Candidates for office who are advertising along the highways and byways of Eagle River found red plastic ties on their campaign signs, which indicate the Department of Transportation wants them out of the rights of way, and not visible from a state highway.
A photo safari of signs in Eagle River discovered that all candidates’ signs along the roadways the State manages were tagged, except the signs of Kelly Merrick for Senate and Bill Walker for Governor.
Merrick is married to Joey Merrick, business Manager for Laborers’ Local 341. Walker has the endorsement of most of the big unions and his running mate, Heidi Drygas, is a big union attorney and former commissioner of Labor.
There are laws on the books pertaining to signs on State roads, and separate ordinances that apply to signs on municipality of Anchorage roads. The state typically will remove the campaign signs 30 days after they have been flagged for removal if they are within 660 feet of a State right of way, but DOT can, in fact, remove signs without notice.
State rights of way include public roads, sidewalks, power lines, and ditches along roads.
In 2018, an Anchorage Superior Court judge ordered the State to stop taking down the signs of candidates, if those signs were on private property and the owner didn’t receive money to put it there.
It appears that although the Department of Transportation is flagging most signs, even signs for Gov. Mike Dunleavy, it’s laying off the signs for the unions’ favorite candidates — Merrick and Walker.