Campaign “sign gardens” under attack

Every election season, political candidates sow their gardens of campaign signs along Clark County’s roads in hopes of attracting the eyes and interest of voters.
Judicial candidate Bob Vukanovich experienced the downside of that attention on Wednesday when he found that about a dozen of his campaign signs had been defaced with red “corrupt stickers.”

Bob for judge
The defaced signs are on both the west and east sides of the county, including Mill Plain Boulevard between Fort Vancouver Way and East Evergreen Boulevard, Padden Parkway and Southeast 192nd Avenue and Brady Road, Vukanovich said.
“I have racked my brain to try and determine who may have done this (clients, adversaries, etcetera), and I can think of no one at this time,” Vukanovich said.
The choice of words on the stickers is at odds with the opinions of Vukanovich’s colleagues. About 81 percent of Clark County Bar Association members who responded earlier this month to an opinion poll on the candidates gave Vukanovich high marks for integrity.
Vukanovich’s opponent, Judge Bernard Veljacic, said his campaign isn’t responsible for the vandalism.
“We have practiced together for over a decade,” Veljacic said of Vukanovich. “I know when my signs are down that he had nothing to do with it, and likewise, he knows that about me.”
Veljacic’s and Vukanovich’s names are confusingly similar. (Beware of that when you fill out your ballot.) It’s even possible that the vandal hit the wrong target. Short of a confession or catching the crime on videotape, we’ll probably never know who is responsible.
“It takes a lot of courage to put your name out there and subject yourself to scrutiny,” Veljacic said. “I think a bad faith act like defacing someone’s signs is uncalled for.”
He said he learned from other politicians that about 40 to 50 percent of campaign signs are typically lost either through unauthorized removal, defacement or destruction. It’s unclear whether that estimate includes signs that are knocked over.
“It’s kind of a constant effort to keep your name out in the public eye,” he said.
Vukanovich said he still hasn’t decided whether to try to remove the stickers from his signs or to replace the signs, which cost between $6 and $80 apiece.
“Of course, it is not about the money, but the fact that someone would stoop this low and commit this, what I classify as, cowardly act,” he said.
Veljacic said none of his signs have been defaced, but some have been knocked over. He lost count of how many.
“Some of it certainly is the weather; others may be on purpose,” he said. “Maybe they don’t like the candidate or they don’t like political signs because they can be a bit of a visual blight, but it’s part of campaign season. It goes with the territory – the sign gardens.”


Paris Achen

Paris Achen

Paris Achen has been a journalist since 2001. As The Columbian's courts reporter, she writes about courts, criminal cases, civil disputes and social issues exhibited in the judicial system.

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