This sign is illegal in Alaska (but it will come down soon) - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, December 6, 2020
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This sign is illegal in Alaska (but it will come down soon)

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.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Haha. Cut it into sections.

    Maybe there should be an ordinance or something on all this BS political advertising we get in the mail. EVERY day. So sick of it.

  • Sullivan will be celebrating his re-election and having a beer with Charlie as they pull down the campaign banner in late November.
    Gross will go back to his home in California and write opioid prescriptions to all those afflicted with TDD (Trump Derangement Disorder).

  • Do I need to point out the obvious…………………………A court ruling (esp a Superior Court ruling) is not a law or a regulation and only applies to the parties in any court action. Tell them to pound sand, his property his Free Speech rights. We need to quit being scared of unconstitutional court rulings.

    • Thank you, I made a note of your post, as I figure out the best way to make sure this does not happen again and my freedom is not taken away … my phone has been busy today with advice from a number of folks that feel the same way….Not one bad call or post about this issue.

    • I don’t think it’s a question of others being scared, so much as their being willing to pay the monetary cost in court to verify a constitutional basis.

  • Wow…Anchorage is sounding more an more like a gulag.

  • Or else what? Yeah there’s an easy solution to this, change the law or get out the tape measure and scissors and start cutting. What in the world ever happened to our first amendment rights? We were never intended to be protected from citizens denying us those rights as we deal with that everyday. I had to take a trump sign down because I live in a private RV resort, and they have the ability to add and change their laws / rules as they see fit. I don’t like it because the space that I rent is legally mine in my lease. But I had to take it down. This seems to violate the first amendment because this directive comes from a government agency. That is the purpose of the first amendment.

    • Your lease space is only yours to enjoy in accordance with the terms of the lease document you signed; its terms are binding. Nothing to do with 1st Amendment.

  • I wonder if this is related to that billboard off of the highway that has to be removed. Someone got angry and went around to cause other people problems or the DOT went around to avoid being called racist.

  • Apparently the BLM banner on the PAC is ok. Why is that? Cheers –

  • There is a pro Prop 1 sign on the side of a trailer facing the New Seward on the W side of the road between Dimond and the new Scooter Drive turnoff S of Dimond. Wonder if they got a letter too. Cheers –

  • What about the BLM banner that ex Mayor Peethan Berkowitz hung on the PAC?

  • If you travel south on the Glenn Highway from Palmer, about a mile from the connection to the Park Highway on the right hand side at a photographer’s business, there are large banners supporting a proposition and a democratic candidate that clearly violate that these crazy laws. It is very prominent. If we are going to be consistent, how about that one?

    Fergie

  • Bussell should take the sign down as timely as the BLM sign was removed from the PAC in downtown Anchorage or as timely as the municipality has responded to the recall petitions for the assembly members… better yet he should cut the sign up into smaller 4×8 sections and put it back up for another 30 days… I’m so tired of selective enforcement of laws in this city based upon political leaning… hypocrisy…

  • WE have indeed hung a banner on our building for many election years now . in the early years we hand painted the banners and as we ‘recyled’ them hand painted the names and messages for a long list of public servants Ramona Barnes, Hoe Hayes, John Cowdrey, Gov. Hickel, Gov. Parnell, Senator Stevens Sara Palin, Gov Dunleavy, Don Young and Senator Sullivan and in all the years only two names on our banner failed to be elected, Bob Bell in his narrow loss to Hollis French and Wayne Ross in his bid to be Governor…This will be the second time up for Senator Sullivan and on Tuesday I expect he will win again….we will surely take the banner down well within the 30 days given to do so and store it until it needed again..then we will work at what needs to be done to remove future objections to our freedom of expression

    • Charlie is a guy who has knowledge of the law, commitment to the Constitution, and the will to do it right. Good job.

    • That seems like a reasonable approach. Maybe like-minded folks who comment here will provide monetary support.

