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.”