Businesses believe code enforcement 'defeats the purpose' of advertising (4:31 p.m.)

Mike Marfiak, of Creative Invitations and Balloons, stands Friday in front of one of the flags he uses to advertise his business along Solano Drive. Full Story
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no go

Las Cruces, NM

#1 Jun 5, 2011
How about all the men that have been holding signs for ALL'S Furniture going out of business sale for over two years?
David

Las Cruces, NM

#2 Jun 5, 2011
I think they have been doing it for much longer than that
LHOOQ

Las Cruces, NM

#3 Jun 5, 2011
And a pretty nasty job it is, out in the heat and other weather extremes, with no bathroom facilities or water.
It's really annoying what All's is doing with their perpetual going out of business "sale". Most of those folks probably need any work they can get, and I hope they are getting fair pay. I suspect that they are not and that there are no records being kept, but that is just a suspicion.
LHOOQ

Las Cruces, NM

#4 Jun 5, 2011
Back to the topic, I have no problem keeping my attention on the road and ignoring those flags. I won't answer my phone while driving, and I don't look at the pretty colored flags, no matter how many there are.
Logic Flaw

Albuquerque, NM

#5 Jun 5, 2011
What a second? So, if a sign says "Welcome" and does not advertise the business, then it is allowed? No discussions of safety or the public good, just not allowed? Sounds like the city is out to get businesses ...
New Business Signage

Las Cruces, NM

#6 Jun 5, 2011
Sign #1 - "Goodbye Miyagashima", Sign #2, "Goodbye City Council", Sign #3, "Vote".
Pablo

Las Cruces, NM

#7 Jun 5, 2011
Logic Flaw wrote:
What a second? So, if a sign says "Welcome" and does not advertise the business, then it is allowed? No discussions of safety or the public good, just not allowed? Sounds like the city is out to get businesses ...
There are already tons of signs in Las Cruces. Each trying to out do the other. If you really want people to find your buisness, paint your address numbers on the sidewalk like the rest of us. Maybe Codes can give you a citation like the rest of us get for not doing so.
Ayahuasca Shaman

Albuquerque, NM

#8 Jun 5, 2011
LHOOQ wrote:
Back to the topic, I have no problem keeping my attention on the road and ignoring those flags. I won't answer my phone while driving, and I don't look at the pretty colored flags, no matter how many there are.
But the individual in the article was a city bureaucrat, speaking from a bureaucrat's point of view: We know how easily they're distracted. Just witness the models of efficiency that many demonstrate (sarcasm)!
Ayahuasca Shaman

Albuquerque, NM

#9 Jun 5, 2011
City bureaucrats care little about the good of the common citizen or 'mom and pop' business. They have a job, and they need to justify their existence by supposedly "enforcing" flawed laws which serve no other purpose than to wage war on small businesses. That much is evident.
Michael S Marfiak

Albuquerque, NM

#10 Jun 5, 2011
Here is the entirety of the letter which I sent to the Las Cruces Sun-Times that they apparently felt was not worthy of print:

(Part One)

On Thursday, May 19, 2011, my small business establishment was visited by two codes enforcement officers regarding the ‘wind waver’ flags which I displayed on the property that I rent for the purpose of doing business in the City of Las Cruces.

I was informed by the officers that in the near future I would be required to remove my wind waver flags, as they would be in violation of city codes. The primary officer (Officer Randy De La O) told me that he “personally has no problem” with the wind wavers, but his superior had sent him and his partner to businesses displaying such with the message that they were in violation of code.

Officer De La O also informed me that we could display our wind wavers if they were “blank” or had a generic message such as “welcome” or “thank you” on them. But to advertise our logo or the services we provide to the community are strictly in violation of Las Cruces City code.

After the officers departed, I immediately went to the Las Cruces City website and downloaded the signage codes (Chapter 36) regarding signage placed in the city. Many of the codes were vague in content and difficult to discern.

I forthwith contacted the City Councilor of the district I conduct business in and made him aware of the situation.

On May 25, 2011, after reading a ‘brief’ in the Las Cruces Sun-News,“Codes on the lookout for corporate flags”, I contacted the Signage Codes Administrator at City Hall, Lorenzo Vigil, and asked him a few honest questions:

1.) What is the reasoning behind the code permitting flags and banners having no “corporate” information, but banning those that do?

The reply from Mr. Vigil was that “It’s code.” Mr. Vigil did concede, however, that the code could, indeed, be amended.

Both Mr. Vigil and Officer De La O conceded that the wind wavers would be permitted if they were blank or contained a “generic” message such as “OPEN”,“WELCOME”,“THANK YOU”, or “ENTER”.

Neither the administrator nor the officer could provide a satisfactory explanation as to why the blank/generic wind wavers were permitted yet the business related wind wavers were not.

Logically, if the blank/generic wind wavers do not pose a public safety issue such as impeding visibility, access or egress, then the message contained upon the wind wavers is a moot point.

It could not be explained by either Mr. Vigil or Officer De La O what the City’s stance is regarding “corporate” flags other than “It’s code.” Further, it could not be explained why the code exists in the form it does, other than to fetter businesses.

(Continued)
Michael S Marfiak

Albuquerque, NM

#11 Jun 5, 2011
(Part 2 of Letter)

Officer De La O admission that he had “no problem” with our display other than it was a “violation of code” indicates that the officer does not fully understand the code.

Mr. Vigil’s position that “It’s code”, without a logical explanation as to its purpose indicates that he doesn’t understand (or care) about the reasoning of the purpose of the code, either.

2.) Why is it that the codes/rules/warnings are of a ‘subjective nature with no clear-cut definitions?

Again, Mr. Vigil responded to the signage code (Chapter 36) which as stated is vague and subjective.

If these codes apply to wind wavers/flags which are blank or have a generic message, then it should also apply to those which contain a business related message.

3.) What is the “public service” provided by such a code restricting this sort of advertising medium, i.e., city beautification, elimination of a perceived eyesore, or averting “urban blight”?

Mr. Vigil offered that in his “opinion”, such flags/banners were an “eyesore”.(This flies in the face of logic if “non-corporate” banners are permitted to be displayed.)

If a business displays a blank wind waver/flag it is not considered an “eyesore”, but if the same wind waver/flag contains a message pertaining to the business it is.

This is a clear indication that the City is hostile toward business. An “eyesore” is an “eyesore” in this case, regardless of the format.

4.) Why is the City hostile to small business in these difficult economic times when the City is claiming to be in favor of “economic development”?

Mr. Vigil could not offer an answer other than “It’s code.”

Although I understand the need for standards and norms, it is difficult to fathom the logic and reasoning behind a code which penalizes those businesses that wish to increase their visibility, hence increasing potential income, employment, and tax base for the City.

The City staff are here to enforce and interpret code that they don’t understand and cannot explain as the true public benefit of the code, and simply justify the code in terms of “because that’s the way it is”.

The City should understand what is at stake:

a.) Business owners will leave.
b.) Families will leave.
c.) The inability to provide genuine customer (i.e.‘citizen) service
reflects very poorly on the future of this city.

This is a regressive code and does nothing to stimulate “economic development” within and for the City and its citizens.

No satisfactory explanation could be given by the City Signage Administrator or the Codes Enforcement Officer besides “That’s the way it is.”

This code can and should be changed to benefit business within the City of Las Cruces.

The City of Las Cruces should cease its punitive actions, policies, and codes against small business operators in town and come to realize that small business is the basis and foundation of the Las Cruces economy. The City should be encouraging small business rather than “waging war” upon it.

Let me emphasize that I do not operate a “corporation”: I am a small business operator, as are so many others within our fair city.

Sincerely,
Michael S. Marfiak
Michael S Marfiak

Albuquerque, NM

#12 Jun 5, 2011
(Part 1 of Letter)

On Thursday, May 19, 2011, my small business establishment was visited by two codes enforcement officers regarding the ‘wind waver’ flags which I displayed on the property that I rent for the purpose of doing business in the City of Las Cruces.

I was informed by the officers that in the near future I would be required to remove my wind waver flags, as they would be in violation of city codes. The primary officer (Officer Randy De La O) told me that he “personally has no problem” with the wind wavers, but his superior had sent him and his partner to businesses displaying such with the message that they were in violation of code.

Officer De La O also informed me that we could display our wind wavers if they were “blank” or had a generic message such as “welcome” or “thank you” on them. But to advertise our logo or the services we provide to the community are strictly in violation of Las Cruces City code.

After the officers departed, I immediately went to the Las Cruces City website and downloaded the signage codes (Chapter 36) regarding signage placed in the city. Many of the codes were vague in content and difficult to discern.

I forthwith contacted the City Councilor of the district I conduct business in and made him aware of the situation.

On May 25, 2011, after reading a ‘brief’ in the Las Cruces Sun-News,“Codes on the lookout for corporate flags”, I contacted the Signage Codes Administrator at City Hall, Lorenzo Vigil, and asked him a few honest questions:

1.) What is the reasoning behind the code permitting flags and banners having no “corporate” information, but banning those that do?

The reply from Mr. Vigil was that “It’s code.” Mr. Vigil did concede, however, that the code could, indeed, be amended.

Both Mr. Vigil and Officer De La O conceded that the wind wavers would be permitted if they were blank or contained a “generic” message such as “OPEN”,“WELCOME”,“THANK YOU”, or “ENTER”.

Neither the administrator nor the officer could provide a satisfactory explanation as to why the blank/generic wind wavers were permitted yet the business related wind wavers were not.

(2)

Logically, if the blank/generic wind wavers do not pose a public safety issue such as impeding visibility, access or egress, then the message contained upon the wind wavers is a moot point.

It could not be explained by either Mr. Vigil or Officer De La O what the City’s stance is regarding “corporate” flags other than “It’s code.” Further, it could not be explained why the code exists in the form it does, other than to fetter businesses.

Officer De La O admission that he had “no problem” with our display other than it was a “violation of code” indicates that the officer does not fully understand the code.
Michael S Marfiak

Albuquerque, NM

#13 Jun 5, 2011
(Part 2 of Letter)

Mr. Vigil’s position that “It’s code”, without a logical explanation as to its purpose indicates that he doesn’t understand (or care) about the reasoning of the purpose of the code, either.

2.) Why is it that the codes/rules/warnings are of a ‘subjective nature with no clear-cut definitions?

Again, Mr. Vigil responded to the signage code (Chapter 36) which as stated is vague and subjective.

If these codes apply to wind wavers/flags which are blank or have a generic message, then it should also apply to those which contain a business related message.

3.) What is the “public service” provided by such a code restricting this sort of advertising medium, i.e., city beautification, elimination of a perceived eyesore, or averting “urban blight”?

Mr. Vigil offered that in his “opinion”, such flags/banners were an “eyesore”.(This flies in the face of logic if “non-corporate” banners are permitted to be displayed.)

If a business displays a blank wind waver/flag it is not considered an “eyesore”, but if the same wind waver/flag contains a message pertaining to the business it is.

This is a clear indication that the City is hostile toward business. An “eyesore” is an “eyesore” in this case, regardless of the format.

4.) Why is the City hostile to small business in these difficult economic times when the City is claiming to be in favor of “economic development”?

Mr. Vigil could not offer an answer other than “It’s code.”

Although I understand the need for standards and norms, it is difficult to fathom the logic and reasoning behind a code which penalizes those businesses that wish to increase their visibility, hence increasing potential income, employment, and tax base for the City.

The City staff are here to enforce and interpret code that they don’t understand and cannot explain as the true public benefit of the code, and simply justify the code in terms of “because that’s the way it is”.

The City should understand what is at stake:

a.) Business owners will leave.
b.) Families will leave.
c.) The inability to provide genuine customer (i.e.‘citizen) service
reflects very poorly on the future of this city.

This is a regressive code and does nothing to stimulate “economic development” within and for the City and its citizens.

No satisfactory explanation could be given by the City Signage Administrator or the Codes Enforcement Officer besides “That’s the way it is.”

This code can and should be changed to benefit business within the City of Las Cruces.

