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Diary: Candidate 'Sign Campaigns' - 2014 Kingston Municipal Election

This Article is By: Kingston Electors    On  Oct. - 24, 2014

Election Sign Diary

September 21st

Active candidate 'sign campaigns' often reflect hot mayoralty, council or school board candidate races. They are not always an indication of candidate success. But they are often particularly important in suburban areas of the city. Due to the spread out nature of the suburbs it can be more challenging for candidates to connect with citizens to build awareness and identify issues.

In this municipal election the City of Kingston candidate sign by-law restricts the placement of signs to about a six week window starting September 12th. In previous elections signs would often start to appear during the Labour Day weekend and would have been seen for about eight weeks.

After the first week of sign campaigning the following mayoralty candidates had city wide sign campaigns with varying levels of sign location saturation:

Rick Downes

Dorothy Hector

Brenda Slomka

at the end of the week signs also began to appear for Bryan Paterson

September 27th

At the end of the second week of sign campaigning more signs are beginning to appear for the mayoralty, councillor and school trustee races. Signs in Countryside and Pittsburgh seem to be largely limited to public roads. In the west end sign saturation seems to be increasing with more signs along public roads. House signs locations appear to be more limited across the city with the exception of Willamsville District where more signs have appeared in the last week.

The Deputy City Clerk, Kevin Arjoon, has notified candidates that election signs are "prohibited from being erected on highways under provincial jurisdiction" and will be removed by city staff. This appears to be largely an issue on Hwy 15 north of Hwy 401.

October 5th

The City of Kingston has now decided to revisit its decision to prohibit signs on provincial highways. It may may not have jurisdiction to legislate sign usage on local highways.

Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board trustee candidate signs began to appear last week across the city. The board elects four trustees on an at large basis to represent the City of Kingston.

October 11th

Election mayoralty, councillor and school trustee candidate signs now cover most parts of the city. In the east end of Kingston Mayoralty signs predominate. Public and Separate School Board Candidate signs also appeared this week in city districts with races.

October 17th

Sign campaigns for all candidates seem to have matured. Repair and replacement of existing signs seems to be the priority of candidates with the resources to maintain their signs. A few candidates have now resorted to large trailer mounted mobile signs in strategic locations.

October 25th

Two days before the election the candidate sign campaign is clearly in maintenance mode for replacement of missing or vandalized signs. But a few new signs have appeared in the last week including large photo signs for Mary Rita Holland in Kingscourt-Strathcona and a broader assortment of newer and older signs for Kevin George in Loyalist-Cataraqui.

Election sign observations in the last week of the campaign

All three major mayoralty candidates - Rick Downes, Dorothy Hector, Bryan Patterson  - had broad sign coverage across the city. Downes and Hector seemed to have the greatest number of signs in varied locations. Patterson started with larger photo signs but has recently placed a number of smaller signs in a row along street allowances in the fashion of 20th century Burma-Shave road ads. This sign campaign style was started by Downes and also used by Hector to a lesser extent.

Curiously many candidates used very small signs on suburban street allowances where they were difficult to read from a passing vehicle.

Controversy over the use of campaign signs on road allowances never seemed to be full resolved. Some felt that signs on these locations violated the city's election by-law prohibition on locating signs on public property. But if this was the case there seemed to be little City of Kingston action to remove such signs.