We are supposed to be a nation founded on laws, not on the whims of men.

Glendora, Calif. is one such City that seems to be a bit out of control, but there are a few facts that are missing from the case.

Two 18 year old women were out at night placing stickers on the signs of people running for office in the City of Glendora. There is an ordinance that prohibits the placing of campaign sign on public property. The stickers read “This sign violates Glendora city ordinance.” The first official statement from Glendora Police (third item) said:

Lt. Gino Domico said Keleigh Marshall, 18, and Christina Giammalva, 18, both of Glendora, were booked for vandalism and later released.

The women were seen at about 10 p.m. in the 300 Block of North Valley Center vandalizing signs in support of Mayor Doug Tessitor, Councilman Gary Clifford and Councilman Ken Herman, police said.

“One of the victims saw the women and placed them under citizens arrest until officers arrived,” Domico said.

OK. But it seems that the content of the “vandalism” might matter. It also turns out that Councilman Gary Clifford was the victim. He also voted for the ordinance that his signs were violating. From this article, Mr. Clifford is not sorry, yet.

For his part, Clifford shows no signs of remorse or second thoughts. He says he offered to drop the matter if the young women would remove the stickers, and he accuses them and their supporters of blowing the incident out of proportion, of “trying to build this up into something that it isn’t.”

In addition, Clifford complains that the teenagers were defacing only the signs of candidates they opposed, evidence that their actions were motivated by politics. And although he acknowledges that some signs have been posted on public property, he argues that all sides have done it.

The remedy for such violations, he adds, is to file a complaint, not to deface property. “You still don’t have the right to vandalize,” he said. “It’s just not appropriate behavior.”

Those are valid and good points to consider. Vandalism is not an appropriate remedy to a complaint about non-complaint campaign signs. Naturally when the violation was brought to his attention, he would remove the signs, right? Well, the article doesn’t say and it would seem to be newsworthy if the councilman voluntarily took the signs down so it is likely that the violative signs are still there.

But the police would still enforce the law, right? Wrong again:

Police Chief Chuck Montoya, meanwhile, has been thrust uncomfortably into the middle of the city’s political campaign. Interviewed Friday, he said his officers did not cite Clifford because the city attorney had advised the department not to enforce the sign ordinance in cases of political displays. The 1st Amendment, Montoya said, gives wider latitude to candidates than it does to others when it comes to sign advertising.

As it does not appear that the women were charged with vandalism yet, it may be that they also have a protected right of free speech to inform voters that some candidates are scofflaws. With the current Supreme Court, there is no telling what the First Amendment protects anymore, really. It may protect nude dancing, or it may not if the establishment is serving alcohol. Political speech has never been more regulated than now either.

There seems to be an Alice-In-Wonderland quality to this whole situation. A couple of 18 year old women are protesting the placement of these signs, a person who agreed with the ordinance enough to vote it into law comes along and calls the cops on these women. They are arrested and the signs stay with the person who agreed to the law in the first place leaving his signs in place and no one can tell whether the ordinance violates the First Amendment.

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