Campaign signs vandalized in neighborhood
October 4, 2004
Political division has come to Division Street.
A quiet neighborhood at Seventh and Division streets was marred recently by an act of campaign vandalism. A 4-by-8-foot President Bush campaign sign on a vacant lot at that intersection was cut off its posts Sunday night or early Monday.
The only remnants of the red, white and blue plastic sign are the pieces bolted to the metal posts. Part of Bush’s ‘B’ and the first two letters of the vice president’s name are the only clues as to whom the sign once advertised.
Harry Fowler, a Republican Central Committee member in Carson City, said sign vandalism is infringing on freedom of speech and destroying the effort of campaign workers.
“I think it’s sad because it probably does more damage than good,” Fowler said Monday. “It probably brings more sympathy (to the candidate) when the signs are cut down.”
The culprits cut away the $100 double-sided Bush/Cheney sign, but didn’t touch a paper sign taped on a nearby post advertising a lost springer spaniel.
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Fowler said about 15 signs for the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Richard Ziser, have also been plucked from the ground in Eagle Valley.
“We’ve been having a lot of small signs just ripped off and taken away,” he said. “I don’t know what they do with them.”
But the big signs are what hurt the most, not only because of the cost but also the amount of labor needed to erect them. Fowler said he won’t get the Bush sign back up Monday because he needs a truck to take it out there, and a helping hand to get it dug in.
Fowler said he feels bad for the man who owns the vacant lot on Seventh and Division streets, because he had been so proud of that sign.
The large Bush signs on Division Street were put up late Sunday afternoon. He got a call 8 a.m. Monday saying the sign was cut down. The Bush sign on Fifth and Division streets, a busier intersection, wasn’t touched. Three small Ziser signs and several other large political signs are on that lot.
Fowler wonders if it was kids messing around, or adults making a statement. But whoever did it was committing a crime.
Undersheriff Steve Albertsen said defacing or tearing down signs on private property is a misdemeanor offense, but it still happens every campaign season.
“We don’t get a lot of suspect information on it, but every election we get reports of it from people running for office, or campaign managers,” he said.
Sandy Osheroff, chairwoman of the Carson City Democratic Party, said in the last two weeks they’ve had the same problems. Democratic Assembly candidate Bonnie Parnell’s and Sen. John Kerry’s signs have been torn down.
“We think it’s mostly kids with nothing to do,” she said. “We just put them back up again.”
Fowler and other Carson City Republicans are not deterred. They have 10 more large Bush signs to erect. Democrats at the headquarters also continue to distribute yard signs.
YOU CAN HELP
Report anyone defacing or stealing a campaign sign by calling the Carson City Sheriff’s Office at 887-2020.
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