By Philip Haldiman, Independent Newsmedia
The political group in support of Proposition 400, which would increase sales taxes if approved by voters, filed a complaint with the Peoria Police Department claiming at least 50 of their signs have been damaged, knocked down or stolen, according to a statement.
Supporters of the group “Yes For Peoria” say they are fighting the injustice, and have set up surveillance cameras revealing a person removing signs from a lot, but it is unclear who the person is.
The group is offering a reward to anybody who has information, 602-753-9327 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We condemn these attacks,” a press release said. “They have no place in a thoughtful political dialogue.”
Vice Mayor Bridget Binsbacher said sign removal and destruction played a part in her re-election bid for city council in August.
She said the Prop 400 sign issues began when early ballots came out, and have been consistently disappearing in the Vistancia-, the Lone Mountain and Loop 303-, and Vistancia Boulevard and Jomax Road-areas.
It costs the campaigns a lot of money and manpower, and more importantly, it’s against the law and violates our constitutional rights, she said.
“My husband put them up and they’d disappear. He replaced them and they disappear again. Sometimes we found the signs or posts thrown in the dessert and some never turned up at all,” she said. “Proposition 400 is a result of a citizens committee that volunteered many hours representing all of Peoria. It is on the ballot for the citizens to decide … Regardless of where one might stand on this issue, stealing these signs is wrong and exacerbates an already tarnished political climate.”
Proposition 400 is asking voters to fund amenities in Peoria, such as in public safety, open space, recreation and other quality of life enhancements for $146 million, through a 0.4 percent sales tax increase.
Political sign damage or removal is a class 2 misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $750 and up to four months in jail. Damage or removal of multiple signs could carry a felony charge if $1,000 or more in damage is done.
Political signs can be placed in the public right of way forty-five days before a primary election and seven days after the general election.
Brandon Sheffert a spokesman for Peoria Police Department, said two incidents of political sign destruction or removal have been reported this election cycle.
“If someone has a political sign stolen, they can file a report online or contact our non-emergency number,” he said. “If the victim has video surveillance or any other evidence, the officers will follow-up on any and all leads.”