Ever wonder where political campaign signs go to die?
If they get placed illegally along state highways in the Colorado Springs region, the concrete trash bin in the maintenance yard of the Colorado Department of Transportation is their final resting place.
Lots of signs — large and small – find their way in to the bin.
Actually, it’s kind of a relief to know it is not political dirty tricksters taking hundreds of signs reported lost by various candidates for mayor and City Council.
The folks at CDOT say they hold the signs for 30 days to give the owners a chance to reclaim them. The signs could be stored at any of six maintenance facilities scattered around El Paso and Teller counties.
I found a big pile at the maintenance yard near I-25 and South Circle Drive at 2025 Commercial Boulevard.
But CDOT isn’t the only group taking signs. Some are taken illegally, as mayoral candidate Buddy Gilmore discovered.
He kept noticing signs of his opponents and City Council candidates disappearing along Briargate Parkway and surrounding streets.
So he was keeping an eye out the window of his office near the corner of Briargate and Explorer Drive. On Wednesday, a sign for Sean Paige vanished.
Buddy jumped in his car and started hunting for the thief.
Soon, he came upon a landscaper from the Brickman Group carrying freshly plucked Paige signs.
Gilmore confronted the man, who said he was ordered to remove the signs, which were legally placed on city right-of-way.
Turns out the landscaper was carrying out orders of the Briargate Business Campus Owners Association, Gilmore said.
Somebody, perhaps the management company, doesn’t like signs and ordered them removed. Or stolen, in other words.
It’s not a petty crime. Gilmore said he’s lost 800 signs this campaign, at $1.50 apiece!. There were nine mayoral candidates and about 1,000 candidates for City Council. They’ve all complained of lost signs and that adds up to some real money.
I also discovered there are sign vigilantes out there. Some folks don’t like signs of any kind cluttering the roadways. They go around and steal them, said Ken Lewis, the city code enforcement administrator. At least one vigilante has been charged with theft.
I had no idea.