The old neighborhood is a mixture of political leanings, but almost no yard signs indicated that Thursday.
Aside from one yard near the beach that had double Trump signs, all others were bare around the south end of Washington, Jackson and Calhoun avenues, along with several side streets running off them.
It was about that lack of political expression that a reader alerted Sound Off and a Sun Herald reporter.
Washington Avenue resident Diane Chapman said someone had uprooted and made off with her Mark Gladney sign. He’s a Democrat running for Congress against incumbent Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo.
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Around the corner, someone got Laura Frederick’s campaign signs as well. They took Lucille Parker’s and three others’ on neighboring streets. The signs were taken over a two-week period, and they weren’t all Gladney signs. Hillary Clinton signs were taken, too.
At least two houses lost a Clinton and a Gladney, Chapman said. One woman didn’t know she could buy a Clinton sign for $5 on the Coast and ordered hers. It wound up costing $20 with shipping, and it took five weeks to arrive, Chapman said. And she was excited.
It had already gotten crumpled once but she straightened it, and then it got stolen, Chapman said.
“Our and Laura’s Gladney signs disappeared Saturday night,” she said. “We never put up a Clinton — we were afraid someone would vandalize our cars or our house. We were trying to get our nerve up. Our Obama sign years ago, disappeared. I think it was in 2008.
“It’s so aggravating because it’s such a right in this country to have an opinion in an election and put out a campaign sign in your yard and that’s just not being honored.
“We actually put ours where it didn’t seem in-your-face. It was 10 feet down our driveway, and they took it. They were clearly on our property.
“We just wanted to get (Gladney’s) name out, maybe someone would see it and Google it.”
In the Sound Off titled “Not Laughing,” she wrote to the person who took the sign: “How about supporting the Constitution by restoring our First Amendment rights? Bring back our sign!”
On the same street, Parker has a Clinton-Kaine sign leaning against a wall in a bedroom.
“It’s waiting,” she said. “It wants to go out. We’re just not putting it up.”
They are afraid. They’re not sure who took the signs, so it’s just out there, unresolved. Parker and Chapman were leery even of having their picture taken.
They said the neighborhood is a well-traveled route to the beach from downtown, so a variety of people pass through. They don’t believe it was neighbors who took the signs.
Parker is the treasurer of the Democratic Party in Jackson County. Someone suggested she try putting the Clinton in a tree or on her roof.
“It’s Democracy, freedom of speech,” she said. “We have a right to put these signs up.”
But neither Parker nor Chapman has put up their Clinton signs. They are waiting, though they are not sure what for.
Parker said her Gladney was in a flower bed close to the street. But the Chapmans’ was not, she said, getting perturbed as she talked.
“People had to go in their yard,” she said. “It’s trespassing. It’s theft, and it’s sort of a violation of the rules of our democracy.”