Complaint leads to 'Wolf for governor' signs being removed
SHAMOKIN - Two gubernatorial campaign signs were removed from a downtown intersection after a complaint was made Thursday at city hall about the signs having been placed on public property.
The signs were placed in the grass on the city-owned park plots to the immediate north and south of Independence Street at Market Street sometime Thursday. They belonged to the campaign of Tom Wolf, one of four Democrats seeking the party's nomination in the May 20 primary election.
Rick Bozza, code enforcement officer, said a man who supports Gov. Tom Corbett made the complaint, saying if signs for the incumbent Republican couldn't be placed on public property then no other candidate should be allowed.
Bozza contacted city solicitor Frank Konopka, who said the signs should be removed.
Konopka told The News-Item he wasn't certain there was any specific law or ordinance banning the placement of campaign signs on publicly owned property, but that it was more a matter of decorum since the city has taxpayers of many political beliefs.
"I think it is extremely inappropriate for candidates of any persuasion. They can't be there. It's plain common sense," Konopka said.
If the city were to allow the campaign signs of one candidate placed on city-owned property, it would have to do the same for all candidates, he said.
"Then you know what the city's going to look like," Konopka said.
A city hall secretary had planned to contact the Wolf campaign along with the Northumberland County Democratic Committee.
Roger Babnew, county Democratic committee chairman, said when contacted that he was unaware of the signs. He'd received signs from the Wolf campaign on Wednesday but hadn't distributed any.
He planned to drive to Shamokin from his Sunbury-area farm and remove the signs.
"It's easier for me to just run over and get them than have an extra day of (negative) publicity," Babnew said.
Elizabeth Kremer, chair of the county Republicans, was unaware of the situation. She said it can and has happened to both parties, and that she herself has driven to a few public spots to take down signs.
A Wolf campaign spokesman was unaware of the matter and noted the campaign has hundreds of volunteers across the state.