By Politicus Ebonus Abyssus
Everywhere there’s signs
Blocking up the scenery
Breaking up my mind
Do this, don’t do that
Can’t you read the sign
It’s election season and signs are popping up throughout Troy. No matter whom you support, or don’t support, signs are starting to catch our interests and imaginations.
As with the last several elections, Mirch and company are using their positions in city government to ensure that King Tut’s signs are up and Democratic signs are taken down whenever possible. Several citizens have told me they were forced to remove their signs supporting democratic candidates because they supposedly violated city codes. Because of the fear of reprisals, these individuals requested their identities be protected.
Additionally, a number of individuals have been approached by King Tut’s minions and offered money to exchange for displaying a sign. We heard that at least one person turned them down, but we suspect that many did not. While renting space for signs is not illegal, we hope that King Tut’s financial statements adequately reflect these payments.
We suspect that there will be more gamesmanship around signs. And we’ll make sure you are the first to hear the full story.
The inevitable sign wars begin. We haven't seen any signs vanishing....yet. Unfortunately, this seems to be part and parcel of campaigns in this area.
Ironically, many longtime politicos downplay the efficacy of campaign signs, believing they have no, or little, effect. They're akin to some sort of vestigial political organ that we maintain for no known reason.
Signs do cost money. Not Monopoly money, actual, legal tender. They are property. Taking them is stealing. In '05, Councilman's Dunne's signs disappeared as quickly as they went up. Jacon signs could be seen lying next to DeAngelis signs. Someone tore down Harry's Congress Street sign not long ago. A silly business. An illegal act. An frankly, poor form.
From a Conroy Press Release:
Jim Conroy, candidate for Troy Mayor, today again called on Mayor Harry Tutunjian to accept his proposal for a series of debates to be hosted by various groups throughout the City of Troy so that the issues that divide the City and the candidates can be fully voiced.
“I’m not quite sure why Mr. Tutunjian refuses answer our questions about issues affecting our City. He won’t even answer our questions on whether or not he will agree to the debate,” said Conroy.
“At least one of the groups has told both Mr. Tutunjian and I that in order to properly organize the debate, they would need to know by Friday (September 14) whether or not he will participate. To date, they still have not heard. It’s been more than four weeks; it’s time for Mr. Tutunjian to decide whether he is going to debate.”
On August 15, 2007, Conroy sent a letter to Mr. Tutunjian calling for at least three debates to be organized (one each) by the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Neighborhood Organization Alliance and The Record newspaper.
“I can look into the eyes of the people of our City and talk to them honestly and openly,” said Conroy. “Apparently, my opponent is afraid to do this.”
Say what you will about Conroy. He'll face some tough questions at a debate. Yet, he's offered to go out three times and face the music.
Our best guess is that there will be a debate, maybe two. Dodging a debate in a local race can have a negative impact on a candidacy.
The real question is, what good are debates? We know the theory behind them: citizens get to see and hear candidates and assess where those candidates stand on issues........Theory is a wonderful thing.
Reality? Tutunjian, Conroy (and Elda?) will pack the room with supporters. No matter how a candidate performs his (or her) supporters will praise that performance. The handful of people who sincerely do not know who they will support will leave as confused as ever.
The next day, The Record and Times Union will run the debate story. There will be quotes from the candidates. The reporters will (or better) point out each candidate's best zinger. Then our favorite part. They will interview an audience member, usually a female. Mrs. Audience Member will say, "I came here not knowing much about either candidate. But I was really impressed with candidate A and will be supporting him." Later, we'll find out that Mrs. Audience Member contributed $200 to candidate A's campaign back in June and that her husband, sister and brother-in-law worked for the candidate she knew so little about.
Actually, we can't wait.