Wo'O Ideafarm, the local man known for displaying signs with controversial and sometimes strange messages on the streets of Mountain View, may be heading to jail.
The self-proclaimed "public speaker" was convicted of charges stemming from an incident earlier this year, when police arrested him for allegedly blocking a public street and causing a disturbance. In a ruling issued on Oct. 28, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Allison Danner found Ideafarm guilty of multiple counts of willfully and maliciously obstructing a public street and of being a public nuisance.
He could face a maximum sentence of up to two years in jail. His sentencing hearing in Dept. 89 of the Palo Alto Courthouse, scheduled for Nov. 8, resulted in a six-week postponement.
Those familiar with Ideafarm may have noticed his absence of late. According to a string of emails Ideafarm recently sent to the Voice, the 58-year-old has been keeping a low-profile since he was arrested for allegedly battering and falsely imprisoning a 62-year-old woman on Jan. 14, 2011.
During that incident, Ideafarm said he was attempting to make a citizen's arrest on a woman he had observed tampering with one of his signs. According to police statements from the time, he had the wrong woman and the Mountain View Police Department did not accept his citizen's arrest.
Shortly after his arrest, Ideafarm, who at the time was unemployed, managed to bail himself out of jail.
He has kept mostly quiet since that incident -- refraining from displaying any signs publicly for just over two years. But on Jan. 21 of this year, he decided to break his silence and hold a sign that read "One for all and all for one" while standing just off the sidewalk at the corner of Castro Street and El Camino Real.
While some, including the police officers who responded to the scene that day, might say Ideafarm was standing in the path of traffic, he argued that he was not breaking any laws, even though he admits he was not standing on the sidewalk.
On Jan. 22, he was warned by officers and given a citation after standing in a similar manner at the intersection of Central Expressway and Moffett Boulevard. He was arrested on Jan. 23, after returning to the same spot and holding a sign that read "Mtn. View vs. free speech."
In his communications with the Voice, Ideafarm has maintained his innocence, insisting that the City of Mountain View and Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen are bent on silencing him.
In an email to the Voice dated Oct. 6, Ideafarm wrote: "According to Ideafarm, all of this is an incredible waste of taxpayer money, that he was always very careful to obey the law, and that the only reason that the police interfered with his 'speech operation' is that they somehow think that they can get away with it."