Benton’s Sign Ban Anti-Freedom, Bad for Economy

Imagine owning a business and not being able to advertise. This is the world Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton wants to impose upon our city. He states that he wants to ban on electronic billboards (including those on sites owned by businesses) because “they’re a traffic nuisance and they don’t look good.” The issue will be heard at Monday’s City Council meeting (August 1).

Now, whether they are dangerous to traffic or not would seem to be a scientific question that can be studied, but it would seem that those in favor of a ban bear the burden of proving this point in advance of a ban, not the other way around. As to whether they look good or not, that is clearly subjective and it would seem that using the force of law to impose one person’s aesthetic preferences on the rest of us would be unfair and even immoral. Of course, as an architect, Benton is used to handling aesthetics and controlling how people live certain aspects of their lives. The difference is that builders can hire or not hire him to design a building. As City Councilor, he has the power to force the rest of us to bend to his will.

Now, if Benton were to get his way, there are First Amendment issues that might arise from such a ban. Our friends at the Institute for Justice have challenged a sign ban in Dallas. Perhaps similar legal challenges could be brought to bear in Albuquerque?

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8 Replies to “Benton’s Sign Ban Anti-Freedom, Bad for Economy”

  1. Somehow a proposed ban on electronic billboards equals a complete ban on all advertising.

    Whether a electronic billboards should be banned or not is worth discussing, why does it require sensationalism and misleading lead-ins?

    1. It is not just billboards. This would apply to a much wider variety of signs including on-premises signs. No, not ALL advertising, but a very intrusive ban on certain kinds of free speech is being pursued here.

  2. This is but a small hint of the coordinated attack on economic freedom and particularly private property rights stemming from UN Agenda 21.

    The implementation arm of Agenda 21 is ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) USA. Albuquerque is one of nine cities and counties in NM that are dues paying members of ICLEI and have pledged to support the sustainable development goals of Agenda 21 (read spread the wealth).

    Former Mayor Martin Chavez is the ICLEI Executive Director which is a clue why Albuquerque is so hot to implement some of these onerous policies.

    Albuquerque and Santa Fe have both completed sustainable development plans under ICLEI. The signs are a tip of the ice berg. The green building codes that Mayor Berry came out against is another current example.

    1. Hello Mr. Crawford,
      Can you tell me of any organizions here in Albuquerque that are attempting to educating the public about Agenda 21 and ICLEI? It seems the media is not about to help, and I consider Agenda 21 to be a great threat to all Americans. (and Codex Alimentarius). Thanks, Susan

  3. Nobody will ever confuse me with a liberal, but I support signage restrictions to promote traffic safety and esthetic values.
    Signage restrictions are not tantantmount to banning all advertising.
    Commercial speech does not have the same protections as other speech.
    Down with hideous signage.

  4. It is not really about the signs; it is a mater of freedom and liberty. Little by little they (the government) are presuming to tell us what we can and can not do by telling us that our rights are granted to us by government and not by our creator, and the sheeple just follow along. Some examples are church soup lines now have to be catered (heard on the radio). The government has no business in that area. They say it is for our safety but how dangerous was it really. The other example is school carnivals, all food has to be store bought and packaged food for “the safety of the children”. Winning Mrs. Smiths Snickers cake was much better than winning a package of store bought cookies. The signs are just another example of the erosion of rights in the name of safety.

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