FREMONT (KPIX) – The race for Fremont City Council turned ugly after someone vandalized a candidate’s campaign signs with a swastika and other hateful messages.
Someone used a permanent marker a few days ago to draw on Justin Sha’s campaign banners at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Ondina Drive.
“A bold Swastika, two devil’s horns, a beard,” said Sha, referring to the two banners.
The 25-year-old is the youngest of 5 candidates running for Fremont’s heated District 4 seat.
He’s learning quickly politics can often get very nasty.
“I felt anger,” said Sha. “ A lot of sadness and pain.”
Two other candidates in the race believe Sha was targeted. They agree this isn’t a joke or prank.
Aside from the vandalism, Sha and those two candidates have reported their campaign signs stolen.
Sha suspects supporters of another candidate might be responsible.
Fremont has a sign that says Fremont stands united against hate. That’s why it’s so shocking,” said Sha.
Ron Sha, the candidate’s father, tried to erase the swastika, without much success. They fear using bleach would leave white spots.
Since the campaign has limited funds, they decided to put American flags around the banners instead of removing them.
“Very sad and upset at that moment. At night, I just cannot shake it off,” said the Sha’s dad.
Sha says he won’t let the vandalism discourage him. If anything, it’s motivated him to campaign harder.
“In a city of over 50% immigrants, that people would have more empathy, compassion and understanding. And also, that’s why everybody is so hurt by this,” he said.
Sha is calling it a hate crime but Fremont police are only treating this as a case of vandalism. So far, no one has been arrested.