LOS ANGELES -- Call it "Postergate," a scandal full of illegalit and denials that reaches from Los Angeles City Hall to the White House.
Some of the best-known politicos in the land have been implicated -- Bill Clinton and George Bush and the Los Angeles mayoral candidates, Michael Woo and Richard Riordan.
All of them -- and dozens more -- have been billed by Los Angeles for flouting Section 28.04 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. That means that they or their agents illegally posted campaign signs on public property -- telephone poles, light fixtures and even palm trees.
"Is this an issue?" a spokesman for Mr. Riordan said derisively. To the city's Bureau of Street Maintenance, you had better believe it is.
The cost of removing the "political graffiti," as city officials describe the posters, is $194.20 for the first sign and $1.60 for each additional transgression. That is for stapled or tacked signs. Anyone with the audacity to use glue must pay $48.60 a pop.
President Clinton has paid his $631 bill for 274 errant signs put up during the presidential race, but Mr. Bush has not, and the city intends to get tough -- even though Mr. Bush had only one offending sign, and nobody is accusing the former president of having put it up himself.
The message from the city to the former president: Pay the $194.20 you owe, or the city will haul you into Small Claims Court.
There is no jail time given for illegally posting a sign, and this is one crime that does not appear on a rap sheet. But the per-sign fees have generated $300,000 for the city in recent years.