October 31, 2013
I had heard from people working on Kathy Paspalis’s School Board re-election campaign that her lawn signs were being stolen from around town.
Hers in particular, picked out at locations where there were pairs of two or sets of three signs.
I thought it would be interesting to see what really was happening. I set up security cameras at a couple of locations. To view the results, go to YouTube.com and search for the channel “Culver City Politics.” It took no time to capture this imagery.
Not only is vandalizing signs petty, it is illegal. It needs to stop. Really.
But it is actually part of a broader pattern. We find ourselves in the third consecutive election cycle (School Board 2011, City Council 2012, School Board 2013) where an incumbent opposed by a particular local political faction is being subjected to tactics like the stealing of signs, deceptive attack pieces, and other behavior intended to harass and manipulate.
Three election cycles in a row. Coincidence?
Quite a few intelligent, informed citizens I know don’t want to believe this goes on. They don't want to believe people with whom they socialize would stoop that low.
• Who are the targets of these attacks?
• Who are the beneficiaries?
It seems the eyes of many citizens have been opened during this election cycle. It hits home when you are an active supporter of a candidate who is subjected to these ugly, corrosive tactics.
Those responsible for or benefitting from this shabby nonsense could make it stop with a phone call or two or a sincere public statement. As a veteran campaigner, I know that to be true.
I am sure this year's contenders will state they know nothing about any of this and are powerless to act. Their denials may be honest. They may be insulated from the facts.
That’s a weak excuse. No candidate should be comfortable profiting from this behavior.
Reliance on plausible deniability is a complete failure of leadership.
For the past three election cycles we’ve seen these tactics overwhelmingly directed at candidates whom one local political faction desperately wants to defeat. It is of a different order from what could be considered the legitimate rough-and-tumble of a political campaign in a small town like ours. No equivalency exists between this sort of harassment and the criticisms of policy or political tactics some people have become so histrionic about.
We ought to have a conversation about this before we begin the next election cycle.
Do we want to see campaign politics in Culver City become a “game” played according to the same rules they use in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington?
I believe we deserve better.
You can see the vandalism yourself by going to this link: