August 12, 2007 in City

Presidential candidate’s signs sighted among local placards

Jim Camden The Spokesman-Review
 

Look closely at the campaign signs multiplying in the rights-of-way faster than milfoil in a lake, and you might notice one for a candidate who isn’t even running this year.

Signs for Ron Paul, GOP candidate for president in 2008, are competing for attention with local mayoral and council wannabes.

Paul, a Texas congressman who has a vocal and active following, is setting himself apart from the other GOP candidates in the debates as the only one calling for a pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq. He’s known for a strict adherence to his view of the Constitution, which leads him to vote no on most spending bills and oppose the Patriot Act.

Like Howard Dean in 2004, Paul supporters hold “meet ups” – sessions where they get together and talk about the latest developments in campaign or policy. Robert Chase, a Paul supporter in Liberty Lake, said the local meet-up group, not the Paul campaign, is responsible for the signs.

They pitched in at the last meet up and raised enough money to print about 500 signs and 50 banners, and began putting them up around the area in an attempt to “make a splash.” Chase said they realize they may need to keep splashing until November 2008, but they’re prepared to replace the signs as needed.

Meet-up participants are often a mix of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and independents, Chase said. “Mostly it’s old-style Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan small-government Republicans” who are hoping to wrest control of the party from the neo-cons, he said.

Those with decent memories might recall Chase was the 2002 Libertarian candidate for Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District seat. Those with really good memories would remember Paul was the Libertarian candidate for president in 1988, although he served as a Republican member of the U.S. House before the election and went back to the House in 1996 as a Republican.

So would Paul make a run as a third party candidate if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination? And would this mix of disenchanted Republicans and disenchanted Democrats follow him?

Too early to tell, Chase said: “He’s the only Republican who is anti-war, and the war is going to be a big issue.”

Not signing their signs

Also in the realm of unusual signs, Mayor Dennis Hession appears to have some virulent, if not particularly well-funded, opposition on the North Side. A few hand-made signs have sprouted on stakes in rights-of-way, or taped to boxes on traffic islands. The beef would appear to be the proposed changes in garbage collection in some alleys, although there’s no way of double-checking because nothing on the signs denotes a person willing to take credit (or blame).

That may not be very brave, but it’s not a violation of state law. Yard signs, or any sign smaller than 8 feet by 4 feet, don’t have to carry a sponsorship line, a state Public Disclosure Commission spokeswoman said.

Rules of engagement

The city, however, does have laws governing other aspects of signs, such as where they can’t be – on private property without the owner’s permission, on city park property, on city property beyond the right-of-way, any place that blocks pedestrians. Signs in residential zones can’t be bigger than 15 square feet. Signs in nonresidential zones can’t be bigger than 32 square feet.

Suspected violations can be reported on a complaint form at Community Oriented Policing Services stations.

Those helpful reminders came courtesy of the city public information office.

Pop, pop, GigaPop. Pop

If there were an award for the silliest stunt ever devised for a ceremonial opening, the launch of the Inland Northwest GigaPop network would rate at least a nomination.

A GigaPop network, for those who don’t speak computer, is a way to move Carl Sagan-size hunks of data – billions and billions of bytes – around. To welcome the new network to Spokane, politicians, scientists and academics from many levels got together to thank each other for all the heavy lifting they did to find money and spend it.

Speechmaking is pretty standard stuff whenever a whiz-bang gizmo worth seven figures shows up here. But depicting the gizmo is always a problem. Here’s what the launch folks decided: Take two big hoses with lights inside and put them on a stage in a WSU-Spokane lecture hall, just behind the lectern where the honorables will be making congratulatory speeches. Leave the lights off in one, but make them blink off and on in the other. For good measure, vary the blinking speeds, so as to be even more annoying than a steady blink would be. When everyone is finished with their Academy Awards-style speeches (“I’d like to thank the senator, the congresswoman, the Legislature, the administration, the scientists …”), bring the honorables up on stage, ceremoniously connect the blinking hose with the nonblinking hose so that you have one big blinking hose.

And set off a confetti bomb above the audience, with a loud POP. For GigaPop, of course.

Catch the candidates

Aug. 19: Televised mayoral debate produced by KSPS-TV. 7 p.m. on Channel 7.


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