shady electioneering activities in H’burg

Brent Finnegan -- November 9th, 2006

I wish I had heard about this on Monday night (when it happened) but better late than never…

A source in the local Democratic Committee tells me that late Monday night several Allen supporters were caught by Webb supporters at Keister Elementary tearing down a large Webb sign in the grass. When caught and confronted, the Allen supporters (who were there putting up their own yard signs) said that someone else destroyed the sign, and that they were trying to put the sign back up. According to the source, an official report was filed with the HPD. UPDATE: No official report was filed, but the HPD did confirm that someone came into the lobby between 10:00 and 10:30 Monday night, told police about this incident, and to be on the lookout for similar activities.

According to this source, earlier (presumably the same group of) Allen supporters stuck several yard signs in front of the Democratic HQ on North High Street, and also in unauthorized locations around the old HHS. Folks at the DHQ removed the signs, only to find them back up again later Monday night.

The election is over. Why am I writing this? Because Allen’s margin of victory in Harrisonburg was so small. And also because the DNR reported the theft of several pro-amendment signs last month, and I haven’t seen anything about this in the local media.

It’s a shame things had to be like this in the friendly city. Tearing down signs (whether it be Webb signs or pro-amendment signs) is fruitless and ignorant. I heard good things about Republican-Democrat camaraderie coming out of Augusta on Tuesday. It should have been like that here… I echo Chris’s sentiment, “Can we all just get along?”

-finnegan

11 Responses to “shady electioneering activities in H’burg”

  1. IPU says:

    Harrisonburg has a law against placing signs on public property – I’m not sure how it applies to public schools. With no lack of private property to post signs on, I see no problem with someone removing signs from public property as long as they are not putting their own signs up.

  2. finnegan says:

    Well, the DHQ is private property. That was clearly meant to antagonize them.

    I’m not sure of the law at polling places around the city, but I’m fairly certain it is legal (just because it’s at every polling location I’ve ever seen), just as long as it’s not within X feet of the front door of the polling place. If anyone knows the rules, please jump in here and enlighten us.

    I’m thinking the rally/protest on Court Square on the 27th contributed to the (seemingly) more hostile political atmosphere in the city.

  3. IPU says:

    I agree – tampering with private property or officially designated areas should not be allowed.

    Someone from the Eagle campaign in a previous election posted a huge sign visible from the exit of Walmart on grass mowed by JMU. They claimed that it was legal on the right of way, but when I called the city, they said that Eagle should have known better because he had helped pass the law.

    Just because everyone has been doing it, doesn’t mean that it is legal.

  4. Adam Sharp says:

    If a public (or private) building is being utilized as a polling place, signs may be placed on the property as long as they are more than 10 feet from the entrance (I believe it’s 10 feet).

    I am also fairly sure vandalizing or removing election signs is a federal crime.

    In Staunton last year, we responded to sign vandalism by blaming “terrorists” (whether it was our signs or theirs), but we also waited until the morning of Election Day to put up our signs.

  5. IPU says:

    Here is one Harrisonburg code violation that I see frequently:
    Sec. 11-7-3. General regulations for all signs. (17) No signs shall be attached to trees, utility poles or any other unapproved supporting structure.
    I can’t find any exceptions for lost puppies.

  6. IPU says:

    Sec. 6-1-25. Posting advertisements, flyers, etc.; prohibited.
    No individual, business, organization club or group of any description, shall, without advance written permission of the director of public works, post, attach, affix, or cause or encourage another to post, attach, or affix, any sign, flyer, poster or notice, to any object or surface, such as a utility pole or traffic sign or signal, within a public right-of-way or on property owned or leased by the City of Harrisonburg; nor shall any mark of any nature be made with any implement or substance.

    Technically, the ground is a surface, but I don’t know if it is legally considered so.

  7. IPU says:

    Here’s one I really like!
    Sec. 16-10-4. Handbills. (e) Placement on private property. No person shall place or cause to be placed any handbill on any automobile …

  8. finnegan says:

    Oh, man. I’ve never seen handbills on my windshield (except for payday loans) but I have seen them on poles around town.

  9. linz says:

    There was a Webb handbill on our windshield at the Harrisonburg Crossing Monday night. Naughty naughty…

  10. finnegan says:

    Indeed. Handbills on my car would make me not want to vote for that candidate.

  11. IPU says:

    Misplaced campaigning shouts out “We can’t find enough people proud to endorse us!”

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