No Roger, No Rerun, No Rent!

Now that was a protest I could get behind. Remember the classic show “What’s happening now”? That was a proper protest. There were people holding placards and there was no damage to public parks. And in the end they got Roger and Rerun back in the building. Alright back on point, thanks to a reader for alerting me to the fact that every single lamppost in Grant Circle has been plastered with protest signs.

The reader writes: “ANYWAY. I got home from a week of vacation and noticed that all around Grant Circle, on every single light post, are bright yellow anti war posters. Now, I’m totally against the war, but I’m also against organizations littering all over public property and when I called ANSWER, the sponsor of the anti war march, she told me that they were allowed to do that because light posts were public property, that i was wasting her time and she hung up on me.”

I have to say that is pretty messed up. We are not talking about the war itself. We are talking about the fact that these signs are a blight. They also have serious adhesive an will not be easily removed after Sept. 15th. So what the hell? Do we have to sacrifice Grant Circle in the name of “free speech”? Do you think the organizers will remove these stickers after the march? I am sure there has got to be a better way. What do you think?

35 Comment

  • I can’t believe ANSWR has the unlimited right to post on lightposts with adhesive? And if they do, like political campaigns, they must be responsible to remove the posters after a certain point or be fined? It just doesn’t sound like that are being very respectful of people who politically support them.

  • Those signs bother me, too, and I’m 100% against the war, think Bush is a fool, etc. Maybe I’m just getting old. In this day and age, the protesters will likely get a better turnout if they focus on email, texting, and other means of getting the word out rather than laboriously pasting signs to lampposts.

    Also, if they;re going to put up signs, why put then in neighborhoods where 99% of the residents already agree with them? Why not plaster Karl Rove’s neighborhood with signs…

  • You would never see this in the tonier ‘hoods because they wouldn’t stand for it and there would be cops coming down on the pasters like acid rain. No one cared about “Borf” until he started tagging “nice” neighborhoods or “Cool Disco Dan” before he crossed the line into Ward 3. This is just as much a nuisance and an eyesore as any graphitti in neighborhoods already innundated with urban blight. Politicos don’t remove their signs from every neighborhood they trash either. Hell, there was a “Vote For Marion Barry” sign at Piney Branch and Rittenhouse long into Anthony Williams second term. I think hurricane Isobel finally blew it away…

  • Ok, so I was the guy who called ANSWER as I was walking home from my shift at Domku yesterday afternoon. I got the rude response. Here is an idea: If you call ANSWER at 202-544-3389 ext 14, ask for Sara Sloan, their media person and complain. (Thanks Joe for this info)

    When I called yesterday, a woman told me that they had limited funds and this was the only way they could get their views heard. I asked how hard the posters were to remove, she said they easily came off with water, to which I replied “oh, so when it rains, these things will be littering all over the ground?” And then she hung up on me.

    I’m against the war as much as the next guy, but I totally agree with theguy (the third post) on why this type of stuff is ‘tolerated’, and also why I think we should all call to complain. Call Muriel Bowser too while you’re at it, or send her an email.

  • i’m going to call ANSWER too. they glue their crap to stuff all over shaw and bloomingdale too, and it’s just plain ugly. (usual caveats apply: i am against the war, dislike bush, etc.) this using of public property may be “their right” on some level, but with rights come responsibility, and these people take ZERO responsibility for their defacement of public property. screw them, they’re a bunch of facists.

  • i understand the vitriol where the aesthetic/courtesy issues surrounding these posters are concerned. i only wish this same degree of -ah-passion could have been generated by “my fellow americans” over these past 6 1/2 years…

  • It was, by each and every troop who has fought and continues to fight.

  • These signs are not a blight, they add visual interest in my opinion. Anything that can make you stop and think for a second is good in my book.

  • Ending the war is certainly much more important than keeping light posts looking “clean” and nice for folks in the neighborhood. If the posters help raise awareness, they are adding a positive to the area, not a negative.

