After three of his four challengers for the Burlingame City Council election were involved in sign-stealing allegations last week, Russ Cohen has developed a new anti-sign theft strategy: mobile lawn signs.
Cohen’s friend and campaign supporter, Gary Doss, will begin walking around the city wearing four of Cohen’s lawn signs like a sandwich board today.
“People keep stealing signs, and you certainly can’t steal a sign if it’s on you,” said Cohen, an incumbent vying with four opponents for two spots on Nov. 6.
Doss, who stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and owns a Pez museum, has been walking three miles every day at 7 a.m. down major streets such as California Drive and Broadway for the last year.
When he heads out for his morning walk today, he will be wearing two “Cohen for Council” signs stacked vertically over his chest and another two over his back with straps over his shoulders.
“When I first had them on, people were giving me an awful lot of thumbs up,” said Doss, 53, who put the outfit together with duct tape and glue. “I’m looking forward to people honking and waving.”
The promotion comes on the heels of sign-stealing scandals involving opponents Gene Condon, Jerry Deal and Peter Comaroto. Police refer to the battle as “Sign Wars.”
Radio traffic reporter Joe McConnell was caught red-handed stealing one of Condon’s campaign signs last week. McConnell is married to Geraldine O’Connor, who is the co-chair of Deal’s election committee. Condon maintains 30 of his $5 signs were stolen from the area.
Comaroto also filed a report with Burlingame police last week, alleging that 40 of his 300 signs, at $7 apiece, were stolen.
Cohen said his signs have been swiped just like everyone else’s. Instead of filing police reports like some of his opponents, he is keeping his sense of humor through it.
“It kind of gets the word out and we’re having a little fun with it at the same time,” said Cohen, who, fittingly enough, is in the advertising business.
Cohen, who said he cannot spend “$30,000 to $40,000” on his campaign “like other candidates,” sees the promotion as an old-school grass-roots move.
“It doesn’t get any more grassroots than a guy walking around with your lawn sign around his neck,” Cohen said.