Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Taxpayer Supported Campaign Ads?

When I used to drive to Pennsylvania on I-80, I would pass the welcome to PA sign and for years it listed the governor's name on it.  Quite honestly, do many motorists really care who the governor is?  It's not like one is visiting a general store and it's nifty to know the proprietor's name; it's not like any motorist is likely to drive to the state capital and ask for the governor by name to register a complaint about the potholes on the highway or something (if so, just ask for the governor--that usually will work).  It's a whole state (or commonwealth, in PA's case, to be technical).  Basically, the metal signs with the governor's name appears to be taxpayer supported campaign advertising for future campaigns by that politician.  I imagine those metal signs aren't cheap either nor do the highway folks put them up for free.

It was quite annoying.

Thankfully, PA finally ditched the governor's name on the signs.

Alas, Ohio is even worse.  I was driving on 80 into Ohio and noted that the Ohio welcome sign has the governor's and lieutenant governor's name.  Who cares who the lieutenant governor is?  I doubt 100 buckeyes in the entire state could even name the current lieutenant governor.  Which I suppose is the point of the sign.  It builds up name recognition for politicians, and taxpayers get to pay for it.  To confirm this, I've contacted someone at the Department Of Transportation.  I'll let you know if I hear anything.

I mean letterhead, business cards, the website, and whatnot are fine.  Change them for the new governor and lieutenant governor.  But signs on every highway?  No, that's a waste of money.  Tell the politicians to stuff it and pay for their own signs.  What's really annoying about the I-80 sign is that right after it is a closed rest area, presumably due to budget cuts.

The current sign can stay up (and probably for the next four years as it looks as if the current governor is going to get reelected--his main opponent has a scandal about driving without a license; given how badly most people in Ohio who have licenses drive, he must be an extra-special bad driver), but I would love to see that when the name sign gets taken down that no other one ever goes up.  "Welcome to Ohio" is quite sufficient.        

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