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10 STILL FACE CHARGES AS BATTLE OF SIGNS SHIFTS TO SIZE

The issue no longer is whether political signs can be displayed on front lawns in the Village of Hamburg. They can.

But another subsection of the village's sign ordinance limiting the size of such signs to 4 square feet represents a continuing battle for 10 residents cited for violating the ordinance.

That fight won't end until well after Election Day.

"It's absolutely a ridiculous position," said attorney Barry Covert, who represented eight of the homeowners Friday night in Village Court. "They are now trying to torture the statute."

The courtroom was packed as Village Justice Thomas H. Rosinski moved the case to the top of his docket for arraignment en masse of the 10 residents.

The ordinance permits political election signs only in front of political headquarters, and the signs are to be removed within three days after the election. The maximum penalty for a violation is a fine of $250 a day for as long as the violation continues.

"I had a chance to review the sign ordinance . . .," Village Prosecutor Jay A. Pohlman told the judge. "It appears that Section 6 (which limits election signs to political headquarters) is a violation of the residents' First Amendment rights."

That said, Pohlman moved to dismiss that particular charge against the residents and it was done. That action totally ended the case for an 11th resident.

"I have spoken to the village fathers, and I have told them of my findings," Pohlman continued. "They have indicated they would revisit the code."

However, the 10 residents still face charges they violated Subsection 3 of the ordinance, which limits the size of "directional" or "informational" to 4 square feet.

Covert entered a not guilty plea on behalf of eight of the residents. The arraignments of the two other residents were adjourned because of scheduling conflicts.

A Nov. 21 court date was scheduled for all 10 residents.

"We are going to leave our signs up," said Covert, adding that he felt confident the remaining charge will be dismissed.

The charge, Covert said, is "an attempt to prevent the Republicans from beating them (Democrats) in the upcoming elections. It's nothing but politics as usual by the Democrats in power."

Most of the political signs are for Republican candidates.

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