Election signs safer on lawns

Editor, The News:

I was involved with the NDP’s sign crew in the 2006 federal election.  I and my partner on the sign crew were kept busy many nights repairing as many existing signs as putting up new ones.

I will never forget being shocked and disappointed to read a newspaper article which seemed to suggest that only the other parties’ signs were significantly affected.  I knew from daily experience that our signs were suffering at least as much “attrition” as anyone else’s.

Most vandalism seemed to be the work of drunk drivers.  Lots of signs had simply been driven over; you could see the tire tracks.  The rest could be explained by random, angry types who express themselves by smashing things.

You’d have to ask them what personal need they are satisfying, I have no idea.

In a few more extreme instances, someone had taken the extra time to slash the commercially printed plastic sign with a knife so they would be permanently unusable.

That type of damage tends to indicate someone who understands enough about an election campaign to know that one cannot practically order more of these signs when there’s only a couple of weeks left to election day.

That minority of cases could reasonably be thought of as politically informed in a perverse kind of way, and politically motivated.

In 2008 and again this year, there have been some really spectacular election vandalism stories coming out of Ontario, such as 100 large highway signs identically spray painted on a single night, brake lines severed, tires slashed, and cars keyed.

Either there are far more drunks and angries per capita in Ontario than here, or else there really is some organized effort going on, and it would be nice if the police found out who is doing it.

One thing I have noticed is that the smaller signs on residential property are rarely affected.

Whoever the vandals are, they don’t seem to be willing to trespass on their neighbour’s lawn in order to make their point.

Perhaps there’s a lesson there for party organizations who don’t want to waste cash and volunteer time maintaining signs in higher risk locations.

D. Rodney Smelser

Maple Ridge