Democrat City Council Candidate Arrested for Alleged Sign Theft

October 23, 2018 Updated: October 23, 2018

Sunny Park, a Democrat running for California’s District 1 City Council seat in Buena Park, was arrested for allegedly stealing her opponent’s campaign signs.

Youngsun “Sunny” Park was arrested around 10 a.m. on Oct. 19, by police responding to a report of a man and woman driving through residential neighborhoods and stealing campaign signs, according to the Buena Park Police.

“Park was contacted nearby, and officers obtained evidence of the alleged offense,” the Buena Park Police posted on Facebook. “She was taken into custody without incident, and later released on a citation for unlawfully removing campaign signs.”

A video captured by Kenny Vaughn, husband of Buena Park Mayor Virginia Vaughn, shows Park’s car, the back seat of which is filled with her opponent’s signs. The video also shows a man working with Park. Police say the man has not yet been identified.

the unidentified accomplice
The signs in question say “No Sunny Parks—Carpetbagger” (Buena Park Police Facebook screenshot)

Illegal Theft of Illegal Signs?

On her Facebook page, Youngsun Park claims that the signs bear a dishonest and derogatory message, and further, do not say who paid for them.

The California Political Fair Practices Commission (FPPC) mandates that all signs must show who paid for the sign, in text at least five percent as large as the entire sign, and in a color contrasting with the sign.

Further, California law says that yard signs must encourage “a particular vote in a schedule[d] election.”

The signs in question say “No Sunny Park—Carpetbagger.”

“Carpetbagger” is a derogatory term for a person coming to an area from some other place to run for office. It implies that the candidate does not legitimately represent the constituency.

the unidentified accomplice
Buena Park Police have not yet identified the person who was helping Sunny Park allegedly stealing yard signs. (Buena Park Police Facebook screenshot)

Buena Park Police have not yet identified the person who was helping Sunny Park allegedly stealing yard signs. (Buena Park Police Facebook screenshot)

Wrong Way to Address the Issue

Park posted a video of her own, which shows her confronting Kenny Vaughn where he admits to paying for the signs. In the video, Vaughn claims that regardless of what the signs say, they cannot be taken down at will by any other person.

In this, Vaughn is correct.

According to Los Cerritos News, Youngsun Park is a principal partner in the Park and Asher Law Firm.

As a lawyer, she should have known that pulling up the signs was illegal. If she had instead filed a complaint with FPPC, she probably could have gotten the signs removed at the owners’ expense and generated some positive publicity at the same time.

Now, Park faces a penalty of up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Park is running against Mayor Vaughn and retired doctor Waldemar “Val” Sadowinski for the District 1 seat.

Vaughn was not elected mayor. The mayor is chosen each year by the five council members.

The city is switching from at-large voting for city council, where all voters chose council members for the whole city, to a five-district model, where voters elect council members representing their districts, according to the Orange County Register.