Huber Sign Stakeout Gone Awry

For months, we’ve heard stories about lost campaign signs with some subtle and some not so subtle finger pointing toward the supporters of opposing campaigns. Last week, I posted an article about a property manager taking down Bob Huber’s signs claiming proper permission was not obtained. This week in the Simi Valley Acorn there’s a report of a police stakeout on a Bob Huber campaign sign at the McDonald’s on Yosemite Ave. where more signs were disappearing. The results of the stakeout concluded the signs were being removed by a McDonald’s employee:

Like clockwork, at 4:30 a.m. a man removed the signs—including ones for council incumbent Glen Becerra—putting them in the back of his pickup truck.

When Arabian confronted the man, he discovered he wasn’t a thief, but a property maintenance worker, clad in a McDonald’s shirt.

Though permission to post the signs had been granted, this worker was apparently just unaware.

It’s the nature of the crime that prompts a stakeout by the Simi Valley Police. The dollar amount of the damage combined with the identifiable pattern of the crime offers an investigator an opportunity to solve it. The signs were apparently expensive and enough were stolen to qualify this as a felony.

Santino said it’s been frustrating to see sign after sign taken down. At $65 a piece, it easily adds up to felony theft, which requires $400 or more in damages.

“We knew we were going to lose signs, but the frequency and the vast amount has just been a huge surprise,” he said. “In my opinion, some of our signs have been systematically removed because they don’t want our message out there.”

Though Santino didn’t say it, Huber’s supporters have insinuated that Sojka’s camp is behind the thefts. Sojka, who has also had dozens of signs removed, said that is “totally out of line and unfair.”

Naturally, the question I asked when I first heard this story was were they expecting to find a Steve Sojka supporter creeping around at night stealing their signs? I may never get a straight answer to that question. I can tell you that a few evenings ago, a Huber supporter was discussing his stolen signs on Facebook and is suggesting that his opponent’s supporters are the perpetrators.

And just when you think it can’t get any uglier, the phrase “inappropriate use of resources”  is heard. The Acorn article goes on to discuss the fact that an outspoken Huber for Mayor supporter volunteered to conduct the stakeout, and that his salary range and overtime pay resulted in a relatively expensive night.

Read the article at the Simi Valley Acorn by clicking here.

Was the stakeout a success? That may be a matter of perspective. The signs will likely stop disappearing now that the truth is revealed. No one pressed charges. And if you were hoping a Sojka supporter would be caught and arrested, then this was a stakeout gone awry.

As an added note, I also think City Manager Mike Sedell shows good judgment by choosing not to investigate this until after the election. While it’s easy to draw the conclusion of a conflict since the detective who chose to conduct the stakeout is a known Huber supporter, Sedell opts not to make it into an election issue. I appreciate that he can make that decision despite being a frequent target of criticism by Huber supporters.

Mashburn Sign Statement

Keith Mashburn's sign attached to a fence on LA and Stearns

Everyone loves political sign season! Right? No? Maybe it’s just me. At any rate, I’m having a good time spotting the signs as they appear throughout the city. For those that believe challengers have trouble getting their signs posted, drive around town and tell me if you can spot the signs for Mike Judge and Keith Mashburn. I sure have.

You may notice a couple of Keith Mashburn signs have disappeared. It turns out that a couple of small yard signs for Mashburn at the corner of Madera and Los Angeles Avenue were unauthorized, resulting in this statement from the Candidate:

I was notified by a representative of Casden Properties, Daren Embry, that they had removed my signs from their property at the corner of L.A. Ave. and Madera.  I did not place the signs there and had not requested permission to place any there.  Casden Properties made it very clear they were only supporting the incumbents for city council.  I regret any harm that this has caused Casden Properties and can assure them that it is my policy to only place signs where I have permission.

When I asked Keith how the signs appeared there, he indicated that some of his supporters may have put them in place without his knowledge, answering me as follows:

I can only guess that to be the case. I have no idea how they got out so early but I don’t think someone printed up Mashburn signs and placed them.

They were official Keith Mashburn signs, so if it wasn’t his campaign, it may have actually been an over-zealous supporter. Either way, the matter appears to have been settled. Thanks to Keith for providing the statement.

Bob Huber Signs Are Up!

Bob Huber's Campaign Sign on Madera near LA.

Bob Huber’s signs are up, according to the following campaign announcement:

We are excited to let you know that this morning, as you drive through our beautiful city, you will finally see our multitude of campaign signs.  As you read in one of our previous communications, we waited until we were 90 days from the election to put up signs, out of respect for the citizens of our fine community as there had previously been so many signs during the June primaries.  If you didn’t get a sign in your yard and would like one, please reply to this email and one will be promptly delivered to your home.

I believe signs are an important tool in a local election. Bob Huber opted to wait a few weeks after Steve Sojka put his signs up throughout Simi Valley. He indicated that he was doing so out of respect for the community, explaining that citizens don’t want to see signs up for too long or too close to the completion of another election. We are now at the 3 month mark before election day.

I’ll cruise around this evening and take a few pictures. For me, the signs represent an important time for Simi Valley voters and I enjoy seeing them posted.

Campaign Sign Season 2010

It’s one of my favorite times of the year: Campaign Sign Season! Seeing the campaign signs posted strategically throughout the city always says to me that an election is on its way and these people have something they want me to know. But not everyone likes campaign signs like I do, nor do they believe they’re effective.

Sojka for Mayor Campaign Sign at Home Depot

I spotted Steve Sojka’s sign for his Simi Valley Mayor campaign at Home Depot this afternoon. I snapped a picture of it with my cell phone so you can have a look. This is a great spot for a sign. I drive through the Home Depot parking lot regularly as do a lot of Simi Valley folks. It’s right at the entrance of Home Depot and is placed in such a way that it is viewable on the way in as well as on the way out. From my standpoint, I’d call this an effective sign.

Facebook: Not everyone agrees on Campaign signs

In Simi Valley, campaign signs are allowed to go up no earlier than 120 days before the election. We’re at that point now and candidates are already coordinating to get their signs posted.  So far, Steve Sojka appears to be “in the lead” but other candidates will undoubtedly follow soon.

Two years ago, City Council Candidates who were challenging the incumbents complained that being an incumbent offered an unfair advantage regarding campaign signs. One candidate presented the challenging steps involved in identifying business owners in an effort to contact them for permission. Barbra Williamson who was up for re-election at that time reacted to that challengers position in the video below.

I’m looking forward to seeing more signs throughout Simi Valley for the upcoming election. To any candidates who are having difficulty posting campaign signs or believe the sign ordinance presents an unfair situation, please contact me so I can help make your position known.