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ELECTION 2012

Stolen election signs frustrate Roseville candidates

One city council candidate claims nearly 80 signs have disappeared
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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You've no doubt seen them.

In vacant lots along Foothills Boulevard, in your neighbors' lawns and maybe in your own front yard: They are election signs.

The city of Roseville has restrictions for these signs, which under Roseville Municipal Code are called temporary noncommercial signs, and Roseville City Council candidates sign a statement of responsibility for these signs.

The seven candidates in November's election have done so except for John Schwartz, according to City Clerk Sonia Orozco, because he's not using signage.

"I have no signs, so no problems," Schwartz told the Press Tribune.

But a few of the candidates are having problems, including one who estimates he's had about 80 signs stolen.

Enforcement of the sign ordinance is typically a complaint-driven process, in part because Roseville only has two code enforcement officers. The city received two complaints as of Oct. 4 and both were code violations (see sidebar below). Park maintenance staff has also taken it upon themselves to remove some signs.

COUNCIL CANDIDATES' SIGNS STOLEN, MOVED

Candidate Scott Alvord said he's had signs stolen from yards. He said one time his son drove by and saw a candidate's spouse posting signs where his sign was intact and the next morning his sign was knocked down.

"I have found my signs posted in some strange locations, too," Alvord said. "I don't know if one of my supporters tried to be creative or if a prankster was responsible. I've heard from candidates who have run in the past that this kind of thing happens every year. I personally would never touch another candidate's signs and I have a difficult time imagining how anyone could feel comfortable cheating like that."

Incumbent Councilwoman Carol Garcia said she hasn't experienced any problems with her signs, nor has candidate Bonnie Gore.

But candidate Tracy Mendonsa has had the opposite experience. Nearly 80 of his signs have been stolen, he said. He keeps a list of all his signs' locations.

"I have personally placed signs in areas where I have pounded my metal sign frame in the ground with a hammer so that it would stay in place and come back the very next day to see my sign stolen," Mendonsa said. "Not missing, not knocked over, just gone. That is frustrating enough, but what really bothers me is another (candidate) sign is now in the exact place mine was and even in the same holes in the ground where my frame was just one day prior. Sometimes, this candidate will even use my frame for their sign."

He suspects who is to blame but would not tell the Press Tribune on the record.

Candidate Phil Ozenick said he's had 16 signs stolen.

"We have not called the police," he said. "They have more important things to do."

Incumbent Pauline Roccucci said nine of her signs have gone missing.

EUREKA DISTRICT CANDIDATES REPORT VANDALISM

The three candidates running for two open seats on the Eureka Union School District board of trustees deal with both Roseville's and Placer County's rules for election signs as the district serves east Roseville and Granite Bay.

According to Placer County Elections office, all three candidates signed the statement of responsibility for political signs and paid the $200 deposit (see sidebar below).

Candidate Renee Nash referred the Press Tribune to one of her supporters, Lisa Robles, who filed a police report online in late September when two of her yard signs were stolen - one for Nash and one for running mate Ryan Jones. She also reported trespassing: Someone put a Kristie Greiss sign in her yard without Robles' permission.

Nash said she's had signs stolen and vandalized, including two of her large signs, one of which said, "take this garbage down."

"I am trying to be respectful of property owners' rights during this process," Nash said. "I was warned ahead of time that disappearing signs were part of the election process. It is still somewhat disappointing that this kind of behavior would actually occur."

Jones said two of his large signs were vandalized and written on with paint or marker and the frame of a third large sign was destroyed.

"I believe all three of those were reported to law enforcement by someone else, but I didn't personally report any of them, so I don't know for certain," Jones said.

He said some of his yard signs have gone missing, but that it's difficult to determine if they were stolen or taken down by a gardening crew or county officials.

Greiss said she's had multiple signs taken and vandalized.

"Campaign signs are part of the campaign process," Greiss said. "I do not believe in sign farms and very clearly have let my supporters helping with signs know my feelings. Truth is, there are certainly some people who don't like the signs, so I make sure I'm law abiding and do my best to be courteous to residents."

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Roseville's election sign rules:

  • No more than an aggregate total of 128 square feet of signs may be maintained at any one time on a single parcel or lot, provided each individual sign shall not exceed 6 square feet.
  • Allowed only 90 days prior to election and 10 days following. For Nov. 6 election, signs must be removed by Nov. 16.
  • Prohibited on public property or within any public right-of-way, including on sidewalks, crosswalks, curbs, lamp posts, benches, hydrants, shrubs, bridges, traffic signs and more.
  • Prohibited on private property without the permission of the property owner or tenant.
  • City employees are authorized to remove signs placed on public property or within public right-of-way. Removed signs may be retrieved for $10 each.
  • See an election sign violation? Call the city's complaint hotline at (916) 774-5501.

Source: City of Roseville

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Placer County's election sign rules:

  • Prohibited within any public right-of-way
  • Meet setback requirements for freestanding signs
  • Have a maximum sign area of no more than 32 square feet
  • Require property owner consent
  • Require a $200 deposit with the elections division of the county clerk

 Source: Placer County

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Election signs removed by Roseville code enforcement per two complaints as of Oct. 4:

  • Scott Alvord: 4
  • Carol Garcia: 1
  • Bonnie Gore: 1
  • Tracy Mendonsa: 1
  • Phil Ozenick: 4

Election signs removed by Roseville park maintenance staff as of Oct. 4:

  • Kristie Greiss: 10
  • Ryan Jones: 5
  • Tracy Mendonsa: 2
  • Renee Nash: 5

Source: City of Roseville