Here at Grits Eggs and Politics, we tend to be very community oriented. When we notice a need for information, we attempt to supply it. We have noted a few instances where information is definitely needed, so here goes:
1. If you are considering throwing your hat into the ring to run for any political office, there is a loose protocol when it comes to making your announcement. Numerous venues may be utilized such as: the media, civic meetings, political organization meetings, etc. BUT, the public comment segment of a County Council meeting should NOT be considered appropriate. This action would be considered tacky and would indicate your complete ignorance of the process.
2. If you are a candidate for any office and wish to send out an announcement of any kind, ALWAYS obtain permission from any supporter or campaign donor before you include their name. Be certain the person ACTUALLY donated to your campaign and make sure the amount of the donation is correct. Nothing will dampen a campaign quicker than violating these rules as it denotes dishonesty and deceit.
3. An announcement was made during the latest County Council meeting that the County intends to "fully enforce" the Administration's interpretation of the County's sign ordinance during the up-coming election cycle. In describing what denotes a campaign sign, the Ordinance states "Signs soliciting a vote for a particular candidate or for a position to be taken on a ballot...". The Administration has concluded that signs that do not specifically support a candidate or ballot issue will not qualify as a "legal" campaign sign. No one realized where this was all heading until one obtuse Councilman let the cat out of the bag by asking if this new policy would exclude the "RINO" signs from last election cycle and the answer was "YES".
Well there are a few things wrong with this new interpretation of the Ordinance and with the Ordinance itself. In the first place, the wording of the actual Ordinance is, in fact, UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The wording states you can legally put up a sign that supports a candidate or ballot issue but does not specifically allow anyone to oppose a candidate or issue. That denotes viewpoint discrimination and is, therefore, UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Additionally, for the County to enforce its warped interpretation of the Ordinance, is an even more egregious violation of the First Amendment rights of the citizens of Berkeley County.
Here's a couple of ideas for the Administration to ponder:
Your legal fees involved in a Federal First Amendment law suit would be staggering.
Your embarrassment in losing a Federal First Amendment law suit would be palpable.
Your jeopardy of being sued? Quicker than you can say Berkeley County School Board.