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Is This a Sign?

What’s going on? It's a weekly question asked by a thirtysomething resident of the Sagamore Hills community.

Illegal signs on power poles, street easements, and medians are indicators of a community's social health.

These signs that promote buying junk cars, tax services based on number of children, and carpet cleaning for fifty dollars show visitors and residents that this area does not show pride in its appearance and is in keeping with local laws and ordinances.

DeKalb County states that no sign should be placed on a power pole, within a sidewalk easement, or any county owned property.

I always thought this would be the easiest crime at which to catch someone. They are putting their phone number on the sign! How can these people not be caught?

If that does not work, go to the sign shop off North Decatur Road that promotes making these signs. With little effort, this growing problem could be resolved.

This past year, DeKalb County started a Neighborhood Ambassador Program, a two night event that concluded a resident could legally remove signs. A big component to this is knowing what is illegal and what is not. Two nights may be a bit excessive, but no one asked me.

I think this is a great idea, but it is also a lost potential source of income for the police and/or community.

For example, the gas station at the intersection of Briarcliff and Clairmont Road had at last count, 8 signs nailed to an adjacent power pole in a small patch of grass. If these stations/ business were fined because it hosts these illegal signs, I'm sure they would be removed daily.

The only way to get people to do something is to hit them in the pocketbook.

Maybe when the owner gets fined a few times, he would re-evaluate his property and notice that people have been disrespecting it. He has not shown that he even cares about this property. The sign above the door should read, "We appreciate your business, but do not care how our business reflects your community."

If the businesses take care of their area, and the Neighborhood Ambassadors and county employees handle the rest, this problem could be solved.

The last way to remedy the problem is have the County personnel that pass by these signs multiple times a week, and that have the ability to stop and grab these efficiently… DeKalb County Trash people.  These people can stop just about anywhere, grab the signs and help clean the negotiated parts of the county.

The vast majority of DeKalb residents are proud people, but a few rotten apples are trying to take a piece of that. They are disrespecting people’s property and blatantly telling everyone that laws do not apply to them.

In the meantime, take pride in your own area - if you see a sign, stop, take it down, and throw it away.

Take Pride, DeKalb!

@laroberts426

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lucas Roberts September 25, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Kay Are there larger issues in our area, city, country - no doubt. Is this small blog a reflection of my life? Of coarse not. I will attempt to write more noble odds and ends so I can prove to you the level of difficulty I face in my life. Thanks for taking the time to comment on such a petty topic, and post it. You've must got a pretty easy ride if that's how your spending your time.
Donte Crenshaw September 26, 2012 at 08:02 PM
When you pull cheaply made signs off power poles around DeKalb County, you are helping to enforce different county ordinances and laws (keep in mind, I have never actually looked any of this stuff up). That said, I think it would be good for you to consider why people put these cheap eyesores up in the first place. For example, if I went around town stapeling signs to electric poles, it would probably be because I couldn't afford any other means of advertisement. In that situation, I expect I would love to be able to tell other people about my business through more legal means, but would probably just not have the resources. So, when you say that "Illegal signs on power poles, street easements, and medians are indicators of a community's social health," I feel a little uncomfortable. After all, I don't believe that local entrepreneurs who can't afford to legally advertise their businesses are blights on the DeKalb County community -- they're just people who don't have much money. And I'm not necessarily saying that you think all poor people are blights on society. But I would say that as you go around DeKalb pulling down ugly business signs, that it might be a good idea for you to spend some time thinking about why a person would invest in, and post these tacky signs. Then, you might become aware of some social ills within DeKalb that are far, far more destructive than poor people trying to advertise their business through use of cheap signs.
Lucas Roberts September 26, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Donte Thanks for the comment. I would agree if all the signs were not saying the same thing. “I buy junk cars for $300 dollars, or “I buy houses for cash.” I’d ask if you want to give these folks a call and see how reputable of a business they are. They are not a struggling hardware stores or up and coming shoe cobblers. There running scams, scrapping cars, and providing phony services. Stone Mountain Patch outlined it a while ago: http://stonemountain.patch.com/articles/dekalb-county-to-crack-down-on-illegal-signs Crossroad News also had a piece about it too: http://www.crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/1434790/article-County-getting-tough-on-illegal-sign-postings And if you do want to read what's on the books: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=illegal%20sign%20ordinances%20dekalb%20county&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDQQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.commissionerrader.com%2Finformation-ordinances.html%3Ffile%3Dtl_files%2Fdocuments%2FSignOrd.pdf&ei=WWNjUMKcDsTQiwKMkoGwBw&usg=AFQjCNEw4oQca-LGJO4pHrU9rOB6DyS3Gg
Donte Crenshaw September 26, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Not all of these signs are saying "I buy junk cars for $300 dollars," or "I buy houses for cash." Even within your own pictures, there is sign for a carpet cleaner and Wings of Knowledge (a business that provides homeschooling and tutoring services). There are a lot of people who want to buy cars for cash. But those aren't all the signs. When I called Wings of Knowledge, I was greeted by a woman on the other end of the line in much the same way you would expect for any reputable business. When I spoke to her, I asked her about the educational backgrounds of the business' educators. She said that Wings of Knowledge hires the tutors and instructors who are currently enrolled as students at schools like Georgia Tech and Morehouse College. She was quick to add that these candidates are thoroughly tested to make sure they aren't incompetent, and can effectively teach others. When I called the carpet cleaner who's number is listed on a few of the signs in one of your pictures, I really did not feel like I was speaking to a scam artist -- just a guy trying to get by with the skills he had (as a carpet cleaner). I say all that to say this: don't paint over people with too broad of a brush. Not all people in Atlanta who can't afford roadside billboards, regular, print advertising, or eye-catching storefronts are criminals. They are just normal people trying to do the best they can with the hand they've been given.
Lucas Roberts September 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Donte - Great to hear that you called the people on the signs. At the end the day, these folks are doing something that is against the law. A law that the county spends our tax dollars fighting. A law that the county is spending time to coach citizens to remove these signs. They are doing something that is against the law. By doing this they are taking away from real business that conduct there business in legit ways. There are plenty of reputable small business that do the right thing. If you get your wallet stolen by someone who wants more money, and does it by however they want to - does it make it ok? Of coarse not.

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