Sign language: Vandals strike campaign markers
A duel is underway in an Alta Sierra neighborhood, and the weapon of choice is a tattered political sign for a Congressional candidate.
Nearly every day, an unidentified elderly man on his morning stroll hides or topples a Charlie Brown for Congress sign on the corner of Patricia Way and Aileen Way.
The sign’s owner is not amused.
“I hope I do run into him one of these days,” said Clarence Motter, 70, about the mystery man seen by one of Motter’s neighbors tossing the sign into the bushes on a recent morning. “I’ve had to put that sign back up at least a dozen times.”
Motter’s not the only one who has had to deal with vandalism this election season.
Richard Robinson, spokesman for the Rep. John Doolittle campaign, said one of Doolittle’s signs on Highway 49 and Brewer Road has been taken down and vandalized about eight times.
“This type of activity should be discouraged,” Robinson said. “It’s wrong and illegal.”
Measure T signs throughout Grass Valley along McKnight Way, Freeman Lane and Idaho-Maryland Road have also been damaged and stolen during the past few weeks.
“Half the signs I’ve put into the ground have been removed,” said Howard Levine, Measure T supporter and Grass Valley Downtown Association president. “People don’t know how much work goes into putting out those signs. To put out 20 signs, it took me all night.”
He said vandals either take the signs or slap a “No” sticker over the “Yes” part of “Yes on T.”
“It’s just frustrating,” he said. “I’d rather have (Measure T detractors) invest in their own signs and put them up or call us and ask us why Measure T is so important.”
He said he can be reached at 272-8315.
Levine said he has spoken about the vandalism with Terry Lamphier, candidate for Grass Valley City Council and Measure T opponent, and he is confident Lamphier has nothing to do with the vandalism.
“I certainly would never damage their signs,” Lamphier said Wednesday. “I don’t support that at all. I’m a big believer in free speech, but it stops at stopping someone else’s free speech. It’s harmful to due process and it casts a shadow on me.”
He said he encourages those against Measure T to call him at 477-5637 to discuss ways to raise money for campaign signs.
In an effort to appeal to the vandal’s patriotic side, Motter fastened a small American flag to his sign in the hopes it would deter the Charlie Brown detractor from tampering with it again.
It didn’t work. The following day Motter found the flag on the ground, his sign overturned in the bushes.
“I guess he doesn’t have a patriotic side,” Motter said.
Motter called the sheriff’s office Tuesday to report the vandalism and a deputy told him anyone can be charged with misdemeanor vandalism if they are caught defacing or stealing the signs.
He said he has never seen the elderly man his neighbor witnessed throwing his sign, but if he does, he’ll call police again.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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