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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Contest searches for signs of political placard pollution

The northeast corner of Freya and Palouse Highway is littered with campaign signs in preparation from the November 2014 election. (Doug Clark / The Spokesman-Review)
The northeast corner of Freya and Palouse Highway is littered with campaign signs in preparation from the November 2014 election. (Doug Clark / The Spokesman-Review)

Raise your hand if you’ve ever voted for someone because of a campaign sign.

Thought so.

Campaign signs are ugly and worthless.

Fall is such a lovely time. The air turns brisk. I’m told the leaves change color, too.

I wouldn’t know because all those gaudy awful political signs are in the way.

French and Fitzgerald.

Larry and Ozzie.

Benn, Biviano and Beggs. Oh, my.

And just what in hell is a Pakootas, anyway?

Sign. Signs.

Blockin’ out the scenery, breaking my mind.


Anyway, if I had the power here’s what I’d do.

Anyone wanting to litter the landscape with crass campaign signage would first have to fill out a mountain of intrusive paperwork and then submit to an IRS probe.

Sadly, I don’t have the power.

All I can do is rave and rant and tell you about the exciting prizes that can be yours by winning my first-ever Sign Gripe Contest.

Use the contact information below to send me your nominations for the worst real estate polluted by politics.

Sorry. The City Council Chambers don’t count.

This is about placards – not blowhards.

Make sure to include your name and phone number along with some sassy prose on why you hate campaign signs, too.

I’ll check the locations out. The top three will win a copy of “Singin’ the News,” my bootleg parody CD.

The Grand Prize winner will also receive one of the highly prized “Jim West for Mayor of Spokane” signs that have been stored for posterity in my garage since the recall election.

I can’t enter my own contest, of course.

But if I could I would nominate the northeast corner of Freya Street and Palouse Highway.

There are far more egregious examples, I’m sure.

But this spot annoys the hell out of me because I pass it whenever I drive to the assisted living place where my mom lives.

At the corner, a modest weedy mound has been infected with an outbreak of advertising for judicial candidates Bugbee, Trageser, Derr and Leland.

There’s a Baumgartner for state Senate. Plus one biggie-sized Joe Pakootas for Congress.

Yes. I knew all along what a Pakootas was.

He’s the name on one of the most drab, uninspired political signs I’ve ever seen.

Not that quality counts.

Basically, the debate over campaign yard signs boils down to two opposing camps.

The cons dismiss the value of yard signs because “signs don’t vote.”

The pro side is all about “name recognition.” Candidates supposedly receive this pixie dust by putting up political signs.

The more signs, the more magic.

I don’t care. I’m just sick of the damn clutter.

The hodgepodge begins months before every election.

Then after the vote, the names tend to hang around like visiting relatives or a case of shingles.

Losers, I believe, linger longer than victors.

I have no evidence to prove this. But coming back from a mom visit the other day, I nearly veered off the road from the shock of what was nailed to the bark of a perfectly good pine tree.

There it was in red, white and loser blue.

Romney/Ryan for president.

Join my fight. Stop the blight!

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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