Another brouhaha has erupted over political signs attached to ADOT roadway signs that add to the ongoing grievances over stolen signs.

Pictures of posters tied to traffic signs for candidates Dave Golembewski, Tom Morrissey and Darrell Stubbs popped up online.

Arizona Department of Transportation employees removed the signs because, “they present an immediate hazard to the traveling public or to ADOT crews,” said ADOT spokesperson Ryan Harding.

“ADOT understands the importance of signs to those seeking elected office, but reminds campaigns that signs aren’t to be placed in state highway right of way,” he said.

In fact, Harding reported ADOT had notified political campaigns by letter that placing signs in an ADOT right of way is forbidden under Arizona law.

It’s also illegal to tamper with political signs at all, punishable by a fine and/or jail time.

Golembewski said he did not put his signs on the traffic signs, nor does he know who did.

“I’ve probably given signs to 100 people,” he said. “I don’t know where they are putting it.”

He’s happy to fix the problem though.

“If you tell me where a sign is illegal, I will take it out myself,” he said.

Meanwhile, accusations on social media continue to roil around signs being stolen, prompting staff of various campaigns to announce they have installed game cameras to figure out what’s going on.

Police Chief Ron Tischer reports his department has received no formal complaints, “just watching everything that is being posted on social media.”

Council candidate Jolynn Schinstock has seen “some of my signs gone missing and many have been tampered with.”

“It’s very disappointing because these campaign signs are not cheap,” she said.

Since there’s a legal consequence for tampering with signs, Schinstock wonders “why anyone would take that risk over something as trivial as this.”

Other candidates have not noticed their signs missing.

Scott Nossek has “no signs missing as far as I know.”

Janell Sterner has had no missing signs since early June, but acknowledges, “the wind sure hasn’t helped.”

Neither Deborah Rose nor Mayor Tom Morrissey’s campaign responded to requests for comment.

Candidate Barbara Underwood doesn’t like political signs because they “are an eyesore and make the town look trashy,” but recognizes their value.

“I understand the need for name recognition for candidates ... and having signs is part of the campaigning,” she said.

Yet she too has “noticed a significant number of signs missing or being tampered with this campaign,” and is “sure the other candidates have noticed this as well.”

But pandemic limitations have put a crimp on getting the message out, so she understands “leaving the signs is a necessary evil.”

As a candidate for Payson mayor, Jennifer Smith said community members have expressed their fatigue over the campaign sign controversy.

Instead they have asked her “to campaign on the issues.”

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(2) comments

Mike White

Thank you for the balanced reporting on this issue.

Don Evans

All the campaign signs do look trashy. But, it's part of the political system. I noticed all the signs on the North West corner of Longhorn Rd. and Payson Parkway are gone. And there were a lot of them. Maybe ADOT, maybe wind, maybe curmudgeons? But on Longhorn there are web site signs that list no political candidates. Why are they allowed to be set up on the right of way? Selective enforcement perhaps?

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