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Political sign thieves are back for 2012 elections

It’s been two years, and the biennial tradition of stealing political signs is back in full force. This year, it doesn’t even matter with which party the candidate is affiliated, all the signs in our subdivision, which were small enough to fit in the trunk of a car were stolen.

Two years ago this blog referred to a similar practice and asked the question, “What were they thinking?”

Excerpt:

It may be only petty larceny - the signs seldom cost the candidate more than a few bucks each, still it is someone else’s property, and the act of signlifting does deny that candidate their first amendment rights. It also turns into a big waste of time for the candidate’s supporters who stapled the signs to the wires, had to drive to the location to place the signs in very hard ground, due to lack of rain.

Political signlifting also is a violation of the first amendment rights of the people who have given the candidate permission to put the sign on their property, to display their support.

One of the signs that have gone missing wasn’t just petty larceny – It was a Frank Gambino sign, 4 feet by 8 feet, worth at least $100 to $120 dollars. The number of signs stolen in our area was worth hundreds of dollars more.

Too bad the car or truck used to steal the signs can’t be impounded for a certain length of time with a hefty fine required to get the vehicle back!

This is other people’s property, jerks. Can you imagine these lowlifes under the cover of darkness stealing your property? Such is the confessions of visiting professor at a local college as reported in the Huffington Post in, “Confessions of a lawn sign stealer.”

Excerpt from two years ago:

By early October, however, there were no McCain-Palin campaign signs on the eastbound stretch of Highway 19. It wasn’t because loyalties had switched, but because I pulled them out.

And that goes for the oversized 4 x 8 foot mini-billboard in front of the ranch-style farm house. It barely fit in the back of my Subaru. But I carted it away with seven other lawn signs that, like a ninja under the cover of cloudy Minnesota night, I “removed.”

The article should state that, “like a cockroach under the cover of darkness, I stole other people’s property and denied them their First Amendment rights, a violation of their civil rights!

Why don’t these damn scumbags get a life?

 

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39 Comments

  1. dogrescuer

    I agree. Worthless scum with neither the ambition nor the intelligence to do anything constructive.

  2. Political signs are a meaningless distraction that pollute our streets and highways. Too many flop in the wind long after the election. BTW don’t forget to pick up your signs Ted.

    • Ted Biondo

      I will not have to pick them up, Steverino. People that feel like you do about the signs will steal them and they will be removed, tree hugger. How about the jobs that will be lost designing the signs, printing them and assembling them. People participating in one of the last free elections in the hemisphere. Oh that’s right, Democrats don’t care about jobs, do they? Too busy trying to figure out new ways to raise taxes!

  3. Adam Faber

    “One of the signs that have gone missing wasn’t just petty larceny – It was a Frank Gambino sign, 4 feet by 8 feet, worth at least $100 to $120 dollars.”

    The theft of which is still a class A misdemeanor. 720 ILCS 5/16-1(b)(1) covers “[t]heft of property not from the person and not exceeding $500 in value.” Whether it’s a small yard sign or a big one, if its value is below $500, the same statute applies.

    “Political signlifting also is a violation of the first amendment rights of the people who have given the candidate permission to put the sign on their property, to display their support.”

    How do you figure that sign theft is a violation of the first amendment? The first amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”. Simple theft of signs — reprehensible though it may be — is not legislative action which abridges the freedom of speech.

    This seems to be your knee-jerk reaction to everything that you don’t like: irrationally call it a violation of the first amendment. You did this on September 23 when you alleged that the state had violated the Catholic Church’s first amendment rights by outlawing discriminatory adoption practices but I’m still waiting for you to back up your assertion with actual caselaw. What caselaw can you cite to back up your newest claim of a first amendment violation?

    “Too bad the car or truck used to steal the signs can’t be impounded for a certain length of time with a hefty fine required to get the vehicle back!”

    Again with impounding cars! You love to impound vehicles and charge citizens “hefty fines”. Why are you so keen on the government seizing citizens’ property?

    • Ted Biondo

      Adam doesn’t even feel that the first amendment is being abridged if it doesn’t involve the government?!

      What about if I’m speaking before a group of people and someone tries to stop me from speaking? Is that person not violating my first amendment rights? When blacks were killed in Southern states, it wasn’t just a state case of murder, the people also violated these people’s civil rights and even though the racist were found innocent in state courts, didn’t the federal government find them guilty on federal charges of civil right’s violations?

      If I’m not allowed to speak, then my first amendment right of free speech is being violated whether it’s the government or not. As far as seizing property – illegal actions have consequences – I know you don’t understand that process being from the entitled generation where all property is yours for the taking, right?

