Campaign Signs Gone, Disappear Days Before Election

Blue and white election signs for School Committee Candidate Brenda Furtado have disappeared off lawns.

Attleboro School Committee candidate for re-election, had to pull her election signs from the lawns of her supporters in Ward 4 just days before the election.

Why? According to Furtado she began pulling signs Friday night after they were disappearing frequently.

"This election year has been very negative, together with the personal attacks and defamation of people's character," Furtado said. "This is uncalled for."

Furtado said she was tipped off to Phase I of her opponent's campaigning strategy, which was to pass out a negative letter signed by Helen Johnson, Ward 2 Candidate Bill Larson and Ward 1 Candidate Shawn Moran.

"This letter was to be distributed out in their wards attacking the three incumbents," Furtado said.

Larson confirmed that it was, in fact, his signature. "The three of us signed a letter coendorsing eachother," Larson said Sunday morning. "We wrote the letter and we sent it to the Sun Chronicle."

Larson said he wants to be part of a committee where not all nine members agree on every vote and decision because if they did it would not serve the purpose of having a committee.

"We all have disagreements and that is good, but we also have to repectfully disagree," he said. Johnson also confirmed her signature on the letter and said she stands by all that was written in the letter.

Furtado, however, said the negative campaigning did not end with the letter.

"I was also tipped off that Phase II of my opponents strategy to steal all of my signs so that I do not have any left on election day," she said. "If this is how they campaign, I can't imagine how they will be advocates and role models for the children in Attleboro."

Larson said he had nothing to do with removing Furtado's or anyone else's signs for that matter. He did, however, say that he straightened others signs while he was fixing his signs after the snow storm. 

"I’ve lost a couple signs," Larson said. "I’m assuming everyone loses signs. These things are going to happen; we are all big boys and girls."

Asked about the others being involved, Larson said: "I don’t know of a Phase 1 or Phase 2. I haven’t heard about an organized effort to remove anyone's signs and and I would be disappointed if I heard they [had plans to] remove them."

Johnson said several of her 50 signs have also disappeared from supporters' lawns. Johnson said she had nothing to do with Furtado's disappearing signs.

Furtado said she will not participate in the negative tactics. "Just like I instill in my boys, you play by the rules, win or lose and do the best that you can and walk away with your head held high," she said. "I have been Ward 4's voice and have not let them down.

"I have fulfilled all my promises, since last time running," she added. "I look forward to the election on November 8 and will be honored to represent Ward 4 again, on the Attleboro School Committee."

