
    Greetings from a new member.
    My interest in your forum is, I'm a Director of CAUSS -USA (Intl).

    For the past three years we have been aggressivlely attacking street spam i.e. bandit signs, vertical litter or what ever you wish to refer.

    Your idea has great merit and will likely take something as bold as a Public Service Announcement via TV to start the ball rolling.
    CAUSS is working with the area Code Enforcement offices in the north Texas area in a very proactive fashion. We have also staged Public Awareness Campaigns in our area with great success.

    We are now working on a major project of bringing all the North Texas Code Enforcement offices together in an information sharing program inorder to effect prosecution of andit sign posters.

    For those interested please visit web site at: www.causs.org

    Regards,

  4. #4
    Moving at my own pace....... Planderella's avatar
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    Dan do you REALLY have a job or just hang out with planners so that you can appear to be cool??

    I like our sign-splattered utility pools, they give our neighborhoods...uhh...character, yeah that's it! That's the ticket!

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Hey, there's those spare minutes between phone calls, applications, rewriting the zoning code, building inspections, and other fun things ...
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6

    I like Bounties

    I like the idea of bounties for bandit (illegal) signs. It could work financially either from the labor saved by code enforcement departments or from funds raised from private sources (e.g., local businesses.)

    If there is a fatal flaw in the bounty idea, I think it would be from the city lawyers who are concerned about liability, either from injury or from owners of legal signs. If anyone has ready access to city lawyers, I'd love to hear their initial reaction.

    Maybe the Adopt-a-Highway people have a good method of dealing with the liability issue since they have people on the roadsides picking up trash. It may be that they deal only with organizations (e.g., Rotary Club) rather than individuals. Perhaps, it is better to deal with organizations since you could then have some level of supervision.

    The bounty money could be seen as a way to raise funds for organizations (e.g., high school band, Boy Scouts, church group, etc.)

    Are there any good precedents for such a bounty? The only two I can think of are crime-stoppers information and bottle/can deposits. These are quite different from a bounty for snipe signs.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    We have sign vigilantes where I work. They do it for free. We have also had to tell them with a wink and a nod that they really shouldn't be doing it because they can't be construed as volunteering for the city and aren't covered if they get run over or fall off a ladder or whatever. A guy i know in my town who commutes by bike and runs a lot in the more developed part of town has been known to rip down signs und pop them in the nearest dumpster while out doing those activities as well.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Snipe Sign vs. Robocall

    In my fair city we use robocalls to combat snipe signs. Our code compliance folks jot down the phone number on the snipe signs, enter it into the robocall system and the the offender gets calls every five minutes (or something like that) until they (the snipe sign offender) calls in and tells us that they've taken down all the signs. Of course, if they're fibbing all we need to do is plug their number back in the system. It's really annoying, I hear, effective plus we get a bit of giggle to boot.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    In my fair city we use robocalls to combat snipe signs. Our code compliance folks jot down the phone number on the snipe signs, enter it into the robocall system and the the offender gets calls every five minutes (or something like that) until they (the snipe sign offender) calls in and tells us that they've taken down all the signs. Of course, if they're fibbing all we need to do is plug their number back in the system. It's really annoying, I hear, effective plus we get a bit of giggle to boot.
    I like this idea. Annoy the annoying sign person. My last city used to just call and tell them if they don't remove all the signs they will be brought to court and fined. We also had the sign vigilantes who we ignored since they happily took down signs on their walk and threw them away.

    I would say for the sign bounty you would have to register people so they could have some education on what they are allowed to turn in and what they can't touch. Also a little about being safe and not approaching someone posting a sign. Although in Dan's world of peace and love that might not be a problem. I just don't picture an angry crunchy getting in a fight over a sign.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  10. #10
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    In my fair city we use robocalls to combat snipe signs. Our code compliance folks jot down the phone number on the snipe signs, enter it into the robocall system and the the offender gets calls every five minutes (or something like that) until they (the snipe sign offender) calls in and tells us that they've taken down all the signs. Of course, if they're fibbing all we need to do is plug their number back in the system. It's really annoying, I hear, effective plus we get a bit of giggle to boot.
    Tobbin--I'm going to PM you. I'd like some details on your robocall system.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  11. #11
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    In my fair city we use robocalls to combat snipe signs. Our code compliance folks jot down the phone number on the snipe signs, enter it into the robocall system and the the offender gets calls every five minutes (or something like that) until they (the snipe sign offender) calls in and tells us that they've taken down all the signs. Of course, if they're fibbing all we need to do is plug their number back in the system. It's really annoying, I hear, effective plus we get a bit of giggle to boot.
    I'm also interested. Can you share the information on the forum?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    I'm also interested. Can you share the information on the forum?
    Yes, please share some info about this robocall system.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    What would be the bounty for taking out sign spinners?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well.....

    It would put a lot of homeless people to work in this part of California...... It is already done with recyclables around here. During recent discussion with Bill the homeless guy at the local gas station, I learned that a person can make around $15-20 a day just collecting plastic. I'm guessing that is 12 hours of walking and searching, but still enough to get food. What happens after a person gets blown away for trying to remove a $3 sign two feet over a property line......or one stabs the other over a 25c sign....
    Skilled Adoxographer

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