Stealing San Jose campaign signs is ‘dirty politics,’ candidate says


San Jose City Council candidates Rolando Bonilla and Van Le, as properly as mayoral prospect and Councilmember Matt Mahan, explained numerous of their election symptoms have been destroyed or taken. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert

Campaign indications have been torn from lawns and minimize from fences in this year’s San Jose elections.   

Candidates Rolando Bonilla, Van Le and Matt Mahan are dismayed by these functions of vandalism and theft, but said it will not likely discourage them from running for office.

Le is functioning for San Jose Town Council in District 7 and Bonilla in District 5. 

Mahan is functioning for San Jose mayor, with Mayor Sam Liccardo terming out.   

Vandalizing or getting rid of signals decreases a candidate’s visibility, mentioned Terry Christensen, San Jose Condition College political science professor emeritus. 

Community and smaller scale strategies count on garden signals for making name recognition, especially for lesser-recognized or first-time candidates.   

“Garden signals are an essential way for candidates to demonstrate grassroots support,” he instructed San Jose Spotlight.   

Le explained it is really impacting her marketing campaign. 

Individuals have asked her if she withdrew from the race immediately after about 175 of her signals ended up removed from Vietnam City right away. 

Immediately after changing them, they had been taken once again, she mentioned. In some areas wherever multiple candidate signals were displayed, hers were being the only ones removed.   

“It can be extremely disturbing,” she informed San Jose Spotlight. “It shocks me people did that. Why do they just decide on on my indicator?”   

Lee and her volunteers are discouraged. The thefts have also been costly. Every single marketing campaign indicator expenditures $4 to $8. Le ordered 400 more symptoms right after the initially batch was taken and dropped about 250 indications in the 2nd batch.   

“Volunteers who put out the signals for me are pretty upset,” she claimed. “My group and I worked extremely really hard to raise funds to acquire all of the signals.”   

Still, Le stated this will not prevent her from campaigning  

 In California, petty theft is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to 6 months, and/or a highest fine of $1,000. 

Petty theft is outlined as wrongfully using or stealing somebody else’s assets when the benefit of the residence is $950 or considerably less. 

It’s deemed grand theft when in excess of $950. 

This criminal offense can have a maximum sentence of up to a few many years in jail.   

Bonilla said the removal of marketing campaign signals is soiled politics. He mentioned it can be unfortunate that men and women vacation resort to these techniques instead than debating difficulties.  

“It is what’s incorrect with this system,” he instructed San Jose Spotlight. “We really should be conversing about the candidates … but alternatively they spend hours stealing our signs.”   

Bonilla said he suspects his volunteers are being followed, due to the fact within a several hours they obtain the signals torn down and tossed to the aspect. 

He said his marketing campaign won’t be deterred by intimidation techniques.   

“It’s a pretty structured energy trying to silent our standpoint,” he claimed, “but it can be not going to function. For each individual sign missing, two will go up.”   

Bonilla said he hasn’t contacted the police due to the fact they have additional significant things to do in the local community. He posted a image on social media allegedly demonstrating a truck getting his indicators and questioned men and women to speak to the police department if they see it.   

“They can target on negativity,” he stated. “We will not.”   

Mahan stated he dropped hundreds of signals and has internet sites where by his team experienced to switch signs day by day. He claimed this is going on citywide each in entrance of people’s residences and business districts exactly where they gained authorization to publish their sign. 

An individual even pulled a indication off the hanger and tore it in 50 % in front of his business office, he reported.   “It can be really poor,” Mahan said. “It is a lot even worse than it was in my council race two years in the past. It does experience targeted.”   

Mahan explained the reliable sign removal is regarding as it has a chilling result on civic engagement. 

He claimed if individuals are destroying his symptoms to discourage his campaign, it has experienced the reverse influence. His supporters are fired up.   

“It can be a shame since it discourages civic participation when people today really feel attacked for receiving involved in anything they feel in,” he informed San Jose Highlight.


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