Friday, August 26, 2005

signs, signs, everywhere signs.....

Make no mistake about it, there is a war going on out there, and like warfare there are very few rules about what is and isn't allowed. It is the War of the Signs!

I'd always heard about how rough and tumble Boston politics is, and it is true. My first battle, appropriately, (like the revolutionaries who fought first for freedom) was at Bunker Hill. Or is it Breeds Hill? Anyway, the night before the Bunker Hill Parade Jeff and I put up a number of signs along the parade route. There were also a plethora of signs for Menino, Flaherty, Connolly usually grouped together as a gang of three. Well sure enough, the next morning at the parade about half of my signs had been taken down, but funny enough, none from those three peas in a pod seemed to be missing. And this was before I was even on anyone's radar map as a candidate. What do these so called democrats have against freedom of expression????

Recently I was driving along Centre Street in Jamaica Plain going towards the Faulkner Hospital. There is a bluff there where politicians often put their signs. I was with Clara and I said what the heck, lets ask the owner of the property if we could put our sign there. Already, there were signs for Flaherty, White, and O'Malley, 4 feet by 8 feet Big, so I thought this was probably a strong union person but it never hurts to ask in life (unless you want information from City Hall or the BRA, then it is slow, painful torture to ask). We knocked on the door and met this wonderful woman "Bethel" who is a history teacher in the Boston Public Schools. She said we would be welcome to put up a sign there. She said because she believes in democracy so she lets people put signs up there because she thinks the people should know who is running.
Then she told us something that I still can't believe, she said the first two signs that were put up by O'Malley and Flaherty THEY NEVER EVEN ASKED HER FOR PERMISSION!!! The Patricia White people did ask for permission, and she was glad to oblige.

Two things that are hard to believe: one that this woman cares so much for democracy that she lets people advertise on her soil even the ones that are too callous to even ask. Two, that these guys are so audacious to do this. I guess that Howie Carr article about the Flaherty's may have some truth to it when he said in regard to the Flaherty's "what's theirs is theirs, and what's yours is theirs". It never ceases to amaze me how much some people love this country and the freedoms that we ideally stand for, and how far from these ideals some politicians are.

So, look for our nice red sign that says "Not Like the Others!" on her peak overlooking JP. We invited her to our open house which is tonight, I hope she comes by, and I'm sure she is a wonderful teacher.

Speaking of outlandish, one of my summer interns from Roxbury is Amanda. She put a couple of my signs on her mothers house. Well, a couple of days ago someone from Althea Garrison's campaign came over and put Althea signs right OVER my signs, of course without permission. This is probably trespassing, destruction of property, who knows what else. The battle is being fought hand to hand in the 'hood it seems. Needless to say we took down her signs, and I called her (him?) up and she said something about "her and her peoples were running a different kind of campaign". Well, it doesn't seem too different from the Menino, Flaherty, Connolly, etc. campaigns....

Finally, as many people know I'm a contractor and I often shop at the Evil Empire (otherwise known as home depot which is a microcosm for everything going wrong in our business world but that story is for another day). One of the salesman there saw my T-shirt that I was running for city council and he approached me and said he'd like to put a sign up in his lawn. He told me that he lived next door to Sam Yoon and that the Yoon's had not exactly been the friendliest of neighbors and that he would support anyone who is running against Yoon. Of course, I was only too happy to oblige anyone who would put a sign up in their yard. A few weeks later, I saw him and asked how things were going and he told me that the day after he put the sign up in his yard someone keyed his truck. He acknowledged that it could have been just coincidence, but said that he had lived there for years, always parked his truck in the same place and never had a problem. Until he put the sign up.

I have heard stories from other campaigns about intimidation towards people who put up signs, stories about people going around in trucks taking others signs down, etc. People should become politicians because they want to serve, not because they need a job.

Just for the record...We only put signs up where we have asked people. We are not going to take anyone else's signs down. We think it is hurtful to democracy to engage in this, and it brings us all down to the lowest common denominator.

After reading all that....if anyone would like to put one of our signs up, please send an email or call 617-267-2453.


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