I guess I’m a born journalist, I have a photographic memory for facts that just don’t go away. This ability along with my alternative form of transportation put me smack in the middle of a local political scandal.
On Sundays, I ride my bicycle to church down my shady oak lined street on to a major cross street. Starting in January, I noticed a huge sign for a political candidate for the March 10 election. Bicyclists and dog walkers notice things that drivers don’t notice.
My specialty is new technology, business and transportation, not politics.
I knew that the sign was illegal due to articles I read and information I learned serving on the local board. Election signs have to be a small size when they are displayed on a residential lawn.
I waited a few weeks to see if anyone reported the sign to the authorities, code enforcement. I waited until President’s Day when code enforcement was closed, leaving me to post the problem through an online complaint form.
I didn’t have the address and had to look up it up with online maps.
During the election, the Cheshire Cat received the most votes and is in a runoff election with the former fire chief.
This Sunday, the sign was still up and I tried to find the phone number of the fire chief. Google search did not show a phone number, I finally found an email address through the League of Women Voters.
Twenty minutes after I sent the email to the fire chief, he knocked on my door. We had a brief discussion and he asked if he could forward my email to the local press.
Here’s where my photographic memory kicked in after I received the a copy of the fire chief’s response to me which he also sent to two local newspapers.
I hadn’t voted in-person in years, I voted by mail. As I looked at the address of the sign, I remembered that the church next store is where I used to vote!
I checked the online voting polling place and found that it for the March 10, election, it was the church next store to the sign. When voted in person, I remembered seeing signs “No electioneering within 100 feet of polling place.”
I then emailed the candidate and the media:
“That sign may be less than 100 feet from the polling place per election laws. That lot looks to me about 75 feet wide.”
“…no items that could reasonably be connected to a candidate or a ballot measure are allowed within 100 feet of the polling site,”says a memo from the Secretary of State.
I didn’t believe that any candidate would put up a sign next to a polling place.
A reporter asked me via email today if the sign was up on Election Day. I replied that the workers at the coffee-house and supermarket across the street could confirm if the sign was there on election day.
I know the deadline for the reporter’s publication is Tuesday.
The reporter never spoke to me on the phone. Most the story being written now is based on my online report and my emails.
I guess, I can’t resist sniffing out a great story. The next Election Day is April 21 for the run off election.
I am not revealing the names of the candidates to not interfere with the coverage as it will appear in Google or other search engines.
As of this writing, the Cheshire Cat was still smiling at me as I drove by on my way home.
Update March 27, 2015– The reporter from The Pasadena Weekly phoned me on Monday. Although he didn’t quote me exactly his quote was better than I what I said. The article appears here. You can figure out the name of the candidates.