Drew Blazey came home from a Medina City Council meeting Monday night and found his name had vanished from the neighborhood. For the second time...
Drew Blazey came home from a Medina City Council meeting Monday night and found his name had vanished from the neighborhood.
For the second time in a week, the red, white and blue signs installed in his and his neighbors’ yards, asking voters to “Re-elect Blazey,” were gone.
“This is terrible,” Blazey said. “This is not the way it’s supposed to be in our sweet little city of Medina.”
The theft of 22 Blazey signs — along with 68 signs touting Patrick Boyd, another council candidate — marks the second year that sign shenanigans have put the spotlight on this usually quiet city of 3,000 people.
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During last fall’s presidential campaign, a resident videotaped a man stealing a John Kerry sign from her neighbor’s yard. The thief, also a Medina resident, agreed last month in Bellevue District Court to pay $425 in fines and complete 10 hours of community service.
In the past week, some signs of all eight council candidates have been stolen, including a blitz Monday night in which a thief swiped almost every sign on Overlake Drive, police said.
Medina council races have been competitive for several years — including four hot races this fall — but local officials said widespread theft of political signs is unprecedented.
Medina police sent an e-mail to residents last week warning that officers will enforce laws outlawing the removal or vandalism of signs.
“We’re committed to the election process and letting people support any candidate they choose,” said Dan Yourkoski, acting police chief.
Police aren’t sure about the motive behind this year’s thefts, but the scope of the crime makes a narrow political attack unlikely, Yourkoski said. The thieves were so intent on clearing Overlake Drive of signs this week that they climbed tall embankments and took a couple of signs for Port of Seattle races.
“It definitely took some work,” Yourkoski said. The thefts seem to be committed by “people against the signs in general,” he said.
City law allows political signs on private property and public right of way with the permission of the owner of the adjoining property.
In last year’s incident, resident Gail Husick noticed a Kerry sign in her neighbor’s yard was being repeatedly mangled, so she staked out the yard with a video camera and recorded a man taking the sign. The sign later was found in a neighbor’s trash can.
Husick said she was saddened by the recent sign thefts but was satisfied that the thief in her case was punished. “Democracy only gets to work if everybody gets to participate, and he was being a bully.”
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or email@example.com