Bussell Electric has been advised by the Department of Transportation that the large Sullivan U.S. Senate banner on the commercial building is illegal.
Why? Because, as it is hung on the building’s exterior, it is visible from Minnesota Drive in Anchorage. It’s not in the right of way. But it is visible.
Charlie Bussell has been hanging campaign signs to showcase candidates he supports on his building for decades. This year, someone complained to the Right of Way Division at the Department of Transportation. And so a letter was issued from the bureaucracy, telling Bussell to take the sign down within 30 days … or else.
The letter arrived this week, “to inform you a large banner located on your property at 1800 W 47th Ave. has been brought to our department’s attention, as it violates state and federal laws regarding outdoor advertising within and along state rights-of-way,” the letter stated.
The letter continued to explain, “political candidates running for public office ask private property owners to pace their advertising campaign signs on their property. But did you know this simple act is really breaking the law?”
“Offsite advertising guidance, specifically political signs on private property, are addressed in the 2018 Superior Court ruling which allows the display of small, temporary political campaign signs on private property outside state highway rights-of-way. These signs cannot be larger than 4 feet x 8 feet in size. They must be located completely on private property by the owner or occupant, who may not be paid to display them,” the letter explained.
Bussell would have been just fine, it seems, had he placed a series of Sullivan 4×8 signs on his building. But the one long banner is restricted speech in America, according to DOT.
The Department of Transportation letter was dated Oct. 27. Bussell will certainly comply with the 30-day removal demand, as he takes his campaign signs down as soon as the election is over.
He’ll have time to spare.