  4. That isn’t all that the Leftist scum does:

    Democrats Gone Wild: Obama supporters ‘key’ cars displaying pro-Romney bumper stickers

    http://twitchy.com/2012/10/07/democrats-gone-wild-obama-supporters-key-cars-displaying-pro-romney-bumper-stickers/

  5. And:

    Elderly Couple Face Vandalism, Molotov Cocktail Over Romney Sign

    http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/elderly-couple-face-vandalism-molotov-cocktail-over-romney-sign.html

    Just another example of Leftist “tolerance” and “compassion” at work.

  6. Adam Faber

    “Adam doesn’t even feel that the first amendment is being abridged if it doesn’t involve the government?!”

    I think that you mean “violated” instead of “abridged,” but that’s correct; you would know this, too, if you had read the first amendment. Fortunately, I cited the germane part in my prior post. If a municipality, i.e., the government, removed or prohibited yard signs, then one would have a first amendment claim. See City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U.S. 43, 114 S. Ct. 2038, 129 L. Ed. 2d 36 (1994). If a vandal steals a sign, the government has not abridged your freedom of speech and so, therefore, you do not have a first amendment claim. Instead, you have a crime. Just because you make stuff up in your head and type it out on this blog does not make it true; citations of relevant cases would support an argument, but, for some reason, you always fail to cite any such caselaw when you allege first amendment violations.

    “What about if I’m speaking before a group of people and someone tries to stop me from speaking? Is that person not violating my first amendment rights?”

    That depends where you are and who is trying to stop you. Are you on private or public property? Who is trying to stop you? There are cases that address these very questions.

    “When blacks were killed in Southern states, it wasn’t just a state case of murder, the people also violated these people’s civil rights and even though the racist were found innocent in state courts, didn’t the federal government find them guilty on federal charges of civil right’s violations?”

    Do you have any specific cases you’re referring to? You do know, don’t you, that not all civil rights stem from the first amendment? Without knowing which cases you’re referring to, I can broadly state that murder is not generally prosecuted as a freedom of speech violations even though they will no longer be speaking when dead.

    “If I’m not allowed to speak, then my first amendment right of free speech is being violated whether it’s the government or not.”

    No, it’s not, and we’ve covered this. I asked you for specific caselaw to back up this assertion and you have failed to produce any. “Proof, please”, as you would say.

    “As far as seizing property – illegal actions have consequences – I know you don’t understand that process being from the entitled generation where all property is yours for the taking, right?”

    And you think that we should just dispense with due process and the government should be able to seize whatever it wants to and levy fines with abandon? You also wanted the government to seize motorists’ vehicles on-the-spot if the law enforcement officer did not think their proof of insurance was sufficient. You really do like a big nanny-state government, don’t you?

    Ted, you repeatedly demonstrate that you lack the most basic understanding of our constitution and judicial system and, while deriding others for not offering supporting evidence, you consistently refuse to offer any proof to support your untenable positions.

    • Ted Biondo

      These people who steal signs are violating my right of free speech, Adam! There’s, however, a difference between a constitutional violation of my rights and some jerk denying me the right to my freedom of speech – MY RIGHT. I didn’t say the thieves would be arrested under the First Amendment but stealing. You, as do all LIBERALS, divert the issue on granular issues, rather than look at the big picture. Bu then that’s why you guys can’t solve any of the world’s problems either. You lack common sense and logic!

  7. The police can seize vehicles for loud stereos. If you are carrying large quantities of cash, the police can seize that, too, prior to ANY judicial action, and it can be difficult to get it back.

    See: http://jalopnik.com/5913416/cops-can-confiscate-money-and-property-from-law-abiding-citizens

  8. I’m also enjoying how Ted is, wink/wink, implying that it’s the evil Dems that are the only ones stealing signs. I’m working on a prominent local race (a Dem) and we’re losing signs as well. Scumbags are found on both sides, despite what the holier-than-thou wingnuts would have you believe.

    • Ted Biondo

      Monkey, apparently you missed this sentence in the first paragraph of the post – “This year, it doesn’t even matter with which party the candidate is affiliated, all the signs in our subdivision, which were small enough to fit in the trunk of a car were stolen.” – or maybe you just want to be a left wing-nut?

  9. Yes, but the “scumbags” are applauded by those on the Left, as long as their attacks are on their opponents.

  10. dogrescuer

    Gee, snuss, I’m glad you straightened me out on this issue. I was foolish enough to think vandals would steal or deface signs from both political sides, but you’ve shown me it’s only us scum on the left who would do damage to signs supporting Romney. I never even realized that us liberals are all scum until you pointed it out to me. You’re a fine Christian Republican.

