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Election sign theft allegations cause mayoral election controversy

Posted at 11:39 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 02:39:01-04

The race to be the next Bakersfield mayor is getting controversial with accusations of election sign theft.

Kyle Carter believes the allegations are true and that his opponent Karen Goh has been removing signs all over the city, replacing them with her own.

“It just seems so childish to me,” Mayoral candidate Kyle Carter said.

Carter said his campaign signs are going missing, replaced by signs for Karen Goh.

“Our signs are being taken down and discarded,” Carter said. “They're torn up.”

23ABC received the tip from a political insider about the alleged illegal activity.

Carter said the sign theft has been happening since the primaries, with his opponents signs replacing his and completely covering Carter’s sign.

“We'll find our sign being taken down and then my opponent’s sign is found right back in the same place,” he said.

Carter said the controversy boiled over last Thursday when a staff member for Carter and Goh got into an argument about where each candidate had the right to put up new signs.

“I get a call about 15 minutes later and he said that he was about six inches from my face, calling me out,” he said.

Carter's employee said Tuesday he's had to replace 13 missing or destroyed signs.

“I just think that it's ridiculous. This is over campaign signs for goodness sakes,” he said.

23ABC reached out to Karen Goh for comment but she was unavailable for an interview.

Goh provided the following statement:

“My direction to all who are working on the campaign is to be honest and operate with integrity. Regarding our signs, we always ask permission before posting, we do not post on public property, and we never touch the other candidates’ signs.  I’m confident that we have strictly followed these rules.”

Goh’s staff member Branden Slichter said the following:

"We are strictly honest and ethical in our campaign practices. None of the accusations made by the Carter campaign are true. In the one instance, there was a misunderstanding over who had permission from the property owner. We immediately called the owner and settled it amicably, on the spot."

Carter said he just wants them to stop touching his signs. “I just think that the mayor’s job is bigger than that and I would hope that this would stop,” he said.

Carter’s sign manager told Carter this evening that another four signs were gone on the intersection of Columbus and Alta Sierra. They plan on replacing them tomorrow.