County officials receive complaints about political lawn signs

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 12:00pm

    Each election year, the Lincoln County Courthouse lawn is littered with an array of political signs advocating for a candidate or ballot initiative. This year, two bright pink signs emblazoned in white lettering stating “Stop Child Trafficking, Vote Republican” appeared. County Administrator Carrie Kipfer reported during the Oct. 20 county commissioners meeting she has received close to 20 complaints about all the political signs. Kipfer also received a couple specifically about the bright pink signs. 

    Kipfer told one caller the signs met Department of Transportation guidelines. “I know this is upsetting people,” Kipfer told commissioners. “I don’t like any of the signs and don’t think they should be on the courthouse lawn, but there is nothing that can be done. I told her the only thing she could do was talk to her state legislator to change the law.”

    But the pink signs didn’t remain on the courthouse lawn for long following Kipfer’s call with the unnamed citizen. Kipfer reported on the following day the controversial signs were gone. “I don’t know who took them,” she said.

    Political signs are required by state law to include the owner’s name and  contact information. The bright pink signs list Richard McClellan of Westport Island as the owner. On Oct. 21, McLellan, a 71-year-old retired fisherman, drove by the courthouse and noticed his signs missing. On Oct. 22, McLellan told the Boothbay Register he bought 50 signs, and 46 were now missing. McLellan is a former Democrat who grew up in Boothbay Harbor. He became a “soft Republican” nine years ago. His motivation to campaign against child trafficking was spurred by time spent at the Mexican border. “This really opened my eyes,” he said. “My girlfriend is from Mexico. So I’ve seen what a problem child trafficking is along the border.” 

    A conversation with his girlfriend also inspired McLellan to speak out against child trafficking. “She told me she hoped they continued building the wall so these children don’t get taken. And I thought that is a genius thing,” he said.

    McLellan became a “strong” Republican four years ago. He  expected “blow back” from the signs and received several complaints. “This is a concern. It hits home, and makes me sick,” he said. “As far as protecting the people, I’m all in. If anything jeopardizes that then I’m going to make an issue out of it.”

    Editor’s note: Alleged child trafficking by Democrats is a Qanon conspiracy theory which started in 2016 after it was theorized that Hillary Clinton and others were involved in a child sex trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant. The alleged incident was proven false but Qanon, a movement which began in internet chat rooms, according to journalism.com, continues to stand by its claim.