April 30, 2014

Campaign signs defaced with Nazi symbols in Arlington

Vandals spray-painted offensive symbols on campaign signs for two Asian-American candidates in separate races. Neither candidate filed a police report, but police are “reviewing” the situation, a spokeswoman said.

Campaign signs for two Asian-American candidates in separate Tarrant County races were vandalized recently in Arlington with swastikas and another Nazi symbol.

The vandal apparently targeted a handful of signs belonging to Gerald Kern, who is seeking the Arlington City Council District 7 at-large seat in the May 10 election, and Alex Kim, who is in the Republican primary runoff on May 27 for County Criminal Court No. 3.

Arlington code compliance officials removed the signs, which were defaced with swastikas and SS lightning bolts in black spray paint, from at least four areas of town on Wednesday.

Both candidates said they planned to replace the signs, which cost about $30 each. Neither said they would file a police report, although Arlington police were contacted about the situation by code compliance officers.

“We’ve been notified and are reviewing to see whether any criminal act has occurred,” said Tiara Ellis Richard, a police spokeswoman.

Kern said he said does not blame his opponent or his opponent’s supporters. Kern is challenging District 7 incumbent Jimmy Bennett, who is seeking his fourth term as an at-large council representative.

“That is another reason why a strong economy is so critical,” Kern said. “Racism has a stronger base where quality jobs are scarce and education levels of the masses are below par.”

Three sets of signs were vandalized along Collins Street between East Randol Mill Road to the north and Interstate 20 to the south, code compliance officers said. Another set of signs was spray painted on South Cooper Street near California Lane.

Kim, who has more than 500 campaign signs posted throughout Tarrant County, called the vandalism of his Arlington signs “pretty over the top.” Kim, an attorney, is facing Bob McCoy, a sitting judge on the Texas 2nd Court of Appeals, in the runoff.

On Wednesday, the Star-Telegram had not received reports that other campaign signs were defaced.

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