    Use that energy towards stopping the war, not worrying about poster ads.

    My two cents.

  • I disagree whole-heartedly with the people in favor of the posters.

    If you want to end the war, the same person who spent time plastering signs onto the light posts should have just stood in the circle during rush hour with his or her friends holding placards. People drive by these light-post posters at a speed where they can’t even read what is on them. The people who do notice them are folks like me, who live and walk in the neighborhood and will have to see blighted light posts for the next 3 years while the posters trash the circle. It raised my awareness that this particular anti-war group needs to be more creative in ways of getting their information across instead of littering and vandalizing.

    Perhaps those of you in favor of the posters could help me clean them off of the light posts?

  • The most important point made is why plaster a neighborhood where the vast majority of the people agree with you (whether they are able/willing to go to a march is another matter)?

    Couldn’t that time and money be better spent on people in Flyover, USA who don’t have a flippin’ clue what it going on?

    Seems like the flyers are wasted effort.

  • FOX carried a story on this:;jsessionid=FD6E7BEBC07162%20106C95CB9BE9CAA9%20DB?contentId=3957232&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

    They showed how difficult it is to remove the signs (15 minutes with chemicals per sign). ANSWR stated that they may sue if the signs are taken down.

  • Prince of Petworth and Patrick,

    Thank you for bringing this issue to light. I was motivated to this morning send ANSWER an email also expressing my unhappiness with their tactics. I am tired of this organization treating the whole city of DC as if we were a war zone.

    I also invited them to make some immediate and lasting changes in the world by volunteering in the neighborhood.

  • Bonnie,

    Thanks for the Fox5 News link. It was a great story. I may try my hand at removing the signs from the circle this week. Anyone want to help?


  • Patrick: Easy solution: we can plaster “PoP ROOLZ!” signs over the top of them.

  • This is somewhat plagerized, but still a good clarification on the DC municipal reuglations regarding posting on public space.

    Commercial posters on lampposts are illegal, however, per Section 108 of Title 24 of DC’s municipal regulations political postering is legal, with certain caveats.

    The posters can not be up for more than sixty days, they have to have on them a date when they were put up. They can be secured to the lamppost to avoid being torn or disengaged by weather, however, they may not be fastened by adhesives that prohibit complete removal, and, more importantly, you can’t put up more than three copies within one block.

  • Daniel, dude you rock. I’m calling ANSWER now. To those who’re telling we should be more concerned about other things….B.S.

  • So, I happened to be over in the she-she neighborhoods on the west side of the park today. Every intersection I saw is plastered with these signs. It’s not just in da hood…

  • Patrick,

    I will help take the posters off of Grant Circle light poles. I noticed there are four at the base of all the lamp posts. If it takes 15 minutes to remove them, thanks to the glue, that makes it an hour of work per light pole in Grant Circle.

    So nice of the protesters.

  • dear pauper: i know the gist of this post has to do with the poster, and not the war itself, but
    people who don’t question why they are going to take part in an illegal war don’t tickle my patriotic funny bone. (though i’m admittedly not a central casting patriot.. no matter. america will always do whatever it take$$$.

  • I can’t wait to live in a world where the outrage over actual injustice and violence and war equals the outrage over posters on light posts.

    I imagine I’ll be waiting a long, long time.

  • Wow. I don’t necessarily agree with the war, but regardless I will always support anyone who signs the dotted line.

    I’m actually appauled that you would say these people don’t tickle your patriotic funny bone. Why don’t you go up to Walter Reed and visit some of them and tell them that to their face? You know the unpatriotic men and women who now will live their lives in wheelchairs because their legs were blown off during a car-bombing.

