We remain concerned, however, that the proposed signage (and the road lines, too, if their intent is made obvious) would create the same problems as the Black Lives Matter painting on a Tulsa street did last year.
Activists painted a BLM sign on Greenwood Avenue immediately before President Donald Trump held a rally in Tulsa. At the time, city officials worried that allowing the painting to remain created a public forum and that other groups would want the same treatment. The specter of Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan repainting city streets was raised. Significantly, then-Tulsa County Republican Party Chairman Bob Jack asked the city what it would take to paint “Blue Lives Matter” on streets as a sign of police support during the controversy.
Weaver honestly can say his bill had nothing to do with that argument. He’s been pushing the idea for three years in the Legislature, long before the Tulsa controversies.
But given that local context, it seems inevitable that allowing cities to post signs supporting police or painting lines on some roads raises the potential for all sorts of people demanding their own signage and street lines. Giving a political message to street signs — even a message supported by the vast majority and authorized by the Legislature — sounds very close to a public forum to us. At the very least, we’d expect someone to try that argument just to see how much court time they can tie up arguing it.