Suddenly lawn signage is a hot election issue

At last. A candidate for the 2010 Red Deer civic election campaign has issued a press release.

Last week downtown businessman Paul Harris, who is running for councillor, told the public his team has decided to run the race without lawn signage – for now anyways.

Harris said his campaign team recognizes the environmental impact of lawn signage and the community’s dislike of them. He went on to say his team will focus on social media such as facebook and Twitter, as well as traditional forms of campaigning, including door knocking and appearances at forums and public gatherings, such as the public market.

But there is a caveat. And that is his initiative will be void if his campaign for public office fails to reach 500 supporters on its facebook page by Sept. 20. As of Aug. 5 the page had 306 supporters.

All of this is hardly earth shattering, stop the press type of news by any stretch but we still have to give Harris credit. The businessman, who is also involved in promoting a year-round public market for the City, is working hard to engage the public, and for Red Deer this is a huge plus, as long as citizens are willing to accept the invitation to become engaged.

Last month the Express wrote it was disappointed at the apparent lack of interest for the upcoming fall election in terms of the number of declared candidates. Seven Red Deerians had declared their interest, including two incumbents.

Sadly, there has been no change since. And former City councillor Vesna Higham has recently decided she won’t run again either, citing family commitments.

There is still two months to go before the election, and perhaps there could be a late surge of interest.

But for now Red Deerians will have to contend themselves with a campaign that appears to hold little interest for anyone.

In 2007, it was unsettling to find out voter turnout in the City for the municipal election was a minuscule 22.04%.

This year we are facing the possibility it could even be lower.

But at least we have Paul Harris. He entered the race early and with enthusiasm. Red Deerians would be wise to seize on that, even if his lawn signage issue is hardly one to set the community on fire.