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Friday, April 23, 2004
Lawn Signs (part the Second)

[TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: The blog has not been updated for the past two daze (sic) because of the frantic last minute preparations for last night's Lane County for Kerry Kickoff Dinner at the Veterans Center. It was a great success and was featured on KMTR News Source 16 (NBC) last night. We now return you to my regularly scheduled campaigning.]

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Lawn Signs (part the First)

Got my first batch of lawn signs out this weekend.

If you want to see them, the most accessible spot right now is the fence at Coburg and Harlow Road.

It's slightly outside of District 8, but so many District 8 residents drive by the spot that it's a good place to start.

Their presence will increase in days to follow. They are, to my mind, spiffy. And I think "spiffy" is a more than fair evaluation. They were made in Oregon, and they have a Union Bug on them.

One of the advantages of beginning a campaign late is that you can learn from the errors of other candidates. For instance, Kitty Piercy's design is a white-lettering reverse in powder blue; it is elegant, it is classy, but there is a design flaw.

The designer didn't stop to consider that people have to read these while driving by in their cars, so that website address -- www.kittypiercy.com cannot be read. Because of the relative smallness of the type -- as seen by the occupant of a car driving by -- the field of blue entirely swallows up the type.

I tell people that it's there, and they swear it's not. And they see it's there when they try to see it, but they can only make out that SOMETHING is there, but what it says is a mystery.

So, I went to the printer's shop. I saw the press that the silk screen was going to be printed on, and THEN I designed my lawn signs. Then Oregon T's screened my lawn sign, as they screen most Democratic candidates' lawn signs.

Oregon, as you may not realize, is unique. Throughout 90% of the rest of the country, butterfly-fold cardboard lawn signs are used; and everything else is pretty much the increasingly popular sandwich-bag-on-a-croquet-wicket plastic signs. (These are seen more and more often in Oregon, of late).

Only in Oregon and Washington state are the Cor-X or the Coroplast signboards used. That stuff that looks like white or yellow plastic cardboard? The durable, tough material is MOSTLY used for real-estate signs, but because of our climate, it is the material of choice for Oregon political races. (Ironically, there are no US suppliers, and all of it comes from Canada!).

In Oregon, those butterfly-fold cardboard signs last about three days, with clement weather. Inclement weather reduces the operational life. As a result, though, one's political lawn sign shopping is narrowed to our fair state and one other, while in 90% of the rest of the country, lawn signs are printed out by huge operations at prices so low that local printers can't compete, and don't even try to.

So, we're still very much a home grown state. Elsewhere, you might be running for dog catcher in Schenectedy, NY, or Police Commissioner in St. Louis, MO, but your printing shipped from the same warehouse in Kentucky on the same day.

That's the trend. Except, for the time being, in Oregon.

I am not of the opinion that ONLY money and endless Lawn Signs will be the determining factors in this election. And yet, even though national campaigns seem to rate lawn signs as less and less important, here in Oregon, at the local level, lawn signs are the very life's blood of a political campaign.

And when it comes to House District 8, Lawn signs are really the metaphor of this campaign. But it's best to begin at the beginning. Believe it or not, I got involved in this campaign, in large part, because of lawn signs.

One afternoon last winter, the old rotary dial-phone upstairs rang.

And Scheherazade perceived the coming of the dawn and fell silent.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Greetings Honored Enemies!

It seems that my opponent or opponents read this blog, so I will be happy to take this time for a little blog housekeeping.

Agents of Opponent Holvey called us last night to complain that I was being "disingenuous" by NOT pointing out that Holvey and Colbath had been -- at the interminable Thursday night endorsement convocation of the Democratic Party of Lane County -- endorsed as well. Certainly I meant no implication that I was the sole endorsee. I merely felt that I was in no wise required to operate as my opponents' PR Flack in addition to my own, self-interested representation of my publicity and public outreach efforts. Now that I see the error of my ways, I shall shout to the high heavens that Holvey and Colbath were endorsed as well, that ALL of us were endorsed, that it was a unanimous endorsement not endorsed unanimously by the endorsers, and that, finally, everybody who had asked for endorsement in that race was endorsed.

This does not, in my humble opinion, change the relative valuation of that endorsement by one jot, tittle, or whit, and I will leave it to the Gentle Reader to appraise just how much an endorsement by the DPLC is worth.

And, of course, even though I have far less than $35,000 to run for office, I can see how that failure of mine to allude to Mr. Holvey's endorsement in this blog must have been extremely distressing to Holvey's campaign, prospects, and nervous minions.

[Evidently, the whole weight of this campaign rests with this blog. I shall endeavor, in future, to accord this awesome responsibility the greatest gravity. Scrupulousness shall be our byword, and aardvark shall be its mascot. 'Nuff said.]

Minion also complained bitterly: I had implied that my wife, Jayne and I had personally and collectively passed a bill in the legislature, and not the esteemed Representatives who studiously ignored it all the way through the process unto the bill's passage.

Indeed, I humbly confess that I did not, as well, credit the Governor's pen for having made the sigils which magically transformed the bill into LAW. I now render that credit.

Certainly I would not want to imply that we, having no powers but persuasion and persistence, had succeeded where Representative Holvey, the incumbent, has had not a whit of experience or success, having drafted no legislation, introduced no legislation, nor having even, to my knowledge, proposed any legislation.

Jayne and I, merest worms, were privileged to have done all the WORK on passing the tax reform bill, but the actual Legislators who did the actual legislating are actually to be given credit.

So, the bill was passed by Representative Phil Barnhart (HD11), who introduced it and never, evidently, ever had anything to do with it thereafter -- not even bothering to show up for the hearing before his own committee.

And, let me say that he can certainly have the credit, which he needs far more than I do, since it would bring his average up to SOMETHING passed last session.

But, instead of using the two* he'd introduced as our denominator (to divide into the numerator of one to find the percentage), we'd have to add EVERY bill that he introduced as a constituent courtesy to the denominator total, so that his batting average would probably be well below the 0.33 or 33% pass rate that adding our successful attempt to his two unsuccessful attempts would create. (*neither bill got out of committee)

If he introduced, say, 20 other bills as courtesies to constituents, Rep. Barnhart's average would be 0.043478, or a little over 4.3 percent. I don't know the exact figure here, but I certainly wouldn't want to tarnish any of the luster on Rep. Barnhart's legislative halo.

In point of fact, I mostly picked up that Saturday's endorsement of Mitzi Colbath by the Register-Guard seems to have the Holvey camp in a state of near panic.

I am happy to report that I was accused of being the "Ralph Nader" of House District 8, which I'll take to mean the consumer advocate and public watchdog Nader, and not the self-important, rationalizing Presidential Candidate who still can't admit that he elected George W. Bush just as surely as any Supreme Court Justice ever did.

Because, first of all, I'm not in this to preen and pump up my ego about what an important alpha monkey I am; and secondly, I would rather see anyone in the seat than Mr. Holvey, who seems to dangle at the end of a long purse string, dancing to whatever tune to which he is ordered to dance. If "spoiler" means that I cause Holvey to lose, well, it's some consolation.

But, personally, I flatter myself that I can win. (I will leave it to the Gentle Reader to appraise just what THAT opinion is worth.)

If the Colbath camp has any complaints to make about my blog, we'll be glad to hear them, as well.
hart williams
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