Stolen campaign signs spark anger in Danville liquor vote

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Tuesday a key vote will be held for the city of Danville, but the campaigns on each side of the issue face a strange problem -- their signs are being stolen.

Right now, the city has restaurant sales only, but Tuesday's vote will decide whether retailers can sell alcohol in package stores in the county seat.

Signs have been disappearing over the weekend. Now with the election just one day away, some say the campaign has gotten ugly.

For months the debate on whether to expand liquor sales within city limits has sparked strong emotions, but opponents of the change like Jim Talley say in recent days the tone of the campaign has gotten out of control. Talley says he filed a police report after signs and banners supporting a "No" vote went missing. "It's just really upsetting that somebody would go into somebody's yard on private property. That's their right to have a sign," Talley said.

The thefts haven't been limited to one side. Clarence Wyatt is a member of the group advocating for expanded sales, and he says he had a "Yes" sign in his yard that disappeared sometime over the weekend. Despite that, Wyatt says he's pleased with the overall tone of the debate. "Sadly pranks like this occur in all campaigns, and in fact I think that this has been a remarkably civil campaign, a good, thoughtful discussion of the issues at hand by both sides."

One thing on which both men can agree is their hope that ill feelings will be settled at the ballot box. "I'll be glad to see tomorrow to get some closure on this issue to allow the citizens of Danville to voice their opinion whether they want this or not, so tomorrow will be a day that needs to come quickly," Talley said.

Wyatt says the 2002 vote to change the city's status from dry to moist should be the model for this election. "The people spoke their minds on that issue, sharp opinions on both sides, but when it was over, Danville went moist, everybody joined hands, and worked again for Danville's future," Wyatt said.