Thieves make off with pro-Clallam County Fire District No. 2 tax levy signs
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Mike DeRousie, chairman of the Committee to Support Fire District 2 and district volunteer assistant chief, said that as of Wednesday, 33 signs urging voters to vote for the proposed levy measure on the Nov. 5 ballot had been removed without owner permission from properties in Port Angeles and unincorporated Clallam County.
These properties include one along Mount Pleasant Road, one along U.S. Highway 101 near Morse Creek and two businesses in Port Angeles, he said.
All signs had been placed with the property owners’ permission, DeRousie added.
In one instance at a property along East First Street in Port Angeles, DeRousie said, a sign supporting the levy increase was removed and replaced with a sign opposing the measure.
Three days after DeRousie gave the property owner a new sign, it was removed again, he said.
DeRouise said none of the missing signs have been recovered.
“That’s wrong,” he said, adding that 300 signs have been made and distributed.
“And when we see different signs in their place, that’s kind of a sad thing that’s going on.”
Eric Foth, chairman of Citizens Against Fire District 2 Levy, said he has not heard of many signs opposing the tax increase disappearing.
“We’ve had a few disappear, but not very many,” Foth said. “I haven’t had much of a problem with signs going away.”
The levy increase or levy lid lift, called Proposition 1, would increase the existing property tax levy from 76 cents of property tax for each $1,000 of assessed valuation to $1.15 per $1,000.
That’s an increase of, for example, $78 per year on a $200,000 home.
The measure needs a simple majority to pass. Ballots will be mailed Oct. 16.
DeRousie said he has been in contact with the Port Angeles Police Department about the signs stolen from properties within the city limit.
He said he was told by Cpl. Tom Kuch that officers could not do much unless someone was caught in the act.
“At this time, there are no credible leads,” Kuch said.
He said the instances that DeRouise told him about, one in the city and one in the county, were the only reports of sign theft given to Port Angeles police.
“Nobody else has been talking about it here at work,” Kuch said.
Brian Smith, deputy Port Angeles police chief, said such theft would be a misdemeanor-level crime.
“It’s illegal. It’s bad civic behavior,” Smith said.
Smith said reported sign theft during election seasons in general are not all that common.
“It doesn’t happen with every campaign,” he said.
DeRousie said he has not contacted the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office about signs reported missing from unincorporated areas.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb contributed to this report.
Last modified: October 10. 2013 5:52PM