Category Archives: 2013 election

Now what do I do with yesterday’s political signs?

Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, November 6, 2013

‘Tis the season when winners exult, losers lament, and all of us wonder what do do with our growing collection of political signs and their metal supports (AKA wickets).

Yesterday they were so important to sway voters’ minds… and now??

If your candidate might ever run again for the same office, save the sign in garage or basement. A little rust won’t hurt; in fact, it makes them more secure in the ground.

And be sure to keep a sign as a memento of any campaign of historic importance… like this week’s bipartisan team victory in the West Chester Area School Board race.


The paper or plastic part of signs makes a good paint drop cloth. Add more signs to cover more area. Or cut the plastic signs at the sides; they fold out to twice as large.

The metal part is excellent for propping up floppy bushes and flowers.

For lower plants, cut or bend the supports.

The collapsible type of wickets, whose two legs come off, are a terrible pain in political use (because the legs keep falling off), but the components are great for individual plant supports (with ties or string).

Here’s a remedy for those hangers that dry cleaners send back pants hanging on, and whose sticky cardboard crosspiece always sags: cut a piece of wicket to the right length and insert it inside the cardboard. That one won’t ever sag again!

Garden netting to keep off birds and rodents: To stitch together segments, whether vertically or horizontally, straighten out a wicket (they are surprisingly long in a straight line) and threat through the two adjoining segments.

How to cut, bend, or straighten? Use gloves! By brute hand strength, or use pliers. Bend repeatedly to cut. Hack saws take too long; this is tough metal!

The type of wicket that looks like a ladder or football goalpost with two prongs extending up into a corrugated sign are great for plants but not much else.

How about campaign buttons (pins)? Save them for future use or collect them. Yes, buttons are collectibles. Just think of the value if one of your candidates ever becomes president! You can get most presidential pins for a few dollars on Ebay (search “vintage political pins” but wouldn’t the future president for, say, town supervisor be worth a lot? Has anyone ever seen a “Coolidge for Mayor of Northampton Mass.” button?

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Filed under 2013 election, Nathaniel Smith

My name is David Koch…

My name is David Koch

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by | November 4, 2013 · 3:48 pm

Support teachers on Nov. 5

Two thoughts from Viva #WCASD on YouTube:

Keep calm

Teaching creates

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Filed under 2013 election, Education and schools

Promises, promises

Here’s my current favorite campaign promise, from at least two West Chester Borough Council candidates’ mailers: Balanced budgets without raising taxes (their emphasis).

Well, great. Who could oppose that? If anyone knew that secret, think how much better things would go in Harrisburg and Washington!

Some candidates promise to secure outside funding for important local projects. If anyone knew that secret, think how much better things would go in every county and municipality across the country!

Then candidates promise “openness” and “transparency”; I’m not quite sure how that goes beyond the state’s excellent Sunshine Act and Right to Know regulations.

It’s already illegal for an elected body to make decisions in secret (with some limited exceptions like personnel matters). The public can already contact their officials, attend meetings, and make comments at the meetings before a vote is taken. Transparency and openness are strongly in place; the public just has to care.

And of course candidates are all going to meet regularly with their future constituents, respect all opinions, and answer all emails. All I can say is: winners who don’t follow through deserve public critique.

And they are all trustworthy, public-spirited folks who want to make a difference and give back to their community (two of my least favorite expressions).

In many cases, someone in a party office or outside organization (thanks to the wisdom of the Roberts court) writes these flyers up and sends out variants on behalf of their favored candidates.

But very few candidates mention their party affiliation or what outside organizations support them. Some, after they win the election, truly listen to constituents, learn on the job, and exercise independent judgment; some (as we see all too often in Washington) don’t know how, don’t care, or don’t dare.

I’m a detail person myself. In my view:

1) Comparison shop, and if 2+ candidates use the same wording, it’s probably not their own;

2) In a local election, candidates are often at the polls asking for your vote. And they should be! Their mailers and flyers have told you what they want to do; now ask them how they are going to carry out their promises and where the money is going to come from–before you go in to vote.

3) Ask candidates if they agree or disagree with their own party’s standard positions on issues important to you.

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Filed under 2013 election, Local govt & politics, Nathaniel Smith