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City passes sign ordinance

Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 12:07 pm News Flash Archive

At yesterday's meeting of the city council, a new revision of the sign ordinance was adopted unanimously. Ward 2 Council member Lisa Cookston was not present at the meeting.

According to Thomas Gregory, the ordinance was changed again yesterday morning, but the public was not provided with a copy of the final version that was ultimately adopted, so it is impossible to tell for sure at this time what the new ordinance actually outlaws. Perhaps the Commonwealth will be able to provide that information later today.

Senator David Jordan was the only council member or city official to express concern that the ordinance would harm businesses. He urged the council to put off adoption of the ordinance to allow more study of suggestions that had been made earlier in the meeting by myself. I had provided the council with a proposed "Friendly Sign Ordinance" that would have permitted the signs being barred, but would have required them to be maintained in a neat and orderly manner.

The "Friendly Sign Ordinance" may be viewed here: A Friendly Sign Ordinance

Senator Jordan urged the members to consider some of the ideas I proposed, which he said had merit, but my recommendations received no further consideration.

Attorney George Whitten urged the council to consider the increased costs the city would suffer in staffing and enforcement of the new ordinance, as well as the confusion it would introduce for business owners trying to comply. His concerns were dismissed as frivolous.

Sonic owner Tommy McCrory described to the council his fear that the prohibition on banners would cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in lost revenue. He described the loss of sales tax, and the necessity to cut back on employee hours, as possible further consequences. Senator Jordan again expressed sympathy for his concerns.

Johnny Jennings began by professing to love Sonic. But then his comments turned ugly when he began lecturing Mr. McCrory about how he wasn't using proper methods to advertise his business.

Jennings told McCory he should "build another store on Highway 82" if he was having trouble getting customers, and that he should install new electronic signs.

Jennings described how that, if he were running Mr. McCrory's business, he would be able to sit down with some experts and design a much more effective method of advertising using modern social media methods, to "make twice as much" as Mr. McCrory was making using his advertising banners.

After being talked down to and talked over repeatedly by Mr. Jennings for quite some time, Mr. McCrory could only turn away from him in disgust.

Jennings' hubris, lecturing tone, and belittling of Mr. McCrory as a businessman were truly appalling.

Video of the whole sordid affair will be posted later today on The Taxpayers Channel. See here: City Council Meeting video

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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