Dependable Erection

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The strange case of the disappearing campaign signs

So, sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning a couple of hundred signs appeared around Durham proclaiming "STITH: Right Wing REPUBLICAN Don't Be Fooled!"

Corner of Avondale and Trinity, Durham, NC

The signs were not attributed, but there's no reason to think that Kevin's supposition in the commentsthat local Democrats had something to do with it is incorrect. Surprisingly, North Carolina law does not require that campaign signs indicate who paid for them. You probably can't tell in the jpeg above, but neither of the two signs in the photo contains a "Paid for by . . . " disclosure statement. It would make sense that the Stith campaign, which has made little mention of Stith's conservative bona fides as a Civitas Institute VP, would not be happy to see this information becoming a campaign issue at a late date in the campaign.

But does that explain the disappearance of a large number of these signs between Saturday night and Sunday morning? Does the Stith campaign really want to keep his conservative, right-wing, Republican credentials a secret from Durham voters?

This is, after all, the same candidate who appeared in the following video, promoting a Civitas Institute conference by using the word "conservative" or the phrase "conservative movement" 11 times in just over a minute.

Who's trying to fool who?

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  • Let me tell you who else's signs disappeared along with the Stith: right-wing Republican signs: David Harris's. They've totally disappeared from south Durham and there were lots of them. They disappeared at the same time as the right-wing signs, and at the same time that -- miraculously -- the Funderburk-Monks signs were either straightened up or appeared.

    PLEASE call or email your Democratic Party friends and make sure they vote on Tuesday: Bell, Brown, Catotti and Harris!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:34 PM  

  • Sign-stealing isan act of desperation.



    By Anonymous steve bocckino, at 4:46 PM  

  • Let me rethink and retract what I wrote about Farad Ali: :

    Who has the most to gain from knocking out David Harris?

    Who hasn't even run a microcampaign (though he was the top nanocampaigner)?

    Laney Funderburk

    By Anonymous steve Bocckino, at 4:53 PM  

  • Steve,

    While I would not put it past some of Farad's supporters to be knocking down the Harris signs (a certain faction of them who have resorted to such things before when supporting other candidates), I doubt Farad would chance it or let anyone get away with it: he has too much to lose if caught. On the other hand, the fact that the Monks-Funderburk signs are being spiffed up or planted at the same time the others appear? Well... this really is the kind of low-class crap the Republicans pulled in 2004.

    I'd also like to say that while sign stealing, or knocking them over occurs in all elections, it's usually pretty rare and isolated. This was wholesale, orchestrated destruction, well, well beyond the norm. It was also completely against the law and I hope the culprits are caught and prosecuted.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:33 PM  

  • can't imagine Ali's people doing that.

    i can imagine freelance republicans involved. it will be interesting to see how the legal ramifications of this play out.

    on the other hand, the big question is why would the R's take down Harris's signs? Harris and Ali splitting the progressive vote is the only chance that Funderburk has of getting a seat. Monks has no chance.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 5:41 PM  

  • They would take down Harris's signs because they are smarter than most of the white progressives who are boneheadedly thinking that, by voting for Ali, they are keeping Funderburk from getting elected. Stupid, stupid, stupid.... anyone who can do math can look at the fact that there are four registered Democrats to every one Republican in this county and figure out that, if the Democrats get out the vote, as they are doing, the person with the huge upside in this new field (as opposed to the primary where the Dem vote was split six ways) is David Harris, not Ali. Harris has a much better chance of winning than Farad Ali, who's support as a percentage of the vote peaked in the primary. The Republicans know that they need to tear Harris down and dial his totals back to have a hope in hell of winning.

    You should also consider this possibility: Ali has been playing both sides of the fence fast and furiously. He knows he peaked on the Dem side, and that's why he has been kissing up to the Republicans and hanging out with Laney Funderburk after every forum and it's why Thomas Stith keeps urging people to write checks to Farad Ali. Do you really think you can raise more money than any other candidate in the City Council race without developer money pouring in? The fact is that Farad Ali is a Republican, period, masquerading as an Unaffiliated and the Republicans have probably recognized that he is the best chance their side has of winning and they're throwing their weight behind him. Yes, the Republicans took the Harris signs. To help Farad Ali.

    Someone needs to get to those misguided Trinity Park progressives and explain that if Thomas Stith is urging people to give money to a candidate -- that candidate is NOT a progressive!!! No way, no how.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:45 PM  

  • It must feel so awful to be a Republican in 2007. A once-proud party, useful to some degree in keeping Democratic excesses in check, now resorts to sign-stealing, lying and other acts of desperation.

