It’s been almost four years to the day, Oct. 25, 2008, when then Johnson County District 6 Commissioner John Toplikar was video-taped removing and taking a political yard sign of his opponent Calvin Hayden who eventually unseated Toplikar. In April of 2009, Toplikar accepted a diversion agreement in which he was sentenced to 12 months probation and that the misdemeanor theft charge would be removed from his record dismissed if he stayed out of trouble during that time.
Since then, Toplikar, also a former State Representative, has virtually remained out of the public eye with the exception of filing to put his name on the ballot for County Commission Chair in 2010 and on the ballot this year to try and win back the 6th District Commission seat from Hayden.
The 2008 “yard-sign-gate” began in early September when Hayden filed a police report of two large signs being stolen on Sept. 6. Other police reports were filed on Sept. 26 when 70 small yard signs along Kansas City Road prior to the start of Olathe’s Wild West Show and Bullwhacker Days, were missing by the next morning, the first day of the two-day event; on Oct. 22, a total of 12 large 4-foot-by-4-foot signs, and 35 2-foot-by-2-foot signs were stolen from various locations in Olathe; on Oct. 24, 3 signs posted near ODAC were damaged and witnessed by Hayden and his wife who reported Toplikar to the Olathe Police Department; and on Oct. 25, Toplikar was caught with two of Hayden’s small yard signs and cited for misdemeanor theft by Olathe police.
At the time, Hayden said he and his wife witnessed Toplikar destroying Hayden’s yard signs near ODAC and were told by Olathe police proof other than their testimony was needed before they could act. Hayden’s wife Kelly got that proof on Oct. 25 when she videotaped Toplikar removing her husband’s signs and putting them in his car. That’s when she called police and when officers stopped Toplikar, they found two of Hayden’s signs in his car.
In published interviews, Toplikar first said he was removing Hayden’s signs because they were illegally placed and he intended to return them to Hayden. Then he claimed he moved Hayden’s campaign signs near the county election office on Kansas City Road, because they were “deliberately” placed to block his political yard signs.
Toplikar and missing signs seem to go hand-in-hand. In 2004, then Gardner Mayor Carol Lehman ran against Toplikar said she had lost “quite a few” signs during the campaign in which Toplikar won. In 2002, the first year of the Commission’s 6th District, Toplikar’s opponent, yours truly, all but about 250 of my 5,000 political signs were stolen or destroyed by campaign’s end in which Toplikar won. In 1992, then State Rep. Ruth Ann Hackler said hundreds of her political yard signs were stolen or destroyed when Toplikar ran against her and eventually won.
And now, in 2012, Toplikar again put his name on the ballot for 6th District Commissioner. He did not put up any of his yard signs during the August primary election. But now, 35 days before the Nov. 6 general election, his homemade political signs are starting to emerge.
Toplikar did not represent the people well during when he was appointed to fill out a term on the Olathe City Council in 1989. He did not represent his constituency during the 10 years he served in the Kansas Legislature, and he did not serve the county well during his two terms on the County Commission.
Given his history and his record, voters in the 6th District would be wise to ignore Toplikar and his signs. They need to send him a clear message that he is not the kind of person we want to be a public servant in Johnson County.
Calvin Hayden needs to be re-elected to another term as 6th District Commissioner and his victory needs to be decisive.
Filed under: Chuck's View Tagged: | Calvin Hayden, Chuck Kurtz, County commission, John Toplikar, Johnson, Johnson County Commission, Johnson County Commission 6th District, Johnson County KS news, kansas, Kansas Legislature, Lawn sign, Olathe KS news, political yard sign theft, September, United States, Wild West Show