On Monday evening, mayoral candidate Michael Yakubov, who was arrested two nights prior on Saturday evening for allegedly stealing a campaign sign of opponent Carl Hokanson, released a statement asking Mr. Hokanson to join him in removing all campaign signs between now and election day, which is less than a week away.
The statement from Mr. Yakubov read:
This evening, I read with much interest the many concerns and suggestions from residents regarding the placement of campaign lawn signs. The overwhelming majority of the people responding recommended the removal of all political parties lawn signs. I agree. That is why I am proposing that my opponent Carl Hokanson join me to remove all of our campaign signs at a mutually agreed upon time. I look forward to contacting Councilman Hokanson directly to request this suggestion.
In response, mayoral candidate Carl Hokanson released the following response:
Early this morning I was contacted by my opponent, Councilman Michael Yakubov. In response to the recent “sign debacle”, Councilman Yakobov’s proposal is that all campaign signs be removed throughout the Borough.
With one week left until Election Day, I leave the choice up to the residents of Roselle Park. If a resident chooses to remove a campaign sign in response to said “sign debacle,” I respect their right to do so. Conversely, I respect the resident’s right to keep a campaign sign up in support of their candidate.
I have just spoken with Councilman Yakubov and have suggested the focus be on real reform with respect to campaign signs. Working with our respective Roselle Park Democratic Committee and Roselle Park Republican Committee to review the use of political signs in future elections.
Further, I would hope that as residents of the community we can pull together to move beyond the issue of campaign signs. Focusing on the real issues and challenges at hand facing Roselle Park.
Residents responded, both defending and denouncing the actions of both candidates.
“This is little more than a last-minute campaign stunt,” stated Loren Reinoso regarding Mr. Yakubov’s public offer, “If you are serious about actual cooperation with Hokanson, you can contact him privately without the public announcement. What you are doing, instead, is pressuring Hokanson to cave to a very bad decision (that residents no longer display campaign signs endorsing specific candidates), trying to publicly pressure citizens to not exercise their rights.”
Jeff Ceterko presented a different view, saying, “One side has to be first to make the offer… and the other has to be given the chance to agree or not. Mike took the first step here….. all the signs could be down as of tonight if Carl agreed. If you see signs tonight….. that’s Carl’s call. I’d personally like to see them all come down. Been nothing but trouble.”
When reached for clarification of whether he will be removing his campaign signs, regardless of whether Mr. Hokanson agrees, Mike For Mayor spokeswoman Diane Kurz responded, “N, the signs will stay status quo if an agreement is not made. The issue is working together to address ‘the overwhelming majority of the people responding recommending the removal of all political parties’ lawn signs.'”