Burton on the Bay:
Sign Language:
Messages to Candidates Whose Signs I've Seen along the Road

Politics make strange bedfellows.

-My Summer in a Garden: Charles Dudley Warner, 1870


If the above is true (and who has doubts?), it's awfully difficult to determine who is sleeping with whom - and not just in Washington. How about in good ole Anne Arundel County?

The elections are almost a month past, yet up here in North County we still have some big and gaudy signs promoting the failed candidacy of Democratic County Councilman Tom Redmond staked out along the highways and byways. And we have many others that have a new look.

Tom's original signs were overkill: the biggest, most elaborate, abundant and apparently most costly in the entire county. Now, apparently the controversial councilman wants to convince us he's an environmentalist, one who believes in recycling.

Take a gander at the old Redmond signs, then a look at many of the new John Gary signs. They look familiar? Hmmmm.Tom Redmond sign

Scores of the old Redmond signs remain the same in John Gray signconfiguration and location, but different in color - and different in name!

Curiously, the changed signs now call for the re-election of Republican John Gary as County Executive. Wasn't Tom Redmond a Democrat? What's going on?

What's going on is he has sold or given those signs to the man at the top of the ticket of the opposition party, whose workers quickly revised them. Puzzling.

The puzzle started coming together when I read in The Sun that Redmond, who lost to Shirley Murphy, now is considering switching ala Diane Evans to the other party.

Though that isn't quite the full story. Originally a Republican who became a Democrat, seems Redmond again finds the GOP more consistent with his thinking. So why are those old unchanged Redmond signs still standing?

Heaven forbid, he's thinking of leaving them up, then paint over the "re" in re-elect on that banner to promote his primary candidacy as a member of the other party four years hence. Politics sure make strange bedfellows.

To Tom: Give us a break, abide by the law on leftover political signs and send a few campaign workers - whether Republican oJohn Gray signr Democrat, whichever is now appropriate - to remove the outdated ones. You've been in enough hot water, so why risk more by not complying with laws that demand these signs be removed promptly?

To John: Does the sign on Fort Smallwood Road that indicates you now do hair, nails and tans mean you've found a unique means to enrich campaign coffers? We've been reading that you already have the biggest election slush fund in the county.


Both Sides Covered

If the Gillens had left their signs up, we could have understood. The father ran in the primary on the Democratic ticket against Sheriff Johnson, the son on the Republican ballot. The father lost, the son won, erasing the possibility of the two squaring off against each other. Any Gillen sign could carry the name into the general election next month, but Dad was thoughtful. He took his down.

Which brings us to turncoat Diane Evans, who switched parties because she couldn't topple Gary in the GOP primary, then lost in an upset to Janet Owens and wondered why. Some advice:Gillen for Sheriff sign

To Janet: Switching parties and letting down those who have worked for you over the years is bad enough, but equally bad or worse is bringing partisan politics into non-political controversies like the auto racing proposal being debated last summer in North County.

This was strictly a community issue, but you chose it for a campaign kickoff, sending all those workers in red, white and blue hats and vests emblazoned with your name and carrying clipboards to drum up support for you and obscuring the real issue. May you join Ross Perot in political obscurity.

And to GOP Delegate John Leopold, who by the record appears to spend more time knocking on doors and driving stakes into the ground to litter neighborhoods with his red and white signs than he does voting and introducing bills in Annapolis: Give us a break.

You campaign as the pot hole candidate, the guy to take complaints to. So wouldn't it be better if we hired you as an ombudsman and sent to Annapolis someone who does what legislators are supposed to do: introduce bills, take part in deliberations and vote? You, too, can join Ross in the obscurity of the Lost Legion.

And to Ellen: Is it true the wilted yellow and black Sauerbrey sign on Carroll Road in Riviera Beach got so from your still-dripping lost-election tears of four years ago as you personally erected the poster?

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VolumeVI Number 40
October 8-14, 1998
New Bay Times