Signs of mischief

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By John Foster

Something like this is supposed to only happen in places like his native Bulgaria, not in the United States. Goshen resident Nikolay Dimitrov didn’t expect this when he posted his first political yard sign.

“I think this is kind of a vital election,” he said.

So he posted a sign in his yard supporting Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin. And a few weeks ago, while he was away at work, his sign – and several others from the neighborhood – were stolen, he said.

So they posted more signs within a week went missing the next day. Two Obama signs remained, he said.

He knows something about the suppression of free speech from his childhood, but “In a country like the United States you would never think this would happen,” he said.

Oldham County Republican Party Chair Anne Gernstein said she has received complaints of about 20 McCain/Palin signs being stolen. She has given out a couple hundred signs she said, and they are available various other places around Louisville.

She said a Croftboro Farms resident has had his “NOBAMA” sign stolen on four occasions. One time, he received a note reading in part, “I burned your [expletive] NOBAMA sign,” Gernstein said.

Oldham County Police have received one complaint, from that resident in Croftboro Farms, Lt. Col. Billy Way said. The perpetrator could be charged with theft, he said.

Oldham County Sheriff Steve Sparrow said he hasn’t received any complaints this election season, although he knows something about having signs stolen.

He’s run four campaigns for sheriff, he said, and each time a large percentage of signs get stolen, sometimes more than half.

“And those doggone things are expensive,” he said.

Louise Allen, Oldham County planning and zoning director, said her office pulled some signs out of the courthouse lawn this year, but other than that have been mostly hands-off. Signs aren’t supposed to be in right-of-ways, but unless they pose a safety hazard, she is probably not going to have them removed — she doesn’t want to seem like her office is supporting one candidate over another, she said.

Oldham County Democratic Party Chair Keith Knapp said he knows of many Obama signs stolen in Jefferson County, but only two in Oldham County. It’s probably a function of the number of democrats in those two counties, he said.

He also realizes many people may not report their signs being stolen, he said.

He said the violation of free speech that goes into stealing a sign is downright offensive, regardless of which party the sign is for.

“There are some nutty people on both sides,” he said.

E-mail us about this story at: jfoster@oldhamera.com.