Gay Southfield mayoral candidate’s signs vandalized
Southfield — Police are investigating the vandalism of campaign signs of an openly gay candidate for mayor of Southfield, including one sign defaced with anti-gay slurs.
Ken Siver, a former longtime city councilman who is running against city council president Sylvia Jordan to succeed Mayor Donald Fracassi, said Thursday that two of his signs were destroyed and a third was defaced with the homophobic slurs. The large campaign sign, at 10 Mile and Rutland, was to be removed Thursday.
Southfield police say are investigating the incident but had no leads as of Thursday afternoon.
“Our detectives will go to the location where the crime occurred and canvass the area to find out if anyone witnessed the crime or can provide any information,” said Southfield Deputy Police Chief Nick Loussia. “We will also try to find out if there are any security cameras in the area that may have captured the suspect(s) committing the crime.”
Siver said the incidents occurred sometime Tuesday or Wednesday.
“I’m upset and disturbed by the (incident),” said Siver. “It’s not a Southfield value. There hasn’t really been any racial strife here. We’ve had a lot of harmony in this community.”
Thursday, Siver’s campaign put a smaller white sign next to the defaced 8-foot vandalized sign, which read “Hate is Not A Southfield Community Value.”
He said he believes the slurs were directed at him because he is white and is gay.
“I think they are trying to find ways to discredit me,” said Siver, who added he has no proof of who is responsible for the vandalism.
Jordan denied her campaign or supporters had anything to do with the incident and said she has had campaign signs stolen. She chalked it up as the cost of running for office.
Gay rights organizations like Equality Michigan called the incident “horrible.”
“It shows how much work we have to do,” said Sommer Foster, legislative director for Equality Michigan. “We still have some hearts and minds we have to change as well as laws.”
Southfield resident Patricia Haynie, president of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force Inc., called the vandalism of Siver’s campaign sign “a cowardly act” which was both despicable (and) deplorable.
“Unfortunately we’ve had too many occurrences like this this round of elections,” Haynie said Thursday, noting that “race baiting” fliers were stuffed in residents’ mailboxes a couple of months ago.
In that incident, a small number of Southfield residents received handbills with photos of several white city officials and a message printed in large letters: “Let’s get the blacks out of Southfield.”
The fliers included pictures of Siver, Fracassi, Loussia, deputy police chief John Fitzgerald and councilman Sidney Lantz.
Haynie says she is confident that Southfield police will eventually find the person or people responsible in both incidents.
“All I can do is ask and encourage people to continue the tolerance in embracing the diversity that we have and not let this tear us away from the Southfield standards,” said Haynie.
The city’s general election is Nov. 3.