    Barry Goldwater is spinning in his grave faster than my hard drive.

    My take on Ali? I agree with the person who believes Ali to be a trojan horse. "Unaffiliated" today, "Republican" tomorrow. Who plays dirty politics and wants to keep it that way? I know who. THE GOP.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:51 PM  

  • Wow, why does someone HAVE to be one or the other? Maybe Farad has opted to have his own mind about things instead of towing the party line...
    I did some research on him before deciding to support him ( I dont like making assumptions based on process of elimination "he isnt a democratic so he MUST be a republican...")and turns out that he was appointed to be a trustee on the North Carolina Deferred Compensation Board by both Govenor's Hunt and Easley who are Democrats, there were no republicans appointed. Additionally, someone had insinuated that Farad was not supportive of the poor in the city. He is VP of a non-profit whose main focus is economic development for minority and women business much more supportive of the economically challenged can you get? I am a full board Democrat and I support Ali. I don't think its good politics to get someone elected by putting down the most successful challengers. What I have seen during this process is not anyone stating how great David Harris is or his policy statements but rather just a "vote for him because he is a democrat" one thing I have to say about Farad's supporters is that we all believe in his policy statements, his integrity and honesty and more than anything his courage to be different and stand up for and lead on behalf of the people instead of following after a party.
    I am voting for Bill Bell, Diane and challenge is to decide between Eugene ( who seems to be sliding in on Diane coat ) and David (who seems too passive to be effective )...I may just leave my third seat vote blank

    By Anonymous golden, at 7:52 PM  

  • What I have seen during this process is not anyone stating how great David Harris is or his policy statements but rather just a "vote for him because he is a democrat"

    i have certainly said that i am voting for David Harris because of his experience as a neighborhood based activist in Durham for several decades. i want someone on council who knows what kind of support neighborhoods need from the city to deal with issues that effect us immediately and directly in our homes and on our blocks, some of which i've talked about on this blog.

    plus he's a Democrat and his work for the party has been, like his work for neighborhoods, in the trenches and at the grass roots. That is exactly who i want working for me on council.

    i've tried to avoid saying anything negative about Ali. i have said that, in this particular point in our political process, i have a hard time accepting that someone who want to be an officeholder does not want to publicly choose a side.

    i've had several people who i have a great deal of respect for urge me to vote for Ali, and more than one has hinted that he would become a Democrat if elected. i've also heard, with slight variations, from different people on why he's still unaffiliated at this point. Going on what he's said in public, and in his campaign literature and on his website, i'm not able to support him for council.

    i don't think it's an issue of toeing the Democratic party line. i think it's an issue of working to build a party that can defeat the Republican machine statewide, and prevent it from making inroads into Durham county. politics is ultimately about having and using power. it's not a theoretical debate about whose approach is more amenable to your own personal tastes or priorities. Republicans seem to know this instinctively. Most Democrats i know do not. That's why Republicans have been able to do so much damage in such a short time. Undoing that damage requires more than a willingness to work with people on "both sides of the issue." It requires an understanding that the policies and positions espoused and enacted by Republicans are destroying our democracy from the ground up. Winning elections, even in Durham, is a step toward reversing that.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 8:54 PM  

  • If you think people are only voting for David Harris because he is a Democrat, then you have NOT been paying attention. Because that statement is pure bullshit.

    People are voting for David Harris because he is about a hundred times for more qualified for the job than Farad Ali is -- for god sakes, David Harris has been volunteering in Durham for 35 years on the frontline dealing with exactly the same issues the City Council deals with every day. I am voting for David Harris precisely because of this experience and background: he HAS ALREADY BEEN doing exactly what City Council members must do for years. This city is full of people he has helped. He has represented entire neighborhoods, shown them how to speak up for themselves in front of the City Council, helped them keep developers from taking over or running roads straight through their blocks, shown them to set up neighborhood watch associations and reduce crime -- I could go on and on.

    You want to know what his policies are? Go to

    Unlike any other candidate running, he has posted very thorough questions to virtually every question you can think of pertaining to any major issue and his stance on the issues are impeccable.

