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Jeanette Rishell: Laws Are What Other People Comply With

By Greg L | 29 October 2009 | Jeanette Rishell, Crime, 50th HOD District | 22 Comments

So what does Jeanette Rishell do when she’s got a huge inventory of yard signs and hardly any people willing to put them in their yards?  Why, you litter them all along Route 234 in violation of Prince William County ordinances, hoping the county’s understaffed zoning enforcement department won’t have time to remove them before the election!  From the border with the City of Manassas (that actually enforces their ordinances, unless you’re a minority) right up to Route 66, there are Rishell yard signs at every intersection in the median strip   Since this is Rishell’s third pass at being an embarassment of a candidate, it’s not like she’s a newbie that doesn’t know the rules.  She knows them well enough.

But laws and ordinances are for those other folks, apparently.  When she heard Chuck Caputo say that “all felons are Democrats”, she might not have taken is so literally.

Manassas City will immediately dispatch zoning enforcement personnel to deal with violations like these, which does a good job of deterring violators.  In Prince William County, enforcement is much more leisurely, inviting those who only need advertising for a short period to flaunt the rules and litter yard signs in the median strips.  You’d think a candidate for office who would end up making laws if elected might not play so fast and loose with the rules in a desperate attempt to obtain political advantage.  Then again, we’ve got Obama in charge, and that sort of behavior from a certain segment of our politicians is getting pretty darned commonplace.

My guess is this little escapade just cost Rishell another five points in the election.  This behavior seriously pisses off a whole lot of voters.

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  1. James Young said on 29 Oct 2009 at 4:18 pm:
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    I’m less interested in Rishell’s response — politicians do this, and I’ve no problem with it, so long as they pick up after themselves, which they almost always do — than I am in the response of the perpetual whiners who complain about it virtually every election season (Craig’s Musings comes to mind).

    Oh, wait: they only whine about REPUBLICAN signs.

    Never mind.

  2. es_la_ley said on 29 Oct 2009 at 4:33 pm:
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    I’d take the signs if they used wooden stakes instead of wire frames. Great tinder for the fire! :-)

  3. Big Dog said on 29 Oct 2009 at 5:04 pm:
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    - Wire supports have taken over - with “bag signs” to slip over them.
    Imagine the campaigns like the recent rain since it becomes easier
    to stick in the wires (and the signs are plastic so wet weather is OK).

    - The City of Manassas has always been strict about enforcement
    of laws not allowing political signs on government owned areas like
    medians although PWC and MP seem to have another view.

  4. Austin said on 29 Oct 2009 at 5:12 pm:
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    Unfortunatrly, some will look at these signs and think she actually has a campaign. She had to use the signs somewhere as nobody seems to want them in thier yard.

  5. G Man said on 29 Oct 2009 at 5:54 pm:
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    Today her “crack” staffers also put tons of them along the Prince William Parkway between Liberia Ave. and Rte 234 bypass. That’s not even in her district. Anything to get rid of the signs I guess.

  6. Pat.Herve said on 29 Oct 2009 at 6:20 pm:
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    all the volunteers for *all* the campaigns place these signs in the road median and shoulders.

    Really not a big deal, as long as they clean up.

  7. Austin said on 29 Oct 2009 at 7:00 pm:
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    Actually, it is a BIG DEAL. If you follow the law, it puts you at a disadvantage. I hope Jackson’s people will not follow suit. The other problem is that campaigns often do not pick up thier signs, they just leave them for the road crews.

  8. Anonymous said on 29 Oct 2009 at 7:03 pm:
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    There are Deeds signs in illegal locations all over the PW parkway, Dale Blvd, etc. Hope Vitter puts that on his blog!

  9. citizenofmanassas said on 29 Oct 2009 at 8:07 pm:
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    That’s OK, at least these signs are in the 50th district. If you travel North on 28 crossover Bull Run, and out of the County, there are a bunch of her signs in the median.

  10. Anonymous said on 29 Oct 2009 at 8:59 pm:
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    Who is the other sign next to Rishell’s in the one photo?

    [Ed note: the other signs are for John Bell. Apparently these two candidates are confused about what district they’re in.]

