By Kevin Harris
Civil rights activist and former Ventura County Sheriff candidate Bruce Boyer is now running for Ventura County Clerk of Elections. Anyone familiar with Mr. Boyer can attest to his unique and tenacious personality, along with his articulate style of persuasion, all of which make his latest campaign tool almost seem perfectly logical for the strict constitutionalist: Bicycle signs posted in public.
His current campaign, which officially began on March 11, 2022, came after controversial rules passed by the State Legislature and Governor limiting who can run for Sheriff, rendering Boyer technically unqualified. But because those campaign rules were passed without constitutional authority in the state, Boyer has presented legitimate legal challenges to them, including an appeal to the California Appellate Court, who struck the challenge down on what Boyer says are nonsensical reasons.
“Their primary argument for not striking it down was that if they struck it down, even his (the judge’s) 5-year-old son could run for Sheriff,” Boyer said. “But a 5-year-old can’t be a registered voter so couldn’t run for Sheriff,” he added. Boyer’s broader claim is that there’s a conspiracy being maintained by judges to limit who can run for Sheriff, and by extension, who can run for the position of judge. So while he continues to fight that case, he wants to become the County Clerk “to be the referee who will call a clean game.”
As for Boyer’s bicycle signs, he has used that tactic for several years while promoting issues in Ventura County, with varying degrees of success. He began using bicycles for signage because, according to him, Simi Valley has unusually heavy restrictions on campaign signage, and “I’m not willing to jump through multiple hoops, and I’m not willing to be charged with breaking the law and having my signs confiscated, when I can legally put them on bicycles and park them in the public right of way,” he explained.
Despite that legality, however, Simi Valley’s Public Works Department repeatedly would confiscate Boyer’s legally placed bicycle signs, while city employees and City Council members refused to even discuss the issue with him time, and time again. Boyer also said that while that was going on, the city routinely ignored its own signage regulations and allowed all kinds of other signs to remain posted, in a clear case of selective enforcement.
“We have three federal lawsuits as to our rights of free speech in the public roadway. The current lawsuit, against the City of Simi Valley, we have essentially won, based on a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Boyer said. As far as he can tell, his signs are still being confiscated in Simi Valley.
Today in Thousand Oaks, however, his bicycle signs are being locked to street signage in the public right of way, are fully legal, and so far, have remained unmolested by anyone. Boyer said he plans to place like signs in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura as well over the next several days.
The bikes he uses are generally junk or surplus specimens that he finds in local ads, bike shops or through word of mouth – bikes that no one wants for low cost. Once he gets a bike, he then has to prepare it to become an effective bike sign.
“We build specific attachments to put on the bikes to display the large banners,” Boyer said.
One other particular point of interest is that, according to Boyer, he is offering “a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone stealing or vandalizing” his bike signs. The reward generally applies to criminal thefts as opposed to government confiscation, though that remains a bit of a murky area, considering that a person confiscating a bike sign on government orders is not likely to be arrested or convicted.
Bruce Boyer served in the U.S. Army before gaining expertise in the private security sector for more than 30 years. He has attended hundreds of local city council meetings, spoken or presented at many of them, and is a powerful proponent of free speech, Second Amendment Rights, and Civil Rights in general. He has been arrested for exercising his free speech and tirelessly fights political corruption. The website for his current campaign is “BruceforVCclerk.com.”
The California State Primary Election takes place on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
Kevin Harris is a reporter, editor and journalist, previous President of Cal State Northridge’s Society of Professional Journalists, and having worked for the LA Times and Newhall Signal. He is now also an author and videographer, and lives with his two children in Thousand Oaks.