STANTON : Card-Club Campaign Signs Spark Dispute

When it comes to hot local issues, the fierce debate over card clubs is closely followed by the City Council's bitter dispute over campaign signs.

When the City Council meets tonight, Councilman Joe V. Harris, who has led the campaign in favor of card clubs, said he will protest the scores of bright anti-card club signs on utility poles on the city's main streets.

Harris said he holds accountable his fellow councilman, Harry Dotson, who has written the official argument against Measure A, a June 8 ballot item that would allow card clubs in Stanton. Dotson is also a member of the Committee for Community Pride and Forward Vision, which opposes card clubs.

"Councilman Dotson is an insult and an embarrassment to the City Council of Stanton because he's participating in a committee that is knowingly violating the law," Harris said. Harris made the same charge at a crowded council meeting two weeks ago, when he first accused Dotson of illegally displaying signs.

Political signs may not be placed on public property or utility poles, according to community development director John R. White. He said the city has mailed a letter to the anti-card club committee notifying its officials of the law.

David J. Shawver, chairman of the Committee for Community Pride and Forward Vision, said his group told its workers not to mount signs on utility poles.

"We did get the word out to a lot of the volunteers that we didn't think that was acceptable," Shawver said.

But he said many signs against card clubs have been put up by outraged residents acting on their own and are not the responsibility of the committee.

"They should go out there and take those signs down themselves," Harris responded.

The most recent signs say "NO on A" in pink neon letters, with the slogan "It's a Bad Deal." They have been placed about 15 feet from the ground on many street lights and telephone poles along Beach Boulevard and Katella Avenue.

Dotson said the new signs were not placed by his committee, and White said he also does not know which group is responsible.

"We don't know where they're coming from, but they're saying what we want," Dotson said.

Shawver and Dotson say any action against their committee would amount to selective enforcement of the sign ordinance.

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