"Teens' arrest in sign protest roils Glendora" Sat Mar-03-07 08:59 AM by gozer
Teens' arrest in sign protest roils Glendora By Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer March 3, 2007
Even by the notoriously nasty standards of small-town politics in Glendora, the late-night arrest of two teenagers last week has taken local elections in this little city to a bracingly new low.
The 18-year-olds, Keleigh Marshall and Christina Giammalva, set out the night of Feb. 19 to engage in some mischief by putting stickers on the political signs of Glendora elected leaders. The stickers read, "This sign violates Glendora city ordinance," a reference to Glendora's law prohibiting campaign signs on public property.
Notwithstanding that law and an accompanying set of rules that regulate the placement of campaign material, the same council members who passed the regulations appeared to be violating them — and thus the protest by Marshall and Giammalva.
While the young women were affixing those bulletins, however, they were confronted by none other than Councilman Gary Clifford, who is among those running for reelection. He demanded that they remove the stickers, and when they refused, the retired police officer called for backup.
Glendora's tiny Police Department responded in force, rolling out four cars and a sergeant — every available unit that Monday night. The strike force ignored the teenagers' allegations that Clifford was the scofflaw and came down hard on the young women.
They were handcuffed by the side of the road and taken to the station in separate cars. They said they were booked, searched and kept in jail four hours, and interrogated separately while their parents and lawyers were held at bay. Later, when a department spokesman released a statement to the media on the arrests, he identified both teenagers by name but omitted Clifford's identity, describing him only as "one of the victims" of the vandalism.
#1. "RE: Teens' arrest in sign protest roils Glendora" In response to Reply # 0
The girls had the right idea, but the wrong way of going about it.
Political signs and real estate signs need to be handled very carefully. Not because they're any less illegal than any other spam sign -- but because they've got some very powerful friends that can cause a lot of grief for anyone removing their signs.
If the girls didn't want to risk an evening in jail, a smarter ploy would have been a simple phone call to the offending candidate's campaign manager: "Please remove your illegal signs in the next 24 hours, or I'll call the local TV station to film us removing the signs ourselves -- and we'll do it the day before the election." Not the sort of TV coverage a politician is looking for...
#2. "RE: Teens' arrest in sign protest roils Glendora" In response to Reply # 0
Ditto to Remora's comments.
As we've stated time and time again, political signs can get very political. If you're on the outside looking in, you can easily find yourself on the inside looking out, jail that is.
Although charges may be lodged in some municipalities for sign removal, as best it's a Class "C" misdeamenor which isn't a jailable offense in 99% of the towns and cities.
The local authorities can and will use the "vandalism" charges at will as a catch-all to insure that you have to retain an attorney and prove your innocence. This can be very time consuming and very costly as some of our members have experienced first hand.
However, with the attitudes of 9/11 a lot of civil liberties have gone by the way side. Unless you know of a good local attorney that can and will stand up to the folks that interpret the law for their own good, then best be darn careful.
Let us restate what we've been saying since day one, DON'T remove realtor and political signs unless you know exactly what your local ordinances state.
#3. "RE: Teens' arrest in sign protest roils Glendora" In response to Reply # 0
I have to give these two girls credit for having the courage to take direct action, even if it was ill-advised. The rest of the article talked about the prospect of launching a recall if the offending candidate happens to win.