Here's the scoop: October 23, 2013

A colorful season
The colors at this time of year are a crazy mix — the greens, yellows, reds — and the blacks, whites and blues. Especially the blues! They’re all out there. It’s quite spectacular — in an odd sort of way.
The funny thing is one day there’s no color at all and the next, this unnatural kaleidoscope dominates the landscape. How all these wild political signs appear so quickly is anyone’s guess?
I’ve never actually seen anyone along a roadside pounding these little sign frames into the turf. During the Political Season (it’s the fifth season and starts just at the end of summer and extends the Peak Color period), new signs appear faster than dandelions in spring. But how?

My guess is that the folks who put these signs in the ground perform these tasks as a way to make a few extra dollars. Sign placement is a second job, so it’s usually done after dark. Or, maybe the people putting up the signs don’t want to be tied to a losing candidate?

This newspaper has recently run letters complaining about the theft of political signs. The good news is that this crime doesn’t result in the same dangers as college students thinking it’s cool to have a STOP sign hanging in their dorm room wall. Still, the removal of political signs is plenty annoying to some people — mostly to the people who paid for these public reminders.

Lots of variety
I really enjoy studying the types of signs that candidates use. The thrifty folks look ahead to next election, dutifully storing away their signs for use a few years down the road (more accurately, along the road).
The really sharp candidates point to this strategy as an example of their fiscal restraint. Of course, they never mention that their spouse has spent the years between campaigns loudly wondering, “Can’t you throw those things out and just get new ones the next time you run?”
While most politicians pride themselves on their ability to “listen to the people,” this trait usually doesn’t apply when it comes to throwing out campaign signs.

Stressful times
As an elected official myself, I understand the hard work and stress that go into a political campaign. No one likes to lose. This year’s local races seem more heated than ever, with just about every township having more candidates than positions vacant. I guess it’s just a sign of the times.
When it comes to the previously mentioned problem of sign theft, I always wonder what the “takers” do with the signs? Mutilation is an option. Tossing signs in the bushes is an easy choice, but that brings up a litter issue.
Then, of course, if the candidates whose signs are being removed win anyhow (due to savvy advertising in the Catskill Mountain News), the people who tore the winners’ signs from the ground can always make a shrewd choice — planting those signs proudly on their own lawn on the morning of November 6.
— Brian Sweeney