Congressional candidate Seim disputes Moses Lake ordinance regulating political signs - iFIBER One News: IFIBER ONE News

Login | Follow Us:

Congressional candidate Seim disputes Moses Lake ordinance regulating political signs

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, July 14, 2014 8:16 pm | Updated: 3:23 pm, Wed Jul 23, 2014.

MOSES LAKE – Congressional candidate Gavin Seim refuses to accept a Moses Lake agreement to maintain the signs he places on public property.

The candidate called it a violation of his First Amendment rights to be forced to sign the agreement.

City Manager Joe Gavinski said it is how the city protects the public’s property.

The disagreement started after Moses Lake code enforcement officials noticed Seim’s signs were placed on city property at popular intersections. City policy requires candidates placing signs in the areas to sign an agreement to maintain them.

The city allows candidates to use six areas to place political signs, including the intersection of West Broadway Avenue and Third Avenue, the Five Corners intersection and the area near West Broadway Avenue and East Broadway Avenue Extended.

The agreement states the candidate is responsible for any damage to the irrigation system. The candidate can only place one sign per location, can’t have a sign larger than 16 square feet or more than 5 feet tall. The signs can only be at the location for 30 days prior to an election and they need to be removed five days after the election.

The policy does not affect signs in front of people’s homes and businesses.

The code enforcement officials removed Seim’s signs because he didn't sign the agreement, Gavinski said. They were brought to city hall for the candidate to pick up.

Seim accused the city officials of targeting him because they don’t agree with his political message.

“They just pulled this out of their hat,” he said. “We don’t ask for permission for free speech. We don’t ask for permission for our rights.”

Gavinski said he had 12 agreements signed by other candidates.

The city council adopted the policy in 2009.

 “It all started several years ago,” Gavinski said. “The city was dealing with a plethora of signs … We had a conversation about prohibiting them all together … The council came up with this policy. Then there was a revision to that agreement … The policy has been considered at least twice by the city council going back several years.”

 Seim came into city hall to get his signs on Friday. The candidate and city officials give different accounts of what occurred.

Seim said when he came in he was recording. When the city officials told him they didn’t want to be recorded, Seim didn’t stop. The city manager and the clerk reportedly refused to continue speaking with him.

Gavinski said they explained the situation to Seim and he didn’t want to sign the agreement.

Police Capt. Dave Sands agreed Gavinski spoke with Seim. The candidate refused to leave an “area not generally open to the public,” and an officer asked Seim to leave.

The captain explained any area beyond the lobby is not open to the public.

“He hadn’t listened to Gavinski or the secretary and was told to leave … (The officer) was sent over to defuse the situation and talk to Mr. Seim about how it would be good to leave,” Sands said. “He eventually left so there is no report to send to the prosecutors.”

Seim’s supporters put the signs back out during the weekend, and city officials removed them again.

The candidate said he won’t sign the agreement and will continue to put the signs out, calling the policy “lawlessness.”

“We filed an official report with the sheriff’s office for destruction of property,” he said. “We will not be asking for permission. We will be making sure that we’re doing it in a way that’s unobtrusive and safe to the best of our ability.”

The City of Moses Lake information about political signs is on their website

CORRECTION: The city council adopted a policy in 2009 to require an agreement to be signed for placement of any signs on city property. iFIBER One News had incorrectly listed the policy as being part of an ordinance. We apologize for the confusion and regret the error.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • EducatedAmerican posted at 1:48 pm on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    EducatedAmerican Posts: 19

    If the paper that Gavin did not sign has on it that signs can be removed then the city did the right thing by removing the signs.....and I believe that from what Gavin has stated on the issue, he knew that the signs would be removed if he did not sign the paper with the rules on it. If it is illegal as you state, have Gavin sue the city over it.....he won't. All words and no positive action. And I stand by my comment about Gavin would have pushed the issue anyway....his previous videos show this. And finally no, I do not work for the city.....In fact I'm pissed off with them about the fee they charge for storm water run-off. Gavinski says that it is EPA mandated, however I have talked to people about this in Cheney and Ellensburg, and they don't pay a fee. My rainwater run-off, if any, goes down the street gutter and into a dry hole. It's not hooked up to any sewer system.

  • Jason posted at 5:24 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Jason Posts: 5

    I don't think anyone is asking the City to pass an Ordinance. We are simply pointing out that the City HAS NO ORDINANCE... and therefore seem to be acting illegally and unlawfully when they physically pulled and then detained the signs.

    As to you comment that Gavin would have broke the ordinance anyway.. well that is simply not true. He has followed every ordinance that are on the books to the letter of the law.

