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Obama campaign signs vandalized
Judy Turner, chairwoman of the Tehama County Democratic Party, is very upset about the theft of "Obama for President" signs from in front of her home and other private properties in the county.
"This is not an act of patriotism. And it is not a partisan issue," she said. "It is theft and vandalism, and it is illegal."
Political signs are a mainstay of campaigns and lawn signs are a simple way for residents to show support for specific candidates and measures.
Due to their size and placement, however, political lawn signs are left vulnerable.
Turner's lament isn't new. Candidates have had campaign signs stolen, defaced and moved since political signs made their debut.
Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams said he has had campaign signs stolen during both his campaigns for county supervisor and his most recent run for state Assembly.
"During my campaign for state Assembly, I started out placing 200 signs. When I gathered them back up, I only had 130," Williams said.
Sometimes signs are legitimately removed. There are laws and regulations concerning where and when temporary campaign signs can be placed. If those laws or regulations are broke, the signs can be removed by specific officials.
For instance, "Temporary Political Signs shall not be placed within the right-of-way of any highway, or be visible within 660 feet from the edge of the right-of-way of a classified 'Landscaped freeway,'" reads one state law.
But it does not appear any of the signs Turner is referring to broke any such laws.
In a two and half week period, pro-Obama signs where stolen at least three times near South Avenue and Hall Road, and the giant olive sculpture at the intersection of those two roads had a political sign stolen off of it and the olive had anti-Obama graffiti smeared on it, according to Turner.
"The first time they stole one Obama yard sign that was on the south side of South Avenue, just east of the big green olive. It had only been there two days. About a week later, someone stole a large Jim Reed sign. Then Wednesday night or Thursday morning, they stole the Obama yard sign off the olive sculpture and painted on the olive," Turner said.
She has reported the incidents to the Tehama County Sheriff's Department.
"In our country we have the right of free speech. Even if I disagree with someone, I respect this right. I hope other people will respect that right, too," Turner said.
Williams said he doesn't know why people would steal campaign signs.
"But they do. It's just something you have to expect," he said.