  • What about the BLM banner that Peethan Berkowitz hung on the PAC?

  • This is BS…it’s his property, his building, his choice..Again, shutting down freedom of speech…

  • WE have been displaying a banner for many years now and in early days hand painted a strip of canvas and as we ‘recycled’ the canvas hand painted the names on the banner which was hung with short straps fastened to the billing for many candiates: Ramona Barnes, Joe Hayes, John Cowdrey, Don Young, Senator Stevens, Gov. Hickel, Sara Palin, Gov. Dunleavy, and Senator Sullivan….the only two names every displayed that failed to win their election were Bob Bell in his narrow loss to Hollis French and Wayne Ross in his bid for Governor. We will surely take the banner down and store it again for Senator Sullivan at some point next week. Then we will find ways of removing the objection to our freedom of expression so the banner can be displayed again in future election cycles.

  • Charlie Bussell is a patriot! God Bless YOU Charlie Bussell!!!

  • Too bad restricted speech doesn’t include the lies by Gross’ campaign. It is probably time for a pro-Sullivan PAC to run something equivalent…Mr Gross, Alaska has the highest domestic violence rates in the US – have you stopped beating your wife?

  • Next time put 4×8 signs all over the front of your building Charlie.

  • Election is in a few days. LEAVE IT UP!!!

  • If you go south from Palmer on the Glenn highway, you will see a huge billboard sign for Al Gross on the right about two miles from the Park highway intersection. It’s about 50 to 70 feet from the highway and is very visible as most of the surrounding land is woods. Who enforces these laws/regulations and who has the authority to put them in effect in the first place? Not that it matters this year as the election is almost upon us.

    Fergie

    • That’s in the Matanuska Susitna Borough and not the same rules as City of Anchorage. Hopefully, everybody ignores that garbage and considers the source–a flaming liberal idiot. He is unpleasant and unfriendly and could be the poster child for Democrat curmudgeons.

      • The State of Alaska DOT is citing state law, not local municipal code with the 4×8 BS. As for me, I will put whatever sign I want to on my property and they can kiss my ass. I will take that to the Supreme Court before I let some judge limit my free speech. It is bad enough we have judges removing the individual rights of hundreds of business owners in direct opposition to the US Constitution.

        • The way the system seems to have evolved is that judges interpret the constitution when its meaning is in dispute.

  • Thank you Mr Bussell. Seems like many of us concerned citizens need to flood the DOT with calls for the BLM banner to be removed from its location, on a publicly owned building downtown.

  • You could hire Berkowitz to take down the sign after the election. I here he’s looking for work. Just make sure he’s wearing pants. We already know what that looks like from one angle.

  • Seems to me like my banner and its location should have some ‘grandfather’ right since it has been a display location for 40 years..??

    • Damn right and the state has no business telling people what they can and can’t put up for signage on their own property . The 2018 Superior Court ruling is unconstitutional and should be struck down on that basis. Walker was the worst governor we ever had and everything he left us is crap.

  • Consider the “Adverse Possession” defense. Also, not on the Right Of Way. And suppression of Free Speech, political division. Also, selective enforcement.

    • Definitely suppression of free speech and selective enforcement. That 2018 Superior Court ruling is so unconstitutional, it stinks. Should have never happened and the premise that it can be seen from a state road being a provision of the exclusion of rights is in violation of the 5th Amendment and the 1st and the 14th. Criminals sitting on the bench in Alaska need to be removed.

      • “That 2018 Superior Court ruling is so unconstitutional, stinks.”

        Do you have countering objective evidence that others can utilize to protect themselves against future apparent 1st Amend transgression/suppression?

  • From the image, it appears to be less than 32 sq. ft. (4’ x 8’) in area.
    .
    Is sign shape regulated also? LMAO.

  • Tell the liberal DOT to pound snd and take his bags south with Gross when he leaves with his lying tongue between his legs!!!

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