A yard sign of City Council candidate Peggy Thomsen on Jackson Street, Albany. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.
Unlike the previous two elections during which lawsuits were filed, no disputes have popped up into the current City Council race in Albany — except for eight yard signs of candidate Peggy Thomsen that went missing recently.
Thomsen didn’t take it seriously when one of her campaign signs disappeared on Peralta Avenue two weeks ago, since more than 100 residents in town have put up her signs to show support. But she got upset when she found five other signs gone Thursday morning, including one in her own yard on Pierce Street, leaving behind only bare wires.
“It bothers me because many of the people who contributed to my campaign live on fixed salary. They made a sacrifice to give me money, ” said Thomsen.
About a third of her campaign money was spent on printing the signs, which cost $5 each.
And it’s not just about the money. Thomsen believed the signs were taken away purposely by supporters of some other candidates. She filed a police report and wrote an email to all the five other candidates.
“We have now recovered one of the signs, and probably it can be dusted for fingerprints, ” she wrote. “We are asking you to rein in your more rambunctious campaign supporters so we may have a fair election. “
That didn’t work, however. Another sign in the yard of her next-door neighbor’s was gone by Saturday morning, and one on Ramona Avenue disappeared a few hours after she delivered it Sunday.
From a recycle bin, Thomsen recovered two of the signs. To deter the ardent thieves, she placed one sign on a cactus.
“I am making it a little harder, ” Thomsen said.
Another council candidate Nick Pilch encountered the same problem. He found his sign in his own yard was uprooted Friday morning. It didn’t affect him much — he just put the sign back into the wire. Pilch was reluctant to blame other candidates for the sign attack.
“I have no idea who did it, ” he said. ” I am not accusing anyone. “
He also noticed that another sign of his on Marin Avenue was missing. But he was not sure whether the homeowner had taken it down or somebody else did it.
Candidate Ellen Toomey said it could be done by some “rambunctious kids”.
“I think it’s very unlikely that other council candidates or their supporters took the signs, because there’s no gain for anyone to do this, and the liability is very great, ” said Toomey.
Candidate Farid Javandel, a current councilmember, said “it’s disappointing to hear of such behavior in Albany “.
“The implication is that since the thief clearly has poor ethics they may not value high ethics in the candidates they support, ” he added.
Candidate Robert Lieber, current mayor of Albany, said he didn’t think the sign incident was an issue worth talking about.
He said he suspected that the issue was made up by Thomsen as a campaign strategy, and he was upset that it was brought up to what he regarded as a “refreshing” election.
“I personally feel saddened that that this issue gets injected to the election at the last minute, ” Lieber said.
Lieber and Thomsen stood on different sides on a few major city issues including the waterfront planning process.
Another of Thomsen’s signs on Pierce Street, Albany. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.