The Havre City Council election isn’t until November, but one sign already has people talking.
Earlier this week a sign appeared on the edge of the parking lot of Char’s Family Dining at 7th Avenue and 1st Street that reads “Vote Havre City Council for anyone except Jeri Veis, Bob Kaul, Bob Kaftan. ”
Inside Char’s, employees said that any questions about the sign should be directed to the building’s owner, Bill Dritshulas.
Dritshulas, who declined to comment this morning, also owns Best Western Great Northern Inn, where he lost thousands of dollars worth of linens to discoloration from washing with rust-colored city water.
He, through council member Andrew Brekke, complained to the city about the loss and was not happy with the responses of the council members, Veis and Kaftan in particular.
Despite spelling Veis’s first name incorrectly and telling people to vote against two candidates who aren’t up for election this year, the sign may have some other problems.
According to Montana Commissioner of Political Practices David Gallik, the sign would need some kind of attribution, as it calls for political action.
“The statute requires who it was paid for by, ” Gallik said, “and the person who is billing it may be required, and probably would be required, to register as a political committee or incidental committe. ”
Though, he said, his department doesn’t react unless someone files a complaint.
Dave Peterson, Havre’s director of public works, said this morning that the sign is also in violation of other rules regarding political, election-related, signs.
“Political signs can only be up 45 days before the election, ” Peterson said.
The election will be Nov. 8, 123 days from now. So the sign would not be allowed until Sept. 24.