Stupid Street Spammers

May 27, 2003 - 1:37 pm 7 Comments

A conversation with, who has plastered signs all over 15th St.:

In case you care, which I doubt, street spam is illegal and defaces our fair city. Seeing as how you don’t feel you are subject to the laws that govern the rest of us poor plebes, I have absolutely no inclination to support your cause. By putting your ugly red signs all over Austin, you’re going to piss off a lot of people. Perhaps you should take a moment and check out for more details.

I’m disgusted with what you’ve done to 15th street, you spammers and litterers.

Dear Xxxx Xxxx-

We believe that our sign placement was a constitutionally protected exercise of the hallowed First Amendment right to freedom of speech–a consideration that necessarily trumps subjective aesthetic judgments. (I rather like the signs, and you must admit they are effective.)

However, if you feel that their placement violates the law, I would be grateful if you could direct me to the relevant city ordinance or state code provision.

Xxxx Xxxx

Since you seem to be incapable of looking it up for yourself:


     (A)     A person may not cause or authorize a sign to be installed, used, or maintained on a structure located on or over a public property or public right-of-way, except as authorized by this chapter.

     (B)     The primary beneficiary of any sign installed in violation of this section is presumed to have authorized or caused the installation, use, or maintenance of the sign in violation of this section and commits an offense.

     (C)     The City Manager may remove a sign or other advertising device installed, used, or maintained on or over any public property or public right-of-way in violation of this chapter.  Notice is not required to be given to the owner or beneficiary of a sign removed under this section, either before the removal or before the disposition or destruction of the sign.

     (D)     This section does not prohibit the installation, use, or maintenance in the public right-of-way of:

          (1)     a sidewalk sign;

          (2)     a projecting sign in the downtown sign district;

          (3)     a street banner; or

          (4)     a wall sign that is mounted flat against the building and extends not more than 18 inches from the facade of a building and into public right-of-way.”

“SIDEWALK SIGN means a sign located on a sidewalk, either within public right-of-way or on private property within a unified development, advertising the business abutting the sidewalk where the sign is located.”

Chief Justice Warren Berger has this to say about your First Amendment argument:

“Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit.”

P.S. The City of Austin has really been cracking down on street spammers lately, levying a $500 fine PER SIGN. I find it ironic that you may have to show _them_ the money.

7 Responses to “Stupid Street Spammers”

  1. raspil Says:

    Are the ad rates in the Chronicle sky high or what? How are these bands supposed to advertise? How are tourists supposed to know that Austin is “Live Music Cap…” oh, you know the rest. So much has changed there since I left.

  2. Addlepated Says:

    You’d be amazed at the amount of crap that clutters up the medians – everything from political things (like this to home builderss to MAKE MONEY FAST! to Metabolife… some intersections will have several DOZEN signs on one corner. I don’t mind band flyers, or lost dog posters, or garage sale notices, etc. but the people who prompted my posting had put up around 50 signs in the median and along the sides of 15th St.

  3. Prentiss Riddle Says:

    I’m conflicted: I hate street spam from get-rich-quick and weight-loss scammers, but I love band flyers and the like. The problem is that I’m distinguishing by content, which does bring first amendment issues into play if the city does it. (I also distinguish by materials: the evil street spammers tend to use the least biodegradable materials possible, followed closely by political campaign signs — but then I put political signs in my own yard. At least I dispose of them properly after the election is over.)

    What I wish is that when the City Council started cracking down on this issue they or some other community entity had taken the lead on creating more legitimate space for desirable advertising. I’d like to see kiosks or bulletin boards installed in high-density places like the Drag and downtown and also in neighborhood locations like parks and retail centers. Neighborhood and business groups could volunteer to keep them up (although in practice the one-person postering company Motorblade does a pretty good job of policing the bulletin boards on his route).

    Instead I gather that most such organizations view band flyers and the like as a nuisance and would rather see them disappear altogether. The Drag actually has fewer bulletin boards than it did before the Council made an issue of this some years back and the Guadalupe “beautification” efforts got underway (which at this point just consist of a lot of talk and some paint on the pavement as far as I can tell). In fact, I get the impression that Motorblade was able to make a go of his business precisely because posting spots were in such short supply that it took knowledge of the territory to find them, instead of just hitting light poles and selected walls as before.

    I’m surprised to hear about the fines, though. The first time I recall this coming up, the Council backed off on enforcement because they couldn’t legally assume that the person or business named on the poster was actually responsible for putting it up. This sounds like a bogus argument until you realize that they were probably trying to fine bars for the posters put up by bands. Do they now have to catch street spammers in the act? Or have they found some other way to get around the problem?

  4. Shark Hunter Says:

    There is a new website that should clear all of this up.

  5. GreatCauss Says:

    Whatever, andrew. So long as you pay the fines
    and pick up the signs, I will be happy. How many
    spammers have you attracted to your pathetic
    cause? Last time I checked, all your sites were
    basically dead and unvisited. Furthermore, your
    sites are appearing in the company of other
    spammers / cranks / losers. Here’s my favorite
    so far:

    You have yet to justify why it is okay for you
    to dump your signs on other people’s property
    to promote your selfish money making schemes.

  6. caussmyauss Says:

    Do a Google or Yahoo search for causs. Nice results if you ask me !!!!

  7. GreatCauss Says:

    Andrew, I search for causs, and comes up ***FIRST*** as expected. So what? You are wasting a lot of energy promoting something that is ugly, illegal, and annoying. Your so-called movement against CAUSS has fizzled. Go back to selling your p0rn and scalping tickets.