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Elections signs vandalized
Elections signs vandalized
By Chris Lackner
Sign, sign... everywhere a sign getting destroyed.
As the Nov. 13 municipal elections draw near, numerous candidates have come forth with complaints of stolen and vandalized campaign signs.
Stan Hall, a candidate for City Board of Control, said he has had 50 or more large campaign signs either vandalized or stolen, as well as 20 to 30 smaller signs.
"It's extremely frustrating," he said. "I'm the new kid on the block and I'm already personally $15,000 in the hole with this campaign. I have eight people on my campaign team who have put their heart and souls into this. There is nothing more insulting then missing or damaged signs."
Hall said he has no big corporate sponsors, unlike many of his fellow candidates, adding the destruction of campaign signs interferes with the process of democracy and his opportunity to bring his message to the public.
"I've decided enough is enough," he said. "I'm putting $1,000 in award money up for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved. I urge all politicians to follow suit."
The identities of the vandals are unknown, he said, noting the heated race for Board of Control might be adding to the situation.
"Put it this way," Hall said. "The big boys are spending $120,000 on their campaigns, but I'm still polling quite well. People like my views and my visions for this city. The big guys are worried."
Jamey Swift, city manager of licensing and elections, said there has not been an increase in vandalism during this civic election campaign.
"Some vandalism is to be expected with the proliferation of campaign material along sidewalks and private property," he said.
Const. Ryan Holland, spokesperson for London Police, said short of having a police officer on every corner, sign vandalism is a tough issue for the police to deal with. "It's great that Mr. Hall is putting up this reward," Holland said.
He added there was an increased police presence on the streets last night because of Devil's Night. "We have a zero tolerance policy towards any infractions."
Joe Swan, another candidate for Board of Control, said he has noticed an increase in vandalism since he first campaigned in municipal politics in 1988.
"Usually you lose about 25 to 35 signs during a campaign," he said. "This year I've already lost 100."
Swan said Hill's $1,000 award is an indication vandalism should be considered more then just a prank and elevated to criminal status.
"I'd rather have people participate in democracy than destroy it," he added.