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Candidate's campaign signs run afoul of city regulations

James Olsen's campaign signs have gotten a lot of notice lately, but not the kind of attention wanted by the Republican candidate for the 23rd Legislative District.

Citing violations of the city's sign regulations, the city of Bainbridge Island ordered Olsen earlier this week to remove the small orange flags that have been attached to some of his political signs.

Megan McKnight, the code enforcement officer for the city, e-mailed Olsen on Aug. 21 and said someone had lodged a complaint about his signs.

According to the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code, signs are prohibited from containing “moving parts or appearing to move, and signs which sparkle or twinkle in the sunlight.” The code also prohibits “streamers, pennants, ribbons, spinners or other similar devices”

According to McKnight, Olsen’s orange flags violate city regulations and could be a safety hazard because they could be distracting to drivers. McKnight asked Olsen to remove the flags from the signs “as soon as possible.”

In an email response to the city, Olsen agreed to do so, and estimated it would take him one or two days.

Flags on his campaign signs on High School Road were removed Tuesday night.

Olsen said Wednesday that he had used such flags in previous elections without “comment or issue.”

He said the dispute was “much ado about nothing.”

Olsen's signs have attracted unwanted attention from others in recent months.

Olsen has filed repeated complaints with the Bainbridge Island Police Department after some of his signs have gone missing. In June, he complained that signs that he had placed in front of the police station had gone missing.

Those signs, however, had been pulled up by police after they were placed in the right of way. City regulations

state that no signs shall be placed in the right-of-way of a road without the permission of the adjacent property owner — in this case, the police department.

On Aug. 1, Olsen told police that 14 political signs for his campaign were stolen from locations around the island. The signs were valued at $15 each.

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