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Mapleton councilman 'interprets' sign law

MAPLETON — The Mapleton City Council passed an ordinance last spring that some officials say clearly banned campaign signs until 60 days before the election.

But a candidate for mayor posted his signs a few days after the July 15 candidate declaration date.

Councilman Brian Wall, who is running for mayor, says he interprets the ordinance differently and that the 60-day rule will likely be struck when the council reviews it today.

Wall is challenging incumbent Mayor Laurel Brady, who said Wall is "absolutely … acting unfairly."

"Brian knows how I feel about it and knows what he needs to do," Brady said. "My signs are not going up until September."

But Wall says the 60-day rule is ambiguous because it fails to state which election is intended.

The ordinance says signs "may not be erected more than 60 days prior to the election with which the sign is associated."

It was written to prevent election signs from being up too long, Brady said.

Wall interprets the ordinance as meaning he can campaign immediately after the July 15 declaration deadline, which is 60 days before the state primary election Sept. 15.

However, Mapleton isn't having a primary this year. That doesn't matter, Wall said, because the state set the date for all municipalities.

Councilman Ben Christensen said he helped write the ordinance, which is a revision of an earlier one.

"I think it's clear what it means," Christensen said. "My language is very clear on what it means. I see no other way to interpret it."

However, if a clarification is needed, "let's talk it through," he said.

Wall is also accused of posting his signs along the Pioneer Day parade route in violation of a rule that says no one can campaign during the parade. He denied he purposely posted them along the route.

"My signs are all over the city," Wall said. "Some were close the parade route, but I put them on strategic, high-traffic corners. It had nothing to do with the parade."

If the matter is put to a vote today, Wall said he will recuse himself and will abide by whatever decision the council makes.

e-mail: rodger@desnews.com