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Political parties agree to request ban on signs

If the newest agreement among Orchard Park's political parties holds up, nobody will even notice it.

That's because there won't be any political signs to draw attention.

The four largest parties in the town quietly agreed to reinstate an agreement last month to ban signs.

According to the pact, the heads of the Democratic, Republican, Independence and Conservative parties will ask their candidates not to put up signs. They will also make the same request of candidates running for county, state and national offices.

"We finally did it," said Jan Harding-Buffum, chairwoman of the town's Independence Party committee. She had been one of the major forces pushing the agreement after the Democrats pulled out of the agreement in 2005.

Dan NeMoyer, the newly elected town Democratic chairman, said he didn't think the issue was all that big.

"With the Election Day signs, we didn't really see anything wrong with putting them up that morning and taking them down that night," said NeMoyer. "But there were people who felt strongly about it, that you're opening up the door for all signs.

"But I don't think that signs influence people one way or another how to vote. I think the people of Orchard Park are smarter than that."

The original agreement among the parties was created when the town's ban on signs was determined to be unconstitutional -- when challenged by a high school student -- in 2001.

Republican Chairwoman JoAnn Litwin said the new agreement "essentially is the same agreement. We are going to ask our candidates not to post lawn signs. We don't want to see the political littering of our community."

Conservative Chairman Remy Orffeo was not available to comment but provided the agreement for the party heads to sign.

"We ask all candidates who seek our endorsement not to put signs up," Orffeo said earlier this year. "I think it's hypocritical to ask for the support of a town that values its aesthetics and then put up signs and clutter it up."

Harding-Buffum did change the agreement after receiving it from Orffeo and before signing it. When the original agreement was reached, it was termed a "gentlemen's agreement" and the agreement referred to "chairmen."

Now, with two women among the party heads, Harding-Buffum renamed it a "ladies' and gentlemen's agreement" among the parties' "chairpersons."

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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