In the weeks before a divisive City Council election, some teens were spotted tampering with political signs.And how! A more detailed analysis of these latest revelations will follow on Monday, but I'll call attention to some interesting elements now:
A witness pursued the teens, called police, then guided officers to them. The incident resulted in an arrest.
This scene describes the actions of recently re-elected Glendora Councilman Gary Clifford, 47, who caught Keleigh Marshall and Cristina Giammalva vandalizing his campaign signs last month.
And, according to Glendora police, it describes the 2002 actions of Keleigh's mother, Virginia Marshall, who caught a woman and three teenagers stealing campaign signs - signs opposing the recall that booted her husband off the City Council and swept Clifford into office.
The effects and alliances from the divisive recall election, which ended five years ago, continue to impact Glendora politics.
Keleigh Marshall and Giammalva did call to complain about the signs before they began placing stickers on them.And, when confronted by half of Glendora's on-duty police, they readily admitted their actions. They don't seem to be dodging responsibility. Kudos to the young women at least for being frank.
Okay, let's walk through this slowly. It's against the law to put signs "in public locations." The code specifically says it applies to all signs unless otherwise noted. It appears there has been no exception made for campaign signs. And yet, somehow, the city attorney reads this ordinance with confusion. Curious.
A city sign code prohibits signs in public locations - which is where the vandalized signs were located. However, the city attorney says it is unclear whether the code was meant to apply to political signs or constitutionally can apply to campaign signs, even though the code says it applies to all signs unless the code spells out an exception.
Because of the ambiguity, the Police Department does not enforce the sign code against political signs.
To clarify the law, a campaign sign policy was enacted by the council and approved by all three incumbents that also prohibits putting campaign signs on public land.
However, because it lacks the force of law, police say they still cannot act.
Because of this "ambiguity," the Police Department does not enforce the sign code (aka the law), even though the council, incumbents included, agreed to a policy that specifically said, no campaign signs on public land. But since it's just a policy, there's naught for the men in blue to do.
So, even if the law could have been construed as ambigious, the council made definitive what they thought the sign policy should be...and then promptly violated their own policy and obviously, it would seem, the law. In spite of all of this, "The bottom line on this whole thing is, it's a crime to vandalize someone else's property," said Glendora police Sgt. Brian Summers. One would think it's also a crime to violate city ordinance. More to come...