    Gavin has exposed the unlawful nature of your Moses Lake City Management and you want to point the finger at him. You must work for the city to take that stance.

  • EducatedAmerican posted at 2:28 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    EducatedAmerican Posts: 19

    To the people below that think since the city of ML should have passed a Municipal Ordinance and have a fine attached should consider this, Gavin is all about reducing the size and over-sight of our Govt. If the city did have an ordinance in place, Gavin would say....I'm going to be fined for putting something up on Public Property....what about my Freedom of Speech rights. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't. What the city wanted is no big deal, it's common sense. Use the space, but if you break it, you pay for the it. Mark, you would do the same thing. If you let your neighbor use your hammer and he broke it, you would want him to replace it. Admit it, you would. So I guess the real question is, can Gavin, if he wins, get anything accomplished because he is always looking for a fight. He doesn't seem to try to get along with anyone. And for Sparky78, Gavin's actions show his true educated manner. We need great thinkers, not great stickers.

  • burningwire posted at 2:18 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    burningwire Posts: 1

    In the he words of the city manager they are there to protect/care for the city parks. If these concerned people that are commenting below feel as though their being stripped from there right of public land then take some ownership. Go down to a city council meeting tell them call off city maintenance, and you go cut some grass and care for these areas. I would say no one would be volunteering for that responsibility. Public land is owned by the city but allows public access. Let them do their job and we as a people keep enjoying these public amenities. As far as Gavin goes what's with all the stunts? It's seems as though he is not tackling any of the serious issues. Alot of smoke and bull. He is violating the same rights that he is trying to protect in these stunts.

    Edited by staff.

  • Mark of WA posted at 10:43 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Mark of WA Posts: 2

    If the real issue in Moses Lake is political sign litter, then permission slips to place signs within the city limits do nothing to actually clean up after elections.

    Moses Lake should have passed municipal ordinances to FINE offending campaigns for actual clean-up costs.

    Their present approach to remove signs during an election is an outrageously illegal act of electioneering.

  • Mark of WA posted at 10:40 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Mark of WA Posts: 2

    Fascinating how Moses Lake attempts to enforce policies which are not even passed as municipal code, as required by STATE LAW here in Washington. So that leaves Moses Lake selectively interfering with a congressional election in violation of Federal election laws.

    There is also their tort of deliberate sign removal/damage/destruction without ever bothering to contact the campaign(s) they have targeted. Any sensible superior court judge would find those actions to be capricious and malicious. I encourage Gavin Seim and his campaign supporters to seek an injunction against Moses Lake.

  • Civilized Society posted at 10:32 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Civilized Society Posts: 2

    Unfortunately, I do not have time to get to really know the candidates (a major shortcoming in the elective process). So, I base my view of them off their published actions, as well as words. I am probably jaded, as I put little faith in people's words alone.

    Should Gavin get elected, I hope he tackles larger, more pressing issues, with this much vigor and relentlessness.

  • sparky78 posted at 2:58 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    sparky78 Posts: 5

    You forgot the horrible thing the people in Moses Lake do, Like parking on their own property, without our permission too!!

  • sparky78 posted at 2:49 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    sparky78 Posts: 5

    Know what your talking about before you speak! This has nothing to do with where they were! It has to do with the city counsel making a law and enforcing it, without it being a law! Signing this paper is wrong, there are no laws saying we have to sign a piece of paper to post campaign signs.... PERIOD!!!! tHEY CANT JUST GO AROUND MAKING STUFF UP AS THEY GO ALONG!!!

  • sparky78 posted at 2:45 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    sparky78 Posts: 5

    The only ones confused on here are the liberals who think giving away their liberty is Civil Society!
    Get to know someone before you judge them. Just because publicity has been the motive for some people running for office in the past, does not mean all are using it for attention. Listen to his words, not the manner in which he does it. Like I said, it may not be the way you and I do it, but he is getting his message out there. Any law violating anyones constitutional rights is lawlessness!

  • sparky78 posted at 2:34 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    sparky78 Posts: 5

    My Liberty is the issue! The biggest issue there is!!

