Some of the six candidates for El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor are having trouble keeping tabs on their campaign signs in South Lake Tahoe because someone keeps taking them.
With absentee ballots out and the June 3 primary less than a month away, Kevin Brown, Kenny Curtzwiler, Gerri Grego, Sue Novasel, Teresa Piper and Angela Swanson are trying to make their case to voters in a race to replace departing Supervisor Norma Santiago.
Many of the candidates are using campaign signs, but having problems with the signs staying put. Brown has had 29 go missing at a cost of about $20 each.
Brown said a camera at a business on Lake Tahoe Boulevard — a site where he has put several signs — happened to capture footage of a man on a bike taking the signs and putting them in a Dumpster behind the business. The video was too blurry to identify the man, Brown said.
“I talked to Gerri Grego. She found some of her signs behind a location with mine, too, so it sounds like someone is taking them and putting them behind buildings and in or near Dumpsters.”
Grego said she’s spent more than $3,000 on signs for her campaign.
“For the first couple weeks I was the only one out there and they kind of stayed in place. But as others went up, people started tearing them down. They painted a beard on me in one, stabbed my picture in another. Then you spend all your time trying to repair and replace them. I am down to maybe one-third of the signs I purchased,” Grego said. “Campaigns have limited amounts of money so it’s a little distressing to have money go down the drain like that.”
Novasel also has had signs stolen and thrown into the garbage. “Someone at the thrift store across from Bank of the West saw a man on a bike pick up my sign and throw it in the garbage. I reported it to the South Lake Tahoe Police. I have since found many of my signs either in the garbage or next to garbage cans within the city of South Lake Tahoe,” Novasel said.
Brown and Grego said they haven’t had problems with campaign signs going missing in other parts of District 5, only in South Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Brian Uhler said multiple candidates have been affected by sign thefts. A rash of them was reported one night last week.
“Maybe it’s somebody who just doesn’t like political signs or politicians in general,” Uhler said, calling the sign thefts disruptive to the democratic process. “We could use the help of the whole community if anybody has any information about it to restore the signs and hold these people accountable for what is a crime. We’re actively engaging the issue in hopes of either curtailing it until the election is over or catching the people who did it.”
Uhler said information about the thefts can be reported to South Lake Tahoe Police at 542-6100.