It appears the "Dump Mendonca" signs have been dumped.
A Moraga man who had a political tussle with Town Council member Karen Mendonca placed 20 "Dump Mendonca" signs around the town late Tuesday afternoon. A friend called Doug Home Wednesday morning to say some were gone — it turned out to be 19 out of 20.
"I noticed someone following me at some point," Home said. "It was a woman in a car."
Mendonca, on the Moraga council since 2008, wrote in an email to Home she did not know who removed the signs and does not condone the removal "as you are freely exercising your First Amendment rights." Four years ago, her campaign lost some 60 campaign signs due to theft and vandalism, Mendonca said.
In an email reply to Home, Mendonca said, "we have already experienced sign loss and vandalism during the current campaign, and we would expect you to report any knowledge that you might have regarding our losses."
Home said he spent $130 having his 20 signs made up.
Home said he was a member of a community focus group that developed a compromise plan on the issue of dogs in Rancho Laguna Park. Mendonca spent "no time considering it" before saying no, he said.
Home made a police report of the theft of the signs. Besides the thefts, there are First Amendment rights to free speech, he said.
"A report has been taken and will remain open until leads develop," wrote Moraga Police Chief Robert Priebe in an email.
Mendonca took the anti message in stride. "One of the things you learn as a principled leader and councilmember is that you had better have very thick skin," she wrote. "While these sorts of negative, bullying actions can be most disappointing from a communicational point of view, I will be the very first person to defend one’s decision to exercise his or her First Amendment rights.
that eliminated off-leash hours in Rancho Laguna Park. It didn't take long for dog owners to gather enough signatures to put a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to support or reject the council's ordinance. Faced with a popular revolt, the town council backpedaled in July and voted 3-2 to rescind the off-leash law.
"What I said (on the sign) wasn't nice, and I'm willing to take the heat for that," said Home. "But it's not nice to take it down either."