It was during this year’s Labor Day weekend when Kelly Yip-Chuan first took to the streets, to put up signs and banners around the neighborhood for her MUSD School Board re-election campaign.
She took her daughters out with her, along with a couple of volunteers.
“I was trying to teach my kids what campaigning is all about,” Yip-Chuan told The Beat.
One of the spots where Yip-Chuan and her team placed a banner was on a fence off of Piedmont and Landess. She had placed her banner there alongside those of other candidates.
But within two hours, Yip-Chuan’s banner – as well as everyone else’s – had vanished, leaving the whole fence bare. To this day, nobody knows who took them.
“My neighbor’s uncle owns that piece of land there, and I had permission to put my banner up,” Yip-Chuan explained.
As it would turn out, this was to be the first of Yip-Chuan’s banners that would be stolen.
Since that Labor Day weekend, she has had about a dozen of her signs altogether, along with three other banners, vanish without a trace.
Yip-Chuan, who has served on Milpitas Unified School District’s Board of Education for nearly four years, is currently Board President. This is her second-ever campaign, and to her, it feels completely different from the first. When she ran back in 2018, she never had a problem with her signs being taken.
“If a sign is stolen or damaged, that could constitute a criminal violation, and there could be repercussions to that,” said Captain Frank Morales in an interview with The Beat.
Stealing a campaign sign is considered petty theft, which is a misdemeanor, and carries with it a potential jail sentence of 6 months, and/or a fine.
Recently, Yip-Chuan placed one of her large banners on a friend’s fence in the Pines neighborhood. It lasted there for about a week, till it was stolen in the middle of the night.
“These banners cost a lot of money,” Yip-Chuan shared. “I can’t afford to just lose them.”
Each banner cost $30. Yip-Chuan’s campaign purchased 12 banners at first, but after a couple were stolen, they decided to purchase 5 more.
Another MUSD School Board Candidate who does not wish to be named said they’ve also had some of their signs go missing: “I’ve noticed that a few here and there have been taken,” the candidate said.
As for Yip-Chuan, she feels as if she’s being singled out…
“I’m pretty sure I’m being targeted just because, in many places, my signs and banners are the only ones gone, while everyone else’s are still there,” she said. She is currently seeking to obtain surveillance video from the areas where her signs were stolen.
“Just know that if you see anybody removing signs or banners at the peak of campaigning, that’s a huge red flag. They’re playing dirty,” Yip-Chuan told The Beat.