I am filing a complaint with the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department. It states that a very political sign up on the masthead of one of the fishing boats across from the Black Fin is far too large and offensive for my enjoyment of the Harbor, its peaceful ambiance, and its surrounding environment.

There are rules for signs, and if this sign is left as is, it gives precedence for other boats to place big signs on their masts which would turn the desirable Santa Barbara Harbor into a strip mall of ads, and maybe even flashing electronic signs. Who knows what some boat owners could get away with? Medical Marijuana Dispensary? Massage? Cooking Lessons? AA Meetings? Computer Workshops?

I am not the only person offended by this sign’s size and placement; and it has nothing to do with whose candidacy it is pimping, although political ads and such should be banned in general. I would say only “for sale” signs or for tour and fishing boats should be allowed, and even those should never be on the mast or top of a boat.

Freedom of Speech, you may shout, or Freedom of Expression (they are very different). Signs that can go on a private lawn by an owner are one thing, but the harbor and its boats fall under cases similar to home owner associations or renter policies. There are rules. If you live in a condo or in a controlled subdivision, you can’t just do what you wish, thinking you own the right by paying your mortgage, rent, or, in this case, a slip fee that becomes part of the city’s tax base. No. That sign must go!

And I hope I am not the only person to stand up and say, “Out, out damn eyesore.” Yet, if I am the only one, then I just need to shout louder!


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