LIVINGSTON -- Accusations of dirty politics are nothing new in Livingston, but one City Council candidate has become frustrated to the point of filing a complaint with the police department.
The complaint was filed by candidate Mohani Thiara on Saturday, according to Livingston Police Department records.
The complaint is in part against opposing council candidate Gurpal Samra, a former mayor of Livingston.
Thiara claims that Samra has been driving around where she's been placing campaign signs, and thinks she's being followed. "I feel like I'm being stalked," she said she included in the report.
Samra said since Livingston is a small town, candidates are inevitably going to run into one another.
But he also mentioned if he's being accused of stalking, he might need to take legal action against Thiara to clear his name. "I'm tired of them accusing me of this crap," Samra said. "I may have to talk to some legal advice, because that's downright slander. I think it's nothing more than a publicity stunt."
In addition to Thiara having some of her campaign signs taken from around the city, she's also had four removed from the Livingston Pentecostal Club, which is listed as a nonprofit organization, while other candidates' signs stayed up, Thiara said.
"If it's a nonprofit organization, they should not be putting any signs out," she said. "Code 501-C says nonprofits shouldn't be putting any campaign signs out."
The code does state that a nonprofit can be exempt from federal taxes if it doesn't campaign on behalf of political candidates for public office.
The Pentecostal Club filed a 990 form signed by Treasurer Antonio De Jesus on Jan. 13. According to the form, the organization didn't engage in any direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to any candidates for public office.
Despite the organization's nonprofit status, the city doesn't have any regulations restricting signs from being displayed on nonprofit buildings, according to the city's political sign regulations.
Privately owned buildings are similar to homes -- owners have a choice as to what political signs they want to display, said Donna Kenney, Livingston's community development director.
Kenney explained that Thiara was concerned because her signs were removed from the Livingston Pentecostal Club, even though some members of the club told her all signs should be allowed up or all should come down.
Thiara said she isn't sure where her signs ended up.
Marilyn Silveira, a member of the Livingston Pentecostal Club, said there shouldn't be any signs on the property. The organization doesn't endorse candidates, and only deals with issues affecting them directly, she said.
However, Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza, who's running to retain his seat, and Samra both had campaign signs hung up outside the Pentecostal Club on Wednesday.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.