Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Campaign signs are getting out of control

Political campaigns are won by inches, by individual votes and by small victory after small victory.

So it is understandable that those running for office this year will seek out and use any advantage they can. One more telephone call, one more hand shaken, one more sign put out.

One more sign?

From the looks of some neighborhoods, the battle to control the public landscape with signs touting one's candidacy has gone out of hand.

The signs are more prolific, they are up earlier in the campaign and they are, well, larger.

Small yard signs have been replaced with huge banners, covering up fences and walls.

These signs are not the familiar banners and placards held by candidates along the road. Those have become an entrenched part of our political process, although we would prefer to see signholding by the candidate and perhaps his or her immediate family rather than hordes of people who have been drafted for the cause.

As far as the yard signs go, there is nothing illegal about them, nor should there be. Free speech includes the right to obnoxious free speech.

But you'd think the candidates would agree voluntarily to an end to this campaign sign "arms race." To make this happen, voters will have to be sophisticated enough to recognize that the value of a candidate is not measured by the number, size or colors of his or her campaign signs.

Hawai'i has a proud history of keeping its public landscape free of irritating and obtrusive signs, billboards and the like.

We're looking for candidates who will honor that history rather than desecrate it with excessive, unnecessary and ultimately counterproductive public signs.