Bi­par­ti­san Coali­tion has signs moved be­fore elec­tion

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com

EAS­TON — The Bi­par­ti­san Coali­tion, a grass­roots group of or­ga­niz­ers in­ter­ested in the Tal­bot County Coun­cil race, had signs read­ing “Vote out the County Coun­cil Pres­i­dent,” moved in two sep­a­rate in­ci­dents be­fore the gen­eral elec­tion Tues­day, Nov. 6.

Coali­tion Chair­man Dan Wat­son said on Oct. 27, the sec­ond day of early vot­ing, some­one had re­moved the group’s signs from the Eas­ton fire­house and thrown them un­der a tree.

Wat­son said he be­lieved this was a re­ac­tion to an Oct. 24 let­ter pub­lished in The Star Demo­crat by Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Chair­man Nick Panuzio.

In the let­ter, Panuzio said he would stand with his Demo­cratic col­leagues and not al­low the coali­tion to “make a mock­ery out of our lo­cal po­lit­i­cal process in Tal­bot.”

“On the one hand, this is hardly a big event,” Wat­son wrote in an email the fol­low­ing day. “Some­one must be­lieve that cit­i­zens legally ex­press­ing a po­lit­i­cal view­point at the polling sta­tion is mak­ing a mock­ery of democ­racy? And ap­par­ently that some­one took to heart Mr. Panuzio’s ‘will not al­low’ lan­guage.”

A re­port was filed with the Eas­ton Po­lice De­part­ment in ref­er­ence to the in­ci­dent.

On Nov. 3, Bi­par­ti­san Coali­tion signs were re­moved from an area at state Route 33 and Bloom­field Road, where Wat­son said the group had per­mis­sion from the prop­erty owner to dis­play the signs. Th­ese signs, pic­tured on Oct. 27, were moved from their places at the Eas­ton Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment.

Til­gh­man res­i­dent Leslie Steen said she no­ticed signs at Lowe’s Wharf Road across from Sher­wood Vil­lage had been re­moved.

Tal­bot His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety mem­ber Joan Wet­more said all but one of the signs she had placed for the coali­tion had been taken down on Route 33 and Sher­wood Vil­lage. The only sign un­touched was across the road from the other signs,

she said.

Wat­son said he filed a for­mal com­plaint with the Tal­bot County Sher­iff’s Of­fice in ref­er­ence to the sign re­movals.

“Re­mov­ing th­ese things must have taken some pa­tience and at­ten­tion, as the signs had been scat­tered through­out the area,” Wat­son wrote. “I’m dis­ap­pointed that free ex­pres­sion is be­ing de­nied.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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