Just as certain as death and taxes, the political season in Lee’s Summit tends to bring other regular occurrences – placing and replacing candidate election signs.
District 1 candidate Diane Forte reported 50 signs removed or stolen the around the time of March 28-29. Forte lives in a cul-de-sac in Raintree Lake and said everyone on her street had signs removed, with wire holders still intact.
Across town, District 3 candidate Diane Seif said her campaign has lost about 25 yard signs over the last few weeks.
“Initially, we thought it was kids,” Forte said. “But that morning people just kept reporting their signs were gone so we knew it was something else.”
Forte said signs were stolen all over Raintree, around Second Street and Third Street.
“No one saw anything and we don’t know who did it,” Forte said. “I never thought anyone would do that.
“I think mine is targeted toward me, personally. I think it takes a lot of guts to go down Third Street and do this. It had to have been in the middle of the night.”
While Forte acknowledges that “signs don’t vote,” she said the process of replacing that many was a learning experience.
Former Lee’s Summit Councilman Ron Williams said he experienced a similar situation when he ran for office, but also cautioned that missing signs could have many culprits.
“Interestingly enough, a lot of neighborhoods have covenants of restrictions, and I lost a lot of signs in Raintree,” Williams said, adding he kept putting signs up after they were taken down. “A lot of times you will find out they were friends of the political candidate that was running.”
With less than a week before the April 8 election, Williams said candidates should be prepared for anything.
“Any candidate running for a local office would be unwise to think they cannot be a victim of this,” Williams said. “It’s part of a game, really. You want to play by the rules and you want the other guy to play by the rules.”
And he agreed that it will take more than signs to get elected.
“Footwork,” Williams noted. “Door to door. Reach people. Shake their hands. That’s essential to winning a campaign. A lot of the silly season is, quite frankly, due to candidate’s vying for position. They’re apt to say silly things.”
Seif said her campaign will continually be on the lookout for missing signs.
“I’m sure there will be some of those games,” Seif said. “Our sign patrol is out doing their job. We know exactly where they are placed. If they are gone, we will get out and replace them.”
Her campaign had initially thought they lost a $600 larger banner near Woods Chapel Price Chopper, but it turned out a maintenance worker on Mike Atcheson’s property had taken it down. The sign is still down for repairs.
Lee’s Summit Code Enforcement provides a pamphlet for candidate reference on the rules and regulations on political signs.
Some of those include:
Signs must be placed 10 feet from street pavement, although sight triangles at some intersections, for the sake of public safety, may require signs sit up to 25 feet back.
The maximum size for yard signs is six square feet in most areas, with some zoning districts allowing for signs up to 40 square feet in size.
Signs must be removed within 10 days of the election.