Campaign signs stolen, vandalized
Reports of stolen or vandalized campaign signs are common in Nevada County during election season.
But Saturday night, campaign sign trashing was taken to new lows, according to District 4 Supervisor incumbent Elizabeth Martin.
In what Martin said could be the county’s “largest single act of trespassing and vandalism,” hundreds of signs for her re-election campaign were stolen in the Penn Valley area.
“At this point, it looks like they stole or vandalized hundreds of signs throughout the district,” she said.
Martin estimates the damage at over $1,200.
In some cases, she said the thieves ventured hundreds of feet onto people’s property to snatch the signs.
“This is not just an attack against my campaign – it’s a direct attack on the property rights and First Amendment rights of hundreds of Nevada County residents,” Martin said. “This invasion of our rights tarnishes the democratic process that we in America hold dear.”
District 4 challengers Robin Sutherland and Rene Antonson also reported signs stolen.
Sutherland said five of her campaign signs – valued at $30 to $40 a piece – came up missing over the weekend.
Antonson said eight of his signs – valued at more than $500 – were stolen from private property Saturday night.
Antonson said campaign signs are part of the democratic process. “When people take those signs down, it shows they have no respect for that process,” he said.
Capt. Mike Hanson of the Sheriff’s Offices said, “Every year we have signs taken down and dumped somewhere, or they just disappear altogether. He expects more of the same before the election season is over.
Hanson said the Sheriff’s Office received more than a half-dozen calls from property owners who said signs had been taken from their property over the weekend.
When campaign signs are put up in the public right-of-way, the county Transportation Department or Caltrans will take them down, which Hanson said could explain the fate of some of the missing signs.
Martin has created a $500 reward fund for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone vandalizing the signs of any District 4 candidate.
“I’m urging my opponents to join me in condemning this act,” she said.
Martin urged law-abiding folks to contribute to the reward fund and asked that anyone who had signs stolen from their property contact the Sheriff’s Office at 265-1471.
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