Taking the dirt out of politickin'

"Politics as usual in Kitsap County is not any dirtier than it is in most places--and in fact, it has been cleaner than some places we could name. But, as we enter the general campaign, the reports have been steadily increasing of campaign signs being vandalized, torn down and burned. Stealing and damaging campaign signs is a tradition in Kitsap that has gone on for far too long. This campaign season, a novel approach to solving the problem is being tried---cooperation. One party is offering rewards for information leading to the arrest of sign stealers. Sheriff Steve Boyer thought that was fine, but proposed a peace treaty as a better solution. Boyer's suggestion is that the political parties pledge mutual respect for each other's signs and campaign materials. It's an I won't touch yours if you don't touch mine approach. That's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't address the tacit approval of sign vandalism by youngsters who have no affiliation with one party or another. Some teens in Kitsap seem to consider sign destruction as intriguing a pastime as the old standby for a dull Saturday night---mailbox bashing. Both activities are vandalism, destruction, and should be discouraged. Let's get the word out to everybody. Tell your kids, parties, neighborhoods--that freedom of speech extends to campaign signs. The message is simple: Keep your hands off the signs unless they belong to you. As much as we don't like the eyesore nature of the signs, they are often the only advertising that some candidates can afford. You may not like the candidate, but respect the candidate's right to legally post a sign. "

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