Photo by Aaron Ricca.
KINGMAN – Mayoral candidate Harley Pettit is not a happy man.
He was contacted by a concerned citizen Sunday morning who had found numerous campaign signs in a garbage dumpster at the Harrison Haven senior living apartment complex. The neighbor had pulled the signs out of the trash by the time Pettit arrived to take photos.
“You can disagree with someone, but you can’t go destroying signs,” Pettit said. His signs were originally staked at the intersection of Airway Avenue and Yavapai Street east of the railroad tracks, but somehow found their way inside the gated community a few miles away.
Not only were Pettit’s signs removed, but also those for sheriff’s candidate Joe Archie, county assessor candidate Nancy Esquibel, mayoral candidate Joe Longoria, county supervisor candidate Jeffery Jolly and Arizona House of Representatives candidate Sam Medrano.
Pettit has since replaced his sign. He said he contacted Esquibel and Longoria on Facebook about damage to theirs.
He’s filed a report with Kingman Police and will press charges if a suspect is found. He said state law makes it a crime to tamper with political signs. Those convicted of doing do will have a class two misdemeanor.
“We have a right to display signs with the hopes they won’t be tampered with,” Pettit said.
When asked if he thought weekend storms may have caused the damage and a concerned citizen picked them up, he said the signs had either been ripped off their stakes or completely torn out of the ground.
“It’s enough for the wind to take their share, but they don’t blow over and find themselves in a trash can,” he said.
Pettit said the cost per sign is anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on the size. He’s printed and posted at least 40. A rush replacement this close to the election could cost up to $100.
He reiterated that people are entitled to their political views, but not vandalism.
“This goes on every time there’s an election,” he said.
Longoria said his signs also disappeared. He said a friend noticed signs go missing at a few locations east of the tracks.
Longoria drove past the Yavapai and Airway intersections recently. He said signs for mayoral candidates Richard Anderson and Monica Gates, state representative candidate Regina Cobb and county supervisor Gary Watson, and were still posted.
“It’s a very selective group,” Longoria said, who did not elaborate on his comment.