A sign of the times: local politicians use tax dollars to put name on road signs

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by Jeremy Rolgalski / KHOU 11 News I-Team

khou.com

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 8:44 AM

HOUSTON—It’s a perk of political office that some say is nothing more than political advertising on the taxpayers’ dime.

“Every politician likes to see their name on everything,” said one taxpayer.

“That’s just part of their deal, that’s their ego, that’s their make-up,” said another.

 It is a sign of the times—politicians taking office and taking down old signs to put up their own.
 
“That’s frustrating a little bit (because) it costs money,” a taxpayer said.

It’s taxpayer money, that’s especially useful when it’s an election year.

Perhaps that’s why in Harris County Precinct Four, Commissioner Jack Cagle doesn’t seem to miss a chance. From “Future Improvement Project” signs, to “Adopt-A-Mile” signs, to spending your tax money to say “Your Taxes At Work.”

Then there are places like Doss Park, with a perfectly functioning sign already in place, telling folks where it is. But about 75 yards away, Commissioner Cagle decided to put in another sign, just in case.

Precinct Four has some 40 parks in all. As for the total number of Cagle signs installed, we counted 375.

I-Team: “How much do these cost?”

Cagle: “I can’t tell you how much a specific sign costs.”

In fact, no one in the Commissioner’s office could break it down, saying they buy the material in bulk. But whatever the price, we had to ask:

I-Team: “Is this just free political advertising?”

Cagle: “If you took the most jaundiced view, yes, but I would disagree. People want to know who is responsible for providing the services necessary. “It’s about transparency, accountability and service.”

 But it’s about something else in other parts of Harris County.

”There’s a way to do the thing the right way and the right way is to not spend money if you don’t have to,” said Asst. Chief J.C. Mosier, of the Harris County Precinct One Constable Office.

And what kind of signs has the Precinct One Constable Ken Berry been buying with the public’s dime?  He uses an $8 sticker that goes over the old signs.
  
”To me it’s just nonsensical; when you can spend eight bucks, why spend $75?” Mosier said.

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