UPDATE Dec 20: Espero and Dudley commented on LoPresti's allegations today on Civil Beat. Here are the relevant quotes:
But Espero said that isn't quite what happened.
"LoPresti twisted what I said, completely," Espero told Civil Beat. "I didn't witness any vandalizing of signs. I did not witnessing Dudley remove the signs from the ground, but what I did tell Matthew LoPresti was that when I drove past it was in the ground, and five minutes later it was out of the ground, and Dudley was there sign-waving. It could have been him, but really, I didn't witness it."
When asked about the accusation, Dudley laughed heartily.
"You know, anything LoPresti says is a lie," Dudley said. "God help us. No, good Lord, no I don't take down other people's signs."
UPDATE Dec 24: Hawai'i Free Press received a response from Dudley:
Interestingly, this went to my junk mail where I found it today. Sometimes, when you just let things take their own course, they self-identify and set their own direction accordingly, as this did in finding its way to my junk mail.
Dr. Kioni Dudley
Press Release from Matthew S. LoPresti, Ph.D.
Unfortunately, I want to announce some very sad news. My grass-roots campaign is running on an extremely tight budget and about 95% of my $600 budget has gone to purchasing signage. I do not understand why, but about A FULL THIRD of the signs I have posted from Ewa Beach to Makaha have been stolen. I have been told that this sort of thing is normal, but I have a hard time believing it when only my signs go missing while certain candidates’ signs only grow in presence. I am essentially out of signs at this point and my sign campaign has been utterly destroyed by thieves. This is a very important issue, not only because of the sign stealing but because who seems to be behind at least some of it.
Please know that this comes from and can be verified by another candidate, Jason Espero, who this morning informed me that he saw Kioni Dudley removing both my signs and the signs of Rose Martinez this morning in Kapolei (at the corner of Farrington Hwy. and Fort Barrette Road). He said that he would be willing to talk to the media to confirm this story as well as the other disturbing things that happened when Espero was there in the presence of Mr. Dudley.
When I arrived, Dudley was just leaving and Espero told me what happened. As I was picking up and replacing my signs as well as Ms. Martinez's signs (it wouldn't be right to just leave hers on the ground) Dudley drove by pointing and laughing like a mad man as he drove back up towards his home in Makakilo. It was really disconcerting. Again, this comes from not just me, but is verifiable from another candidate as well. It seems that Dudely also cursed out Espero's elderly grandfather while they were sign waiving near one another too.
I bring this to your attention out of sincere aim to call for a higher level of respect among candidates, not just to point fingers. I cannot be any more sincere about this than I truly am. I'm not a politician, just an ordinary citizen who decided to enter the race to fight for my community and the sorts of things I have witnessed as a candidate thus far are just appalling. (Not the least of which is having this millionaire who seems to gleefully destroy the property of a struggling middle-class workingman like myself.)
The saddest part of all of this is that Dudley did this after I sent him and his family the warmest possible Christmas wishes possible yesterday and he responds by tearing down his opponents’ signs. Please do something about exposing this sort of behavior - it is most disturbing.
In closing: PLEASE know that I desperately want to talk about the issues with the other candidates as well as with the people of district 1, but I have been and am being systematically silenced by actions like the above. And yet I have such important and fresh ideas and solutions to share. It is not about me winning, it is about our community being well served by honest and upstanding candidates, who follow the rules, respect one another, and therefore respect the community they are trying to serve.
This is sadly becoming a major issue in and of itself since the speech of candidates like myself are being systematically and shockingly silenced by the misbehavior of other candidates. A mockery is being made of free and fair democratic elections in this race. If that is also not an issue worth covering, I honest to God do not know what is.
Thank you for your time.
Matthew S. LoPresti, Ph.D.
NOTE: Hawai’i Free Press has requested comment from Espero and Dudley. We will update this posting if they respond.