  • sparky78 posted at 2:33 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    sparky78 Posts: 5

    I read these comments below, and had to walk away from the computer, to think of how to respond to best express myself and be able to get my point across.
    I read these comments below and I can now understand how our country got so far off track. Here I thought I lived in a town of mostly hard working Americans of good common sense values and understood how much trouble we are really in, in America, up to and including our local leaders.
    How many of you know Gavin and have sat down and looked into his eyes and got to know him? Any of you critics? I have! And I can say I have never met anybody, brave enough to run for a public office, have the passion that Gavin has for his country. You all call it grandstanding or a publicity stunt, but have you even listened to what he is trying to tell you? He isn't saying we don't need laws. He is simply trying to point out just how far our out of control government has gone. Gavin put his signs in the right places legally, not causing a traffic hazard, not bucking the law. The signs had his name on them, why couldn't they call and tell him they were going to pull his signs down first? This is just about him not signing a piece of paper, not breaking the law! And it is not a law to sign that agreement until it is drafted and put on the books, which it isn't!
    Gavin may be running his campaign different than you and I might run our own, but at least hes honest and trying to show you all what hes about and not afraid of a fight and that's what we need in DC. The time for nice politicians is over, we need strong public servants who will fight for our rights. One person mentioned below that he is not addressing the issues, I beg to differ, our Liberty is the issue and without it non of the other issues matter. Jenea Holquist is a good lady and I think she has voted well for us in the 4th district, but she is nice, and a politician. We need someone who will raise their voice and show DC that conservatives are not the minority and are not going to go away. We need somebody whos ready to ruffle a few feathers.
    I can say, that reading these comments, so negative, about someone you really don't know and are just assuming he is just doing what has been done by others to get elected, like some publicity stunt, really bothers me, since I have met Gavin and do understand what he stands for. I assure you, if you listen to him, just a little, you may see what I see as passion for this country instead of a publicity stunt to get elected.
    Why is it that we see people as radical when people who know the constitution, who have studied the constitution, share that info with you. I guarantee you, we are so far away from running this country by the constitution its not funny! And if you want to run the country contrary to the constitution, then at least change the constitution legally. Not just allow politicians violate the constitution until its statis quo, and then sit around and complain about. Washington DC and America will not change by electing the same people over and over again.

  • Anika Pat posted at 7:05 pm on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Anika Pat Posts: 4

    Since Seim is not addressing issues like he should to an intelligent voting public and is trying to put posters in a manner that hinders drivers vision if like me are short, I do not believe he is doing anything but trying to flim flam voters. Regulations are necessary to prevent auto accidents and allow drivers to see when people are going to cross the street.

  • Jason posted at 2:06 pm on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Jason Posts: 5

    Please do your research.... the form that Gavin did not konw he was supposed to sign, didn't sign, and won't sign.. isn't even in the Moses Lake Municipal Code. Gavin followed every guideline spelled out in the code (to the letter of the law). This form is not referenced, an amendment has not been adopted, this is an internal policy directive that the City Manager told the Code Enforcement officer to act on.

    Am I the only one that finds it hard to swallow that the rules of Moses Lake can arbitrarily change without notice, and that these rules are enforced without legal authority?

    This would be similar to your car being impounded because the rules now state that if you have snow tires in July, then it must be impounded... but you have no way of looking those rules up, or had no way of knowing the rules existed if you didn't visit the web page and see the new rule.

    Bad policy.. bad enforcement procedures. Gavin is right on for fighting this one.. Lawlessness is everywhere. He just so happens to be exposing it in his race to WA-DC

  • Jason posted at 2:00 pm on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Jason Posts: 5

    The City of Moses Lake did not ask.. they pulled up signs that were placed right next to other signs. The signs met all the codified standards of Moses Lake Municipal Code. The code clearly states that "No permit is required" and gives limitations that Gavin and his team followed (to the letter of the code)

    The form Gavin is guilty of not signing isn't even adopted as part of the Moses Lake Municipal Code. It is a form only located on the city manager's web page. There is no code that supports this document.

    What is more troubling is that your city manager and your city code enforcement are enforcing rules that aren't even adopted. This is an internal policy directive by the City Council without notice of enforcement or any legal documentation that this policy is enforceable.

    The City of Moses Lake is playing by it's own rules on this one... And people aren't objecting to it.

  • Civilized Society posted at 11:44 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Civilized Society Posts: 2

    So, the city asks political candidates to sign an agreement stating they will place their signs in a unobtrusive, responsible manner, and this Gavin guy gets all bent over it?

    All these publicity stunts are really making me want to vote for ANYBODY else. Our government has enough problems without its representatives intentionally making asses of themselves.

    The posters below have Liberty confused with Anarchy.

  • ntrl1 posted at 10:55 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    ntrl1 Posts: 1

    It has nothing to do with free speech. Most of these areas are dedicated right of ways and easements for thorofare and utilities. Placing signs and obstructions in these areas can produce hazardous conditions caused by reducing sight distances for motorists. Let alone possibility of damaging existing infrastructure. The City is responsible for taking care of these areas. He comes in looking for a fight - should have been arrested - I would have been ! Because of his antics I certainly wouldn't vote for him !