    In contrast, Farad Ali is over 40 years and he does not have one single thing on his resume that is not directly related to the furthering of Farad Ali's career. Plus he supports the secrecy of the Lakewood YMCA DAB Board and has treated that neighborhood shabbily and is talking out of both sides of his mouth on that issue and in this election. That spells someone who is not trustworthy and who cares about himself and his ego first and foremost. And you know what else? there is no reward to that City Council job. It's a hard and thankless job. As soon as Farad Ali finds that out, he'll be bored to death. There's just not enough in it for him, as he will phone in his performance. We already had someone on the council like that -- and his name was Thomas Stith.

    I am sure Ali is a nice guy, And he is certainly an articulate speaker. But I am choosing style over substance. I consider my town too important and David Harris has proved that he really cares about my town. He has shown that in the way he has acted every day for the past three decades. That is far, far more impressive than being a good speaker with a nice smile and the ability to cajole people into liking you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 PM  

  • Barry, I can see your point on the Republicans...however I still think that there are folks out there who have not put the thought into it that you have. Lets just say if Victoria Peterson had been the "Democrat" left in the running...she was a nightmare but folks would have voted for her on a straight party ticket. I guess I dont see it as an Ali v Harris issue...Im actually curious as to why no one talks about Eugene Brown, he seems to have been more conservative and Republican-like than other candidates but for some reason people are just taking him along with Diane as a given...
    I am not interested in changing the minds of the thoughtful...its the people like anonymous who make wild accusations about Ali being a closet Republican with a diabolical plot that need the direction from those of us who actual read, research and contemplate our choices instead of fear mongering.

    By Anonymous golden, at 9:30 PM  

  • The other Kevin's (there used to be so few of us!) assumption is correct--the Durham County Democratic Party paid for the signs in question and was responsible for their placement throughout Durham. We purchased a grand total of 250 signs at the approximate cost of $541.00--a mere pittance compared to the amount of money Thomas $tith has paid to lie to the City of Durham about Bill Bell's record, and his own. Of the approximately 70 or so signs I myself participated in putting out, 39 are now missing and 3 were vandalized. Another 36 signs from other routes have also gone missing, and I fully expect more to go missing by Monday.

    I guess the truth hurts. I guess the Republican Right doesn't really want the voters to know that their candidate was, until only recently, the VP of an organization that considers global warming to be a hoax, publicly-financed elections to be a communist plot, zoning to be the same thing as taking away property rights, or gay people to be second-class citizens.

    We already have the license plate # of one potential offender, and a description of two vehicles, and that will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law. As for the anyone else, the Durham County Democratic Party is prepared to offer a $250 reward for the arrest and conviction of anyone tied to the illegal removal of our campaign signs. That amount will increase as donors agree to chip in, insofar as the amount they donate is paid out for apprehending the suspects in question. In other words, this is not a fundraising effort--money donated will be returned if no suspects are apprehended as the result of our efforts.

    Such amateur Republican thuggery, in Florida, in 2000, led to the selection of George Bush as President of the United States, and to much of the current sorry state of affairs in the world. We're not about to let it happen here, too.

    And yes, Barry, our signs were, and are, perfectly legal. For anybody wishing to dispute that, the lawyers are standing by.

    Kevin Farmer, Chairman
    Durham County Democratic Party

    By Anonymous Kevin Farmer, at 9:34 PM  

  • Had Peterson survived the primary, then we'd have that conversation. That she has changed her registration from D to R and back makes it easy to peg her as someone who is not a party builder, and not committed to principle, so i have an idea as to how i might have dealt with it.

    but she didn't advance, and i don't think that's an accident, so it's a conversation for another day.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 9:38 PM  

  • Anonymous...first of all, are you capable of engaging conversation without being wildly emotionally? Seriously, is cursing necessary? I did go to David's website, and it seems bootleg at best..
    I have nothing against David Harris, I havent said anything negative about him ( whereas you seem to be all about insults and negativity ) in fact I said I was thinking of voting for him ALONG WITH Farad Ali. My issue in not choosing him INSTEAD is because he has no business fact isnt he unemployed as we speak ( not saying this is a negative or a positive,just a fact)? When all is said and done the City is a BUSINESS, the City Council is responsible for BUDGET management and engagement in decision making. David's advocacy may actually hurt him in his responsibilites on council. Farad has the experiance in the business management and decision making ( he has served on numerous boards )activites to be able to hit the ground running.
    As for the Y thing...its laughable, if you have ever served on a board, or advisory committee the meetings arent broadcast on the radio. Holding meetings without public participation is typical, that doesnt make it secretive. As far as I have seen Farad has indicated a desire to work things out on the Y issue by following the process...

    lastly, take a breath and see if you can engage in debate/conversation without coming across as a rabid lunatic...people might actually take you seriously if you could articulate your points logically instead of emotionally.

