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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Campaign drain

Forgive the absence of my blog for the last few days. Election season is busy season in the newspaper biz, and free time has been more difficult to come by than usual.

That said, a few election season observations:

* Those campaign signs that dot lawns and roadsides around the region are ugly enough, but the newest trend is a downright eyesore: All of a sudden, signs that are almost the size of billboards are popping up around the Kingston area – specifically signs for Ulster County DA candidate Vince Bradley Jr., Kingston Mayor James Sottile and the Democratic ticket in the town of Ulster. The most ghastly of the bunch is the Bradley sign outside the Hoffman House (which is owned by the candidate’s uncle) on North Front Street in Uptown Kingston. The campaign sign stands next to – and is significantly larger than – the Hoffman House sign, and it sticks out like a sore thumb on the Colonial-era property. Campaign signs are not subject to municipal sign laws (because they’re temporary, not permanent), but perhaps the candidates could put a little more thought into their size and placement.

* Since when do write-in candidates get to participate in major debates? I, for one, was stunned to see that unofficial candidate Lisa Cutten was invited to the Kingston mayoral debate that was held during the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday morning at the Kingston Holiday Inn. In reality, everyone is a write-in candidate because voters can write in any name they choose. Does that mean that everyone who might get a vote or two in the Kingston mayoral race should have been invited to speak on Wednesday? I think not.

* A lot of my time at the Freeman these days is spent reading election stories that go into our daily paper or that will appear in a special election section on Nov. 1, and I never cease to marvel at how unimaginative the candidates’ platforms are. Candidate after candidate after candidate says he or she wants to lower taxes, develop the local economy, attract businesses and create jobs. Noble goals, all. But I truly wish these candidates would tell us how they intend to achieve them.

* Lastly, I noticed in reading a story about Ulster County Legislature District 1 that Legislator Sue Cummings, an Ellenville Republican who is seeking re-election, is serving her 11th two-year term. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to serve in local government for more than two or three years, much less 22, but Ms. Cummings obviously enjoys what she does, and I respect her desire to stick with it.



Blogger Dave said...

This was the first time I read your blog. You should be writting the editorials for the Freeman. You got your point across quite affectively without resorting to name calling or coming off as "holier than thou" as has been the case of many editorials over the past 18 months or so.
In regard to the campaign signs, the expanded use of the "massive sign" has created a hideous City landscape. I certainly hope this will not be the trend of the future.

October 19, 2007 at 9:58 AM 

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