Voters are not the only Westporters turned off by political signs.
Candidates are too.
In fact, they dislike them so much — the expense, the putting-up-and-taking-down, the “arms race” feeling they engender and the animus they create — that one local politician proposes a solution:
Get rid of them entirely.
The idea comes from an RTM candidate. He (or she) agreed not to be named, because the goal here is sanity and a less visually polluted streetscape, not self-promotion.
But here is his (or her) plan:
In the next election cycle, give candidates the option to donate the money they’d otherwise spend on signs to a fund that would create a website. The site would include pertinent information about all candidates who participate, with a link to their own personal web pages.
There would be plenty of publicity, so voters would know which candidates are voluntarily forgoing yard signs, in favor of the website. Each candidate’s financial contribution would be posted on the site.
Each candidate would design their own page. They could write or post as much information as they’d like, including videos.
In addition, each RTM district could hold candidates debates — perhaps at the library. They’d be videotaped, and posted on the website too.
Part of the funds used for signs could instead help rent commercial space downtown. (There’s no shortage of empty stores!) Candidates could have “office hours,” when voters would drop in and ask questions.
Parents could bring their children, to learn about the political process. (After which, they’d all go shopping downtown.)
“I’ve been chased by people and bitten by 3 dogs, among other things,” the candidate says.
“And I can’t blame homeowners. I don’t like it when people come to my door either.
“An opt-in, robust central information repository, and ‘office hours’ for the public to talk to each candidate, just makes more sense to me.”