Yard-sign thefts frustrate voters in the Shores
by Mariko Lamb
Oct 17, 2012 | 3174 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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As the elections loom nearer, candidates and supporters on all sides can, at times, get into spirited debate about everything from priorities in the city, state or federal budgets to the role certain leaders should play in government.

Accompanying the already hotly contested issues, a rash of political yard-sign thefts in the Shores only seems to solidify hard feelings ingrained in opposing political supporters.

According to longtime La Jolla Shores resident and merchant Myrna Naegle, more than 20 signs supporting District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner have been stolen from the La Jolla Shores neighborhood in a span of about two weeks.

“We don’t want to put any more signs up because it would just be futile,” she said. “It’s gotten to the point where we can’t put them into our yards.”

Although Naegle contacted the police about the thefts, she said they were unable to write a report.

SDPD spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown explained that in order for police to do anything about the thefts, the owner of the signs — the candidates — must file a report.

“Generally speaking, candidates give the signs to supporters for their yards so, although stolen from a yard, the victim is not the property owner,” she said.

According to Lightner’s campaign manager, Rollin Bush, the councilwoman has made attempts to ensure her supporters respect the signs of her challenger, Ray Ellis.

“From the beginning of our campaign, Sherri has made it clear that no member of her campaign should disrespect citizens’ right to free speech by destroying, removing or vandalizing her opponent’s yard signs on private property,” he said. “It was brought to Ray Ellis’ attention during the primary election that Sherri Lightner’s yard signs on private property were being stolen, and he has chosen not to take corrective action to stop this illegal practice.”

Ellis’ campaign manager, Matthew Donnellan, however, said Lightner is not the only candidate whose signs have been stolen.

“I haven’t heard anything about Lightner signs,” said Donnellan. “We’ve had some of our supporters in La Jolla and throughout District 1 contact us with the same problem.

“We tell them these things happen and that they can come get a new one at our office.”

For some, the issue is a relatively moot point. For others, it is a frustrating fact of life during the election cycle.

“It’s not just trying to steal an election,” said Rob Whittemore, who also had his yard signs stolen in the Shores. “It’s stealing our First Amendment rights.”
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