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Sign Wars: Cooke’s Non-Political Signs Drum Up Political Attention

The RTC respects Cooke’s right to post signs but does not mention the signs among their campaign efforts.

Another freedom of speech action from citizen Wayne Cooke has struck a cord with the First Selectman Anthony “Unk” DaRos’ administration. Last week, red and white lawn placards started popping up around town reading: DaRos Dishonest – C.T. Supreme Court.

These signs – 200 were made – can be found on Cooke’s property near the former Hilltop Orchards, throughout town and one is even located across from the Branford High School exit.

Are the signs offensive? To DaRos, sure.

Are they political in nature? Cooke and the Republication Town Committee say, “no.”

In a press release this afternoon, RTC Chair Ray Ingraham wrote:

The Branford Republican party wants to respect the rights of a citizen to exercise their right to free speech. The signs purchased and displayed by Wayne Cooke were not done with any campaign effort. In his call to me as RTC Chair and to the DTC chair, he made it clear the signs were not political. The persons displaying them on their property are also exercising their right to speech. The Branford Republicans simply respects the rights of others, leave any sign removal to the town and state if they violate any statutes.

If not poltical, what are the signs? Cooke said, "A continuation of my efforts for the last three years.”

Since entering into a with the town in 2008, Cooke has been adamant that DaRos is waging war on his family. Before the small lawn signs popped up around town last week, against DaRos and even went so far as to create a clad in messages against the administration, which he parks in front of nearly everyday.

When asked why he put the signs up now, during campaign season but doesn’t consider them political signs, Cooke said he had the idea for a while and it just now came to fruition.

This morning, before a debate at the high school, the first selectman candidates talked candidly about the signs. First selectman challenger Joy McConnell-R said to DaRos that Cooke’s signs were not her campaign signs. DaRos said he knew but questions why the same colors were used on Cooke's signs and her campaign signs. The two had an amicable discussion, McConnell noting her discomfort with the signs and DaRos noting the frustrations and he and the nearly 20 other DaRoses in town have with them.

Cooke and the RTC noted that the signs will not be removed unless the town or state does so because they are in violation of law. You can read more about .

Another issue added to this highly contentious one, is Cooke’s complaint that one third of his signs were stolen. He’s pointing the finger at members of the democrat party. 

Of his signs and the message to DaRos, Cooke said, “He brought it on himself.”

