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Campaign for Carlsbad's Measure A gets ugly

Posted: 6:52 PM, Feb 09, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-10 15:49:12Z

CARLSBAD -- A longtime Carlsbad resident is calling it the ugliest political campaign the city has ever seen.

Two weeks away from the vote on a hotly contested shopping and entertainment center, both camps say their signs have been hit by thieves and vandals.

RELATED: More info on Measure A

Klaus Kirchhoff lives on Veronica Court, and 10News saw him putting in a new "Yes On A" sign.

"I wonder how long this will be in the ground," said Kirchhoff.

Recently, two of Kirchhoff's signs disappeared from his backyard. He said in the last three weeks, any Yes On A signs that have gone up are stolen within a day. In all, about 15 signs have vanished.

Kirchhoff said those not stolen have been vandalized. Volunteers with the campaign showed 10News a string of signs in which the "Yes" was spray-painted with a "No." In another sign, the phrase "Capitalist Pigs" is scrawled.

"It makes me feel sad. I thought we were living in a more civil town like Carlsbad," said Kirchhoff.

In Carlsbad, a vote on a shopping and entertainment center has inflamed passions like few other issues in the city's history.

"It's more than passionate; it's sometimes vicious," said Kirchhoff.

Both sides of the issue say they've had hundreds of signs taken or vandalized.

The "No On A" supporters point out their grass-roots campaign has far fewer signs to begin with.

Gretchen Vurbeff, a volunteer with the No On A campaign, said she has put signs up at the intersection of Frost Ave. and Cannon Rd. only to see them gone the next day. She also put one at the intersection of Legoland Drive and Cannon Rd.

"Since it was raining, I went to my gym to work out. It was gone by the time I got back. Not even one hour later, on a Sunday morning, in the rain," said Vurbeff.

Two weeks before the vote, Kirchhoff is issuing his own campaign message to anyone targeting signs: Stop playing dirty.

"Don't do this anymore. This is nonsense. We are not this type of town," said Kirchhoff.

Stealing a sign is considered petty theft, and Carlsbad police said they've received a handful of reports for both Yes On A and No On A signs.

Both camps say witnesses have spotted teens stealing some of the signs.

The No On A campaign told 10News they have publicly and repeatedly reminded their supporters of sign rules.