Signs, Signs, Too Many Signs

Home Forums Ottawa Municipal Election 2018: Comment And Debate Signs, Signs, Too Many Signs

This topic contains 14 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by The Voter 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #750726 Reply

    sisco farraro

    At election time, be it federal, provincial or municipal, our city landscape is beset with signs containing the names of candidates who will be running within the various ridings and wards.

    Some of these signs are small and generally appear in clusters, some medium-sized, some are large, and a few are enormous. And there are so many. Do candidates who post the most signs feel they are more job-worthy and smarter? This has concerned me for quite some time and when I was in my 20s I decided I would vote for the candidate who placed the fewest signs at the side of the road and on lawns.

    I know the knowledgeable readers of The Bulldog are cringing at the fact I wasn’t making an intelligent decision based on the issues at hand but this was many, many years ago and I only voted this way once. As it turned out, the decision was more difficult than I had anticipated because when I went to vote my ballot contained three names I was unfamiliar with – a communist, a member of the Rhino party and an independent candidate.

    If memory serves, I think I chose the Rhino candidate. While I don’t object to seeing a few strategically-placed signs at the side of the road, plantations of, say, “I’m Jim Watson vote for me” signs, are visual pollutants. Do I stand alone concerning this issue? If not, is there any way we can adopt legislation to limit the number of signs that are erected?

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    #750734 Reply

    Ron Benn

    Signs are, by their very nature, a distraction. The people who put them up want you to look at the sign. They put signs up where they think people will see them, including along roadways. How does this square with the current push from distracted driving? Do the candidates care? I am sure they’ll get right on it, after the election.

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    #750770 Reply

    sisco farraro

    Ron:

    After I composed my thoughts, I realized that for some people this is an opportunity for them to get their Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame.

    Mercifully some of these people don’t get elected and we won’t need to comment about them on The Bulldog. These unknowns quietly fade away much as their signs do once the election is over.

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    #750777 Reply

    The Voter

    Perhaps what we need is a limit in either the total number of signs a candidate can put up or a limit in the total square footage of their signs. Then the candidate would have to choose between the available locations to get the most bang for their buck while simultaneously not sullying every inch of the riding/ward with signage. They would have to register their sign locations to ensure they were respecting the limits.

    For a well-financed campaign, there are no restraints on plastering signs on any blank space whether that be a piece of earth, a window or the side of a building. Since incumbents have a garage full of signs, as well as funds, from previous runs at office, they can get out early to take over the prime locations. That gives them an unfair advantage over other candidates. I’m not sure how you get around that.

    One of the most annoying types of sign display is the use of a series of identical signs for the same candidate placed a few feet apart, usually near a street corner. One candidate slaps up four or five signs on each of the approaches to the corner and, within a day or so, the others have followed suit, often with larger signs. The more prominent the street corner, the larger and more numerous the signs. In one location near me, this invariably means that the sight line from the bus stop is blocked so you can’t see anything coming. In some places, there are so many signs that it’s virtually impossible to read any of them.

    On second thought, let’s abolish election signs altogether! What purpose do they serve anyway? They don’t contain enough information to help you choose who you’ll vote for. Some people see lawn signs as an indication of the support in the community for a candidate. What they aren’t factoring in is that people will tell the first person who asks that they can put up a sign since it means that others will then leave them alone. It has nothing to do with their voting intentions. With a secret ballot, I can tell the canvassers anything and they have no way of knowing if it’s how I will vote. If someone were wavering in the decision and the old curmudgeon down the block puts up a sign for Candidate/Party X, it could send some people into the arms of Candidate/Party Y.

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    #750784 Reply

    sisco farraro

    In 2014 one of the candidates who ran in Osgoode ward told the throngs he would place 10 signs only. They were all large, home-made, and mostly appeared in farm fields. Locating the signs was sort of like a game for me. Each time I saw on I thought “aha, there’s another one”. I never did find all 10 but of note, the candidate finished second in the ward in voting.

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    #750804 Reply

    Ron Benn

    Voter, in response to your comment about the curmudgeon down the block, I resemble that remark.

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    #750810 Reply

    Chaz

    To the Voter,
    I’m with Ron. I’m gonna try that tactic,
    skoal,
    Ole Curmudgeon – Chaz

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    #750821 Reply

    The Voter

    All these curmudgeons coming out of the woodwork – who knew?

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    #750820 Reply

    The Voter

    Now, Ron, I never called you a curmudgeon but if you wish to self-identify as such and the shoe fits …

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    #750846 Reply

    Ron Benn

    Voter: Self identified, and not only does the shoe fit, it is down right comfortable.

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    #752095 Reply

    The Voter

    I suppose I should point out a clear advantage of municipal amalgamation here. We’ve eliminated a whole layer of signs along with the lower-tier governments. Something to thank Glen Shortliffe and Mike Harris for after all.

    That should put the cat among the pigeons.

    Yes, I am trying to yank a few chains here.

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    #752244 Reply

    Sisco Farraro

    Update. Now add to the signs a series of telephone calls, 3 from my local PC candidate, plus one from Doug Ford who has a surprisingly cheery voice, and the one from Kathleen Wynne I mentioned earlier. The current tally is Liberals 1, PCs 4, everyone else 0. And a new group has joined the fray with 3 or 4 calls (or rather, interruptions in my life), the pollsters. If memory serves, we are told the “margin of error” for a poll is roughly 3% 19 times out of 20 given a sample size of at least 1,000. In the last Ontario provincial election no polls predicted the Liberals would win a majority government. Is this because people who respond are tired of being bombarded with information for 2 to 3 months and have decided to tell little white lies when the pollsters came to call? So far I haven’t provided the same answers in any of the polls in which I’ve participated. As with a new child some people don’t want to know the baby’s sex before it’s born, I don’t want to know what the results of the election will be before the first voter has stepped in the door to vote.

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    #752396 Reply

    The Voter

    I always wonder who gets those calls from pollsters. Sisco, you’re the first person I’ve heard of in ages that they’ve contacted and you were thus blessed 4 times, no less!!
    It certainly raises the question of how representative a poll is. Add to that the strong possibility that you aren’t the only respondent not telling them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and the results have to be taken with a grain of salt.

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    #752496 Reply

    sisco farraro

    Voter (and don’t forget to do your thing tomorrow). I think the reason we have received calls from so many pollsters recently is because we still use a landline. I’m guessing the pollsters’ calls are made randomly to numbers chosen from the phone directory which has shrunk as many people opt to use cell phone as their only method of contact.

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    #752812 Reply

    The Voter

    Hey, Sisco, of course I voted. I am, after all, The Voter. In fact, I voted weeks ago following half of the old adage, “Vote early and vote often”.

    2+



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