Mayoral campaign face-off

Illuminated signs side by side in Scarborough Beach Road.
Illuminated signs side by side in Scarborough Beach Road.

TWO high-profile mayoral candidates have turned to costly illuminated signs to get an edge in the race for the top job at Perth’s biggest council, Stirling.

In a measure of the fierce rivalry between incumbent mayor Mark Irwin and opponent Adam Spagnolo, their flashing signs stand close to each other off Karrinyup Road.

Cr Irwin, who faced a backlash from disgruntled out-of-pocket members of his failed gym when he became mayor two years ago, was first out with the illuminated signs which can cost about $500 a week to hire.

He told the Times local businesses had contacted him with support after seeing Cr Spagnolo’s election signs in the streets in August.

“I have declared the cost (of the illuminated signs) on my declarations for donations,” he said.

“There are four out, supplied by The Hire Guys Balcatta. There is one outside Stirling IGA who offered their support to my campaign.

“They also support Cr Giovanni Italiano (up for re-election in Osborne ward) and placed the sign on Karrinyup Road with both of our names on it. “Giovanni has a solid track record as past mayor and councillor so I am ok to be on the same board.”

Cr Irwin said since his Selby Health and Fitness business had closed, citing high rents and the economic downturn, he had “worked closely with Consumer Protection to ensure all members entitled to a refund would receive one”.

A Consumer Protection spokesman said the process of resolving complaints against Cr Irwin’s gym was “in its final stages”.

“We are confident (it) will result in refunds being paid to former members of the club who have lodged complaints with Consumer Protection,” he said.

Cr Spagnolo would not be drawn on the use of illuminated signs, saying the real story was the intimidation of his family, and his opponent Cr Irwin placing signs in breach of the City’s policy.

Cr Irwin said he had “maybe 8-10” signs impounded by the City.

He rejected any notion of he or other candidates “flaunting” the rules with signage.

“No, everyone’s placing signs with the resources they have,” he said.

“I’ve got friend and family helping and sometimes they just get it a bit wrong.”

Four others are vying to become Stirling mayor:  Cr Elizabeth Re, deputy mayor David Lagan, former mayor Terry Tyzack and newcomer Sanjeev Gupta.

Spagnolo: ‘Stop harassing us.’

STIRLING mayoral candidate Adam Spagnolo says his family has been threatened during the campaign and he has been forced to attach GPS trackers to his election signs to prevent further theft.

Cr Spagnolo, who is hoping to be the first Stirling mayor elected by residents and ratepayers instead of councillors, said more than 50 of his signs had been stolen and a similar number vandalised with graffiti or destroyed.

“The matter has been reported to police,” he said, adding that someone had also tampered with his illuminated signs.

“In fact, I have been forced to buy and install GPS trackers for some of my signs.”

He took to Facebook in what he labelled “an important message”.

“Please leave my family alone and stop harassing us,” he wrote.

“You’re ringing my wife Mary and scaring my children and abusing the hell out (of) her because she is so supportive of her husband.”

He asked why he was being sent hate mail.

“Trust me you will be exposed for who and what you are sending your trolls around to do your dirty work,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Remember, there is a God.”