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Home » Archives » June 2018 » Gaylord & Power Views On Political Sign Case Now Headed To Federal Court

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06/05/2018: "Gaylord & Power Views On Political Sign Case Now Headed To Federal Court"


On Monday June 4, 2018, County Prosecuting Attorney Randall Gaylord removed a case in San Juan County Superior Court on political signs to a federal court in Seattle, because attorney Nick Power, who is running against Gaylord to be Prosecuting Attorney, has now named the County and Auditor Milene Henley as defendants after SJC Auditor Milene Henley sent out a press release that Superior Court Judge Loring said “undermined the court’s ruling.”

Prosecuting Attorney Randall Gaylord stated in a press release that “This case started as one about political signs, but that part is over. It’s now about the right of elected officials to express their opinion.”

Mr. Power responded that “First, there has been no finding or admission that the code provision is unconstitutional. So I do not understand how Mr. Gaylord says that that part is ‘over’. It is very much alive and I will be asking the federal court for a finding that the code provision is unconstitutional.”

“Second,” Power added “this is not about ‘opinions’ it is about ’policy’.”

Gaylord stated “The case is being removed to federal court because those courts have traditionally been the forum for resolving questions regarding the right to speak out by any citizen including elected officials.”

For Gaylord the sign issue is not an issue because the County plans to remove the regulation, but because Power -and Judge Loring- had concerns about the Henley press release, Gaylord stated “It’s now about the right of elected officials to express their opinion.”

Power responds that if “Ms. Henley wants to ban all signs, that is her prerogative - she can do that as a private citizen- but she cannot say that is the guideline or policy of the County - or that such is the policy of the auditor who is duty bound to facilitate free and fair elections.”

Power points out that “Auditor Henley's ‘op-ed’ that was sent out on her letterhead and county resources- that is not an opinion - but a manifestation of policy.”

Gaylord stated “The case is being removed to federal court because those courts have traditionally been the forum for resolving questions regarding the right to speak out by any citizen including elected officials.”

Power takes the view that “If the County wishes to -literally- make a federal case over this, that is their right. And I am up to the challenge. I was perfectly happy resolving this here in San Juan County before Judge Loring. Quickly, cheaply and publically.”

Power states that “Judge Loring observed, Auditor Henley's ‘op-ed’ ‘undermined’ her restraining order. All I have asked for is the recognition of my First Amendment rights and my right to participate in a free and fair election as a candidate are respected. The County has not afforded me this respect -- and now insists on further very expensive litigation in a federal court in Seattle. I am fine with this but the citizens of San Juan County should not be happy with this waste.”

Gaylord repeated the County position that the 45-day time for political signs have never been enforced.

As for removing the regulation from the land use code, Gaylord said on May 25, 2018, the County Council had a “first touch” and announced its desire to amend the ordinance, which is part of the land use code, using its usual procedure. The Council will further consider a proposed ordinance amending SJCC 18.40.400(C) with a “second touch” on June 12, 2018.

Mr. Power has retained the law firm of Breskin Johnson and Townsend which specializes in civil rights litigation to represent him in federal court.

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