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Sign-snatchers, city being
Daily News Tribune
Wednesday, April 26, 2000
School committee candidate and husband stole opponent's signs
By DeAnna Putnam
TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
NEWTON - School Committee member Brenda Heyman has
not heard the last of her sign-snatching escapade during the Ward 5 committee
election last fall.
"I'm quite disheartened," Heyman said
yesterday. "I had hoped it was over, but clearly it's not."
Former committee candidate Brenda Loew is not
about to forget her campaign signs were yanked from various places around the
city during that election. After failing to convince a judge last month to
charge Heyman and her husband, Kenneth, with larceny, she now is suing both
Heyman and the city.
The incident that set off the sign war happened
the day before Halloween last year.
Newton Corner resident Lisa Rubin later testified
before a judge that on that day, she saw the Heymans snatch a campaign sign
belonging to Brenda Loew.
The sign had been planted in front of the Day
School Middle School. Rubin said after grabbing the sign, she followed the
Heymans to the Newton Police Station on Washington St., honking and yelling all
Susan Heyman and Rubin started arguing before
police came out of the station to see what was "ding on, Newton Police
Officer Kenneth Marino said. Police ended up finding a dozen of Loew's signs in
the Heymans' car, but no arrests were made.
Susan Heyman ended up winning the School Committee
Loew filed a citizen's complaint requesting
criminal charges be brought against the Heymans. A judge ruled in November
sufficient evidence did not exist to charge the couple with larceny.
Loew appealed the decision and was denied again in
In the Heyman's favor was the fact the city has an
ordinance prohibiting the staking of political signs on public property, which
Day School Middle School happens to be.
The Tribune asked Loew if she knew about the city
ordinance prior to putting up campaign signs; Loew would not answer the question
directly yes or no.
"We were just having fun on a very nice day
in the fall," Loew said. "We were waving, horns were honking as cars
drove by. We were haying fun. That's it.".
Loew said she believes anyone should be able to
put up campaign signs on any public property they want.
"The First Amendment was created essentially
to protect political speech in open spaces," Loew said.
The lawsuit claims Loew's state civil rights and
exercise of the First Amendment were violated, among other things.
Loew has not retained a lawyer because she has
decided to represent herself in court She said the case could take until 2003 to
come to a close and cost her thousands of dollars.
Loew has been approached by others who are willing
to share the cost and who want to set up a legal defense fund in her name, she
Unlike Loew, Heyman does have a lawyer. Heyman
said the suit names her both as an individual and as a School Committee member.
However, "I was not acting in any official
capacity," Heyman said about the incident on Oct. 30. "
Ouida Young, associate city solicitor for Newton,
said the city just received notice it was being sued.
"It talks about a portion of the sign
ordinance, but I haven't looked at it to see which particular part of the
ordinance (the lawsuit challenges)," Young said.
Although Loew's initial complaint against Heyden
did not receive a favorable ruling by ajudge, she is pursumg the issue
"because it was squashed at (the first) level. "
"Neither I nor the public knows what exactly
took place. It never got a public airing," Loew said.
Reporter DeAnna Putnam maybe reached at 781-398-8005 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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