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November, 2001

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Michael Lewis

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Rarely can a candidate for any office, much less the School Board, set as bad an example for the public as Georgia Deitz, the Republican-endorsed candidate in the 2001 St. Paul School Board race. All in one go, she managed to flunk mathematics, reading comprehension, and civics. The single thing that accomplished this rare trifecta was the infliction of billboard-sized lawn signs on the unsuspecting neighborhoods in St. Paul. These behemoths, measuring a whopping 8 feet by 4 feet, are twice the maximum allowable lawn sign area. The City ordinance on the subject states:

No temporary election sign may exceed sixteen (16) square feet on any side nor be designed to have more than two (2) sides.

Not hard to understand. But Ms. Deitz insisted that scoffing at the law was better than complying with it. To add insult to injury, when the City's enforcement division cited her for the obvious violation, she appealed it, arguing that she was being somehow discriminated against because of her message. The fact that no other candidate in this election managed to exceed the sign size limit did not appear to have been accounted for in her argument.

A side-effect of her appeal was to prevent the signs removal pending the next City Council meeting. Which was scheduled to occur just after the election. Did she do the right thing, and take down her signs pending that hearing? Nah. She left them up, thereby violating the spirit of the appeals process. Why do the right thing, when you can eke out some miniscule advantage by abusing the process?

She came in fifth.

Michael Lewis
D-Zine Editor/Ward 3 DFL Chair
  
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