letter to Caltrans in Rio Vista with a Notice to Cease and Desist Removal of Signs in the Delta. The letter notes that:
- Caltrans has been inconsistent in citing applicable codes, sometimes claiming that signs had to be more than 660 feet from the public roadway and other times claiming that they had to be more than 14 feet away;
- Caltrans has not provided landowners or Restore the Delta with citations for the legal authority behind the 14 foot ruling;
- Caltrans has been inconsistent in categorizing the signs, sometimes calling them outdoor advertising and other times political signs;
- Caltrans has selectively removed “Save the Delta! Stop the Tunnels!” signs, leaving announcements of other kinds in place;
- Caltrans has violated statutory enforcement provisions by removing signs without giving property owners notice;
- Caltrans has exceeded its authority by threatening residents with fines up to $10,000;
- Caltrans has entered private property to remove signs, which constitutes trespass;
- Delta residents are engaging in protected political speech.
This is all particularly galling to those of us who for several years have been driving past much larger signs in the southern San Joaquin Valley with messages such as “Congress-Induced Drought” and “Save Jobs! The Politicians Created Water Crisis!” The fact that those signs have remained untouched is the most blatant example we’ve seen of the power imbalance between southern San Joaquin Valley agriculture and the Bay-Delta.
Restore the Delta has been advised by consulting attorneys to wait at least ten business days for a response from Caltrans. Depending on their response to LAND’s letter, we will decide on our next steps.