The Political Sign Game

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I look forward to fall. The kids are back in school, people have returned from summer vacations and the workplaces seem to be back in full swing; the leaves are falling and the fields are turning yellowish-brown; and political signs are showing up on every street corner in towns across America.

Here in Newport Beach it’s no different.

What I like about the political sign season is that they actually divert some of your attention away from the guys standing on street corners dancing and spinning the signs promoting discount cell phones, a never-ending electronics sale or $99 mattresses.

Those guys drive me nuts.

Anyway, back to the political signs.

When I was a kid we’d play car games like finding a license plate from every state or completing the alphabet off of highway signs.

Now, the wife and I play a local game where we guess how many Rush Hill or Ed Reno signs you can spot on your way to, say, Trader Joe’s.

“Oh, there’s one Reno up on that light pole in front of Blockbuster,” I yell.

My wife counters with a “Hill” attached to the top of an office-for-lease sign.

I see two Leslie Daigles and my wife raises me with a couple of Judy Francos for School Board. Not to be outdone I spot a harder-to-find Katrina Foley, also for School Board, and a few more Renos.

I love a good game. My wife says, “Do you want to go to the post office with me?”

Normally, that’s a definite “no.”

But now I say, “Yeah, you can’t play the game without me.”

I’m hoping the game gains in popularity, but you have to hurry, we only have a few more weeks.

This week I decided to check with the candidates on their recent sign proliferation.

The Rush Hill camp reports 500 yard signs and 150 road signs. These signs are blue and white with a bright yellow “Rush Hill.”

Political consultant Dave Ellis, who is handling the Reno and Daigle efforts, pointed out to me that “signs don’t win campaigns, they just reinforce ID.”

I said, “ Who said anything about winning here, we’re just playing a game.”

Ellis continued to say that both Reno and Daigle have “saturation buys of an equal mix of street and yard signs.”

A couple of the Ellis rules: “Can you read it at 40 mph? This tests color and message. Limited graphics, and photos are a no-no.”

Judging by these rules, Ellis has masterminded the “Reno” and “Daigle” signs with the use a blue background and bright orangy-red foregrounds. I’ll be honest, these are the most catchy.

Franco scores points on number of signs around town, as does school board rival candidate Loretta Zimmerman. Both, however, use primarily blue and white signs that don’t have that flashy curb appeal.

In any case, forget who your favorite candidate or candidates are, get out there and play.

How many “Rush Hills” can you spot on Coast Highway?


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