by Chet Hardin
On Saturday, the central committee of the El Paso County Republican Party held a meeting at Sand Creek High School. Al Lender says that he showed up at 3 o'clock that morning to put up signs. His were the second signs to go up, he says, right behind those for El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark.
But Lender's signs were a bit more biting than Clark's.
"You remember what I did with in Fountain, with the toilet bowls? " he asks. "Well, I had my toilet-bowl sign there."
The toilet-bowl sign, which you can see above, expresses his feelings pretty bluntly about former city councilwoman of Fountain, Lois Landgraf, who lost her re-election bid last fall. And reveling in the defeat of Landgraf and Harold Thompson, another Fountain council incumbent who lost a re-election bid, the second sign featured both politicos' pictures, over which was written: "You've been flushed. Who's next?"
Landgraf has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State to seek office for the newly drawn House District 21. Albert Sweet, a first-time candidate, has likewise filed paperwork and has publicly declared his intention to run.
Lender says that after setting his signs up and leaving, he got a call at 6 o'clock to inform him that his signs weren't appropriate and that the party had them removed.
"To cover my butt, I went up there to protest," he says. What followed was an interaction with Bill Roy, the county party's COO, who Lender says told him that his signs were "slanderous and disgusting."
"I was denied the right to protest and told to leave," he says.
The Indy has put in a call to Roy, and will update with any response.
Lender wasn't happy. Being a registered Republican, and a former Fountain Councilman himself, he figured he had just as much right to be there, to display his signs and protest. So Lender called the cops. "When the cops got there, the first cop that got there said, 'Let me see your sign' and I showed him, and he said, 'There's nothing wrong with these.'"
However, since the Republican Party had rented out the high school for the day, the police asked Lender to cross the street away from the school. "They asked me nicely not to cause a scene, but to cross the street to the public right-of-way," he says.
So what, exactly, has Lender so worked up?
"What bothers me is that the people of Fountain threw her out of office, and the Republican Party is trying to put her back in office."