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Archive for Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Political signs torn up

October 23, 2002

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Sunday night, Rich Minder and his wife, Vicki Penner, had a "Kathleen Sebelius/Governor" sign in their front yard.

The next morning, it was gone.

"Pieces of the metal frame were still there," said Minder, who lives at 1511 R.I. "But somebody had torn up the sign part  the paper part  and thrown it in the street."

Signs backing U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and state Rep. Troy Findley, D-Lawrence, also had been destroyed.

Signs backing Republican candidates remained noticeably unharmed.

"I'm not from Kansas. I'm from the Northeast," Minder said. "So it strikes me as bizarre that someone who apparently identifies with the majority party here feels threatened to the point of resorting to this kind of behavior."

Carrie Moore, chairwoman of the Douglas County Democratic Party, said between 25 and 30 homeowners  all Democrats  suffered yard-sign vandalism last weekend.

"There's always some level of vandalism when it comes to political signs. It's not uncommon," Minder said. "But I've never seen this level of destruction. Whoever's doing it is actually tearing up the signs and throwing them in the street or in people's yards."

Most of the damage occurred in the 1200 to 2100 blocks of Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont streets and the 1100 block of Hilltop Drive.

"The (damage) that's been reported has to be directed toward Democratic candidates, especially Kathleen Sebelius and Dennis Moore," said Sgt. Mike Pattrick, spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department. "There are no suspects at this time."

Don Johnston, chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party, said the GOP had nothing to do with the vandalism.

"This sort of thing happens every election," he said. "I don't know who does it  we certainly take no part in it."

But, he said, the vandalism goes both ways.

"We've had to peel a lot of Sebelius stickers off the front door of (GOP) party headquarters," Johnston said.

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