By the Daily Post staff
Update 3 p.m. Oct. 22 — Mountain View police announced this afternoon that they have cited Job Lopez, 73, for petty theft and vandalism in connection with the spray-painting of the John Inks for City Council sign. (A look at letters to the editor over the years from Job Lopez.)
Original story, 10:41 a.m., Oct. 22 — Mountain View police have confronted the man they believe was caught on a video surveillance camera spray-painting a sign for City Council candidate John Inks, and now the case is in the hands of District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
On Friday (Oct. 19) at 3:40 a.m., a man walked up to the front door of a house in the 100 block of Church Street. The man was seen on video spraying the Inks sign and then walking away, removing another Inks sign from the home’s front yard.
On Saturday (Oct. 20) morning, the Post printed a photo of the man from the video.
Later Saturday morning, police watched the video, and an officer “immediately” recognized the man.
“That individual was interviewed on Saturday, and our department is in discussions with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office on next steps,” a statement from police said. “Because this is an active investigation, we are not identifying the individual at this time.” District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s office would decide what charges, if any, should be filed against the man.
Over the weekend, the Post received several emails from residents who believe they know the man’s identity.
Inks, a Libertarian, has been criticized for his opposition to rent control, which is one of the hottest political topics in town.
The story is in some ways reminiscent of a controversy in 2011 in Menlo Park that began when resident Chuck Bernstein discovered that a political sign for then-fire board candidate Virginia Chang Kiraly had been thrown into some bushes in his yard. Beside the sign was a cellphone belonging to Democratic activist John Woodell, the husband of Councilwoman Kirsten Keith.
In that case, Menlo Park police decided not to take any action.
Woodell denied removing the sign. He sued Bernstein and Kiraly, claiming they accused him of removing the sign, something they each denied. Woodell’s suit was thrown out of court four years later after he destroyed data on the phone that might have indicated where the phone had been on the night in question. Bernstein and Kiraly spent a combined $600,000 in legal fees defending themselves because of Woodell’s civil suits.
Kiraly was elected in 2011 and, interestingly enough, Bernstein decided to run for the same board two years later and won. The two serve side by side on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board.
In this election, Bernstein is up for re-election along with Keith, who is seeking her third term on the Menlo Park City Council.