Each election season, plenty of political yard signs are stolen or defaced -- look below to see a shot of a circle-and-slashed John Hickenlooper for Governor placard off I-76. But Aurora's Rob McNealy says there's a new twist on this vandalism when it comes to Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 -- tearing down vote-yes placards and replacing them with opposing ones.
"It's been going on for weeks," says McNealy, who's both a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Representative in Congressional District 6 and an energetic volunteer for 60-61-101, which call for property tax reductions, the forbidding of debt by loan and the repeal or downsizing of vehicle, income and telecom taxes. "And it's just getting worse and more aggressive."
According to McNealy, "it started off a couple of weeks ago, where they were just pulling them off the poles. Then, they started clipping them with wire cutters. Now, they're slicing them with box cutters or other tools -- literally shredding them to bits. And then they're putting an opposition sign up. They're making a clear statement: 'We're going to destroy you.'"
McNealy doesn't believe he's being targeted personally. In fact, he points out that signs touting his candidacy have been left alone at residences where 60-61-101 placards were destroyed -- "although that may change after you write about this," he concedes. Moreover, "it's happening all over the place, and not just in Aurora. And it's happening quickly. Put up a sign, and within 24 hours, it's been mutilated and there's another sign in its place."
Who are the perpetrators of this scheme? McNealy doesn't accuse the official campaign against 60, 61 and 101, whose website announces on its home page that yard signs are available.
"I'm not saying the opponents are orchestrating this," he maintains. "I'm just saying it seems organized. It could be organized by people who just don't like these measures. But I have my suspicions."
Indeed, McNealy mentions seeing nefarious "people in T-shirts" in "government cars." He adds, "Look at who the people are in the opposition. It's all large corporations and unions and government entities that make their living from the taxpayers. That's who's afraid of these measures, not the common taxpayers. They're afraid they're going to lose their livelihoods from the taxpayer -- and that's the thing we need to focus on with these measures."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Marijuana Deals Near You
With that in mind, McNealy says "we have all been instructed not to deface or remove other people's signs. The idea is to let free speech reign and let the voters decide." He's hopeful this approach will eventually pay off. In his words, "It's a karma thing."
Look below to see the aforementioned Hickenlooper sign photo and McNealy's release about the vandalism:
Rob McNealy press release:
Pro 60, 61, and 101 Signs Being Destroyed
Pro Triplet's Supporters Frustrated with Vandalism
Aurora, CO -- October 12th, 2010 -- Pro triplet's supporters frustrated with continued sign destruction
Grassroots supporters of Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 have expressed frustration at the repeated destruction of signs placed in central and south Aurora.
Rob McNealy, a local volunteer and congressional candidate noted that many signs placed in Aurora have systematically been destroyed. In some locations, dozens of signs have been placed and destroyed four and five times with with box cutters.
"It appears the opponents have taken sign vandalism to a new level", McNealy said. "With meager resources to promote the passage of these measures, signs are one of the few ways we can get the message out to voters", McNealy noted.
McNealy is calling on the opposition person or persons to respect this private property and compete fairly in the arena of free speech.
For more information on McNealy and his campaign efforts, visit www.RobMcNealy.com. Vote YES on 60, 61, and 101.
About Rob McNealy
Rob McNealy, is a small business owner and community activist. He earned his Bachelor Degree in Geography and Marketing from Central Michigan University, and his MBA from Colorado State University. Rob and his wife Kristie McNealy, MD moved from the Midwest and settled in Colorado a decade ago to fulfill their dream of living in the Rocky Mountain West. Together, they run their family business and homeschool their four children while enjoying the Colorado lifestyle.