, , ,

On Tuesday, I wrote about the campaign sign brouhaha going on between Rodney Hubbard and Jim Roos. Roos (pictured at left) says he’s been–with the permission of property owners–taking down Hubbard signs that were put up without the permission of those owners. Hubbard says Roos has been stealing the signs.

In the comments, ashriver suggested I contact the property owners to determine the truth of the matter. That sounded like a decent idea to me, so I drove downtown and got a list of the properties in question from Jim Roos. Unfortunately, the main thing I learned is that property owners and managers do not want to be in the middle of a political argument. They run businesses, and they don’t want anybody mad at them.

I only got two owner/managers to talk to me, and in each case basically got confirmation of Roos’s account. But both were quick to request that I not use their name or the address of their business.

In one case, for example, Roos’s notes indicated that he saw a 4′ X 6′ Hubbard sign in front of a gas station, stopped to ask if it had been put there with permission and if not, whether he could come back that evening and take it down. The manager told him that it was the third such unauthorized sign and that he (the manager) wasn’t going to wait until evening, whereupon the manager went outside and took it down himself.

When I spoke to the manager, he told me that he drove up to the gas station, saw the sign, planned to take it down immediately, but went inside first, where he found Roos, who had just walked in and was talking to the clerk. When Roos asked if he could come back that evening and take down the sign, the manager told me that he didn’t want to wait, that he went outside and took the sign down and threw it in the dumpster. He said Roos came back that evening with his truck and took the sign away.

I asked the manager if he had taken down two previous signs, and he said he couldn’t remember. He manages more than one place and has taken down other signs.

What this man stressed to me is that he doesn’t even know whether Rodney Hubbard is a Democrat or a Republican. He has no opinion on Hubbard. The only opinion he does have is that he doesn’t want to offend any of his customers with political signs. He said: “I would have taken the sign down anyway. I don’t want to be on a side. I want to be neutral and live peaceably.”

And he asked me not to give his name or the address of the station.

That gentleman was the most forthcoming of those I called. One other man basically confirmed that signs had been put up without permission and that Roos removed one with his permission. But he was reluctant to tell me even that much. Of the other five or six calls I made, either the owner wasn’t on the premises and wouldn’t be available within the next few hours or the owner preferred not to discuss it. Several of them were obviously foreign born so that communication was not easy and they seemed suspicious of a stranger asking questions.

But no one mentioned Roos stealing a sign.

Still, I gotta say, some reporter I’d make. I don’t have the patience for it. And I don’t have any names or addresses to offer either, just my unsubstantiated word–for whatever that’s worth.