Accusations of sign sabotage are tearing New York City apart! On Tuesday, the Kings County Republican Committee posted a video on Twitter of Assemblyman Peter Abbate removing Lee Zeldin campaign signs from utility poles in Bensonhurst. (Posting signs on public property is illegal.) In the video, the person filming confronts Abbate, who is holding a big stack of signs, asking, “What if these were different signs … Where were you when all the COVID signs for the vaccine were out?” Then they argue about the morality of sign removal and whether or not signs illegally posted on utility poles cause other crimes. In response to the constituent’s accusations of selective sign removal, Abbate says he is content agnostic when removing signs: “Every sign! I’ve always done it!”
Elsewhere in the borough, Councilwoman Inna Vernikov tweeted that her office had been “flooded with complaints” of sanitation workers taking down Zeldin signs in her Brighton Beach district, including lawn signs on private property. “There will be consequences for workers who don’t follow rules,” she writes in a follow-up tweet, before warning that politically motivated sign removal means “back to USSR.”
Zeldin also weighed in, strongly coming out against removing signs: “Don’t be going around taking off signs,” he said this week at a campaign stop. The New York Post reported that Jay Jacobs, chair of the New York State Democratic Committee, said he did not condone the sign stealing, either. He also invoked Eastern Europe, calling it behavior more suited to “the suburbs of Moscow.” But in a twist, he then claimed that Nassau County sanitation workers were taking down Hochul signs on Long Island.
The Department of Sanitation attempted to settle the matter, telling CBS2, “Posting political or business signs of any kind — for any candidate or any business — on public property is illegal in New York City, and it is the job of the Department of Sanitation to keep the city clean in accordance with the law.” They should put up a sign saying that.