By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, spent the weekend cleaning up neighborhoods on the north side of town after vandals defaced his campaign signs.
Novak, a councilman since 1992, is seeking re-election in the May primary; he is opposed by Erik Jennings of Dana Street N.E.
About 80 Novak signs were ripped down over the weekend on Elm Road, Mahoning Avenue, North Park Avenue and Atlantic Street.
He said some were left standing, but obscenities were scrawled near his name.
"It's discouraging. My sons and I took a lot of time putting up these signs," he said. "And it's embarrassing that there's debris flying everywhere."
Novak fixed some signs and replaced others. He says he intends to file a police report.
Possible motive: The councilman said he believes vandals are upset with legislation he sponsored earlier this month that was passed by council, effectively prohibiting body-piercing shops in the city.
Councilwoman Sherry Cox-Calloway, D-at large, was unsuccessful last week in getting legislation passed to regulate body piercing in Warren.
The controversy began when Mark Vancil of Mineral Ridge petitioned council earlier this year for permission to perform body piercing at Screamin' Tattoos on Elm Road.
The shop's owner, Bob Fairchild, said he saw Novak taking pictures of his storefront last week. Novak said he was taking pictures from a public sidewalk for his own records.
Novak, who has tattoos, said his stance against body piercing is not personal, explaining he didn't think pro-piercing arguments were strong enough and didn't spell out strict enough regulations.
Vancil has said he intends to talk with a lawyer to consider options to challenge council's decision.