We’ve heard claims that someone is stealing a candidate’s yard signs…

We’ve heard claims that someone is stealing a candidate’s yard signs; there was even a campaign fundraiser whose supposed purpose is to raise money to replace these “stolen” signs. In addition, there’s a reward for catching this “thief.”

While it’s never acceptable to steal someone’s signs, it’s also never acceptable to make an assumption and claim that it’s fact. Case in point: When I ran for office in 2016, my signs got stolen too. They also got knocked down and blown away, but without a hidden camera trained on every sign, there’s no way to know what happened for sure, is there? Here’s what I can tell you: the surest way to get your sign “stolen” is to put it on someone’s property without permission.

I can personally verify that this happened repeatedly in the 2016 election. I had my signs at several local businesses (I always, always got permission first), and within days, was disappointed to see one of my opponents’ signs plastered on the property. Sometimes there were as many as seven of this person’s signs! When I asked the businesses politely what had happened, they expressed real frustration, and told me, “We don’t know what to do! We’ve asked, and asked, and asked the candidate to please not put their signs here. We take them down. And then the next morning, when we come to work, they’re back!”

I asked this candidate about it, and the answer was an exaggerated shrug. “I have HUNDREDS of people asking me for signs. I can’t control where they put them!”

Acting with Integrity

Actually, you can. And if you’ve got volunteers putting signs where people don’t want them, well, I suggest keeping tighter control over your campaign materials. Perhaps there should be a reward for catching the people who put signs up without the permission of the property owners, or in places that are strictly forbidden, like utility poles. Yes, that happened too.

Once, one of my overenthusiastic volunteers placed one door hanger on a door in a building where this was prohibited. The upset homeowner called me, and I dropped what I was doing and went and retrieved it myself. That’s how someone with integrity conducts themselves.

You may notice that I haven’t named any names here. That’s on purpose, because I wanted to make the point that, well, isn’t it easy to just say whatever you want, and hope people believe it? In my case, the story’s true. I just think it’s inappropriate to name names.

In case you were wondering, according to a local police officer in a state far, far away from here, “This has happened during every election we’ve had, from local to presidential.” In fact, this happens all over the country; here’s an example from a USA Today piece back in 2016, when presidential election tempers were running high.

We’re Better Than That

So are you planning to vote for someone who sees a conspiracy behind every corner, who shamelessly plays the victim card, who believes that unfounded accusations and conspiracy theories are the way to a productive city government? I’m not, and I sure hope you’re not, either.

In the meantime, if you want to support someone by donating, that’s your right as a citizen of this great country. Our right to vote for, and support, who we choose is sacred. But do it because you want to support them, not because you fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book, the “poor me” trick. I think we’re better than that.