Photo courtesy Facebook
Homie wants your business, not your vote.
Teal signs featuring a dollar sign flanked by stars have sprouted up at Phoenix intersections promising “significant change” if people “Vote for Homie” for a Senate seat. Whether that seat is in the Arizona or U.S. Senate, the signs don’t say, since Homie is not, in fact, a candidate for anything.
Homie isn’t even a person.
Rather, Homie is a Utah-based real estate company.
Visiting the website advertised on the signs, www.homieforsenate.com, reveals a faux campaign page that promises “significant change is coming … to your pocket,” and lays out a “teal party platform” of reducing or eliminating real estate commission fees. A link at the bottom of the page goes to another page, az.homie.com, which gets to the heart of the campaign, as it were: Homie is a real estate company urging Arizonans to save money by using it to sell their homes for a flat fee, rather than pay a big commission to a traditional real estate agent.
Homie LLC registered as an Arizona business in November, followed a couple months later by Homie Loans LLC. The companies are owned by parent companies in Utah, a chain that includes Homie, Homie Loans, Homie Technology and Homie We’ve Got Your Back.
Though the signs aren’t for a candidate or a political campaign, and the committee listed on the signs, Agents for Change, isn’t registered with either the state or the City of Phoenix, Homie’s signs appear to violate both state law and Phoenix regulations.
State law dictates that signs are permitted on public rights-of-way from 45 days before a primary election to seven days after a general election. But statute also states that the signs must support or oppose a candidate or a ballot measure.
Phoenix City Code states that temporary signs for purposes of advertising are only permitted on public rights-of-way along streets for “community-wide special events, such as the Phoenix Grand Prix,” and even then, a permit is required. The city’s zoning office did not return a message from the Mirror before deadline.
This isn’t the first time a business has used faux campaign signs to promote itself during an Arizona election season. In 2010, the now-defunct restaurant chain Stingray Sushi put up signs referring to a ballot measure to create a lieutenant governor position that were actually just advertising for the new restaurant. The next year, there were signs promoting both Greg Stanton and Wes Gullett in the 2011 Phoenix mayoral race, and the following year Stingray Sushi put up signs touting both Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. However, Stingray Sushi filed a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.
Homie, it appears, don’t play that.
A Homie representative did not respond to an email from the Mirror.
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