Candidate says he will file charges against councilman's son regarding campaign signs

Monday, June 27, 2011 at 10:05pm

A candidate for Metro Council told The City Paper Monday he’s filing charges against the son of the incumbent council member he’s trying defeat for allegedly trespassing and stealing yard signs.

Jason Potts, running for the council’s District 30 seat in August’s elections, said he received a phone call last Thursday night from a supporter, notifying him a white male in a black car was driving on East Ridge Drive and stealing Potts’ yard signs. After running the license plate number and matching the description with allegations from other neighbors, Potts determined the driver was 33-year-old Ethan Hodge, son of Councilman Jim Hodge.

Potts, the only candidate challenging Hodge’s re-election bid, had been holding out for an apology from Ethan Hodge, he said. But as of Monday afternoon, he said he hadn’t received one. He’s now planning to file charges.

“If he would give me an apology and reimburse me for the signs, and promise not to touch them again, that would be sufficient enough, and I would drop the charges,” Potts said. “But, I haven’t heard anything from them.”

Hodge, the councilman of the Haywood Lane area seat, said his son was simply picking up signs placed illegally in public-right-of-ways, noting that the council’s Codes, Fair and Farmers Market Committee held a meeting recently that dealt with that very topic. 

“He had been out with me earlier in the year when we picked up ‘We Buy Junk Car’ signs and all the stuff you see around intersections,” Hodge said. “We just dispose of them. He was doing what he’s seen me do.

“But he didn’t realize political signs were off limits,” Hodge said.

Metro Police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford confirmed the suspect is Ethan Hodge. She said police are still investigating whether the yard signs were stolen from private properties or removed from public right-of-ways.

Potts said he talked to Metro detectives Monday morning and told them of his intentions to pursue charges. Potts claims the signs weren’t placed in public spaces but, instead, clearly in the yards of supporters.

In all, Potts said 22 campaign signs went missing, eight of which Potts said the elder Hodge returned. Potts said he’s received an apology from the councilman, but not his son.

Hodge said his son has been out of town but plans to apologize to Potts “face to face.”

“I’ve told him it wouldn’t happen again,” the councilman said of his conversation with Potts. 

In campaigns, Hodge said signs have a way of “walking.” He said he’s probably missing 40 signs but doesn’t believe anyone “stole them,” adding that a combination of factors usually contribute to their disappearance.

16 Comments on this post:

By: spooky24 on 6/28/11 at 4:48

Children please- if you can't play fair then you can't play at all.


By: bruingeek on 6/28/11 at 5:40

Is there any independent research that indicates that all these tacky yard signs actually have an impact on how people vote?

Let's hope these two candidates can kiss and make up. There might even be a campaign issue or two they can debate...let's just not debate the issues via yard signs :)

By: macjedi on 6/28/11 at 8:50

Children? Yes. Hodge is a very, very, very old relic of a child with a child who steals signs from people who new ideas they'd like to try out instead of his father's old fashioned stagnation.

And there is plenty to discuss on issues. Don't blame the candidates, blame a lack of media coverage or your own lack of looking for the facts on their sites. Well. On Jason's site and Facebook wall... since Hodge has barely heard of the Internet.

By: girliegirl on 6/28/11 at 8:57

Is Hodge's son retarded? If so, then it is understandable. If not, he needs to do some time in the pokey. Those signs are expensive.

By: bfra on 6/28/11 at 12:01

For once girlie, I agree with you! A 33 yr. old man should have enough sense to know whether a sign is placed in a legal spot or not.

By: RJP on 6/28/11 at 12:15

rjp Can we not put a limit on how many signs go in a yard! I see Hodge's son did'nt bother to take the signs that the mayor and his father have in district 30 about the road work the two of them are not doing as of yet! Road work ahead, 100 feet later road work ends, then another 100 feet road work ahead.And with signs of the mayor and hodge doing this for us. But just put up a sign saying there is a yard sale so people can make a few dollars to pay there bills.Looks like the people need to spend sign money on news paper adds telling us what they are going to do for us.That way it's in print and when they vote opposite from what come's out of their mouth when they are running for the seat on council we can call them what they are!!! If you want to do something for the packard dr area,how about some more stop signs to slow down the speeders. 50 miles a hour seems a bit much with loud music to go with it. Alot of kids on that road and school just around the corner.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/28/11 at 12:27

brunigeek yard sign do serve a purpose. They indicate who and how many people are voting for a particular candidate. However it has to be in a yard of a citizen, to count as a vote.

Home Grown Independent Research INC. ;-)

By: Captain Nemo on 6/28/11 at 12:27

Often when yard signs of one candidate disappear it is an indication that he/she is wining. It is a futile attempt.

By: RJP on 6/28/11 at 12:41

rjp Hey Jason Potts if you have the time to count your signs how about letting us know what you plan to do if we vote for you.I live in your area and know nothing about what you stand for.

By: HokeyPokey on 6/29/11 at 6:58

"that would be sufficient enough..."

It might be sufficient, and it might be enough, but "sufficient enough" is too much.

Call the grammar cops and the syntax constable and haul 'em off!

"Bailiff! Whack his pee-pee!"


By: budlight on 6/29/11 at 7:33

I decided to put signs in my yard this year and I let competitors put up their signs so I could confuse everyone driving by. You should see them slow down in front of my house to read the signs. It's amazing. The 35 mph sign didn't work, but the opposing political signs are working. Try it in your neighborhood if the traffic is too fast!!!!!

By: jvh2b on 6/29/11 at 8:45

I don't know anything about Potts either...other than he's not Hodge...which has my vote.

By: macjedi on 6/30/11 at 8:07

jvh2b- EXACTLY.

Jason is a very attentive and thinking man, where Hodge is an old dusty relic (and a cheat, it seems). Hodge has sent his constituents racist and religiously-descriminatory emails on more than one occasion, all the while representing one of the most diverse districts in town. He is ONLY eligible to run for a third term because of a nefarious law passed in 2008, otherwise his old ass would be OUT.

It is TIME FOR HODGE TO GO, and Jason has been doing the hard door-to-door work to step up and meet his neighbors and set in motion a better representation of the REAL District 30.

By: las04 on 6/30/11 at 4:05

It's time for Hodge and his "Lil Boy" to move along. When I was about 4-5 years old I knew better than to move something or I should say REmove something that wasn't mine. All the signs that our low-life scum bag mayor has up and down Packard and East Ridge are very distracting and not worthy of anything except an attempt to make it look as though something is being done in the neighborhood. I knew something was going on when I saw them go up several weeks ago. I guess KD paid another one off. It's a shame we have elected officials doing acts such as this and then blaming it on their own kids. Karl and Jim NEED TO GO BYE-BYE

By: macjedi on 7/1/11 at 7:41

This is probably a good time to mention that I've started a Facebook page for just that:

By: macjedi on 7/16/11 at 10:33

Don't forget, District 30... you have a choice!