  • To those of you who support the posting of political signs on the lampposts and street furniture: The outrage against the war is already at a peak, nationwide. Whether it’s here, or in the fancy upper-NW neighborhoods, 90% of residents are against the war and against Bush. Remember the 2004 vote tallies in DC? This is called preaching to the choir. It’s a big waste of time, and yes, it’s annoying that we’ll be left to clean up the tattered trash on every vertical surface in the city. Why don’t the protest organizers plaster signage in places like Texas and Montana, where some folks may still support the war? Along with the graffiti tags and litter in the streets, the fading signs and adhesive that’s left behind reflects a general disorder and unattractive residential environment. I can be against that AND the war. I’ve been outraged about the war from day one, and I’m highly dubious of the effectiveness of these signs, preaching to the choir.

  • DireWolf:

    There are SO many more creative ways of getting your point across that dont include plastering trash all over government property in residential neighborhoods. I remember during the mayoral election, groups of supporters of Fenty and Cropp would gather around the circle, at major intersections, etc with posters and signs and that grabbed my attention and made me MUCH more excited about participating then if they had slapped glued posters over all of the lamp-posts in the city.

    I am against the war. I am not for people coming in and trashing the neighborhood, no matter what their cause.

  • I don’t consider political discourse, in the form of posters in public places, trash. This country has a long history of public leafletting, postering and signage going back to the Common Sense days. Yeah, they’re hard to remove, yeah they might contribute to a little “disorder” in the area’s look and feel. But that’s the price we pay to have a vibrant democracy of ideas. Who are you to tell people not to put up posters in public spaces, on public items that all our tax dollars go to?

    Limit speech in the interest of “order” and “cleanliness”? No thank you!

    Besides, one person’s idea of “trash” is another’s “treasure.” I happen to think political and other posters give the neighborhood some flavor and flair that it sorely needs.

    Sorry if I seem angry, but the outrage at the posters just seems really petty to me.

  • DCdirewolf: Free speech? I wonder if you’d be so gung-ho for the posters if they were for a rally in support of the war, or better yet, some sort of commercial enterprise — after all, that’s a form of free speech as well.

    The fact that you equate people being annoyed that they have to suffer these pointless signs with not caring about “the war” is a leap.

    What have you done about ending the war? Marched? Wrote some letters? Voted? Complained on a blog? Just about anyone can oppose the war just as effectively.

    If you want to really impress then stop paying your taxes, *then* I’ll give you extra anti-war props.

    The signs are a waste of paper.

  • Commercial speech is a different animal. And while I would strongly disagree with the pro-war messages posted on the light posts, I would strenuously defend the right for them to be there.

    Reasonable people can disagree on how effective, if at all, the posters are. I just take issue at the notion that they shouldn’t be there because they look “trashy.”

    Democracy is messy.

  • DCDirewolf: I think it’s more than “they look trashy”. We aren’t talking about signs dotting the national mall, flapping on lampposts in Orange County, or plastered to (very clean) walls in Salt Lake City — places where there might be people either (a) not yet acquainted with the war; or (b) not yet convinced the war is pointless.

    Anyone who bothers to wander around Grant Circle has likely already made their mind up. Most won’t be going to the mall on the 15th and could care less about the fools that do, some might consider it until they see what games are on the teevee that afternoon, and the ones that already have their “Eat My Shorts, Dubya!” placards at the ready don’t need remindin’ about it.

    I’m not against the Answer weekend commie brigade papering up a storm in Virginia, but why in Petworth? It is pointless. If anything, this sort of behavior only hinders the effectiveness of their speech because it takes resources away from a possibly more useful endeavor and it annoys people that might have otherwise been allies or even potential members of Answer (at least until they had to hear them yammer on like Noam Chomsky on peyote).

    Also, Patrick is only employing his right to self expression by tearing the signs down. It really chaps my shorts that you would seek to deny Ol’ Pat his cons-T-tutional rights. I think I’ll call my congressperson.

