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Fitzpatrick decries sign vandalism

Head of taxpayers' group criticizes city employee suspected of damaging campaign banners. Incident was caught on tape.

October 25, 2012|By Bradley Zint
  • An example of some of the mangled and torn political signs found throughout the city.
An example of some of the mangled and torn political signs… (BRADLEY ZINT, Daily…)

In a small news conference Thursday morning, the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Assn. president repeated concerns about the level of violence against campaign signs and union influence in the city.

Jim Fitzpatrick, speaking outside City Hall before a table filled with photos of destroyed signs, called the month's incidents "not your average sign vandalism."

The destruction — reportedly by knife, paintball, tearing, stomping and bicycle — has been prevalent among all sides of this year's election.


FOR THE RECORD:

An earlier version of this story implied that Costa Mesa Taxpayers Assn. President Jim Fitzpatrick was disappointed with the potential charges against a city employee. In fact, he was disappointed that a city employee was allegedly involved in the sign vandalism.


The fiscally conservative CMTA supports the "3Ms" City Council candidate slate — Councilmen Steve Mensinger, Gary Monahan and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy — and the passing of Measure V, the city's charter initiative, in the Nov. 6 election.

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In response to the Orange County district attorney's consideration of misdemeanor charges against a Costa Mesa city employee suspected of vandalizing campaign signs, Fitzpatrick said, "As an individual representing the taxpayers, we find that [a city employee was allegedly involved] very, very disappointing."

The Daily Pilot is withholding the employee's name because he has not yet been arrested or formally charged with a crime. City officials with knowledge of the incident said the employee has been suspended from work, pending a personnel investigation.

"When is the union influence on our city going to stop?" Fitzpatrick asked, adding that he is questioning the degree of city employees possibly involved and if there is a culture that encourages such behavior.

Over the weekend, the CMTA posted a video of the man vandalizing two campaign signs: one in support of Measure V and another for the 3Ms.

Fitzpatrick said the man in the video was "acting with impunity, that's him out there walking, that the police aren't addressing this issue."

Costa Mesa police have said the video was taken by a private investigator working for a councilman who's running in the election.

Jennifer Muir, spokeswoman for the Orange County Employees Assn., which opposes the charter measure, has said the council majority is trying to distract voters with the issue of sign vandalism.

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