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Campaign signs going missing
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I don’t have them, says city property maintenance inspector Katie Smartt of missing campaign signs. One local candidate reports 17 of his signs went missing just prior to the start of early voting. - photo by Lisa Hobbs
Campaign signs are vanishing as early voting has begun in Warren County.
McMinnville alderman candidates are reporting political shenanigans.
Taking the biggest hit is David Rutherford, who says his signs started disappearing the weekend before early voting.
“I had 17 taken over this past weekend,” said Rutherford. “They were taken from Sparta, West Main, Colville, Morrison, Old Morrison streets, and Westwood Drive. I guess someone just wants my signs as souvenirs.”
The cost per sign is $5.40 for a total loss of $91.80.
“I’ve had around four or five taken,” said Alderman Everett Brock. “Also, I’ve had a bunch knocked over.”
David Rhea has a couple missing and adds that theft of campaign signs is not new in his race for office.
“I’ve got two gone,” said Rhea. “Both are gone from Sunset Drive. One was in a friend’s yard. When I ran for election as a commissioner, I had 25 signs and came back with 14. The city had one of those. That’s just how it goes. It’s just people. Not much you can do about it.”
Alderman Ryle Chastain says four to five of his are missing.
“Lots of times people say they’re stolen and the city has picked them up because they’re in the city or state right of way,” said Chastain. “I’ve got four or five missing.”
Community Develop-ment Department, the city’s codes enforcement, doesn’t have them.
“It’s my job to pick up any signs that are improperly placed inside the city of McMinnville,” said property maintenance inspector Katie Smartt. “During the last election, I picked up tons of signs. Not so this election. For the most part, our local candidates seem to know where they can and cannot place them. I haven’t recently had to pick up any signs from local candidates. I currently have one sign from a state candidate.”
The department, said Smartt, will extend a courtesy to local candidates by calling them when several of their signs have been picked up due to improper placement.
“A good rule to go by,” said Smartt, “is to put them behind the utility poles. If they are in front of the poles, they are probably in the right of way. However, I will verify that prior to picking them up.”

Alderman Steve Harvey and candidates Sheila Younglove Miner, and David Hill stated they haven’t noticed any missing signs.