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Slowik sign changes arrive

Last week, many residents and elected officials complained to the Oak Harbor city administration and the News-Times that a candidate for mayor hadn’t removed the city logo look-a-like from his campaign signs, which they think he should have done by Aug. 9.

But Jim Slowik, a businessman running for mayor, said it’s all a misunderstanding resulting from a communication error.

In a letter dated July 23, Slowik’s attorney, Chris Skinner, wrote to City Attorney Phil Bleyhl that Slowik does not agree that the double-sail design on his sign infringes on the city’s logo. Nevertheless, he agreed to stop using it.

The letter promises that Slowik and his campaign committee will modify the existing campaign signs dotting the city’s landscape with a “’stick on’ of some sort.”

The problem is with the timing. According to the letter in the city file — which has widely circulated in the community — Slowik promised to begin the modifications on the signs within 10 to 14 days.

Thus, some people began to criticize him after the two-week deadline passed and nothing was changed.

“I guess his word isn’t good,” said Councilman Paul Brewer, who is running for mayor against Slowik.

But Slowik said Skinner delivered a second letter to the city with a lengthier, 30-day deadline after the campaign committee checked with the printer.

“We realized we couldn’t make the original time limit,” Slowik said.

The problem, Slowik said, is that the custom-made, vinyl decal which will cover the logo on each sign takes time to design and print, then there’s the laborious process of putting the decals on hundreds of signs.

Bleyhl said he has no record of receiving a second letter, but he has no problem with a 30-day deadline. He said he realizes it can take a lot of time to make such changes. He pointed out that Slowik has quickly changed the logo on campaign literature and ads in the News-Times, though his Web site still features the double-sail design.

Even if Slowik refused to change the logo, Bleyhl said it’s not clear what the city could or should do. He said it would be a bad idea to jump into the issue right now.

“I will recommend to the mayor and council not to take any legal action until after the election,” he said, adding that he would need to consult with an outside attorney on trademark law.

As for Slowik, he and his supporters started placing the new decals on his signs this week, ahead of the 30-day deadline. Ironically, the decals feature a check mark in a box, which is somewhat similar to the logo on signs for Sue Karahalios, who is also running for mayor.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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