A: Cry “censorship” if you please, Indie, but it’s the law: No young whippersnappers and their flyers are allowed to put their paw prints all over our city’s sacred utility poles. Maurice Jones, ever civic-minded director of communications for the City, explains the restrictions this way: “A proliferation of flyers throughout the city would take away from the beauty of our neighborhoods.”
See, our city’s fair telephone poles may be in public demand, but they are far from public property. Each pole is privately owned by either Virginia’s ubiquitous power broker, Dominion Power, or by the City itself. Who owns what pole depends on who raised the thing in the first place.
But laws, schmaws. Take a stroll around Downtown and you’ll find crap pasted up all over the place. But if the City has anything to do with it, the culprits behind such subversive behavior will be tracked down and stopped! (If, that is, these criminals are stupid enough to announce their contact info on the flyers. Hint, hint). To that end, the City employs a team of zoning inspectors whose job duties include looking for such illegal signage. When they spot it they bring it down, down, down.
Should you get caught doing a little illegal flyering, you won’t end up in the slammer. You won’t even get more than a “naughty, naughty” for the first or second bust. But three strikes and you’re out: Your ass lands in court and gets spanked with a $100 ticket. For each subsequent violation, expect to shell out $250 per ticket, up to a whopping $5,000. Petty crimes, if we know anything about our legal system, do not always equal petty cash.
But before you put your wallet in jeopardy by papering the streets, duly note that the City provides a number of places where flyers are welcome. Try the kiosk on the east end of the Downtown Mall, bulletin boards in City Hall, and you can always ask local businesses if you can post them in the window.
However, Jones warns that even at the City-approved poster destinations, “flyers that we deem obscene” will be taken down. While Jones admits that he is “not sure if we have written guidelines” regarding what “obscene” means aside from a notion of “nudity and curse words,” Ace guesses that Jones might not want lascivious titties or fair weather “bums” advertising themselves on public property.