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A Department of Public Works employee was spotted taking down campaign signs for Ward 4 candidate Janeese Lewis George, apparently under a supervisor’s direction.
George’s campaign manager, Michelle Whittaker, tweeted a photo of the purple signs peeking out of the bed of a white truck, and George said in a tweet that the campaign has received multiple calls and pictures alerting them to the sign removal.
“When approached by a resident, the employee replied ‘I was instructed by my supervisor at DPW to take them down,’” George tweeted. She said during the Sierra Club candidate endorsement forum last night that DPW told her campaign that the employee was recently hired and was following a work order to remove the signs.
George said the signs were removed on New Hampshire Avenue NW, Missouri Avenue NW, Military Road NW, South Dakota Avenue NE, and near her campaign headquarters on Georgia Avenue NW.
“After further investigation, it turns out someone submitted a service request for an illegal poster, which do fall under us,” DPW wrote in an email to George’s campaign.
But a DPW spokesperson tells LL the email to the campaign is wrong. There was no service request, the spokesperson says, and the signs were removed by mistake. Only George’s signs were taken down, the spokesperson confirms.
“Right now it seems like they’re trying to figure out what their PR statement is,” George says. “But we’re looking for answers.” She wouldn’t go so far as calling the removal politically motivated.
In a text message responding to LL’s question asking whether his campaign submitted a request to remove the signs, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd writes: “absolutely not.”
Alex Dodds, who is in charge of communications for George’s campaign, says the campaign got the OK from D.C. Department of Transportation and the Board of Elections before sticking signs on traffic poles.
Campaign signs are allowed in public places for six months before an election and, generally, up to 30 days after an election. Primary winners are allowed to keep their signs up until after the general election.
Abigail Seiler, a Ward 4 resident who supports George, is one of the people who alerted the campaign to the sign removal.
She tells LL that she was driving on Missouri Avenue NW before 9 a.m. Wednesday and saw who she believed to be a D.C. government worker hop out of a white truck and start taking down signs from traffic poles.
“There were a lot of signs in that area,” she says. “And when I drove home from work [later that day] they were all gone.”