Blue Pride November 07, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Coendorsing eachother and bashing the rest. Shame on all of you! Respesctful? none of these authors know what that word means. This letter speaks volumes of their character or lack there of. Sneaky and dishonest, and you want to represent our children? no thank you
DebEgan November 07, 2011 at 12:37 AM
I agree, each of these three are hypocrits. They use negative letter to accuse the others of being aligned, but aligned themselves to do it. Wow! Does anyone know if Enegren, Stors and Furtado have always voted as an alliance? Does anyone know if Johnson and Moran, when he was on the school board, ever voted differently or did they always vote the same? Did they always vote for what the superintendent wanted? We need people who will not rubber stamp for the superintendent. She's not always right, just look what happened at Coelho!
Blue Pride November 07, 2011 at 12:51 AM
I remember Stors and Furtado, don't always vote the same. Furtado recently voted no on the business managers raise. You need people that aren't afraid to say no.
Z Levine November 07, 2011 at 01:12 AM
What a way to create sympathy, take your own signs out of the ground and then use it to blame your opponents. Just because Furtado has suddenly started acting nice as election time approaches does not mean she is innocent. Unless someone actually witnessed an opponent taking signs out of the ground, it would be wrong to accuse people. I may have started this comment by issueing an accusation myself but that was just to show how easy it is for someone to make something up and present it as truth. Please people stick to real evidence and facts.
Blue Pride November 07, 2011 at 01:25 AM
How do YOU know the real facts? you don't. She's not innocent? She's not the one sending out slanderous letters is she? So yes, lets please stick to the facts.
Mark Ambrose November 07, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Welcome to Hooterville
Lisa Holmes November 07, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Create sympathy? Blame your opponents? Mrs. Furtado doesn't accuse anyone in this article. She was tipped off by someone. She was sent information that her signs were going to be stolen and it happened. There is real evidence that a plan for stealing her signs was in place. As for Helen Johnson, I live in Ward 4 and she never had 50 signs. She is lucky if she had 10 signs. I see Helen's signs everyday and none of them are missing. They are still in the same places were they were originally. This coendorsement between Mr. Larson, Mr. Moran and Mrs. Johnson is disgusting. Endorsing each other to smear and defame decent, dedicated, hardworking members of our community is horrible. What an embarrasssment these candidates are to our fine city. How can Mr. Larson state he wants to be a member of committee that not all nine members agree on every vote when he has just formed an alliance with 2 other candidates showing that they will support each others vote. These 3 candidates should be ashamed by their dishonest tactics. I have lost respect for these 3 individuals. As for you Mr. Larson, I expected more from a prominent businessman and representative of our business community. I no longer support your business being in Attleboro and you should take your soiled name and reputation and move your business out of Attleboro. Your failing character and dishonest dealings make you unworthy of being an Attleboro business owner. None of you are worthy to represent our children.
blueskies November 07, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Mrs. Johnson's signs have been disappearing for several weeks. she keep replacing them and sometimes they reappear on their own...no explanation. I do know her sign near my house disappearred Friday about same time as Mrs Furtado and Ms Craw were out collecting theirs...no accusations...just observing
Ronda "Roni" Lodge November 07, 2011 at 12:58 PM
@blueskies: I can't seem to find you on the Attleboro Citizens list??? Who are you??
Ken Tenglin November 07, 2011 at 01:56 PM
@ Lisa Holmes. Where in this article is there "real evidence" of any plan to steal anything? As for you comments about Mr. Larson, i doubt your fit to tie his shoes! Mr. Larson his given a great deal to this community through his volunteer work with the Rotary Club, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, his Church ect.. He is the driving force that organizes a charitable golf tournament that has raised close to a quarter million dollars for the Rotary club and the YMCA here in Attleboro. I have known Bill all my life and I can tell you he is an honest man who would not be involved in such an underhanded scheme. You may want to do your homework before you start spewing your poison about such an honorable man.
Blue Pride November 07, 2011 at 02:19 PM
If all this is true, all these good things you say about him. Why, why, why would he get sucked in to the underhanded scheme of the letter sent all over town??? If he is such a good man, it's a shame he made such a poor decision signing his name to that letter. When I saw him at the debate I had a feeling he may have regretted that decision.
Mark Ambrose November 07, 2011 at 02:35 PM
The whole thing is ridiculous. Who is actually the lesser of two evils tomorrow?...None of the above wins by a landslide.
Ken Tenglin November 07, 2011 at 02:35 PM
