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Ed Kravitz, webmaster for political watchdog site saveib.com, wants to see some action from Imperial Beach political candidates whose campaign signs were pulled by city employees and thrown into a city hall closet days before the election.

“Get on the blower and file,” Kravitz implored the losing candidates in a November 10 email. “If you guys are too lame to file a police report on your own stolen property then maybe you deserved to get cheated out of your election bids?”

Kravitz alleges that city employees removed approximately 400 to 500 signs during the week leading up to the general election.

Shortly after learning that dozens of campaign signs were reported missing, Kravitz accompanied city council candidates Robert Taylor and Tim O'Neal to the city clerk's office on October 26. Once inside, Kravitz caught a glimpse inside a closet next to the city clerk's office. Inside were hundreds of campaign signs. Of the hundreds of campaign signs, says Kravitz, none belonged to incumbent candidates Jim Janney and Lorie Bragg.

“We fought a long hard fight,” writes Kravitz, “and we got ripped off.”

Since November 2, Kravitz has been speaking to San Diego Police Department investigators — several signs removed were located within San Diego city limits. And, two candidates, Taylor and O'Neal, have filed formal complaints.

According to Imperial Beach city manager Gary Brown, the city employees did not break the law.

“We collect any signs that are on public property and city right-of-way,” Brown wrote in a November 15 email. “It is public policy to enforce the city's sign code, designed to reduce the negative impact that proliferation of signs have on public property.”

When asked who it was that ordered the removal of the signs, Brown responded, “Your question is similar to asking who “ordered” a police officer to give somebody a speeding ticket. It's routine...we don't order anybody to do it.”

Brown explained that code-enforcement officers placed the signs in a city hall closet so the city clerk's office could notify the owners.

Kravitz remains unconvinced that the city employees were following standard operating procedures. “This election was stolen,” he writes. “The results of this election will not stand the scrutiny of an investigation.”

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Comments

Ed Nov. 17, 2010 @ 5:52 p.m.

Thank you for more information. Previously we had only been told that Public Works was removing signs. That's who we caught. We didn't know Code Enforcement was also involved in the selective pruning of signs Mr. Brown.

Please have Mr. Brown explain what uniformed City Public Works Employee's are doing outside the City Limits of Imperial Beach removing signs from private property where they were posted with permission of the property manager?

The City refused to show Taylor and O'Neal proof of easements or right-of-way because the boundary line between Imperial Beach and San Diego runs right up the middle of 13th Street north of Palm Avenue. The signs stolen from the Auto Zone front lawn were clearly outside the boundaries of Imperial Beach. Two days later the city allowed signs on the same location (at least the incumbents and their sponsored candidates) at the same locations where they had harvested opponents signs.

City workers allowed incumbent signs to be posted in a multitude of illegal locations without impunity until Jennifer Welsh and other candidates complained about one week before the election. Most challengers were wiped out of signs in the final 4 days of the campaign.

I challenge Janney and Spriggs as to whether or not they had hundreds if not thousands of additional signs they did not claim on their financial disclosure forms.

And then the city made it illegal to be involved in politics while in uniform or in a city vehicle on the day after the election....and started enforcing a gag order on all city employees not to discuss these matters and refer all questions about it to their supervisors.

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Ed Dec. 5, 2010 @ 11:31 a.m.

This is the same Public Works Employee who admitted to San Diego Police Department investigators that: he in fact removed political signs from private property at the Auto Zone....outside the City Limits of Imperial Beach!

And the Sherriff's Department see's fit to give him an award?

While removing those signs is probably a violation of Federal Voters Rights Legislation, State Law and even the City's own Municipal Code that exempts political and religious signs, Tony Serrano was given an award by the Sheriff's Department ! Do you need to ask any other questions about Constitutional Government, Due Process or Democracy?

The case in San Diego City Limits has been tranferred and married to the case under investigation by the Imperial Beach Sheriff's Department, which has obviously decided what action they might take against Tony Serrano and his immediate supervisors; Public Works Director Hank Levine and City Manager Gary Brown.

We are happy for his work against real grafitti. Too bad he doesn't know the difference between political free speech and Grafitti? Too bad an Employee of the City of Imperial Beach doesn't know where the City Limits of San Diego start and where the City Limits of Imperial Beach end? Too bad the Sheriff's Department does not see fit to prosecute him for his theft of political signs and the impact it had on influencing the outcome of recent local elections?

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Ed Dec. 5, 2010 @ 11:33 a.m.

The recent elections for the most part will maintain the status-quo.

Tony Serrano should be getting his award for: "Tainting and skewing the outcome of the recent local elections in favor of the incumbent candidates and Mr. Spriggs...since those are the only signs Mr. Serrano and his crews didn't harvest in weeks prior to the recent local elections ! "

"Dis-Honorable Mention" awards go for the Union Tribune and Eagle Times newspapers for not notifying the public timely of public debates or the issues. Special Award to the Eagle Times Editor Dean Eckenroth for his demonstration of Freedom of The Press by charging candidates PER WORD to be published. May the richest man print the most words ?

Also a runner-up for "DIS-HONORABLE MENTION" (and also available for real criminal prosecution) would be Code Enforcement Officer David Garcias for his part in Violating the Municipal Code Sign Code which states that: Political and Religious signs are immune from enforcement ! DUH ? Bias and Un-Equal Enforcement of sign ordinances has been clearly demonstrated during the recent political campagin. City Staff has had a deep impact in the perception of candidates running for poitical office. In some cases, enough signs were removed that some voters didn't even know the names of challenger candidates. Selective pruning of challenger's signs and overlooking violations of "THE BOSS's Signs" and the IBCC Rubber Stamp Candidates Ed Spriggs gave a distinct advantage to Garcias' and Serrano's BOSSES !

Was it legal ? This is San Diego County.....don't hold your breath waiting for indictments.

They just gave Tony Serrano an award???....and you are silent?

SO ....WHO CARES?

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