The City of Macclenny would be well advised to dump the proposed ordinance bannng “live signs” and instead concentrate on ridding its streets — most notably busy South 6th — of the hodge-podge of ugly signage that is truly a distraction to motorists and the eyes of anyone driving, riding, walking or in the case of late night bar patrons, stumbling along the thoroughfare.
The city commission believes “live signs” that feature warm bodies waving them for pawn shops, restaurants, cellphone companies, etc. pose a danger to motorists because they are often waved directly at oncoming traffic.
Maybe so, but they’re no worse than electronic signs that grace several financial institutions and, more lately, the health department office on Lowder St. Those are placed in attractive settings and except for one are close to the ground — at eye level — and don’t constitute eyesores.
The commission passed the proposed ordinance on first reading on July 10 and it’s scheduled for a second hearing and final passage on August 14.Hopefully, business interests affected by the ban will show up, along with others who see this is a further intrusion by government on private small businesses at just the wrong time.
They won’t get far arguing that “live signs” are free speech, because that will be countered by city fathers insisting they’re more focused on the safety of motorists. But they may get somewhere pleading that small businesses need a break in 2012, not more hindrances from Big Brother.
It’s a bit of a stretch to say that the types of “live signs” that have popped up in recent months constitute a real hazard. And that includes the guy in the body stocking “Spider Man” garb who for a time danced around the sidewalk for Verizon. He made us laugh.
They might convince board members to allow “live signs” further back from the right-of-way to lessen the distraction danger, if in fact there exists a danger.
It seems like Macclenny is overreacting a bit, and the damage potential to mostly small, taxpaying businesses is greater than the perils to motorists. And what about political candidates and their supporters waving signs the next few months on all busy street corners?
Are they distractions, and should they be banned? Many believe they are and should be.
And what about the most irritating distraction of them all — firemen and cheerleaders soliciting cash at stop lights? Give me the gal with the pawn shop sign, or better, the Verizon Spider Man any day.
And while we’re at it, how did that guy stay cool in that body stocking? Just askin’.