  11. bubba1 said on 29 Oct 2009 at 9:14 pm:
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    Right on G man. That’s my turf and it’s starting to look like crap. What’s the law on a citizen removing a sign from public property (medians, right-of-ways, etc.) and taking it to the dump or recycling it? I’m equal opportunity; they’re just plain annoying!!

  12. James Young said on 29 Oct 2009 at 10:51 pm:
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    Disclaimer: this is not legal advice, as I am not a Virginia lawyer.

    I don’t think there’s anything that anyone can do to you if you do so, “bubba1.” However, as I noted above, politicians — even losing ones — almost always remove them. I’d give ‘em ’til next Saturday.

  13. Not SPLC said on 30 Oct 2009 at 9:20 am:
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    I’m sure she will excuse it by saying her volunteer’s did it!

  14. Advocator said on 30 Oct 2009 at 10:00 am:
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    Bubba1: I am a VA lawyer and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to you if you remove an illegally placed sign that is not on private property. Assuming, of course, you do not block traffic or break some other law while doing so. Have at it. I’ve used the signs by turning them “inside out” and placing bumper stickers from other candidates on the blank substrate. If you do a public service by picking them up, I suggest you return them Monday night to the candidate’s HQ.

    In the past, Senator Colgan’s minions seem to have been the most egregious violaters of signage. His highway construction benefactors erected huge signs in the rights of way, many of them obstructing vision of oncoming traffic. However, they were all gone after the elections.

  15. Pat.Herve said on 30 Oct 2009 at 1:48 pm:
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    oh my goodness, I was on Wellington Road, and I saw a Bob McDonnel sign and a Ken C. sign in the VDOT right of way, should I take a picture??

  16. Manassasinsider said on 30 Oct 2009 at 2:23 pm:
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    I think the difference between a few scattered signs from the various campaigns that you see on the right of way in Prince William County or Manassas is just the result of an over zealous volunteer. Not a result of coordinated campaign efforts as seen in Fairfax county where it is not against the zoning laws. (and BTW the medians in Fairfax look horrible.)

    The difference with the Rishell campaign is that it appears to be an effort of the campaign staff as opposed to just a volunteer. This is evident by the large volume of signs present. I hope her campaign clears them up as soon as possible.

  17. Fairness in Media said on 31 Oct 2009 at 12:24 am:
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    I think people are stating which is fairly obvious. It is election time and this is par for the course. Regardless of jurisdiction, no one is really concerning themselves with legally posting signs. They just want to get then out and place them anywhere regardless of party affiliation. So what else is new?

  18. Greg L said on 31 Oct 2009 at 12:29 am:
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    I would just think that someone who wants the opportunity to craft the laws we are required to obey would exhibit some degree of respect for those laws themselves. If Rishell’s campaign flouts the law, are we required to comply with the laws she crafted or voted in favor of, or are we also free to flout them as she has done?

  19. park'd said on 31 Oct 2009 at 9:29 am:
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    haha where does this clownette keep finding the money to waste every election and why haven’t those benefactors told her to beat it by now? She doesn’t just lose every election, she gets trounced. It boggles me how after this many years she manages to keep getting the funding to run…

  20. JYP said on 31 Oct 2009 at 11:45 pm:
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    I agree with what Greg L said on 31 Oct 2009 at 12:29 am.

    Rich Anderson has blanketed medians in the 51st district with campaign signs in violation of county ordinances and has disseminated an expunged arrest record in violation of state law.

    Like Greg said, “I would just think that someone who wants the opportunity to craft the laws we are required to obey would exhibit some degree of respect for those laws themselves. If [Rich Anderson’s] campaign flouts the law, are we required to comply with the laws [he] crafted or voted in favor of, or are we also free to flout them as [he] has done?”

  21. Big Dog said on 1 Nov 2009 at 9:45 pm:
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    What do yard signs cost each now? Know it varies by volume,
    design and color — but ballpark? $3.50 - $4.50? Anyway, they
    aren’t free to the campaign.

  22. Greg L said on 1 Nov 2009 at 11:28 pm:
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    Good point. Nice to see Rishell blow $300-$500 on signs that allowed her to qualify to pay a fine to PWC for zoning violations. The whole escapade may have cost her campaign about a thousand bucks, and the signs were picked up by the litter crew this weekend sometime.

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