Ehrlich Signs Painted with Hippie Symbols; Vandals Target Baltimore County
Byline: S.A. Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s re-election campaign signs are being systematically torn down or spray-painted with hippie-style peace symbols in Baltimore County, his home jurisdiction.
The vandalism is costly for the Ehrlich campaign because the 4-by-8-foot signs that are favored in this year's races take up to an hour to install. Ehrlich campaign officials have not reported the damaged and missing signs to police.
"You have no way of knowing if this is an organized effort or just pranksters," said Shareese N. DeLeaver, campaign spokeswoman for Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican. "We don't condone or participate in the vandalism of signs, and we expect the same of our opposition."
About a month ago, the campaign managers for Mr. Ehrlich and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, made a "gentlemen's agreement" to respect each other's signs.
"That gentlemanly agreement is in place," O'Malley campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said. "We don't condone the defacing of road signs."
He said O'Malley signs throughout the state also have been vandalized.
"We've had a number of people tell us that they put signs and they are torn down repeatedly."
Miss DeLeaver and Mr. Abbruzzese both noted that political signs are knocked down or defaced in practically every election campaign.
However, the relatively widespread vandalism and repeated use of the peace symbol in Baltimore County grabbed the attention of the Ehrlich campaign, Miss DeLeaver said.
The vandalism of Ehrlich signs in other counties has occurred less frequently and in an apparently more random fashion, she said. …