Editorial: Recounts, political signs and sprucing up our roads

Recount’s fine, but keep it rollin’
With gubernatorial candidate Peter Shumlin picking up five votes in the unofficial vote canvassing by the Secretary of State’s office as of late Friday afternoon, he now leads Doug Racine in the Democratic primary race by 197 votes. Still, it is a thin margin and by no means a done deal considering the potential for errors.
That Racine requested a recount is not out of line, nor is it damaging to the process. On the contrary, it assures all Democrats are on board the winning candidates train when it begins the race against Republican candidate Brian Dubie. Indeed, the best outcome in the primary has already occurred — five well-qualified candidates sparred for the better part of four months and generated a lot of interest in their ideas, state government, the political process and the upcoming general election in November. That 72,000 voted (far more than expected) in the Democratic primary is testament to the success of their campaigns.
Moreover, that these five candidates could keep their campaigns focused on the issues and not succumb to personal attacks is not only admirable, it’s an example the rest of the nation should try to emulate. (When you see how nasty the Republican primary was in Arizona for a congressional seat in which Dan Quayle’s son squeaked out a win even though he was offensive, uninformed and bombastic, makes it all the more notable that in Vermont candidates on both sides of the political aisle can run their races based on the issues and not on outlandish charges and often unfounded distortions of the truth.
That said, even though a recount is under way, it should be expected that Shumlin and/or Racine should continue to campaign for the state’s top spot in an active and aggressive posture. Both men have good ideas and it will serve Vermonters well to hear those ideas articulated in ways that more directly challenge Dubie’s plan to get the state moving after eight years of stagnation.
What the public should not expect is for the campaign for governor to be put on hold for the next 10 days until the recount is final. Such a pause, while perhaps more comfortable for some, does not serve the best interests of voters who are eager to compare the differences between the candidates who will face each other in the November election.
Angelo S. Lynn
Give us a break on the signs
We recognize there is no law against leaving campaign signs up in yards for the next three months, but for the sake of beautification (and relief to our senses) we appeal to candidates and (primarily) their supporters to take the yard signs down from now through the fall foliage season.
The reasons are clear: First, it would be more aesthetically pleasing for local residents and visitors to enjoy the fall with political placards ruining our state’s vistas at every turn. Second, because it would be less aggravating and more effective for voters to now have a lull in the visual onslaught and then be reminded of the campaign during the last weeks of October.
Some may argue that seeing the signs for a candidate day-in and day-out over the next three months will drill home that candidate’s name recognition among those not inclined to pay attention to the news, but they ignore the negative consequences of “visual blight overload” — a technical term I’ll coin here that implies this consequence: If a candidate’s yard signs are obnoxious, overbearing and insensitive to the state’s foliage season, voters won’t want them in office and the sign campaign becomes detrimental.
Perhaps someone could start a Facebook campaign to request such compliance over the next six or so weeks. At the very least, it would behoove those candidates no longer in the running to ask supporters to remove those signs and put them in storage for another year.
Angelo S. Lynn
Sprucing up before fall’s foliage
Talk about cleaning things up, weeds on the asphalt median of Route 7 south of Middlebury at the junction of Rt. 125 are an unsightly mess that significantly detracts from the southern entrance to the town. It falls within the maintenance of the state, but if the powers that be can’t motivate such a simple road maintenance sprucing up, perhaps the town could make an exception and take a few guys with weed whackers for half an hour to clean things up a bit.
It’s gotten worse over the summer and it’d be a shame if traveling guests who arrive to see the fall’s beautiful colors are greeted instead by weeds and overgrown grass littering one of the most visible highway junctions in the county — and at the entrance to one of the state’s two designated scenic highways.
Angelo S. Lynn

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