Tag Archives: chickens

Chicken Signs Go Beyond Politics

There is propaganda and there is art. Sometimes the two intersect, but for my money you don’t find much propagandart in politics. I have a “Keep on Truckin’ for Nixon” sign from 1972, but that’s more kitsch than culture.

So the regular act of thievery that occurs with regards to campaign signs is, I assume, usually about A. maldoings of the supporters of the candidate’s opponent, B. A property owner not happy that a sign was posted on his/her lawn or on public right of way near his/her lawn, or C. Vandalism.

In 1992 I was living in Salt Lake City and a friend of mine, I am kind of reluctant to share, was a prolific stealer of Enid Greene signs. His bedroom, for the Halloween party, was awash in “Send Enid Greene to Congress” signs. Other people had a different, more creative kind of fun with the signs, changing them to read things like “Send Enid Greene for Pizza,” or “for Beer.” My friend’s room on Halloween was art the same way Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup can painting was. You take a functional piece and place it in a new context and it can inspire admiration for seconds, sometimes minutes.

Greene lost a close election that year, won in the Republican sweep in 1994 as Enid Greene Waldholtz after marrying Joe Waldholtz, who, it turned out, was later convicted of bank fraud, which caused her to file for divorce and at the urging of the party to not run again in 1996.

While some regard sign stealing or vandalism good-natured prankery, it does cost someone money.

Most times you can find the discarded signs feet or yards away from where they once stood. I once had the notion to line my garage wall with discarded campaign signs, those found weeks after the election is over. For me it would have been somewhat artistic, way better than hanging on the wall the heads of things I have shot. I have a pro-foot ferry sign, one for Bev Woods and another from Will Peddy’s failed mayoral bid on Bainbridge Island in 2005. The first two were given to me. The Peddy sign was one I found about 40-feet from the highway down the ravine from that corner on Bainbridge Island where the guy ties balloons to the post.

If anyone wants those signs back, I’d be glad to return them. They sit in my garage, unhung. They can and are recycled and reused as backing for new candidates’ signs.

Every election we get lots of complaints about stolen or vandalized signs. James Olsen, Republican candidate for state Rep. in the 23rd District regularly keeps us updated on his lost signs. He might be interested in that Peddy sign I have.

Some signs do disappear and campaigns are prepared for that. It would seem to be rare, though, that all of them would be gone.

That, however, is what has happened with the signature chicken signs that have been placed around Bremerton. Eugene Brennan, self-described “chickenista” and creator of the signs, said many have disappeared. When they’re gone, though, they stay gone.

Brennan speculates that some people like the design, possibly enough to take one and put it on display somewhere else. If so, those placards could linger in garages and living rooms and offices and coops for years, long after the likes of Peddy, Woods and passenger-only ferry pushes have been forgotten. They may be around long enough for people to forget what they were for.

This could be a lesson for any burgeoning politico. I got no beef with the signs out there now, but I dare someone in the future to wow us the way Brennan and his chickenistas have. How about recreating that elephant with the glasses Goldwater had? There was nothing else to it, but you knew what that was saying. Since yard signs seem to be the most obvious evidence of a campaign, next time around I want a candidate who will thrill us with one.

Citizens Playing Chicken

Note: U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair came by the office. David Nelson has his notes and video from the conversation at his blog, From the Editor’s Desk. Ed Friedrich shared his notes with me and I hope to transcribe them later. I want him to see them before I post.

Some Bremerton residents are showing how citizens can go over the council’s collective heads on an issue.

On Monday residents presented their plan at a meeting of people from Councilman Roy Runyon’s district. They talked about their plan to gather petitions to get a citizen-led initiative on the Bremerton ballot to allow residents to have up to four hens. My hunch is many of them won’t like the comparison to state initiative guru Tim Eyman, but they’re doing exactly (except for the making money part) what he does. If your local electeds won’t do what you want, do it for them.

What they really want is for the council to make all this unnecessary by putting the item on the agenda for the full council. Until then, the citizens promise to continue charging ahead with the initiative drive.

In a sense this isn’t like a game of chicken, where two cars line up against each other and drive straight toward each other until someone chickens out or they crash.

There’s no crash here. The council is standing still. If the council does nothing and the residents get their signatures, voters will decide whether hens should be legal within the city. If the residents say “yes” then the citizens have essentially passed the council by and created law the council has no power to change without another vote. If the residents say “no” then it’s akin to the finish line moving to the council.

Any guess what the council will do? I have one, but I probably shouldn’t share it and I’m not very confident in it anyway.

Los Angelena Goes Chicken

Bremerton residents are still (pardon me) clucking away about chickens. At 6 p.m. on Monday City Councilman Roy Runyon will host a district meeting at the Norm Dicks Government Center.

The subject matter: City chickens.

At one point he said Assistant City Attorney Ken Bagwell would be there to explain to residents how they might launch a citizens’ initiative. I think that is still the plan, though some council members have said they’re not thrilled with a city employee getting paid to help residents craft an initiative.

To some, having chickens seems like a bad idea. It did to Am Seidenwurm, a writer for the Los Angeles Times Magazine.