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COLUMBIANA Trustee Hum contests sign-size ordinance



Published: Mon, January 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Fairfield Township man said the law is unconstitutional.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- Fairfield Township Trustee Robert Hum II is to appear at 2:45 p.m. Feb. 21 before Judge Robert Roberts in Columbiana County Municipal Court here to challenge a Columbiana ordinance he approved as a city councilman.

The ordinance limits the size of temporary signs in the city.

Columbiana police filed a complaint Nov. 2 on behalf of Bob Belding, city zoning inspector, who said that a political sign for Hum, who has since been elected to the Fairfield Township trustee board, violated the city's 6-square-foot size limit.

About violation: Belding said the violation involved a tractor-trailer parked before the November general election at state Route 7 and 14.

Signs the length and width of the trailer stated, "Carl Garwood says vote for Bob Hum trustee."

Garwood is a Fairfield Township trustee whose term expires in 2003.

Atty. Richard Horning of Salem is prosecuting the case for the city rather than Atty. Dan Blasdell, the city law director, because Hum has named Blasdell as a witness.

As law director, Blasdell, at council's direction, prepared the legislation to limit the size of political signs.

Horning declined to comment because he said he had just received the case.

Hum referred all questions to his counsel, Atty. Theresa Tolson, who has been unavailable to comment.

Court records state Hum pleaded innocent Nov. 14 in a hearing before municipal Judge Mark Frost in East Palestine.

His argument: Hum wants the case dismissed on the grounds that the city code is unconstitutional because it infringes on his right to freedom of speech.

As a Columbiana city councilman, Hum joined his fellow lawmakers in voting unanimously Oct. 3, 2000, to enact the ordinance.

Judge Roberts will hear the case because Judge Frost explained he could not fairly hear it because not only is Hum a colleague and personal friend, but Frost is also a resident of Columbiana city and Fairfield Township.

Judge Frost further stated that as a candidate for county municipal court judge in 2001, he sought to place political signs in the city limits of Columbiana, and had to research the sign ordinance being questioned.

He said that because of his candidacy and the resulting research, he has already formed an opinion about the constitutionality of the city's sign ordinance.




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