  • Ty posted at 10:34 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Ty Posts: 4

    Just because there is a policy doesn't make it lawlessness. If everyone could do whatever they wanted there would be a whole bunch of stupid signs all over town. I know most people believe in free speech and a nice town. The agreement is a good compromise. It's not saying you have no free speech it's just saying you will be responsible for keeping your signs kept up and not making my city ugly. I gotta hand it to ya though, you are getting lots of publicity. But you really are a big whiner too.

  • Jason posted at 9:43 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Jason Posts: 5

    "The ordinance has been in place since 2010"

    I spoke to Moses Lake Code Enforcement Officers Clair Harden yesterday morning...

    I asked him "Where is the "Sign Agreement Form" in the municipal code that Gavin needed to sign to allow his signs to be placed in the city limits and that gives you the authority to pull up only his signs, and I will need section and subsection"

    Clair Harden said other than it is on the website, he did not know that and he will get back to me. (has not got back to me as of this post)

    I then asked "Lets say it isn't codified, are there laws outside the municipal code for which you are directed to enforce?"

    Clair Harden said "Anything on the City of Moses Lake website..."

    I said, "Claire, I am about to go to the press with this... Can I quote you when you say that you are obligated to enforce anything on the government website, even those not in the Municipal Code?"

    He said... "No... you can't quote me on that .. I will have to look that up also and get back to you."

    I am still waiting for his followup and will let everyone know what comes of it.

    IFibre should look into what exactly Moses Lake Code Enforcement Officers are authorized to enforce.. and does this qualify? I have a feeling that Clair is being directed to do this from authority. Who is responsible at the city if they have no authority to do what they are doing? Is it the whole city or just a few that are doing the sign pulling?

  • Oath Keeper posted at 8:21 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Oath Keeper Posts: 4

    Ring it ring it ring it!!! What part of Liberty do you not understand City of Moses Lake? [smile]

  • gotaclue posted at 12:30 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    gotaclue Posts: 1

    Gavin, keep ringing that Liberty Bell loud and clear maybe it will wake up some of the "passive majority" It takes a village of “passive people”. In our case a nation of passive people".
    City Manager Joe Gavinski said it is how the city protects the public’s property.
    Yes, those signs could do terrible damage to “public property” dangerous, I would say.
    And here comes the rules for “the peoples property”
    City policy requires candidates placing signs in the areas to sign an agreement to maintain them, the signs are “high maintenance" made out of the best product money can buy.
    The city allows candidates to use six areas to place political signs, including the intersection of West Broadway Avenue and Third Avenue, the Five Corners intersection and the area near West Broadway Avenue and East Broadway Avenue Extended.
    Six places wow, I thought the public owned this property?
    The agreement states the candidate is responsible for any damage to the irrigation system.
    The candidate can only place one sign per location. The sign must be 1/3 dark to robins egg blue, 1/3 in a kind of a burgundy pink - (use your judgment this one time) and the other 3rd off or creamy white preferably matte finish) can’t have a sign larger than 16 square feet or more than 5 feet tall ( 5 feet is the limit don’t push it with 5 1/8 or we will be forced to cut the top off) In Gavin Seim’s case we might, by accident, cut his name off -oops? No agenda honestly we love Gavin for educating us on the constitution. Trust us.
    The signs can only be at the location for 30 days prior to an election ( we have this timed ) and they need to be removed five days after the election (unless you win the election then you can leave them up because we just want to be your friend)
    And you cannot use the public restrooms in Moses Lake from 8:00 am - 8:12 am and between 12:13 pm - 1:20 pm as we are conserving water.
    Very important : **** You may NEVER record any conversation that we have with you if you do we will not talk to you, actually we will just shut our eyes and ears and pretend like you are not there or hide in the corner until you leave.
    You can only flush your toilet three times on the days that it hit 95% unless you get a permit. Why? because we said ! (you know the "legal toilet" that you have to flush twice because we wanted you to conserve water and you, "the people" are way to stupid to understand so please don't ask ! Also, if you have any of the "illegal lightbulbs left and we catch you using them we will have no other option than to make you pick up street garbage off and on for 10 years unless, of course, "WE" change the law which we have had several meetings about.
    There you go folks freedom and liberty at its finest. It IS our fault, “we the people” have created a arrogant, lawless monster that starts with our President and works it’s ugliness all the way to little Moses Lake.
    Makes you wonder if the police and powers that be might not like Gavin throwing that Liberty bell around.