Constable on a mission

Fifth District Magistrate Carl Bolton shows one of the wire frames that could be left behind long after a political advertisement has disintegrated.
Fifth District Magistrate Carl Bolton shows one of the wire frames that could be left behind long after a political advertisement has disintegrated.

By Bobbie Poynter

Printing enough political signs to get people’s attention can be very costly. For candidates around Knox County who have abandoned their advertisements along public thoroughfares, the cost could get even higher.

These leftover political signs littering Kentucky’s public highways have become more than just eyesores. They have become a danger to the highway crews who are tasked with mowing the roadsides. The wires left behind after the paper has disintegrated cannot be seen by the road crews. These wires can easily get caught up in the crew’s equipment or worse yet, become a projectile aimed directly for a nearby home.

Even with the brightly colored cardboard signs still attached, many have already fallen into the tall grass or have been buried in the ditches along the highways.

According to Kentucky State Revised Statute 512.080, it is illegal for a person to affix an advertisement, poster, notice or other matter to any public property. This includes advertisements of a commercial, political or charitable nature.

Fifth District Constable Carl Bolton has received numerous complaints about the leftover campaign signs and has decided to take action. That’s why he addressed the Knox County Fiscal Court Wednesday to announce he will soon begin issuing citations to the owners of those signs left out in the Fifth District, which could ultimately cost the violator up to $1,000 per incident.

“Sure, it’s fine for people put signs out in their own yards,” said Bolton. “It’s their property, and they can do as they like. We’re not concerned with those. I’m going after those signs that have been left beside public highways.”

Bolton said he understands that people may not even realize it’s illegal to put these signs out along the roads.

“Still, that’s no excuse for leaving them up indefinitely,” said Bolton. “There’s such a thing as respect for your neighbors and the surrounding community. These signs are nothing but litter and, as such, they need to be picked up and either disposed of properly or put away and saved for the next election. If not, I’m responsible to the people in my district and I will do my job.”