Glendale Mayoral Candidate Says He Was Attacked After a Tea Party Debate By Man Suspected of Removing His Campaign Signs

Categories: Election 2012

Thumbnail image for WaltOpaska.jpg
Glendale Mayoral candidate Walt Opaska
Walt Opaska, a candidate running for mayor of Glendale, says he was attacked after a Glendale Tea party debate last night in a Denny's parking lot.

Opaska says that, at about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, as he was walking out of the restaurant near 51st Avenue and Thunderbird Road, someone told him there were about a dozen of his campaign signs in the back of a truck in the parking lot.

"I suspected that this person was removing my signs from roadside locations and so I took pictures of the person, his license plate and the signs in the back of his truck in order to provide documentation to law enforcement," Opaska says in a statement emailed to supporters. "At that point, the man confronted me, threatened to hit me, did land a punch to my back and held me against a car by the collar and by my jacket."

Opaska tells New Times that the man demanded that Opaska turn over his iPhone to him so he could delete the photos. He didn't want to give the man his phone, but as he was manhandling him, someone nearby offered to delete the photos for Opaska.

"He was grabbing me, and that was the only way I could get him to let go of me," Opaska says. "There was no way I was going to give him my phone, but yeah, someone else deleted the photos."

Opaska says he is trying to retrieve the deleted pictures from his phone.

Opaska believes that -- based on the signs that had been plucked from their various spots across the city and loaded in the back of the truck -- his alleged attacker is a supporter of State Representative Jerry Weiers, a fellow Republican and one of his opponents in the mayoral race.

Glendale police tell New Times they responded to the scene after a "report of an altercation involving a mayoral candidate and campaign signs."

"Patrol officers took the initial report and that will be forwarded to detectives for follow-up," says Glendale Police Officer Tracey Breeden, a police spokesman. "The investigation is ongoing and further investigation, including additional interviews, needs to take place. No arrests were made but there is the potential for charges."

Opaska, a Republican who says he is a "leader in the conservative movement," is running against Weiers, and Democrat Manny Cruz.

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs is not running for re-election.

More from Opaska's statement:

I was not seriously injured and I assisted the Glendale Police with their report on scene. Charges are being pressed. Emotions run high during elections. However, stealing property is never acceptable. Threats and violence are not acceptable.

Those of you who know me know that I don't go looking for a fight, but that I also stand up for what I believe in. I have worked really hard in this campaign. The signs that I have purchased are not my own, but are the result of that hard work and donations of many of you.

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ExpertShot topcommenter

And they keep saying that the Tea Party folks are not terrorists!  Breaking the law.  Committing violent acts to cover up their lawbreaking!  Both these numbskills should be removed from the ballot.  We have had enough of the bullies in the Government in Glendale.  Let's get some sophisticated people on the Council here.  I can tell you right now that the interests of the investors in the Sports venues and the non-native gambling interests are controlling what goes on in the council right now - just head by Bitsy Mamas on a Wednesday morning and you'll hear the REAL story behind Glendale's government decisions.

robert_graham topcommenter

Yes let's talk about the removal of campaign signs. Because Arpaio's signs are being taken down, I will start removing Penzone's signs everywhere I see them starting today.


LoL the GOP can eat their own for all I care. It's like Joke crying about his signs disappearing. If they each cost  $17 dollars why are there 4 in Black Canyon City? After all 100% of the town is in Yavapai County (unincorprated) and there are a few households that share our zip (which is a huge area) down a dirt road in MC, however there are what 5 old people living down there?


Tea Baggers attacking Republi-Cons,I love it . Keep it up boys,while Mr. Cruz just sits back and enjoys the show.


CQ was inside the Denny's where this altercation took place.  Weiers is his client.  I'm sure all of these items are completely unrelated.


"The signs that I have purchased are not my own". What? 


A Tea Bagger!  Who would have guessed!  


 @JoeArpaioFan have fun, because you will end up in Tent City if you remove candidate signs.... BTW who gives a shit. Joke has signs in the wrong county.. so who really cares? It sounds like more hogwash like the guy that complained about all the Dubya signs he put up. Keep in mind he put them up every 5 feet along New River Rd, which allowed no space for signs from anyone else. I mean really if you put up 10K signs what do you expect? Also I wonder what would happen if they put up a sign on private property.  Just hope douchebag up there gets stupid. 



 Please let us know when,where and what time you will begin your lawbreaking,we would love to catch you on film and make you famous.


 @JoeArpaioFan Funny. Squabbles over signs are just a basic part of the election process. But if a campaign is expending so much energy on signs, they probably have bigger problems than signs.


Well, if you go down that yank-out-the-signs route -- just remember that it's against the law.


ARS 16-1019: It is a class 2 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office ...

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