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Sign-hating Californians

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CALIFORNIA: It seemed like a good idea at thetime. Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection

CALIFORNIA

"Out here, people don't like signs." So said Sheriff's Deputy Rob McDaniels to the Point Reyes Light in December, after apprehending "Sensitive Sean" for stealing more than 20 no-parking signs. This small community on the Northern California coast –– let's just call it "Anonymous," since the locals have asked us not to reveal its name –– boasts hobbit-esque wood homes snuggled in lush foliage within earshot of the Pacific's waves. Its residents tend to be aging hippies, who've been here since real estate was cheap, along with a handful of millionaires escaping the urban frenzy and a few youngsters trying to recapture the countercultural vibe that once made the town famous, though now it's likely to cost $1 million or more to buy into it. The town has a proud reputation for vanishing signs: Whenever a highway placard is installed, it almost immediately disappears, stolen by reclusive locals. (Which is, incidentally, why High Country News decided not to print its name; we couldn't face having that many copies of our paper stolen.) It almost seems as if stealing signs has nudged its way into the town's DNA. It's not just highway or no parking signs: A few years back, someone absconded with 90 parking barricades. They've never been found.

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