  11. It must be another case of that Liberal reading comprehension problem.

    Monkey sez: “Scumbags are found on both sides, despite what the holier-than-thou wingnuts would have you believe”.

    I responded: “Yes, but the “scumbags” are applauded by those on the Left, as long as their attacks are on their opponents.” In simpler words (for dogrescuer’s benefit), the Left supports the actions of the Leftist scumbags.

    Another example of “tolerant’, “compassionate” Liberal intellectuals:

    Unhinged liberals urinate on Romney-Ryan yard signs; Update: No apologies

    Read more at: http://twitchy.com/2012/10/07/unhinged-liberals-urinate-on-romney-ryan-yard-signs/

  12. dogrescuer

    So you didn’t say this ten posts ago? You didn’t call left-winger scumbags?
    >>>>>>>>>>”That isn’t all that the Leftist scum does”

    Gee, I wonder who’s using your screen name.

  13. Again with the Liberal reading comprehension problems. I described people who vandalize cars with Romney stickers as “Leftist scum”. Are you delusional enough to think CONSERVATIVES are doing this? If not, how would you describe these politically-motivated, cowardly criminals?

  14. dogrescuer

    I was simply pointing out that you constantly call me (liberals) scum. Your habit of doing that says a lot about you.

  15. If you consider yourself “Leftist scum”, I won’t argue the point.

    You can be Liberal, without being “scum”. However, I am usually referring to those Leftists who seek to deny the rest of us OUR rights, by resorting to violence, criminal acts, and UN-Constitutional behavior, in the name of their version of Liberalism (which is actually statism, not anything near liberal).

  16. Another case of that Liberal reading comprehension problem? It must be contagious! ;-)

  17. shawnnews

    Good legal topic though: if a vandal defaces a sign with a message is he actually stoping that person’s right to speech as well as committing criminal damage?
    Additionally, I think people who put these signs up need to be reminded they can’t put them upon church land or near polling property. Every election I see a violation of this — at least until someone moves the signs.

  18. Adam Faber

    “These people who steal signs are violating my right of free speech, Adam!”

    You keep saying that, but you offer no supporting evidence to back up that assertion. Are you going to offer some caselaw or just keep repeating yourself hoping that your delusion will magically come true?

    “There’s, however, a difference between a constitutional violation of my rights and some jerk denying me the right to my freedom of speech – MY RIGHT.”

    The difference is whether the government is denying you this right or if a vandal steals a sign. That’s a big difference; do you not recognize that?

    “You, as do all LIBERALS, divert the issue on granular issues, rather than look at the big picture.”

    Sweeping generalizations like that are dangerous. I do not posit that all conservatives are irrational people who are constantly wrong; indeed, I know many conservatives who are capable of thoughtful analysis and who have a firm grasp of facts. Just because you describe yourself as a conservative and consider your lack of a basic understanding of our constitution a “granular issue”, I would never assume that all conservatives are similarly ill-informed, illogical and cavalier with facts and laws.

    “Bu[t] then that’s why you guys can’t solve any of the world’s problems either. You lack common sense and logic!”

    This is coming from someone who can’t understand the first amendment; you’re hardly in a position to allege that anyone else lacks common sense and logic.

  19. Speaking of caselaw….

    § 1983 provides that:
    Every person who under the color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or
    usage, or any State or Territory, subjects or causes to be subjected any citizen of the
    United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured
    by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party involved in any action of law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1974).

    Read more at: http://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1734&context=vulr

    I haven’t gone through this completely, but it seems to answer some pertinent questions.

  20. Adam Faber

    Thanks Snuss. That’s an interesting, though probably outdated, analysis of assessing damages for violations of constitutional rights. The cases cited involved the denial of rights by the government: the police in McArthur v. Pennington, Arroyo v. Walsh, Jackson v. Dukes, Collum v. Butler and Rue v. Snyder; corrections facilities in Northern v. Nelson, United States ex rel. Mottley v. Rundle and Jones v. Wittenberg; and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

    The defendant who allegedly deprived the plaintiff of constitutional rights was the government in each case cited in that document. That does not actually address the issue here: whether a sign thief acting on his or her own and not at the behest of the government causes a first amendment violation.

  21. I will keep looking, but as far as I can tell, it seems that an individual cannot be charged with violating someone’s Constitutional rights, unless they are acting on behalf of a government entity.

    However, denying someone’s right to free speech would involve criminal acts, such as stealing signs, harassment, threatening and/or harming the speaker, kidnapping, etc.. So, while you may not be guilty of a Constitutional violation, you are probably guilty of some other crime.

