Signs supporting Vail incorporation destroyed, weeks away from special election

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:39 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - With Election Day just weeks away, residents of Vail are focusing on whether or not they will incorporate, making Vail its town. But the process leading up to it has been rocky.

Today, both sides of the movement expressed concern over their signs being defaced and vandalized. The discussed concerns were whether or not the signs follow the law.

Political signs aren’t allowed up to 71 days until an election, and that began on August 29. Still, supporters of the Incorporate Vail movement say it started before and only increased since then.

“We’ve had eight of our large signs that have literally been run over, cut, slashed in half, removed,” said MaRico Tippett, a supporter of incorporating Vail.

“We are literally having to have a sign crew that goes around and makes sure the signs we put up are still there.”

Another concern for supporters is the signs the opposition is putting up, saying there is no organized group opposing the incorporation efforts and the signs should not be allowed.

“Inform Vail Arizona, is what they’re called, have chosen to remain anonymous, so we don’t really know who they are,” Tippett said.

Opponents of incorporating, however, say their signs are allowed because they are being put up by individuals as opposed to an organized group like a Political Action Committee.

“Rules around a campaign allow an individual to purchase signage or supporting items, shirts for example, as long as they’re purchasing it out of their own pocket and they’re not pulling resources,” said Jennifer Maddux, an opponent of incorporation.

“I believe the cap is around 500 dollars per individual. So as long as you’re staying in there, [you] can put up a sign that says, ‘I don’t support Incorporating’ quite legally.”

The opposition’s concern is that the signs put up by supporters are not fully up to code.

According to the Arizona Revised Statutes, an advertisement like a sign or billboard must disclose who the sign was paid by and be at least 10 percent of the sign’s vertical height.

Signs supporting incorporation have that disclosure, but it is much smaller than required.

“It speaks to the motivation of the funding coming in for incorporation,” Maddux said. “When we talk about any political campaign, whether it to incorporate vail or any other statute trying to get passed, it’s important to who’s backing it and why they might be backing it.”

Both Tippett and Maddux said they are open to meeting to discuss their concerns and hopefully end the vandalism.

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