Mountain View police identified a man they believe is responsible for defacing a campaign sign for City Council candidate John Inks. Police announced on Monday that the suspect, 73-year-old Job Lopez of Mountain View, was issued a citation on Sunday, Oct. 21, on charges of petty theft and vandalism. He is expected to appear in court in December.
Video surveillance at the front door of a home on the 100 block of Church Street shows the suspect approach the house around 3:40 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 19. The footage shows the man spray-paint the sign, then pick up another sign from the front yard and walk away, according to police. He was wearing dark colored pants and gloves, and sunglasses, with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up over a baseball cap.
Officers who reviewed the footage early Saturday recognized the suspect, and subsequently interviewed him. Representatives of the police department were "in discussions" with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office on next steps, according to the statement.
Lopez has been an active community organizer in Mountain View, often speaking at public meetings on issues of tenant and immigrant rights. He is credited as a co-founder of the Mountain View Day Worker Center and previously served on its board of directors.
Lopez declined to respond to the allegation when contacted by the Voice on Monday, Oct. 22.
"I don't think I'm ready to talk to anyone," he said. "I'm looking for a lawyer now, and depending on what my lawyer tells me, then I can take the next steps."
Mayor Lenny Siegel, whose re-election campaign had listed Lopez as an endorser, strongly condemned the vandalism in a statement issued Monday evening. Siegel said he recognized Lopez right away from the video and removed him from an online list of campaign endorsements.
"I was shocked and disappointed to learn that Job would engage in such activity," Siegel said, adding that the two men had known each other for three decades. "He is a dedicated activist, working for immigrant rights, tenant rights and social justice. He should have known better."
Siegel said that while he and Inks may disagree on many issues, they have always done so respectfully, and they have always gotten along personally.
"Defacing or removing signs is not only illegal; it is ethically reprehensible. It goes against our democratic principles," Siegel said in his statement. "I expect those who support what I am doing as council member/mayor and who support my re-election campaign to treat (Inks) with respect and to act in accordance with the democratic principles that make America great."
Residents have reported multiple incidents where Inks campaign signs have been defaced over the last month, notably his high-visibility sign on Shoreline Boulevard.
Anyone who has information on the incident is asked to contact Sgt. Wahed Magee at [email protected]