Oct 032012

A campaign sign on Louisiana Avenue. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

The other day my 10-year old says aloud to me as I scrawl something somewhere with my trusty ink pen, “Hey, I have that pen too!”  I respond quickly, if not a little gruff, “You do?  Well, it’s mine, so give it back to me.”  To which she closes me down, “Well, it has my name on it soooo – – – ”  She spins her (my) pen in her hand and holds it horizontally toward me, and sure enough there’s her full name spelled out.  And there you have it!  Possession remains 9/10ths of the law big, beautiful world.  Lap it up!  Ahhhhh, rules!  That one’s going to be a lawyer I tell you; her mother and I have always said this.

Enter campaign season.  Enter campaign signs.  Enter yet another rousing game of “find the campaign sign on the blight.”  Less obtrusive than last season (for now) but somehow still irresistible the blighted line-of-sight markers often on highly trafficked corners are creeping up.  And look!  It has the candidate’s name on it!  Next to the graffiti and overgrown landscape that hopefully has a lien or three attached to title.  As it has in the past, this behavior – yes, it is a behavior – makes me want to vomit all over policy and checks and balances too.  I know the city is actively grappling blight, but some one spank these candidates please!

At the very least they should automatically know this ain’t the way to gather the vote or communicate with a potential voting base.  Yes, campaign signs strategically placed can effectively engage the wandering eye, but for sake of sakes, placing campaign signs on blight should be a measurably punishable offense.  Like $75 per citing, with the third citing ratcheting up the grease to include published apology in The Advocate or Gambit.  Okay, maybe the T-P too.  Let’s be clear, voters. Tell these candidates either the old-fashioned way with a letter, possibly a tweet, but definitely your vote: adorning blight with your name ain’t on the ballot this or any other election year.

Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

  • Like your take on election signs & blight.

  • no

    I used to always drive down Claiborne Ave to see which candidates had signs posted on the abandoned Pizza Hut, and I would make a note NOT to vote for any of those candidates. Now that the Pizza Hut has been torn down to make way for a new Taco Bell so I’ll have to find another blighted lot to use as my “do not vote for this person” location.

  • twangster

    Excellent column. Another thing about these signs on blighted properties is that unlike campaign signs on neutral grounds and front lawns, which tend to get removed pretty quickly after election day, many of these signs will linger there for months and even years.

  • KM

    This has annoyed me for years! I really cannot understand why any politician or his/her advisors would think this is an effective or acceptable strategy. Every time I see a campaign sign, aka a big name and a smiling face, erected on a blighted property I find it to be inconsiderate, intrusive, and almost predatory. Unless that campaign sign also includes your plan to address that particular blighted property, it has no positive purpose being there.