hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


September 27, 2012

Political signs stifling our environment


You’re probably wondering, “What’s getting into Vartabedian? Is he losing his marbles?”

No, simply venting my rage. On occasion, I like to be controversial, even at the risk of irritating a few politicians. So what I’m proposing is this.

All those running for public office should refrain from erecting their wares. Stay clear of the roads. That way, you could save some precious dollars and invest in another campaign like radio, newspapers and television.

No need to worry about opponents defacing your signs or seeing them fall prey to Mother Nature. It seems that the bigger signs dwarf the small signs, so unless you have one the size of Godzilla, don’t even bother.

Over the years, I’ve seen signs tacked on trees, hanging from people’s porches, in their gardens and on their lawns. I’ve seen them hung in windows and held by pollsters the day of an election.

This is the voice of experience talking. I ran for public office once while attending Boston University in my youth. The guy I was running against was the clear-cut favorite.

Not one sign was erected. While other candidates had them plastered on the walls of our cafeteria and recreation hall, I chose a more subtle approach. After some thought, I decided to unleash a “cents-si-ble” campaign.

I had a thousand cards printed up. On each one was a shiny penny with the inscription: “A penny saved is a penny plus interest. I’d appreciate yours.” The year was 1960 and I was attending BU on $1,250 a semester.

Well, anyway, the strategy paid dividends. I wound up as class treasurer, nixed my accounting major, switched to journalism, and wound up a happy pauper. Never did earn much of a salary as a reporter, but what the heck. I’m still writing today and happy with my life.

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