With all the things our county’s cops have to tend to, from petty thefts to violent criminals, it’s hard to imagine a less-valuable use of their time than checking a prudish complaint about a woman waving a sign.
But that’s what they had to deal with this past week when a motorist got the vapors about the wording on the sign Nancy Seitz was paid to hold on a public sidewalk. “Bite me,” the sign read, touting a mosquito-eradication service.
After a time-wasting drive-by, the deputies deemed Seitz and her sign not to be a threat to humanity. Everyone had an eye-rolling laugh at the anonymous, blue-nose complainer’s expense, and the world moved on.
As humorous as it might be, this incident raises a constructive issue that county officials might want to discuss. As companies continue to seek innovative ways to attract customers, one low-tech method has been to hire people to wave signs. Legally the businesses can’t post signs on public property, but if a person is holding the sign on a sidewalk, it’s protected by free speech rights.
But is there a limit? Would citizens demand regulation if, say, a sign-holder’s antics led to car crashes from distracted drivers?
It’s far from the biggest issue any community has to worry about. But it’s worth pondering before someone gets more than just their sensibilities hurt.