ted Aub October 26, 2011 at 03:02 PM
Matt ,thanks for the reply.I was addressing the scope of the entire situation not pointing to any one individual ,becase I like many do not have all of the facts to formulate an opinion.I just think a non-involved committee or board with the power of conclusion, end this time and money consuming issue.
Wayne Cooke October 26, 2011 at 03:31 PM
RE: I like many do not have all of the facts to formulate an opinion RESPONSE: Despite all the good things the Patch does, I must refer its readers to branfordseven.com for a more detailed analysis on this and other issues regarding town government. I do believe that if those Patch readers objecting to my signs were more aware of the facts, their opinions on them would change.
Emily Charles October 26, 2011 at 03:34 PM
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
Wayne Cooke October 26, 2011 at 03:38 PM
I couldn't agree more, Emily. But in this case, the opinion on the signs in not mine, but that of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Unfortunately, it appears certain Patch readers are missing that, let alone the reason the Supreme Court said it in the first place.
susan Barnes October 26, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Where was the outrage when these signs appeared? Where was the outrage when The Morris, Sullivan and Vigliotti children and grandchildren ( the latter of which attended St. Mary School directly across the street from them) were subjected the despicable things every day. http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/branford/entry/signs_of_the_times/ Enough of the political hypocrisy.
Nicole Ball October 26, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Wayne, I encourage readers to seek news from a variety of media outlets; that's why you'll often find links to other news outlets on my site such as WTNH and the New Haven Register. I invite and encourage you once again to write an Op-Ed to Patch as you've done with other outlets. I am happy to run your piece and perhaps that might offer readers a great look at your facts and points as it pertains to these signs and beyond.
Wayne Cooke October 26, 2011 at 11:53 PM
Since last Thursday, over 150 of my signs have been stolen. I publicly ask that anyone seeing my signs being stolen take the license number of the vehicle and, if possible, a photo of the act with your cell phone. Today, I received three phone calls from people seeing a dark-haired woman with glasses in a small white car stealing my signs. If you see anything, please call me at 203-815-5796. As stated earlier, I will report any theft of my signs to the police.
Anthony Paecht October 27, 2011 at 02:30 AM
I love my wife. :)
susan Barnes October 27, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Anthony: I love that you love your wife. xxoo to both of you. Vote for McConnell/Cosgrove for Honesty, Integrity - and LOVE!
ted Aub October 27, 2011 at 05:25 AM
A suggestion to the parties for their approval.A commission of two people from each town in our Senatorial District (Killingworth,Madison,Guilford,North Branford,and Durham) to be impowered by by the parties that they will abide by their decision to hear and judge this issue so the Town of Branford can get back to its normal everyday business.We have so much to gain by moving this issue towards conclusion,so let us see unamious approval of this plan.This situation has festered long enough,lets move it towards closure in an adult manner.
susan Barnes October 27, 2011 at 10:32 AM
Ted - with all due respect we are so over governed, so over commissioned - and just plain overboard, I am loathe to see another formed. I think the flaw in your idea is that Cooke's signs do not represent a particular political party, altho they certainly are critical of one candidate, and since free speech is protected by the First Amendment, a concept that with which that candidate's running mate seems unfamiliar, who would be representing him? I think what is obviously your well intentioned idea further erodes a citizens rights. The many have already given up much to the few and on that basis I would oppose your idea. Also, I question where all this concern was when enormously distasteful signs were displayed on Cedar Street in the election of 2007. Click on the link in my post above and refresh your memory. Then read the article and the posts on the Branford Seven if you have not already. Unfortunately, "they" brought this on themselves. One can hope that election day will bring on enough change to put many of these issues to rest. And on that note have a great day, Ted, and vote McConnell/Cosgrove for CHANGE, Honesty and Integrity.
ted Aub October 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Susan-I am sorry I didnt make it clear that I didnt mean political parties,I meant the two individuals involved here without mentioning their names.I absolutely agree with you about over governed and thought that this group would be like a jury of our peers to be able to be as fair as possible.I am thinking that closure here may set a healthy change in our daily lives and restore some faith in the pursuit of fairness.What bothers me is the fact that other people in this community with the same last name are having their privacy violated by the sign program which now indicates a specific person when before the vehicle sign stated the town hall.To me it seems like third party intervention is the only avenue to take to try and rectify a situation that is getting ugly and casts a shadow on a wonderful community.Thanks for your reply.
Anthony Paecht October 28, 2011 at 01:46 AM
I will...because it is illegal. But they pay people to take them down. You know that.
Anthony Paecht October 28, 2011 at 01:46 AM
I intend too. :) I went to High School with Jamie.
susan Barnes October 28, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Bless your heart, Anthony! WHO's better than Jamie??? NOBODY! Once again, xxoo to you and your wife. I cannot wait to meet you!
susan Barnes October 28, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Ted - I am going to make an effort to get out to speak with you asap.
ted Aub October 28, 2011 at 05:34 AM
Susan - I was thinking that same thought as well!Maybe together we can formulate a solution,I dont do cures anymore or for that matter miracles.Thanks for the positive feedback.
Wayne Cooke October 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM
Mr. Aub....I suggest you start with the dishonesty and corruption of DaRos and his administration.
susan Barnes October 28, 2011 at 11:36 AM
I think, Wayne, we should start with stealing, do you agree?
Wayne Cooke October 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM
Twenty-seven signs were stolen off of our property last night. The police were notified and a report filed. This brings the total number of signs stolen to over 250. If anyone sees the signs being stolen or vandalized please call me at 203-815-5796. If possible, try to get a license plate number and/or a photo. Pathetic, isn't it, that DaRos and his cult can't refute what the signs say, so they just steal them. Arrogant, ignorant, and dishonest describes them all pretty well.
susan Barnes October 28, 2011 at 12:34 PM
It seems to me that whomever stole those signs should be arrested. They were on YOUR property, were they not? They are YOUR property, are they not? We KNOW some of the persons that have been stealing them all around town. They have been seen, identified, tag numbers taken . They should all have their tails hauled down to Laurel Street! ANYBODY involved in any way shape or form should have to answer for this and all ordered to return them NOW. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
EFM October 29, 2011 at 03:40 AM
Susan, are you referring to the signs of Cheryl Morris when she last ran? I remember seeing some on Cedar St where her photo was altered and made very unflattering. I found that a very juvenile thing to do. Were those adults that did that? Hard to believe, isn't it? That is more offensive then the DaRos signs, in my opinion!
EFM October 29, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Wayne, you sure that wasn't your friend Alice wearing a disguise?
Wayne Cooke October 29, 2011 at 03:52 AM
RE: That is more offensive then the DaRos signs RESPONSE: EFM....Unfortunately, any offense you take to the signs are a product of you failing to research and understand the issues. I ask that you go to the DaRos/Campbelll website and see for yourself their own admission that the Connecticut Supreme Court called DaRos and his administration dishonest.
Wayne Cooke October 29, 2011 at 04:02 AM
Actually, it was Democratic RTM candidate Clare Torelli who was stealing my signs.
EFM October 29, 2011 at 05:45 AM
I actually don't find the DaRos signs offensive- I have been following that whole thing and I'm with you on that issue- I meant that what was done to Cheryl Morris's signs was more offensive- should have offended people. And as Susan said, there was very little talk about it.
Wayne Cooke October 30, 2011 at 01:54 PM
An Open Question to Democratic Town Committee Chairman Victor Cassella: Why is your organization stealing my "DaRos Dishonest" signs, when the DaRos/Campbell website itself admits the CT Supreme Court called DaRos and his administration dishonest?
EFM October 30, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Wayne, latest thing I have seen: your signs with the "dis" spray painted in red, so the sign reads "DeRos Honest". I have seen a couple like that.
Wayne Cooke October 30, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Just the Democratic Town Committee continuing to reveal themselves for the thieves and vandals they are. Unfortunately for them, it'll take more than that to make DaRos honest.
susan Barnes October 30, 2011 at 10:13 PM
"Someone" has now begun stealing Joy & Jamie signs from my property ( tire tracks over the curb on to the grass in grab and run, ) and from the property of other family members. The Republicans have had nothing to do with this nonsense. The thefts will be reported to the police. NO ONE has touched Unk & Andy's signs. What has the Democratic party become: finger flipping, letter ripping, more finger flipping, hissing, booing, "call da polize" outbursts and now sign stealing, from the Republicans and from private property. Pathetic, sad, juvenile fools. Voters of Branford is this what you want running your town? Vote for McConnell/Cosgrove for honesty, integrity - and to keep your property safe.

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