HIGHLAND PARK – Several local political signs were stolen on Linden Avenue and throughout the surrounding neighborhood between Feb. 11 and 12, according to the Highland Park Police Department. And speculation about illegal sign placement is growing as things heat up before the April 4 election.
Who’s behind the political sign heists?
Highland Park Deputy Police Chief Timothy Wilinski said police don’t know if the recent thefts were by one person or a group, but he did say signs go missing every election year.
Candidates interviewed for this story all said that when they install yard signs they get residents’ permission first, and also that they adhere to city code. (Here’s a link to it: Code of Ordinances.)
“I find it very disturbing that yard signs were stolen, and I replaced about eight missing signs over the weekend of February 11 on Linden, Lincoln, Forest and Cedar,” said Councilwoman Kim Stone, who is running for re-election for Highland Park City Council. “In many cases, the wire was still in the ground, but the sign itself was gone.” Homeowners contacted her to replace the missing signs.
Gerry Meister told DailyNorthShore the “Davis Schneiderman for City Council” sign that he placed on one city corner was removed. He also said he gets permission before placing signs on private property.
Though Schneiderman and Stone are both running for City Council, they are not competing for the same race, as Schneiderman is vying to fill former Councilman Paul Frank’s two-year term.
Schneiderman said his campaign received emails that some of his signs were stolen. “My team will replace them this week. I do not know why anyone would take down a political yard sign, but it seems like it is happening to many candidates,” he said. “I would hope that everyone can respect the political process and allow residents to freely express their views.”
Like the other candidates, Adam Stolberg said he gets permission for his signs, but he added that recently one was placed mistakenly. “As my team placed signs, one was incorrectly placed on a wrong address and the property owner reached out to me. The sign was promptly removed and I issued a written apology to the owner,” he said.
Stolberg explained that about seven of his signs were removed from various locations on Feb. 11, and that he was contacted by the owners asking for replacements.
Michael Stroz, who is running for Park District Commissioner, said his team places yard signs upon request while “attempting to comply with the city’s rules regarding no campaign signs in the parkway areas. However, our signs are available for free at events, and since those signs are picked up by citizens, we have neither control nor record of where they are placed.”
When asked about a sign at the entrance to Fort Sheridan at Walker Avenue, he said he wasn’t aware of it but would take it down.
Other signs that were placed in a highly visible public area are the Re-Elect Jane Mordini for NSSD 112 School Board signs in front of Domino’s Pizza at 148 Green Bay Road in Highwood: “This is the third time I’ve placed my signs there in three elections, and I’ve had permission each time,” said Mordini.