LIVERMORE, Calif. - A controversial ballot measure for a boutique hotel in downtown Livermore is getting ugly. Hundreds of campaign signs for Measure P are getting stolen or slashed in half.
“You can drive on almost any street in Livermore right now and you will see pieces of our signs lying on the side of the road,” said Evan Branning with the Yes on Measure P Campaign.
Branning said he has seen dozens of campaign signs he put up over the weekend for Measure P vanished and some cut in half. He estimates 200-300 signs have been stolen, destroyed or slashed in the past four days.
“I don't know who did it,” said Branning. “I know it wasn’t some random person because the scale of this is so large and it’s been specifically targeting our signs.”
The culprit hit signs all over town. Branning suspects it was premeditated and targeted. He believes whoever did it used a box cutter or scissors to cut the two-sided sturdy signs.
Branning supports the city’s proposal to build a 130-room boutique hotel on South Livermore Avenue, as part of the downtown’s revitalization plan. However, not everyone agrees with the city’s plan.
“Unfortunately some of the people on the opposition side have really fired up their base and people are hearing that and are going out and vandalizing our signs,” said Branning.
“Our campaign would never suggest people should go out and destroy other people's political signs,” said Tamara Reus of No on Measure P Campaign.
Reus said their campaign signs have also been stolen. Reus helped gather thousands of signatures to put a referendum on the March ballot to reject the city's agreement with the hotel developer.
“First of all, we think it’s the wrong location, it's cramped up the side of the theater,” said Reus. “It's not an attractive place to put a hotel.”
Reus supports a multi-use facility at this location to include parking and a restaurant and would rather see a hotel on L Street.
“It’s pitted neighbor against neighbor,” said Mayor John Marchand. “There’s so much misinformation and lies.”
Marchand said the measure has divided the community and has become so contentious, he’s never seen anything like it.
“It’s a Machiavellian attitude,” said Marchand. “Whatever it takes to win, they will do whatever it takes to win.”
The measure needs 50 percent of the vote plus one additional vote to pass. Livermore Police said anyone caught damaging signs could be charged with misdemeanor vandalism.