Letter to Gazette: “Stealing political signs violates sense of community”

W. Sydney Stern has kindly given us permission to reprint her letter that was published in the 9/25/09 Gazette:

To the editor:

Angela Plassmann is running for Ward 3 City Councilor as a challenger to the incumbent. Last night three of her signs on a major thoroughfare (Bridge Street/Route 9) were targeted for removal from peoples’ lawns. The signs were quietly plucked out of the ground leaving signs of other candidates neatly in place. I live on Bridge Street and was the neighbor who contacted several of these residences to ask if they would support her candidacy with lawn signs.

As many of us know this year’s city elections are contested, passionate, exciting, scary. Change, or at least the possibility of change, is in the air. It takes great amounts of dedication, time, and effort, as well as financial resources (personal and solicited) to foster the opportunity for change. It also creates passionate feelings positive and negative.

Stealing election signs not only robs us of our property, it erodes our sense of hope and right to open public dialogue. Northampton is a wonderful community. We as a city and a nation are built on the right to speak out about our differences and advocate for change. I write this letter in hope that the person(s) who removed these signs can come to recognize and understand that they did not just steal three signs. Those will be replaced. What they did was break faith with their neighbors, their community and our democracy.

W. Sydney Stern