Sunday, August 1, 2010

Signs defacing the community

Not entirely sure how we came across this individual's e-mail. This e-mail was forwarded to me and I have no clue as to whether or not we were an intended recipient of this e-mail. Before I posted anything I wanted to know Stan's issues with the signage on 75th Street. After we read his letter you will see the pictures along 75th after the jump.

In response to your request, these signs are a public nuisance. I would ask, who would welcome this conduct where they live? I suppose that is the key, I live here - in Chatham. The majority of the community sees this blight and wonders why this condition is tolerated. In addition, they think that someone should do something. This time was my turn to act, whereas next time it may be your turn.

In photographing the offensive advertising practices, what became apparent was that the merchants using this system of advertisement were members of an ethic group who do not live in the community. As the photos illustrate, the African American merchants on this strip operate with a higher standard.

After taking the photos, I attempted to speak with the responsible parties at Big Sam’s Market and Marathon Gas. One merchant stated the signs did not translate into a profit and that the reason he did not remove the signs was that his competitor would not remove his signs. The competitor responded with irate and insult to my questioning of his practices and my request to see his business license.

When did the residents of Chatham relinquish the right to self-governance? This right is inalienable and guaranteed through city ordinance, as well as, state and federal constitution. We, ourselves, relinquish our rights whenever we fail to act in our own best interest. I submit to you, that the times dictate that we not rely on our neighbor, the church, or an elected official to solve the problems in our community. The right and the duty are ours alone. The irony of freedom – is it is not free.

The pictures are below. If you are reading this from the blog homepage just click here!

Tell us what you think of the signs along 75th. You need not limit yourself along "Renaissance Row". Talk about any other major thoroughfare in our neighborhood such as either Cottage Grove, King Drive, 87th, or 79th Street for example.


  1. Freddrenna M. LyleAugust 2, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    I agree with Stan. For almost a year we were getting out of our cars, tearing down and cutting down signs affixed to trees, light poles, & fences illegally. I once sent 30 pictures to the Commissioner of Streets and San demanding tickets. Most of the signs on poles however are untraceable to any business (without more effort than they were willing to spend) so we cleaned them up and they put them back.

    We then moved on to the window signs attempting for several years to get zoning to cite businesses that cover the entire windows of their stores with signs. Now we have the signs on fences. Big Sams was just the beginning of a new variation on that theme. I get the feeling that various inspectors think that I am unreasonable, if not more, about the signage issues. I was delighted that the community has now joined in this effort to remove this blight.

    Clearly the signage problems are not our only nor most pressing issues in the Ward, however there is a 'broken window' theory in sociology that says allowing a broken window (a metaphor for any type of minor violation) to exist in a community sends a message to bad people that the community is not organized, does not fight back and does not care. That gives them permission to do what they will in that community. So if there is any truth to that theory, we must move on all of the little 'broken windows' (peddling, signage, snow cones, litter, grass, etc., etc.) while we work on safety and education and jobs and economic development etc., etc. Because there are so many fronts in this war, I welcome Stan and enlist everyone out there to join a battle somewhere.

  2. I can understand why you're less than thrilled to be looking at all that visual pollution. Gotta draw the line somewhere. All that mess on the fences is over the line, IMO.

  3. Drove by earlier this week, most of those signs along 75th Street are gone in front of Big Sam's at least. Although I'm not sure when those pictures were taken.


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