Wu: A 'dumb thing caught on tape'

October 29, 2012|By Jack Wu

Signs, signs, sighs.

Everybody knows that signs do not win elections. They really don't.

And if you didn't previously know that, let me repeat — signs do not win elections. Hard work, knocking on doors and money — that's what wins elections.

An earlier version of this column referenced an Orange County official accused of stealing campaign signs. However, it failed to mention that the charges were dropped.

Signs are just distractions that build the egos of the candidates, upset the opposing candidates and just absolutely infuriate members of the community who feel that these signs ugly-up and clutter-up their neighborhoods, streets and sidewalks.


Plus, they could care less about so and so running for this or that.

So what is the hubbub about? Signs get stolen, lost, destroyed. That's part of every election in every city, every county and state. Just imagine how many Obama or Romney signs are stolen or destroyed.

Is it right? Absolutely not. Can it be considered sport? Probably. Have I heard really high-ranking folks suggest it? Maybe.

But what most people don't realize is that taking down someone else's sign is illegal.

When an Orange County public official was caught on film removing his opponent's sign in 2006, he faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. Now dollars to doughnuts, he would have never gotten six months in the slammer, but the real possibility was there that he could. The guy I am talking about had the charges dropped against him. Never mind the public embarrassment that getting caught brings along with it.

Tough stuff for something that is done as an afterthought while walking your dog barefoot, right?

Which brings us to the latest "dumb things caught on tape" moment.

Some of us have seen the video of the barefoot, bald, bearded fellow in Costa Mesa pulling the "Yes on V" and the Colin McCarthy-Steve Mensinger-Gary Monahan campaign signs down, ripping them apart and then throwing them in the bushes. If you haven't, you can watch it here. In fact, up to this point, it's received 1,900 views.

According the Daily Pilot, the Orange County district attorney is considering vandalism charges and the city of Costa Mesa is conducting its own "confidential personnel/administrative investigation," meaning that it's probably a Costa Mesa city employee who's dunnit. Mensinger has even personally identified the culprit by comparing Facebook pages against the still images from the video.

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