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Maui Now : Ask the Mayor: Aren’t Campaign Signs ‘Distracting?’

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his staff.

Q: I think it’s so hypocritical that there’s laws against “distracted driving,” yet it’s perfectly okay for politicians and their supporters to hold up bright signs and line the busiest streets during rush hour while waving at drivers and asking them to honk and wave back in support while they are driving.

Shouldn’t this practice be outlawed to be more consistent with our distracted driving policies?

A: You have a valid point, and actually your comments are already very similar to what is part of Maui County Code 12.42 on Sign Waving on Public Highways. It states that:

“Sign waving on public highways has increased significantly over the past years. Such activities threaten the safety and welfare of motorists and pedestrians alike. Sign wavers often congregate near busy intersections, along roadways, and near crosswalks. These activities can distract motorists, interfere with and obscure pedestrians using sidewalks and crosswalks, and obstruct the view of motorists merging into oncoming traffic or making turns into intersecting streets.”

This portion of the code has a number of rules that sign wavers need to follow. Otherwise, if someone makes a complaint or law enforcement drives by and sees the offenses for themselves, they can be subject to a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $200 for all subsequent offenses. If anyone sees a campaign sign-holder doing something unsafe, he or she should report it to the police or at least call the campaign headquarters to inform the person running for office that the behavior of their volunteers needs to change.

If they want your vote, they’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, (808) 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

This column originally appeared in publication on Feb. 13, 2013.

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