Campaign sign removed from 1st Ward resident

CHICAGO (CBS) — This is the case of a fading campaign sign for a candidate for alderman in District 1.

Surveillance video shows a sport utility vehicle pulling up, and someone appears to get out and grab the sign for candidate Sam Royko. We have heard similar complaints about the removal of signs from other candidates and residents.

The sign for Royko, a candidate for District 1 alderman and the youngest son of the late Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko, had been on the corner of Pete Smolenski’s Logan Square home.

“On our security video, we noticed that someone took our corner sign,” Smolenski said.

Surveillance video showing the SUV arriving at Smolenski’s home was taken earlier this month. The SUV door opens, Royko’s campaign poster disappears, and the car drives off.

That same night, just a few blocks away, one of Smolenski’s neighbors recorded video of a Royko campaign sign on the trunk of a Honda.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office confirmed the SUV is registered to a woman volunteering for Stephen “Andy” Schneider’s campaign. Schneider is competing against Royko in the 1st Ward.

“These people are running for public office and they’re trying to win your vote and win your trust, and I felt like those guys filed against that,” Smolenski said.

Schneider issued a statement about it. Smolenski’s sign was on the avenue between the sidewalk and the roadway, technically public property rather than private property, and Schneider said signs on public property are the problem.

“No one who works for my campaign has ever removed anyone’s sign from private property, and we tell volunteers not to either.

“What we’ve seen is video of our banners being taken from our supporters’ front yards.

“Signs on the public road are illegal, and in our neighborhood many people routinely remove them, regardless of the source.

“All we’ve seen is images of illegally placed signs being removed from public property. It seems clear that my opponent’s campaign has been breaking the law, and now complains when they are removed properly.”

“I think the voters of District 1 are smart enough to know that it’s pretty obvious what’s going on,” Smolenski said.

And what do you think is happening?

“That they are picking up the signals from the opponents,” Smolenski said. “I just feel like this is the kind of thing that needs to be pointed out, so we know who we’re voting for.”

Royko responded with his own statement: “These kinds of campaign shenanigans are childish and desperate. I’m focused on talking to voters about building a safer, stronger future for District 1.”