Turlock residents are bound to pass at least one political sign advertising any given candidate or measure on the ballot for the General Election any time they leave their home between now and Nov. 4.
Though signs may seem haphazardly placed in different areas around town, the California Department of Transportation has a number of regulations that dictate where candidates and campaigns can post signs.
Special provisions are made for political signs, but are subject to the State Outdoor Advertising Act. The Act exempts the placing of temporary political signs from normal outdoor advertising display requirements so long as it meets certain criteria.
Per the Act, signs encouraging a particular vote in a scheduled election may not be placed sooner than 90 days prior to the election, and must be removed 10 days after. The City of Turlock Municipal Code, however, requires signs be removed within five days of the election ending. Signs must be no larger than 32 square feet.
Candidates and campaigns are also required to have a Statement of Responsibility filed with the Department of Transportation certifying a person who will be responsible for removing the sign. The Department can remove unauthorized Temporary Political Signs at the expense of the responsible.
The City of Turlock has additional height, location and safety regulations that political campaigns must adhere to. Each zoning district within the City has certain standards regarding height, but generally, most political signs do not exceed 6 feet and therefore are in compliance.
Per the city, political signs in residential districts may not exceed 12 feet. Signs up to 12 feet are allowed in Commercial-Office and Industrial-Business Park Districts. Signs up to 20 feet are allowed Industrial and all other Commercial Districts. Signs must comply with building, electrical, sign and fire codes as well as Engineering Division standards which are similar to State law regarding political signs.
Additionally, signs may not be placed in or over the public right-of-way. Signs placed on public property are subject to removal and signs placed on private property without owner’s permission are also not allowed.
In the area of Monte Vista Crossings, one of the highest traffic area around Turlock, candidates must get permission from Monte Vista Crossings, LLC before placing signs. Some signs, including Harinder Grewal, Michael Eggman, Jeff Denham, Mike Brem, and Citizens for Yes on Measure B, have been placed just outside of Monte Vista Crossings, but have ended up on the private property of the Union Pacific Railroad.
Additionally, campaign signs were placed next to warning signs asking anyone call before they did in the area, as fiber optic cables are buried below.
City Council candidates have become very creative in putting up signs in different high traffic areas around town. Matthew Jacob, Donald Babadalir, Bill DeHart Jr. and Forrest J. White all have a variety of signs with different messages ranging from simply a name, to a photo, to a short slogan. Sergio Alvarado is the only Council candidate who has not posted campaign signs.
Mayoral candidates Gary Soiseth and Mike Brem’s names can also be spotted frequently around town. Soiseth’s signs state, “Gary Soiseth for Mayor, clear vision, bold leadership” and Brem’s, “Mike Brem, Turlock Mayor.”
Committees have also taken advantage of posting signs around town. The Citizens for YES on Measure B is promoting the road tax, while Turlock Firefighters have signs in support of Gary Soiseth for Mayor and Bill Dehart for Council, the two candidates the Political Action Committee has endorsed.
State Assembly District 12 candidates Kristin Olsen (R) and Harinder Grewal (D) both have signs highlighting their candidacy, particularly near the University.
Grewal, an Agricultural Export Specialist and lecturer at California State University, Stanislaus with his Ph. D. in Agricultural Economics, has two different signs posted around town. Grewal’s signs read “Dr. Grewal for State Assembly, Dedicated and Proven Leadership” with his campaign website below; others state, “Harinder Grewal For Assembly 2014.”
Olsen, current Assembly District 12 representative, new Chief Republican Whip in the State Assembly, and former California State University, Stanislaus Assistant Vice President for Communications & Public Affairs, has signs that read “Kristin Olsen, Assembly.”
The race for State Senate District 8, new per 2011 Census redistricting, which spans a number of relatively different geographic areas across California, has the least amount of signs seen around Turlock from either candidate. Tom Berryhill (R), who currently represents California’s 14th State Senate District, and his opponent Paulina Miranda (D) both have few visible campaign signs spotted around Turlock.
As the 10th District Congressional race nears, there is no shortage of signs from either candidate. Current Representative Jeff Denham (R) has signs that rotate between, “Local Farmer, Jeff Denham, U.S. Representative,” and “Fighting for Veterans, Jeff Denham, U.S. Representative.” Challenger, Michael Eggman (D) has signs that read, “Michael Eggman U.S. Congress” with his campaign website below, and one that reads, “Valley First, Michael Eggman U.S. Congress.”
In addition to the high-traffic areas laden with political signs, like the corner of Monte Vista Avenue and Geer Road, Geer and Taylor roads, Tully and Fulkerth roads, and a variety of signs hosted in the yards of homes all around Turlock, it is apparent that if voters do not know the stances, parties or potential plans of candidates, they are sure to recognize their names on the ballot.