@ Blue Pride. All of this stated in my post is true. What is underhanded about sending out a letter of opinion, your doing it now. At least Mr. Larson and I have the integrity to put our real names on what we write.
Blue Pride November 07, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Ken- I do believe all of what you wrote is true about Mr. Larsen. I believe he is a good man. I believe he wants to do the right thing. I believe he got sucked in to this letter. I believe he would never had done this. As far as my "integrity", I did not write anything bad, I cannot put my real name for fear of retribution, I have a family to feed.
LXA November 07, 2011 at 02:48 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Tenglin. As for Ms Holmes, if you are soooo unhappy with all of what goes on in Attleboro's School System, why do you work for them. You mentioned this in another blog. Maybe you should use your real name, instead of an alias, if you yourself have such intergrity. I would not want my child to have you as his teacher. You offer no service to either side of this situation. Lucie Xavier-Andrade
Ken Tenglin November 07, 2011 at 02:56 PM
@Blue pride. Look at your first post. You hide behind this alias and make statements like your first one? I have a family to feed as well. You shouldn't write about others unless you are prepared to accept the consequences of your actions.
Chris D November 07, 2011 at 03:05 PM
I've watched the school committee meetings over the past 2 years and like many others have been annoyed at what at times seemed like petty and childish behavior (by EVERYONE). However I used to watch the meetings 3 and 4 years ago and then was frustrated over what seemed the pointlessness of it all. No one disagreed, everything seemed pre-arranged, and it looked like the Superintendent ran the meeing and the former chairperson just nodded alot (often seeming bored as well). I absolutely support Brenda Furtado and Jim Stohrs for re-election (unfortunately I'm not in their Wards!). With 2 years experience they now are even better able to add real debate, real questions, and genuine concerns of parents and teachers to the school committee. I also happen to be a big fan of Dr. Durkin's. She is a remarkebly intelligent professional who works extremely hard for our children and has clearly gotten results. I believe she is also BETTER at what she does because of the current schoold committe. She has to be better prepared, explore more options, and work with others in a way she and her administration did not have to before. And that makes everyone better. I urge everyone in their respective Wards to vote to re-elect Furtado and Stohrs.
blueskies November 07, 2011 at 03:08 PM
As a matter of fact I am not on the Attleboro Citizen's list...was late returning the census card.
John November 07, 2011 at 04:25 PM
You are living proof that people simply don't listen to what is being said and will believe what they what to believe no matter what you say to them. I think it is pretty clear why Ms. Holmes doesn't use her real name, she has stated that fact, it is pretty obvious. Also, simply because Ms. Holmes doesn't like her boss how do you get to decide that she should leave the Attleboro School System, I'm pretty sure she isn't the first person to not like her boss but does like her job. It is such an ignorant statement for you to say Ms. Holmes offers no service to either side of the situation, you are basing your opinion on what she writes on the Attleboro Patch, not on the work she does in our school system, that is very short sighted on your part. Your character assassination is simply another way for you to silence any critics of the Superintendent.
Rick DiGiacomo November 07, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Lisa, can you please point out something that is dishonest in either Mr. Larson's letter or his campaign in general? While you may not like or agree with the contents of the letter, it was sent to the Sun Chronicle and it was signed by all members - there was nothing underhanded about it. There's nothing I saw in the letter that was dishonest or untrue, all one has to do is watch a few School Committee meetings and follow the Sun Chronicle over the past year to know that what they wrote isn't far off the mark. There HAS been a lack of decorum and professionalism by certain members, just watch the tapes of the meetings. There was an ill fated attempt to oust the Chairman. It certainly must have hit a nerve for you to go on a rant about the Larson business being in Attleboro and Mr. Larson's integrity. Ken Tenglin's remarks about Bill's service to the community and the regard in which he and his business are held are spot on.
Rick DiGiacomo November 07, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Blue Pride, while I agree that perhaps Bill might be having regrets about the letter because of the way it has been portrayed, it wasn't an underhanded scheme. It was signed by those involved, it was sent to the Sun Chronicle and whether one agrees with the content or not I didn't see anything that wasn't true, underhanded or slanderous. In fact, it pretty much mirrors what has been reported in the Sun Chronicle over the past two years and what one can see in the televised Committee meetings.
Rick DiGiacomo November 07, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Blue Pride, is there something specific in the letter that you object to? Could you please elaborate? How is a letter signed by those involved and sent to the Sun Chronicle sneaky? What exactly is dishonest about it?
