On Thursday evening, March 29, Mountain Area social media pages roared with public outcry due to a 'Letter to the Editor' by Kevin Lee Jones of Oakhurst to the Sierra Star, asking for the removal of campaign signs from the site of Coarsegold's veterans' monument.
Jones called the signs on the corner of Highway 41 and Road 415, "sinful" and "garbage."
By 12:45 p.m. on March 30, during his lunch break, Paul Hornick, candidate for Madera County District Attorney, was the first politician to remove his sign for candidacy and addressed social media with the following statement.
"...I apologize if this offended anyone. As a current member of the US Army Reserve, I understand that many would find campaign signs in a place of honor as inappropriate or offensive. My team and volunteers are very enthusiastic so we’ll be mindful of where we place them in the future."
At the same time Friday, the outcry reached Diane Boland, the property owner, who donated the land for the veteran's monument.
Local Marines called Boland to let her know they were taking down a sign their group posted at the site, with her permission. It was a sign thanking the community for their help with the Marines annual Toys for Tots.
"I guess this is what they mean by no good deed goes unpunished," said Boland.
According to Boland she also granted three candidates permission to post signs around the monument and was conscientious of locating them at a distance from the monument. Other signs had been staked by candidates and volunteers that did not ask for permission.
Shortly after Hornick's sign was removed the rest of the candidates followed, and by Friday night none remained.
District Supervisor Tom Wheeler made his way back from Madera on Highway 41, Friday, to ensure his sign was gone.
"I regret if I offended anyone. American veterans are a large part of my family and they are the heroes who have given me my liberties and freedom. I pushed every button in the county to ensure that the monument was put in place."
Boland, who was deeply sadden that people were offended, was also disheartened. She has been posting signs on her property for veterans' groups, candidates, and community organizations for the last 40 years and now public backlash threatened that.
"The reason the veteran's have a monument there is because they stood up for the rights of all of us. Personal property, freedom of speech, the right to have your own opinions- I feel like I have lost some of my personal rights. "