Big signs, too many signs, and the new bridg

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, May 30, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon


Signs, signs, everywhere signs….

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It’s an election year and campaigning is beginning to heat up. Political signs are getting thick, too, and it’s interesting to ride the roads and observe whose signs are where and which campaigns are the most active.

Talking to a few people I’ve also heard something this year more than I’ve ever heard in a local election, and that is the increasing number of voters who say they have allowed a candidate to put a sign in their yard because of friendship, but intend to vote for his opponent when the curtain closes.

This type of thinking is curious to me. Some have told me they even told the candidate they would probably vote for his opponent, but allowed a sign on their property. These instances have generally been in races where an incumbent has new opposition and we know that voters usually don’t care to change horses midstream unless there’s a good reason.

Another amazing thing, to me, is the number of signs that are on properties in areas where people can routinely be seen sitting in the front yard smoking, drinking, and gambling away the day and often some of the night. Who wants these guys’ support? Wonder if those candidates even know their signs are there?

Political signs that are clearly on county and state rights-of-way along roads and at intersections are a nuisance to say the least. Road workers should throw all those signs in the trash, but I think we should also take note which candidates don’t put their signs on public property and give their campaigns a second look.

The real question, though, is which candidates are going to pick up their signs the third week of November? And which ones are going to leave them to clutter the world even more until they fade and eventually fall over. These best example of good candidates in that sense comes from a fellow in town that once ran a close race for a city alderman’s seat and lost by a few votes to the incumbent.

The next day the losing candidate drove his truck around with the winner riding shotgun and they drove around the ward picking up all the signs they each had out. Now, other than a tie race that we decide to call using the old English duelling (swords or pistols) system on the Square, I can’t think of a better way to end a local race.

Sadly, I don’t expect to get to cover either of those types of outcomes this fall.

Josh Hawkins has put a twist on campaign signs and it’s caused a few heads to turn. His 10×20 double-sided sign is mounted on a trailer and he’s been placing it around the county in strategic locations. He managed to have it placed perfectly for SpringFest, and it was all a driver could see making the last slight left turn to enter the Square area.

I heard lots of comments about it and wondered if anyone would complain about it. Sure enough, I saw Josh at the Bread-n-Butter place (spinach and mushroom omelettes!) he told me the Code Enforcement office had busted him. Turns out we have an ordinance that limits mobile advertising to 137 sq. feet, or some arbitrary number.

Josh, being of the “I don’t want no trouble” mindset, quickly moved his sign outside the city, but he did pose an interesting question. What about the folks who have large delivery trucks sitting around town that rarely move? Is that not mobile signage? Who knows, but it sounds like it would make for an interesting meeting topic for Hiz Honor and the Knights of the Batesville Roundtable.

Sometimes city board meetings are dry as a handful of saltines, but last week was a good one when Hiz Honor and the Knights took up the issue of which roads to resurface this year. Everybody had a pencil and paper and was ciphering to their best ability for more than an hour. In the end a great proclamation was decreed – we will pave roads until the money runs out and then we will stop until next year.

If you haven’t been west of Batesville lately, take a drive past ACI and see the completed bridge and road work the Dept. of Transportation has finished as part of the Highway 6 project. Riding on the new bridge is like being at an amusement park compared to the old one. It’s wide and smooth and several feet higher than the old one. It probably cost a trillion dollars or more, but it’s a lot of fun to ride over.

Drivers on the new bridge can see the old iron bridge that we used since there was a highway and it’s remarkable how narrow and dangerous it looks from the new perspective. I’m wondering how there weren’t far more wrecks in that area considering the confining structure now that we can see it all from above.

I remember thinking the same thing 20 years ago when the old iron bridge just north of Batesville of Hwy. 51 was abandoned and the wide, concrete bridge opened up. Both of those bridges were scary and dangerous and we never realized it until the new ones were built.

And finally, we note the passing of Sen. Thad Cochran, who represented Mississippi in Washington more than 40 years. His influence no doubt made improvements in various areas of life for his constituents.

Sec. of State Delbert Hosemann is a nice fellow and I felt bad for him a couple of weeks ago when he mistakenly spoke of Sen. Cochran in the past tense, maybe even saying he was already passed away. He took some heat in the state media for the slip-up and was still taking a little good-natured ribbing when he visited Flint’s Hardware Store for their big 130th anniversary.

Maybe the Secretary, who’s running for Lt. Gov. now, was just ahead of the curve on this one – a forward thinking leader for Mississippi who has the insight to see around the corner. Might be a good ad.