DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A move for safety or political dirty trick?
That's the question in Deerfield Township after the township pulled up yard signs -- many of them for political candidates -- just days before the election.
Any signs in a public right of way violate the law -- and the township has the right to remove them -- but some first-time candidates looking to replace existing trustees questioned the timing of the move.
"These signs that they picked up have been out for over a month,” said John Wilson, a political newcomer running for trustee. "I think a week before the election - on a night where you get tremendous neighborhood traffic, where people can see signs - to have them pulled ... the timing is a little curious to me."
New candidate Lelle Lutts is suspicious, too.
"The signs have been out in some cases for almost two months now and nobody has had a complaint about the signs or said 'boo' about the signs, but Halloween day rolls around when people are going to be out walking around with their children and that's the day when all of a sudden the signs need to come down," Lutts said.
The entrance to the Deerfield Township garage turned into a virtual sign graveyard -- school signs advertising open houses, real estate signs and political signs -- pulled in a sweep last week.
The campaign has been exceptionally heated this year as newcomers object to the development of Kingswood Park.
But current trustee Wayne Speer says sign removal is a safety issue, not a political vendetta.
“Every initiative is viewed as political, however, this was driven out of a need to remove large signs that became obstructions for drivers, and we can’t ask our road crew to discriminate,” Speer said.
Township administrator Eric Reiners said it’s part of normal township maintenance.
“The Township generally does a sweep of the entire township along all sections of R/W, every two-three weeks, to remove all signs in violation,” Reiners said in a statement.