    By Anonymous golden, at 9:42 PM  

  • and it re-iterate...

    Golden is NOT voting for Stith...or Funderburk or Monks

    By Anonymous golden, at 9:46 PM  

  • Golden, you may find the Lakewood incident laughable -- but I assure you the voters who live in that neighborhood do not.

    Ali is aiding the Triangle YMCA is pulling its facilities out of the poorer neighborhoods and moving them to wealthier (read: whiter) areas. Let's talk about it in a year when they've closed down the Lakewood Y and opened up a new one in South Durham.

    Organizations, whether private or not, who do community work ought to have the common sense to bend over backwards to treat the community with respect and to follow as open a policy as possible with their activities: what is the purpose of the Lakewood DAB keeping its board membership secret and refusing to even publicize when and where the meetings will be held? What possible purpose does that serve, other than to create an us vs. them attitude and foster even more suspicion? If Ali does not have better sense than that, he does not belong on the council.

    As for the budget oversight duties of the City Council: I for one think it is important for s City Council member to have an understanding of the activities and issues behind the numbers! How can someone make intelligent and difficult budget allocation and spending decisions if they don't understand what it takes to deal with homelessness, affordable housing, at-risk youth programs,and any number of other issues critical to Durham's future? It doesn't take an MBA to be able to perform budget oversight, but it does take hands-on work to understand these complicated issues. If Farad Ali cares so much about Durham. how come he has not lifted a finger to participate in solving any of them over the 20 years of his adult life? Not once!

    I have worked with David Harris in two organizations over the past twenty years -- he's had no problem dealing with budget issues and oversight in any of them. I don't think you have to be in business or financial management to perform that task. If so, that should come as a surprise to all those non-profit directors out there.

    Finally, Harris was laid off of his job this summer as a Nortel software engineer because his job was eliminated and outsourced to India. Other than putting him in the same boat as a lot of other people here in Durham, I fail to see how that is relevant?

    Your post smacks of both economic and old-fashioned racism, not to mention snobbery.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:52 AM  

  • Personally, I like Harris and Ali, and actually voted for both of them (dropping one of the incumbents who seems most likely to win anyway).

    Relevant for me in supporting Ali was the range of endorsements he has from people I know (or know of) and trust across the Durham spectrum -- people at Self-Help, John Schelp, Linda Wilson, Carl Kenney, Steve Schewel, to name a few.

    I think Durham would be lucky to have the strong leadership of either Ali or Harris on the council. In the end, I hope the Stith-Bell bit doesn't move us away from a long-run where we try to elect the best people for the job, regardless of party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 PM  

  • and the personal attacks continue...did you just call me racist???????

    First off, your posts SCREAM of a personal agenda, if anything you come across as a rabid David Harris fanatic and not someone who cares about the city.

    What I said was laughable was not the Y situation itself, but rather the accusations of secrecy. Do you have proof that the DAB intentionally mislead people on their participating members or meeting schedule? My knowledge is limited but if they are a 501(c)(3) they are obligated to have all records available to the public...has anyone bothered to ask before making wild accusations? Also, I serve on a couple of boards and we dont announce every single meeting for public's impractical.

    As for Mr introduction to his campaign came as a result of his work for a NON-PROFIT which supports business owners...not you can possibly twist that into his not being willing to support homeless and poor I dont know. Also, he lives on Mangum and used to live on Holloway...yep, those are the wealthiest areas of town arent they...DOH!

    If you can claim to know everything Farad Ali has done over the past 20 years then this must really be personal...I dont know him like that....I just like what he represents and apparently others do too or folks like you wouldnt be losing their minds over the fact that he is winning. I actually hope David Harris gets a seat and the two of them knock either Eugene or Diane out of the box...

    Whats funny to me is David's catch phrase is "Durham's better when we work together" maybe he is of the same mind that Farad is about making things work in a non-partisan way...who's to say he wont have coffee with Thomas Stith on occasion...

    One thing people seem to be forgetting...there are some young caucasian men about to slam this city with financial woes that werent in the budget...maybe having someone with an MBA in finance could be helpful in dealing with that....just a thought

    on a more personal note...its really rude and class-less to call someone names just because you are losing a dont know me, so dont call me a racist or a snob...i havent called you a punk bitch yet have i?

    By Anonymous golden, at 1:38 PM  

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