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Trail Talk 8: On Campaign Signs, Democracy and Public Safety

Democracy goes under - Sign near Narragansett Run, under Lackawanna Rd bridge

Yesterday evening I was walking back home after campaigning in the east end of the neighborhood.

As I was crossing Lacawanna Street from Narragansett Run Parkway, I saw one of my campaign signs lying close to the Narragansett Run creek under the Lackawanna Road bridge. Apparently, someone took that sign from elsewhere and threw it near the creek.

If it was one isolated incident, I wouldn’t mind. However this just happened after a series of stealing incidents in the past four days, during which I’ve lost 9 signs on a small segment of Edgewood Road between Rt 1 and Rhode Island Avenue. First I posted 4 signs; after they were removed, I posted 3 more and then when they were gone too, I posted 2 more last Thursday morning, which again disappeared by the evening on that day.

I’ve also seen a few other signs disappearing from other parts of the district. These signs cost me money to make them.

Edgewood Road is a city-owned street, so before I placed these signs, I had received permissions from the City. When I first saw the signs disappearing, I had initially thought that I was probably at fault and thus the signs were removed by the City. So I checked with City’s public safety, public works, and code enforcement departments. I was told it was not the City who did this; they would have warned me before removing these signs.

So I started to think further. Campaign signs are not items that can be resold, thus no one can make money by stealing them. So I turned to Google to find other reasons why people do this. According to this site, the possible reasons for stealing signs are jealousy, hatred, fear, and stupidity.

I was taken aback by looking at these reasons to say the least. I was under the assumption we live in a friendly democratic community, where everyone respects and tolerates others’ views. Stealing signs is thus clearly an affront to our democratic principles.

The City has kindly said they would report these stealing incidents to the police. On this blog, I have been posting crime incidents month after month; this is perhaps the first time my own incident will enter the statistics.

I hope none of the other candidates go through this painful and frustrating episode that I’ve just been through.

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