By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Mayor Pasquale Menna has a message for certain businesses in town: Your days of free advertising on Red Bank property are numbered.
He says borough-owned signs particularly parking signs downtown have become inundated with stickers, many of them touting local businesses.
“It’s becoming increasingly prevalent,” he said. “It’s not fair, it’s unsightly, it’s an environmental issue and it’s a quality of life issue.”
Menna wants to do something about. At last week’s council meeting, he suggested that the borough create an ordinance that requires whatever entity that can be traced to the “graffiti” remove it in a timely fashion or face a penalty of some sort.
He said utility companies have similar regulations of their own, and used that as reasoning in calling for an ordinance.
Of course, there’s the argument that employees and/or owners of these businesses, if they aren’t actually tagging borough property, can’t possibly control what others do with their advertising materials. But Menna isn’t sending code enforcement on a crusade to round up offenders.
“All it’s saying is that you’re getting a benefit of advertising on our property,” he said. “How it got there, we don’t care. But if you’re still in business, take it off.”
Menna brought the issue to the council after noting that one particular business has its logo plastered in parking lots and on street signs in town. He wouldn’t say which business that is, but we will: Cluck-U Chicken. The small chain’s stickers are ubiquitous in the English Plaza parking lot and can be found in other random places in town.
“It’s no accident there’s one particular food service establishment on just about every single shopper parking sign,” Menna said.
Cluck-U owner Andrew Ilvento said there’s no way that any employees were behind the sticker slapping. That, he said, would be illegal.
“We don’t go out and put them up,” he said. “You put a stack of something on the counter and the kids put them on their skateboards, their surfboards, their cars. Obviously we’ve seen some go on borough property and we try to tell people not to do that.”
Ilvento said Cluck-U will fully comply with any request from the borough to remove the graffiti.
“We’ve been dealing with them for years, so whatever they say, we do,” he said. “I guess I’ll have to go find someone to take them down.”
Cluck-U isn’t the only culprit, though. Other businesses’ stickers can be found on just about any given sign downtown. Bands and websites are amply represented, too.
It’s a problem Menna said he’s sick and tired of, and anticipates it being discussed further among the council. And really, he says it’s a simple request.
“You don’t have permission to do it, so please take it down,” Menna said.