    And as far as “limiting speech” goes, you know as well as I that there are pretty clear limits to “self expression” in public places, and the city has an absolute right to ban signs and posters whether they are for “Save the Whales” or “Oden’s Olde Timey BBQ Sauce & Solvent”. The fact that speech is not “commercial” doesn’t mean there are not definable limits. In fact, we often place considerable limits on the location and duration of speech primarily based on the annoyance of others (i.e. abortion protesters).

    But I’m not at all surprised by the Answer kommissars feeling like they know what’s best for us dumb proles as they blithely slap posters all over other people’s neighborhoods, and I still get the feeling you want to equate this mindless postering with some sort of “grass roots” movement, but what you might have missed is the “grass roots” movement in this situation is Ol’ Pat.

  • I think the effectiveness or lack thereof of the posters is irrelevant.

    I think, whether it’s grass roots or grass tops or somewhere in between, people/organizations should be allowed to poster the hell out of public spaces.

    And people should be allowed to un-poster the hell out of public spaces. If anyone wants to go rip ’em down, go for it!

    What is wrong, in my opinion, is making it illegal to put ’em up in the first place or that it’s somehow wrong of an organization to get its message out, in any neighborhood it chooses.

    Anyway, seems like further commenting well just have us spinning wheels in the same direction. I’ll give the last word to the rest of you and save my commenting for other topics.


  • While we are depostering Petworth, would someone mind snagging some of the nudie bar flyers that constitute about 50% of the already abundant trash on the 3300-3600 blocks of Georgia Ave and all the side streets? I’d like to blame George Bush for this one as well but unless he’s a part owner in the “Sinsaysionals” Strip Club located a mere 10 miles from my home in Seabrook, MD I don’t think I have much of a leg to stand on.

    Anyone know how to register a complaint on this? My neighbor complains to me about having to run out to her car every day before her young children to avoid them being exposed to the smut. Responses advocating a strippers’ right to eat and smoke crack are not desired.

  • dcdirewolf, I have the outrage in me, plenty of it, but I channel it into ways that actually have an impact, not the narcissistic lefty, patronizing crap like smearing posters all over neighborhoods I could care less about.

    Am I the only one who noticed it’s primarily young, white people defacing a majority African-American neighborhood?

    If the posters really wanted to do something useful, they’d head to the conservative heartland and work to get out of Congress the people who have been drinking W’s Kool Aid and blindy voting to give him everything he wants.

    Defacing a majority, left-leaning Democratic, mostly Black city where the one member of Congress doesn’t even have vote on the House floor demonstrates an insulting regard for the people who live here – especially the primarily African American, working class, old people who live in a neighborhood like Petworth.

  • From this morning DCist: D.C. Goes After Posters: WJLA brings encouraging news for anyone who’s been sorry to see a lingering ad for a years-passed protest event: the city government is cracking down those who illegally post notices on traffic and utility boxes. Among the biggest offenders is ANSWER, the group responsible for many of the city’s largest anti-war protests and some of its most tenacious posters — they’re facing thousands of dollars in fines. ANSWER claims that the new enforcement is politically motivated.

  • i am as war weary as i can be-but i’d still rather see reminders of resistance to a slightly (!) unpopular war than not….

  • They come off! They come off! I was walking past Grant Circle today, and the posters peel right off when they are wet. If you are around there today, feel free to peel away! I got 6 off this morning!

  • PoP and and commenters are right, our outrage is not about the opposition to the war (almost everyone is against it): what we’re against is the needless defacing of public property and the shamelessness with which ANSWER has responded to the complaints. Note, who picks up the tab for their misdeeds: we all do as taxpayers. Also, the ARE APPEALING the (very reasonable) decision in which a judge ordered them to pay the costs for cleanup. This means DC residents will be paying attorneys fees and court costs for their crummy appeal. With regular organizations and companies, if talking to them does not work, one can hit their sponsors and advertisers up and then the offending group may listen. But, here, I would not even know where to start. What about plasting posters of George Bush (whom I hate btw) all over ANSWERS doors and windows? and then throw their argument back at them when they complain, ‘hey dude, free speech’.

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