Rick DiGiacomo November 07, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Lisa, Mrs. Furtado absolutely does accuse Larson and the others in this article. Just because she claims she was tipped off by someone she won't name and who cannot be verified doesn't change that fact. You claim "There is real evidence that a plan for stealing her signs was in place..." Really? Please provde that "real evidence" if you can. If you can't, kindly stop spreading lies and innuendo. Here's a link to a copy of the letter http://attleboro.patch.com/articles/campaign-signs-pulled-off-lawns-days-before-election?upload_started=1320692511#pdf-8370994. Is there anything specific that you object to? Evrything in that letter was either reported in the Sun Chronicle or was plain to see during the broadcasts of the Committee meetings. The letter was signed and it was sent to the Sun Chronicle. Not much of a sneaky Phase 1, was it?
Dottie November 07, 2011 at 10:14 PM
I feel, as is my right as a parent and a taxpayer, that negative campaigning of any kind is wrong. This includes all letters received at my house or others, whether against school committee incumbents, the mayor, or a city counselor. For me, the presence of a signature does not make it any better, and all of these have promptly found the recycling bin. I will make my voting choices based on a candidate's platform, positive qualities and what he or she will bring to the table as MY voice. I urge everyone else to do the same. I realize that everyone is fighting hard here to defend "their candidate", but each of you are entitled to your own opinions and beliefs. There is no need to attack anyone - but hey, if someone really needs to have the last word, go ahead, have at me.... @Chris D - although I am not as big a fan of the superintendent as you, I think your entire comment is fantastic! And, as I am in Ward 4, Brenda has my vote 100%. For all the races, may the best candidates win!
Rick DiGiacomo November 07, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Dottie, I agree with much of what you wrote actually. Certainly one must factor all these things into their decision and I usually toss the stuff right in the trash too. While I probably wouldn't have sent a letter myself, I do think there is big a difference between the anonymous letters in the Mayoral race and the one we're discussing here. I have seen it called slanderous, underhanded and sneaky but I haven't seen anyone refute a single item in it. I don't know how something that was signed and sent to the editor of the newspaper can be called sneaky or underhanded. From a political standpoint one could call it misguided, another might call it excercising their First Amendment rights. Certainly the people involved felt strongly enough about it to send it. To say the Committee has been dysfunctional would be charitable and to deny that the actions of those mentioned contributed greatly to that dysfunction would fly in the face of reality. I find it absurd that the Furtado supporters condemn the letter writing while at the same time their candidate is openly accusing her opponents of stealing signs and having a multi-phase campaign against her. Saying she was tipped off by someone else doesn't let her off the hook unless she's willing to provide some evidence. Her anonymous supporters then go on to say they have "real evidence" of the phases of the plan but refuse to show it? And they're complaining about a letter that was signed and sent to the newspaper? Really?
LXA November 08, 2011 at 01:14 AM
Dear John, I have every right to say what I want. If Ms Holmes is going to say that Mr. Larson should take "his soiled name and business out of Attleboro" I can sure as hell tell her to seek employment else where! By saying this does not mean that I want to silence any critics of the superintendent. You have no idea what my views of the superindent are! You claim I have misinterpreted what was written, but so have you.
michelle walton November 08, 2011 at 01:21 AM
@Chris D Here, here! Well written, great points. I agree with you about Furtado and Stohrs, and Durkin. She no longer sits up front and runs the meetings (although sometimes Ray makes me wish she would). Two years ago everyone wanted the SC out because they just smiled and nodded. Now everyone wants them out because they disagree too much with Durkin. However, I would add Hill to the list to make it a top 3 for re-election.
Chris D November 08, 2011 at 02:34 AM
@michelle walton LOL - thanks for reminding me about Bob Hill - I am actually in Ward 3 and he is definitely getting my vote. He's a refreshing and thoughtful member of the committee, and apparently doesn't have any signs (we asked!). Not a "Politician" just an educator who cares about the schools, the kids and the community. Yes Bob Hill for Ward 3!!
Rick DiGiacomo November 08, 2011 at 12:39 PM
It's election day & still not one piece of the "real evidence" claimed has been presented in the alleged phase 2 of the sign stealing campaign. I guess we're left to believe Ms. Furtado's claims simply because because she told us she was tipped off by someone anonymously? I guess they got phase 1 right... Good detective work! Must have been very difficult to confirm that an open letter was sent to the newspaper.


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