Showing posts with label Topinka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Topinka. Show all posts

Friday, March 16, 2007

Arrested for Stealing Signs

It took me long enough to find this photograph I took last October 6th, a month before the fall election.

All politicians have complaints about their opponents stealing signs.

Sometimes you see people stealing them, as I did on Route 14 between Barrington and Inverness one very rainy weekend night right before the election. A young man was taking down a 4X8 foot Mike Salvi for State Representative sign.

Salvi’s opponent Verna Clayton, who sat near me on the House floor, was getting significant help from the House Republican Campaign Committee at the time, so you can imagine my thoughts. (No, I don’t think she had anything to do with the vandalism.)

In another race, I'm told a truck full of signs was followed back to a union headquarters.

This time, it was an individual who apparently just thought political signs were ugly.

As you can see from this picture, there was certainly overkill at the property which used to be and, maybe, still is part of Flowerwood.

When I drove to Wisconsin on October 6, using the back road past the Woodstock Hospital to get to Route 14, I saw only one sign on the way to Williams Bay. It was for Congressman Don Manzullo and was legally posted behind a person’s sidewalk on Route 14 on the north side of Harvard.

On the way home, when I saw the plethora of signs where Ridgefield Road intersects Route 14 near that wonderful Chinese restaurant, The Breakers, I stopped to take some pictures.

According to Chuck Keeshan, reporter for the Daily Herald, James C. Conley (according to the Circuit Clerk’s office, the man’s middle initial is “C,” rather than the “A” reported in the Daily Herald), a guy my age who likes to ride his bicycle, was arrested after complaints during a stakeout the day before I took my pictures. He was charged with taking down signs for Judy Baar Topinka, judicial candidate Charles Weech and Dan Rutherford, the GOP candidate for Secretary of State.

I can certainly empathize with Crystal Lake's Conley about the proliferation of political signs posted on highway rights-of-way.

Before 1992 this did not happen much.

Local politicians got permission from property owners and did not illegally post political signs.

It was the insurgent and successful congressional campaign of Don Manzullo which was the first I noticed putting up yard signs where they did not belong.

His primary victory against State Senator Jack Schaffer undoubtedly emboldened other candidates to follow suit. My guess is that Manzullo did not have the depth of organization to recruit enough homeowners and businesses to get rid of all his signs, so up they went along the roads.

Unfortunately, what works in politics, whether it be negative campaigning or illegal sign posting, is copied by future politicians.

And, no one in county or state government seems to want to enforce the law against illegal posting of signs—whether they be put there by developers or political workers--in road rights-of-way.

Without local enforcement—which only the Kane County Transportation Department is pursuing—expect to see the obnoxious and illegally place signs from developers and politicians for a long time to come.

But, if you are tempted to take down some of those signs, remember the people who bought the signs may have enough influence to get you arrested.

And, the rule of thumb is that only ones on the road side of the utility poles are posted illegally.

As usual, if you click on the photos, you can get a bigger version. You can even identify most of the candidates advertised on the signs.

Always more on the weekends at McHenry County Blog.

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