The City of Las Cruces should cease its punitive actions, policies, and codes against small business operators in town and come to realize that small business is the basis and foundation of the Las Cruces economy. The City should be encouraging small business rather than “waging war” upon it.

Let me emphasize that I do not operate a “corporation”: I am a small business operator, as are so many others within our fair city.

Sincerely,
Michael S. Marfiak
Desertdawg

AOL

#14 Jun 5, 2011
The numerous flags and placards all over the place are an EYESORE.
Business owners who can be successful without plastering visual pollution everywhere will not leave.
Families will not leave.
The world will not come to an end if the junked up flags, placards, signs come down.
There will still be plenty of permitted signage.
Nobody is "waging war" on small business. Small or large businesses are expected to follow zoning and other regulations
Just do it and shut the heck up without trying to pretend your rights as an American are being infringed. If the regulations are being enforced selectively, then howl and I'll howl with you. If you think you have to junk up the neighborhood where you do business in order to be successful, I'll be happy to see you leave.
Ridiculous

Albuquerque, NM

#15 Jun 5, 2011
Pablo wrote:
<quoted text>
There are already tons of signs in Las Cruces. Each trying to out do the other. If you really want people to find your buisness, paint your address numbers on the sidewalk like the rest of us. Maybe Codes can give you a citation like the rest of us get for not doing so.
So quickly you skim through and do not get the point. Whether this is a business or a residential area, the code is being improperly/unfairly applied in such a way that it is strongly against business. I sincerely hope they crack down on you next time you have a garage sale sign. Maybe they will tell you that a sign that says welcome to the neighborhood on your cardboard box will be more acceptable that "garage sale". The message should not matter, but they tell you it does. Your argument would be valid if you advocated for sweeping fair application. Instead, it falls so short.
Ayahuasca Shaman

Albuquerque, NM

#16 Jun 5, 2011
Desertdawg wrote:
The numerous flags and placards all over the place are an EYESORE.
Business owners who can be successful without plastering visual pollution everywhere will not leave.
Families will not leave.
The world will not come to an end if the junked up flags, placards, signs come down.
There will still be plenty of permitted signage.
Nobody is "waging war" on small business. Small or large businesses are expected to follow zoning and other regulations
Just do it and shut the heck up without trying to pretend your rights as an American are being infringed. If the regulations are being enforced selectively, then howl and I'll howl with you. If you think you have to junk up the neighborhood where you do business in order to be successful, I'll be happy to see you leave.
Your words betray you as a government bureaucratic slug. What would you know about running a business anyway?
scraper

AOL

#17 Jun 5, 2011
in the first place a codes officer weather they be city or county are a bunch of cop want-a-be's. they bully people and just how much of a waste of money is it to put someone in jail for a sign or to may weeds, in the first place these are working people paying taxes to get screwed with by this bunch of idiots. why isnt there a group in the city or county that will go out and help people. i have lived here all my life and am so sick of people moving in here trying to change us.
Pablo

Las Cruces, NM

#18 Jun 5, 2011
Ridiculous wrote:
<quoted text>
So quickly you skim through and do not get the point. Whether this is a business or a residential area, the code is being improperly/unfairly applied in such a way that it is strongly against business. I sincerely hope they crack down on you next time you have a garage sale sign. Maybe they will tell you that a sign that says welcome to the neighborhood on your cardboard box will be more acceptable that "garage sale". The message should not matter, but they tell you it does. Your argument would be valid if you advocated for sweeping fair application. Instead, it falls so short.
I advocate sweeping fair application. Confusius say, "If it's worth doing. It's worth over doing." Sorry, Confusius, this is one time I cannot agree with you.
Agent

Albuquerque, NM

#19 Jun 5, 2011
So remove your little flags and be in compliance.
American Soldier

Las Cruces, NM

#20 Jun 5, 2011
Eli Guzman needs to take down the tattered American flag he has flying at his business day and night. If someone flies an American flag in the evening, there must be a light aimed at the flag. The flag should be taken down during inclement weather. If the flag is no long in good shape, it should be replaced. The old flag can be given to the Boy Scouts or a local VFW for proper disposal. Guzman's Karate is in violation of all these basic traditions regarding the US flag.

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