Sunday, September 4, 2011

More Fun with Sign Spammers

Post, photos, and image by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

I've not been as diligent in my removal of sign spam as I'd like, but there's a reason.  A while ago I lent my stepladder to a friend of mine so she could finish remodeling her living room.  Without all the weapons in my sign-removal arsenal, it didn't make strategic sense for me to make a sweep like the one pictured above.  On the plus side, I learned how to put in crown molding and got a few good meals out of it when I went over to help her.

With the remodeling done, my ladder was returned, and I set out with the broom handle and pruning shears to take on more snipe signs.  My first encounter was with...

...Proton Investments LLC.  Oh, you won't find that on the quicksale4cash website the sign spam lists, but Proton is all over the website if you go to it.  (I won't link directly to their various websites, but if you want to give them a taste of their own medicine, check out their Facebook page, click "like" and leave a little nastygram telling them not to drop their sign spam all over north Minneapolis.  That's what I did, and then I "un-liked" them.

This was right in front of a house where a tree stump had been removed, post-tornado.

But I was driving along Lowry when I saw these signs posted at several key junctures.  There was a truck parked in the driveway of what looked to be 3125 Upton Ave N, and that truck had the very same signs hanging off it.  So I pulled over and told the guy to go and pick up the illegally-placed signs.  The one on Upton and Lowry stayed because he apparently did have permission to place it there.  No surprise, a few hours later I came back the same way and the signs were still at Penn and Lowry and other key intersections.  In the back of my car they went, at which point I called the number on the sign and had the following conversation:

"This is Andre."  Andre had a rather heavy eastern European accent, which seems to match up with the last name of the property owner at 3125 Upton Ave N - which, by the way, lists the owner's mailing address the same as the Proton Investments LLC address.

"Hi Andre, my name is Jeff.  I'm calling off of one of your signs about buying a house."

"Oh great, what kind of house you sellink?"

"Well I'm not selling any house right now unfortunately.  I'm calling because I got this number off of one of your signs that was placed on a property without permission.  There were quite a few of them like that actually.  Don't worry, I've removed the signs and since they're now legally considered litter, I'll be throwing them away."

"Ah, zat is my employee.  I tell him not to put sign on private land."

"So you don't put signs on private land without permission?"


"See, the thing is, there were a lot of signs out there.  So if you don't put them on PRIVATE land, then where DO you instruct your employee to put them?"

"...."  (Clearly I had him stumped here, but I decided to present him with what would look like a way out.)

"Public land?"

(You could almost hear the wheels turning in his head.)  "Yes!  Public land."

"Yeah, well you're not allowed to do that either.  If you don't own the property or have permission, you can't put these signs up anywhere in Minneapolis."

"Ok, I thank you for letting me know."  (click)

I found about a dozen of those signs.  If I can, I'll recycle the corrugated plastic signs, or find an alternate use for them.  I'll be saving the metal frames though, and making a small donation to a political campaign's yard sign effort this coming year.

Up next was the junk cars wanted guy.  This person had a ladder taller than mine, and he used the kind of bolts that can't just be knocked loose with a swift hit from the broom handle.  Since I couldn't take the sign down, I elected to render it useless so that no business would come from it.

Last up, I found quite a few signs from Robinson's Pro Painting.  They got the same treatment on their Facebook page.  All in all, 21 pieces of sign spam were removed, with a tiny portion of the 22nd.

Ah, it feels to be back in the saddle again.


  1. The best part was when I did this to Proton's Facebook page, I was the only one who had "liked" their profile.

  2. Thanks for taking these signs down. I've been trying to do the same in my neighborhood (Lind-Bohanon). 49th and Lyndale seems to be a popular spot for sign spam, but it doesn't stay up long anymore.

  3. Urging folks to go to their Facebook page, "like" them, and then write critical stuff?

    Jeff, that's great!

    Yeah, I totally went there and did it, too. I hit them all the way from Afghanistan.

  4. I just want to clarify the situation of the signs from Proton Investments Incorporated that were found in private property without authorization. This, as was explained to the block owner over the phone, was an irresponsible behavior on the part of one of our employees at the time. The employee who placed the ads is no longer an employee of our firm.

    We only put our signs either on property that we own or on property where we have obtained the written permission of the Owner. Some property owners have allowed us to place our ads in their properties because they believe that what we do is to improve the city rather than to litter it as some of the comments I have read above.

    I believe that all of you will agree that a company that purchases a property in the City of Minneapolis and then repairs it to code and rents it to a low income family is doing something meritorious. Some of the properties that we purchase are in very bad condition, or vacant and could be condemned if somebody does not come, take control of the property and put it to the benefit of the community.

    If you see any ad of ours which you believe has been incorrectly placed anywhere please call me directly. I will be glad to take action right away to resolve any problem that you may encounter with our ads or with anything related to our company.

    We pride ourselves of being responsible investors and landlords. We provide affordable housing to low income people.

    Your cooperation and understanding is appreciated.

    Roberto M. Rodriguez
    Proton Investments Incorporated
    Direct Phone: 763-245-9790

  5. Thanks Mr Rodriguez, hopefully the block owner will shut his damn mouth now.

  6. Mr. Rodriguez, With all due respect you are ignorant as to the policies and intent of the Minneapolis Sign Permit Code.

    "Sign Permits

    Before they are issued, sign permits must be approved by the Zoning Administration office. Contractors wishing to check on the status of a sign permit should contact the Zoning office by calling (612) 673-3000.

    Sign Permits are only issued to Sign Contractors licensed by the City of Minneapolis. Contractors wishing to be licensed to do business in the City of Minneapolis should contact the Licenses & Consumer Services Division at (612) 673-2080.

    View the Sign Contractor List (PDF)."

    Here is a link to Mpls sign Contractors and I don't see your name on this list.

    I realize how hard it is for a small business to advertise it's services, however this law includes private property even if you have the owners permission. The purpose of the law is so our neighborhoods are not littered with advertisements such as yours.

  7. I guess the block owner is back.

  8. Anon, please clarify who you are referring to as the "block owner" or I will consider deleting the comments.

  9. Got another long, articulate reply from the Proton Guy.

    Check it out.


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