Lincoln Estates fed up with fliers

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:52 p.m.

Doris Edwards is on a campaign to stop event promoters from posting fliers on utility poles in the Lincoln Estates neighborhood in southeast Gainesville.

Edwards, longtime chairwoman of the Lincoln Estates Watch Committee, said she is fed up with the fliers being posted on poles in the community, often with industrial staplers that pose a safety hazard to young children walking to and from school. She said to add insult to injury, the fliers become litter when they fall to the ground.

"This problem has been around for several years, but on a very minimal level, with one or two little fliers here and there," said Edwards, who has helped Lincoln Estates gain recognition for its beautification efforts, which were featured in spring 2007 in Southern Living magazine.

"It was not a major issue over the last few years, but in the last year, it has escalated to a weekly routine, and there are a number of promoters who practice this kind of low-level advertising," Edwards said.

Edwards said the fliers mostly advertise events at nightclubs in the Gainesville area and often feature pictures of scantily clad women. She said the problem gets worse when promoters bring "big-time" acts to town.

Edwards said she talked about the problem during last month's Black on Black Crime Task Force meeting, several Lincoln Estates meetings and with officials at the city of Gainesville Code Enforcement.

"I have even talked with the city's aborist about it because of so many industrial staples in the oak trees that I thought were harming them," Edwards said.

Edwards said she won't stop speaking out about the issue and she plans to do whatever is necessary to get rid of the problem.

Bob Woods, spokesman for the city of Gainesville, wrote in an email that signs on utility poles are enforced under the same section of the city of Gainesville Municipal Code that pertains to signs on the right of way. He said code enforcement officers routinely remove the fliers and issue civil citations to the perpetrators when possible.

"The first civil citation is a warning citation," Woods wrote. "If the signs are not removed within the time period given, or if the violation is repeated within a certain amount of time, a civil citation is issued with a fine of $250."

The fine doubles to $500 if it remains or is repeated and a mandatory court appearance will be issued if the violation is repeated or continues. It is also difficult to track down promoters responsible for the fliers because a lot of them don't' live in Gainesville. Code enforcement officers work with police to help issue civil citations outside of normal operating hours because that is when nightclub managers and promoters normally work, according to Woods.

Edwards said the thing that disgusts her the most is that promoters seem to target black communities.

"This kind of material counteracts what we are trying to teach our kids," Edwards said. "There are a lot of people coming in our neighborhoods and putting up ghetto stuff or making our neighborhoods look ghetto and leaving."

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