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Electronic signs turn off three former Edmond, OK, mayors

Three former mayors don't want electronic message signs in Edmond. They plan to circulate initiative petitions calling for the matter to be voted on by Edmond residents.
by Diana Baldwin Published: February 13, 2014

— Three former mayors who are opposed to electronic message signs want to give Edmond voters the chance to repeal a recently adopted ordinance allowing the signs.

Notice of intent to circulate an initiative petition was filed Wednesday at city hall by former mayors Saundra Naifeh, Dan O'Neil and Randal Shadid.

Council members on Jan. 13 passed an ordinance allowing electronic message signs along arterial streets and roads such as Broadway, Edmond Road, Second Street and Interstate 35. The new ordinance is stricter than those in most cities, officials said.

The vote was 3-2 with council members Elizabeth Waner and Darrell Davis opposing the motion.

Shadid said the signs will diminish the beauty of Edmond.

“Those signs are butt-ugly,” Shadid said. “I am not for the signs,” he said. “I believe the signs are really a traffic hazard. It is as bad as texting.”

Proponents have 90 days to collect 650 signatures, which would be 25 percent of the number of people who voted in the last general election, Shadid said.

The petition calls for a Nov. 4 vote to rescind the ordinance and prohibit electronic message signs.

“It is a process that we have for this purpose,” said Mayor Charles Lamb, who voted for the ordinance. “This kind of action will find out if the public supports it or not.”

City Manager Larry Stevens said Wednesday he knew about the petition but had not read the document.

The new ordinance allows electronic signs with a message, but no graphics, and the message can only change every 30 seconds. Oklahoma City's ordinance allows the message to change every 10 seconds.

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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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