PORT HADLOCK — A man accused of destroying political signs near Port Hadlock was jailed in Jefferson County over the weekend.
Lyle Donald Courtsal was booked into the Jefferson County jail Saturday for investigation of three counts of third-degree malicious mischief and three counts of advertising offenses.
Chief Criminal Deputy Art Frank said deputies arrested Courtsal on Saturday afternoon after it was reported that someone was removing and damaging signs opposing Proposition 1 in Jefferson County on the 10900 block of Rhody Drive.
Proposition 1 would tax property owners for seven years to raise money for affordable housing projects.
“Witnesses saw him remove three signs and destroy them,” Frank wrote in an email.
Deputies say they found Courtsal near Carl’s Building Supply, and after a brief investigation, Courtsal was arrested at the scene and booked at the Jefferson County Jail.
Jim Scarantino, spokesperson for the No on Prop 1 campaign, said that though Courtsal was arrested for defacing three signs, at least fifteen others were slashed in the same area that day.
The defaced signs stretched state Highway 19, he said. Scarantino said campaign volunteers were replacing the signs when they encountered Courtsal, so they called law enforcement.
Scarantino said the campaign has dealt with people defacing or destroying “No on Prop 1” signs throughout East Jefferson County over the past few months.
“We lost maybe hundreds of signs,” he said. “They were being defaced starting way back in September.”
He said campaign volunteers have worked to replace signs as quickly as vandals were able to deface them.
“This is not something any side should encourage their supporters to do,” he said.
A Lyle Courtsal wrote a letter to the Port Townsend Leader newspaper that was critical of how Republicans have characterized the tax burden the proposition would create.
“It was an underhanded way of misrepresenting a system of taxation,” he wrote in the letter.
Prop 1 is a proposed seven-year property tax levy of 36 cents per $1,000 assessed value which, if passed, would fund the Home Opportunity Fund, a dedicated fund for projects that would build or maintain affordable housing options in Jefferson County.
In its seven-year term, the levy is expected to raise $1.8 million per year, or between $13 million to $13.9 million total, according to Homes Now.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.