Lake Stevens mayoral candidate exploits loophole on signs

Wouldn’t it be great if, during every election season, candidates put up huge campaign signs everywhere for months on end, endlessly trying to outdo their opponents with bigger and bigger signs?

That’s apparently the future mayoral candidate Brett Gailey wants for Lake Stevens, to the point where he’s threatened to sue the city he wants to lead over the right to post bigger campaign signs. He later called his statement “a warning” to the city rather than a threat. Listen to the July 9 discussion (starts at 42 minutes in) and judge for yourself (

Gailey says the city’s sign ordinance is out of compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and claims city staff told him he doesn’t have to follow it. Yet every other candidate has complied, perhaps out of a sense that our great community doesn’t benefit from the visual pollution of huge signs.

By his own account, Gailey chose to place nonconforming signs around town. He then used his position to defend his actions. If, as he claims, he is such a champion of free speech, he would have urged changes to the ordinance well before he raised the issue to benefit his campaign.

What if all city residents stopped following ordinances that people find annoying or any law that possibly could be found unenforceable if challenged up to higher courts? Finding “loopholes” instead of enforcing rules made in good faith is a poor way to govern.

Lastly, bigger signs aren’t a substitute for good ideas and leadership.

Eric Fetters

Lake Stevens

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