A political sign attacking Judy Holmes Titsworth, a candidate vying for a seat on the Holmes Beach City Commission in the Nov. 6 election, was removed Oct. 14 by police from a median at Gulf and Marina drives.
Commissioner Pat Morton reported an anonymous person improperly placed the sign on public property at 5400 Gulf Drive. The sign may appear to be slanderous, but it was in violation of city ordinance, according to the Holmes Beach Police Department report.
Two more red-and-black signs with the same message and a statement it was “sponsored by concerned citizens,” were subsequently found at the corners of Harbor and Gulf drives and at Sixth Street and Manatee Avenue. They too were removed by police, according to code enforcement officer David Forbes.
HBPD Lt. Dale Stephenson said the sign Morton reported was on city-owned property without permission, and therefore removed. He also understood the two other signs were in the rights of way and, therefore, were removed.
Last week, HBPD delivered one of the signs to Forbes, who pointed to a section in the city’s sign ordinance that authorizes the removal of illegally placed signs. Forbes said the sign lacked candidate approval, and displayed no address or the identity of its sponsor. State election law requires political advertisements to expressly state the content of the advertisement was approved by a candidate or political group, as well as who paid for it.
Holmes Beach Commission Chair David Zaccagnino said he contacted Titsworth and asked if she approved the sign, and she advised she had not.
Titsworth denied the signs’ allegations against her, adding she’d seen the sign on private property.
Regardless, she said, it will not deter her campaign.