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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Commentary: Signs, Signs, Everywhere are Signs

Last week, Rich Rifkin wrote a piece on political signs. It was an interesting piece that covered a key aspect--the visibility and effectiveness of signs. And while it misses out on a key point about brand identification, the issue of readability and clarity of signs is an important one.

However, for my money, the key issue is where signs are located--on whose property and who are these people. That tells us who and what types of interests are backing the various candidates.

An interesting tidbit is that if you drive around Davis, you will find many Judge Fall signs, but very few if any James Walker for Judge signs. Judge Tim Fall is an incumbent who is being challenged by James Walker for the Judgeship. While the Judge is a Republican, he is viewed as more moderate that James Walker. If you leave Davis and go up north towards Woodland, you see an increasing number of James Walker signs. What looks like a landslide from the aspect of Davis, look much closer as you head to the north.

Speaking of telling signs, as you head out of Davis on Lake and toward County Road 99, you see a big huge Mariko Yamada sign on the corner of County Road 99 and County Road 31 (Covell Blvd). There is another one near the hospital.

What is telling about these sign locations, is who owns that land. Because that is the Northwest Quadrant. The Northwest Quadrant including Oeste Ranch were the subject of a political battle last year as the county, led by County Supervisor Mariko Yamada, pushed for development in the Northwest Quadrant. The owners of some of that land are now backing Mariko Yamada in her race for State Assembly. That cannot be a coincidence, can it?

More locally, as you go around town you see on virtually every apartment complex signs for Souza, Saylor, and Vergis. Stephen Souza probably has the most on these properties, but Don Saylor and Sydney Vergis are right on his heels. Many of these properties are owned by Tandem Properties, the property management company owned by John Whitcombe of the Covell Village fame. But it is not just Tandem Properties that is backing the developer trio. All the major property owners are. Not that there is anything wrong with that, right?

---Doug Paul Davis reporting