Mayoral Candidates Targeted in Westland

The primary election is right around the corner and campaign signs are popping up across the city. Area business owners are beginning to receive calls from “City Hall,” demanding the removal of political signs. At least one business owner was told he needed a permit to display political signs. In addition to that, candidates are reporting an unusual number of stolen and vandalized signs while Westland ordinance officers are prioritizing sign removal over other issues.


On Tuesday, June 20th, a business owner who is not being named at this time, reported receiving a phone call from the City Administration regarding political signage on his property. The property owner, who gave permission to both Ali Awadi & Kevin Coleman for signs, says he was told he needed a permit and must remove the signs immediately. Both Coleman and Awadi are candidates for Mayor in the City’s August 8th Primary Election and both candidates’ signs were removed.

“The legal process for enforcing ordinances and/or building codes starts with an official notice and a description of the issue” stated Kevin Coleman, Westland’s current State Representative and candidate for Mayor. “The notice also needs to give property owners a time frame to correct an issue before a citation can be issued,” he added. That process doesn’t appear to have been followed. Despite multiple inquiries, the City’s Administration has not commented on the incident.


An ‘election sign ordinance’ was adopted by Westland City Council in 2018 and has since been deemed ‘non-enforceable.’ Shortly after the adoption of the new ordinance, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that such ordinances are a violation of the First Amendment. When reviewing sign regulations, courts will first determine if the ordinance is content-based or content-neutral. A content-neutral ordinance does not target the sign’s communicative message, but instead applies to all signs regardless of their message. Westland’s ordinance only includes political signs, which is content-based and considered unconstitutional.

Westland’s ordinance also includes time restrictions and other items that have been struck down in multiple Michigan Courts. However, that’s not stopping the Westland Ordinance Department. In a letter to candidates, the Ordinance Department states that the political sign ordinance will continue to be enforced and that “political signs will be disposed of” if they are in violation of the ordinance.

Westland, MI Election Sign Ordinance
Westland, MI Election Sign Ordinance 2023

During previous election cycles, all candidates were notified of issues and were able to retrieve any removed signs by picking them up from the DPS Yard on Marquette, where the ordinance department is housed. This year, the City has removed any form of due process for potential violations and is ignoring Michigan election law, opening the door for lawsuits.


Candidates are also reporting an unusual number of stolen/damaged signs. “Regarding political signs, it’s illegal to damage or to block them,” said Ali Awadi in a live Facebook video. Awadi was referring to a vandalized sign as well as a recent incident where one candidate placed his signs directly in front of another sign to block anyone from seeing it. Awadi also tells us that “I’ve had my signs removed from private property where they were legally placed with permission from the owner.”

If you see someone stealing or damaging political signs, please take a photo or video and send it to Tampering with election signs is a criminal offense even if it is done by a City employee.