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Fall chores fall by wayside; signs signal election

You’d think with almost two months of no rain, I could have found a day to paint peeling facia boards. You’d think wrong. As summer weather continued far into fall, I did my best impersonation of the grasshopper when it came to getting the house ready for winter.

Somehow, I found myself on the roof as the sun dipped in the west frantically scraping flaking paint on the last day before rain. I got the final sloppy splash of paint on as the last flicker of sunlight dimmed below the horizon and hoped it would dry before the deluge. Now I’ve got to get some new boots. The cheap pair I bought last year developed foot-drenching cracks within a few weeks.

As the forecast called for 40-mile winds earlier this week, I realized I hadn’t yet restocked my emergency backpack or moved it out of the garage (which only opens when the door opener has power) after my last camping trip in August.

What have I been doing since then? I hadn’t even gone out for a decent hike in almost two months. Instead, I’ve been busy helping to build our new website (there’s been a delay with the tech side of things at company HQ in Vegas), filling in for absent co-workers and a variety of other work-related tasks.

My wife reminded me that we hadn’t gone out to do anything fun in a while so we took a mini road trip to see the covered bridge in Wakiakum County. The trip was quite enjoyable, though the bridge is somewhat underwhelming. I mean, it’s historic and unique to Western Washington and all, but it’s basically a wood box on a bridge.

The really nifty thing was all of the campaign signs along the road. My favorite were the Burma-shave inspired signs touting Tim Sutinen (Note, this is not an endorsement of the candidate or his campaign, I just like the signs). I forget what they actually said, but it was a cute blast-from-the-past. I don’t know if they’re from his campaign or if they were put up by creative farmers. And whoever spray-painted the smiley faces on Rob McKenna’s signs all over the Harbor sure made the signs much more visible and notable (I actually wondered if that was the brilliant idea of some campaign staffer to make an otherwise typical sign unique in a fresh, underground marketing kind of way or just routine vandalism).

There’s nothing wrong with signs of Brian Blake or Jay Inslee, I’m sure they’re quite nice and somebody worked very hard to make them but I don’t remember them at all (there, names have been equally mentioned).

I know some people don’t like campaign signs. I love them. It’s a sign of democracy and free speech in action. Sure, they’re messy and clutter up the roadside, but democracy is messy. If there were just one monolithic party, I’m sure we’d have much neater political signs posted on official buildings touting the Party candidate. Instead, we’ve essentially got a two-party system. Sure, there are independent and “third-party” candidates running for political office all the way from the state legislature to the White House, but their chances of winning are slim so long as money and faceless PACs call the shots no matter how nifty their campaign signs (sorry, Tim).

When we got further south and the signs became new, I played a game trying to guess party affiliation by the color of the sign and the name. Blue and white: Democrat! Red, white and blue: Republican! Green: Independent! Yellow and black: Bumblebee!

Some folks say the number of yard signs indicates support. I kind of think the number of signs is a better indication of how well financed a campaign is.

It’s hard to say how local candidates will fare in the upcoming election. Pollsters don’t focus on state legislature or county commissioner races. They certainly don’t give a hoot about levy lid lifts or PUD candidates. But that’s where the decisions that affect your day-to-day life the most are made: at the local level. You’re ballots will be arriving in the mail soon. I don’t care what boxes you check so long as you do. That’s one fall chore that shouldn’t be neglected.