October 31, 2004 in City

Spare yourself sign trouble on Halloween: Take ‘em in

Jim Camden The Spokesman-Review
 

The newspaper has received numerous calls, letters and e-mails from local political activists complaining that campaign signs are being stolen and destroyed.

A Republican wrote to say that someone put up 40 Bush-Cheney signs one day, and only 15 were left the following morning. A Democrat wrote to say that their Kerry-Edwards sign was uprooted, ripped to shreds and set on fire.

Both sides accuse the other of dastardly pilferage and believe their side would never stoop to such tactics. While the newspaper has neither the time nor the person-power to investigate or arbitrate these things, Spin Control will take a wild guess (based on years of experience) and say both sides are partially right, and partially wrong.

Some of the sign pilferage is a poorly orchestrated effort by marginally motivated politicos who think they can help their cause by removing symbols of the other cause. Neither party holds the franchise for this activity. They are misguided because signs just keep springing up like dandelions in summer.

But much of the sign pilferage is just plain nonpartisan vandalism. Leave stuff in the right-of-way, and it’s a target for any Yahoo passing by.

It’s a shame, an affront to free speech, a sign of decay in American morality or civility or whatever. But quit complaining and start thinking defensively.

While the newspaper won’t investigate, won’t arbitrate, and won’t even take any more calls on this topic, Spin Control will offer the following advice:

It is Halloween. Your signs are never in more danger than they are over the next 24 hours. Provided that you are wearing more than a robe and slippers, go outside, pick up your sign, and move it into the house, the garage or the back yard until sometime Monday.

If you aren’t properly attired, spare your neighbors and write yourself a note to do it as soon as you are.

Don’t call us, we won’t call you

The biggest benefit of Nov. 3 is likely to be coming home to an answering machine with messages that one really wants to hear, rather than the robo-calls from Dino Rossi, Tom Foley, Chris Gregoire, Jennifer Dunn and Bill Clinton.

Not that there isn’t an occasional chuckle, like when the former president calls his party’s would-be governor “Chris Greg-WAH,” like he was in France (or maybe Louisiana).

Or when Foley advocates for a congressional candidate who won’t fall back on “politics as usual.” Isn’t that what Republicans hit him with in 1994?

On the Web

The pollsters say there aren’t many undecided voters left in the presidential race. For those who haven’t picked a candidate, there’s no telling what will clinch the deal.

But for those voters who aren’t planning to just flip a coin when marking the ballot, there is an interesting new Web site by ElectionMall Technologies Inc. that offers clips from the presidential debates, searchable by topic and question. It also offers daily political updates and commentary. It’s at www.electionmall.tv/debate.htm.

And for those who have decided, and decided that the election could use a little more fun, try an on-line election game at www.smu.edu/ballotbyte. The bipartisan game was put together by Southern Methodist University student Ray Barbiero for a class assignment.

Catch the candidates

Washington candidates are crisscrossing the state – Democrats on a train, Republican George Nethercutt on a bus – but no big gatherings are on tap before Election Day. That night, Spokane-area Democrats will be at the Ridpath Hotel, and Republicans will be just a short stumble away, at the Davenport Hotel.

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