Residents express concern over missing campaign signs

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By Carol A. Clark

An increasing number of local residents are coming forward with concern at finding their Obama campaign signs disappearing from their front yards – several, more than once.

Most of the missing signs appear to be in yards and lots in Barranca Mesa.

“We have had two Obama signs stolen from our yard, the first last Saturday night, Sept. 13, and the second last night, Sept. 20,” said Kyle Wheeler, wife of County Councilor Mike Wheeler. “I don’t know if last night’s action was widespread like last weekend’s was, but I reported both incidents to the police and urge you to do the same if you have a sign stolen. Someone doesn’t believe in free speech and property rights for me.”

County Council candidate Manuel Baca expressed his dismay in a recent Letter to the Editor in the Monitor. He has had several of his campaign signs removed or damaged in the last week, he said.

“It’s quite obvious that there are some people that don’t believe in free speech, property rights or change in this community, Baca said.

“I’ll just keep putting them back up, and remember your voice is just as powerful as a sign so the best way we can get the job done is to spread the word throughout the county that change can be a good thing in Washington and Los Alamos.”

Democrats whose signs were stolen on Saturday night include more than a dozen households, Wheeler said.

“Many of us rushed out and were able to get new signs,” she said. “A friend of mine said, ‘The thieves stole our signs but have not stolen our hope.’”

Residents have contacted the police, Wheeler said.

“But they probably won’t be too successful in finding these kids or adults,” she said. “I can’t believe it was one or two people; it seems more like an organized effort. No McCain signs were disturbed and our Udall sign wasn’t touched.”

Longtime Republican Party leader JoAnn Johnson is not aware of any Republican signs being stolen, she said.

“We don’t have many out there right now,” she said. “We’ve got a large amount on order.”

Johnson called on residents to not assume the culprits are Republicans. They could be vandals like those who’ve vandalized the mountain lion sculpture at the roundabout, she said.

Los Alamos Police Capt. Randy Foster confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the department had been contacted.

“We have received calls from both Democrats and Republicans reporting their signs taken or damaged and we are investigating,” he said.

“Every presidential election year we go through this, but Saturday night was the worst ever,” Wheeler said. “I thought Republicans stood for freedom and property rights, but maybe that is only for them.”

Anyone with information about who may be stealing or damaging campaign signs is asked to contact the police at 662-8222.