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2 Candidates unhappy with campaign-sign treatment

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Two candidates running for public office say they are unhappy with the way the City of Stockbridge has allegedlytreated their campaign signs.

Mark Alarcon, who is seeking a city council seat, and Lee Stuart, who is challenging incumbent Mayor R.G. Kelley, both said city officials have deliberately obscured their signs.

Both signs are posted behind City Hall, located at 4640 North Henry Boulevard, next to Stockbridge Florist and Gifts. Alarcon said he put his sign up on Oct. 17, the day before City Hall held an open house. He said he passed by the sign later, and personally witnessed city employees stacking 25 bales of hay around his sign.

"I had my sign up in a particular corner, very visible," said Alarcon. "About two hours later, I went by [again], and they had acquired another 15 bales of hay. I knew that was intentional."

Stuart said he put his sign up next to Alarcon's on Oct. 27, despite the hay stacked high around the perimeter, because he and Alarcon are campaigning together. "We're running as a coalition," said Stuart.

He said he previously placed a sign near a hotel on Country Club Drive, but it was removed because it was in the right of way and was too large. In order to obey the city's sign ordinances, he said he reposted the sign, but placed it six feet away.

Stuart said he was not worried that the poor visibility of his sign next to City Hall, surrounded by bales of hay, would hurt his campaign. "It's hurting them [the incumbents] more than it's hurting us," said Stuart.

City Manager Ted Strickland declined to comment, and Mayor R.G. Kelley could not be reached for comment.