  22. After more research, the explanation that I found boils down to this: The Constitution limits the actions of government against it’s citizens. It is not designed to limit the citizenry, with two exceptions: You can’t keep slaves (but there is no penalty listed), and during Prohibition, you could not legally possess alcohol (with some exceptions). I think this dead horse has been beaten enough.

  23. Adam Faber

    You’re right, Snuss. The theft of these signs, if the offender is caught, can be prosecuted just like any other theft. In Illinois, if the value of the stolen property is $500 or more, the crime can be prosecuted as a felony.

    I would also have thought that this dead horse has been beaten enough and that this has been explained clearly enough but, for some reason, Ted persists in his unsupported argument to the contrary. His lack of understanding of our Constitution comports with his unwaning desire to seize citizens’ property without due process.

    I could not disagree more with Ted’s attitude that constitutional matters are “granular” or irrelevant. A basic understanding of our Constitution, its purpose and the role of the courts in interpreting both the Constitution and legislation is the most fundamental foundation needed by everyone who wishes to engage in political or legal discussions.

  24. On a related note, I would think that the enforcement of so-called “hate crimes” laws are in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s “Equal Protection Clause”, which requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. . The victim’s race, creed, color, etc., should make no difference in the charges against you. However, once convicted, such information should be used to determine the appropriate severity of sentence.

    • Ted Biondo

      Very good legal consideration of the fourteenth amendment on Hate crimes and one that should be looked into.

  25. ted, you dont need any signs. you need to retire from public office. see you at the next board meeting.

  26. On a related note:

    Ohio voter fraud billboards to come down, sponsor stays unnamed

    CLEVELAND (Reuters) – More than 140 billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin warning of the criminal consequences of voter fraud will be taken down starting on Monday after the sponsor chose to remove them rather than reveal its identity, the billboard owner said.

    The billboards, which show a large judge’s gavel and read “Voter Fraud is a felony – up to 3 ½ years and a $10,000 fine,” went up primarily in low-income minority neighborhoods in early October, just weeks before the November 6 elections, and were immediately criticized by voter rights groups as an attempt to intimidate minority voters.

    Read more at: http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-voter-fraud-billboards-come-down-sponsor-stays-225217520–sector.html

  27. Those pacifist Libs are at it again.
    “State Senator Neal Kedzie says his son was attacked while trying to stop someone from stealing his Romney/Ryan yard sign.”

    http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/Son-of-State-Senator-Neal-Kedzie-Attacked-175307881.html

    • Ted Biondo

      Yes Wilson, these thieves are real pacifists. Remember, without the government handouts these people can’t make it on their own, so any ends justify the means to get their provider elected.

  28. readingmike94

    isn’t this a conflict of interest you are running for office and using this blog to complain about signs (yours) that got stolen where is the rrstar to say you cannot have a blog when you are running for office? how is not a conflict of interest and an ethical lapse??

    • Ted Biondo

      Readingmike94 – where in the blog post did I mention anything about signs (mine)? You are really ignorant. Probably you imagined what you wanted to see. Ignorant people do that you know!

      You wouldn’t know a conflict of interest if it hit you in the face! I’ve been doing this blog for 28 months with no conflict of interest. You must be getting desperate.

      Wait for Tuesday, vote for Obama and your local Democratic candidates and leave serious discussions about violations of other people’s first amendment rights to those who really care about what is happening to this country under this president and who can tell the difference between conflict and information.

  29. Adam Faber

    “…leave serious discussions about violations of other people’s first amendment rights to those who really care about what is happening to this country…”

    Ted, this is simply ridiculous. We have established that sign stealing is not a first amendment issue and you still cling to that delusion and try to pass it off as true. It is not; you are wrong.

    “Probably you imagined what you wanted to see. Ignorant people do that you know!”

    Ted, you probably imagined what you wanted to read in the Constitution. Leave serious discussions of legal issues to those who use facts rather than emotion, lies and hyperbole.

  30. Just like Democrats imagine “separation of Church and State” and “abortion on demand” are in the Constitution?

  31. Adam Faber

    Ted, since you assert that “[I] couldn’t punch [my] way out of a paper bag let alone holes in [your] arguments”, wouldn’t this serve as a good example of how I accurately refuted your contention that the theft of a signs is “petty larceny” and that this constitutes a first amendment violation? Even your friend Snuss had to agree that the Constitution restricts the government’s control of citizens and that does not apply to sign theft. Just because you ignore these holes I punched in your argument does not mean that I did not do so.

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