The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2006

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.








by JC Bowman

Sign Sign everywhere a sign Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

It is election time in Tennessee. You know how I can tell? I see the signs. Since when are elections anything less than glorified beauty contests? Do we really want the best candidate elected? Will we vote for the best candidate capable of doing the job, or will we fall victim to the person who has the most signs up, the most advertisement or is the best looking?

I have been back in Cleveland for a couple of weeks, and I can honestly say we probably lead the nation in campaign signs per person. In fact, I bet there are more campaign signs than there are people who will vote, maybe more signs than residents. That is a scary thought. But I am glad there are men and women who are stepping out and voicing opinions and seeking office. There is not a shortage of good people running. I would rather give points for more substance and fewer points for style.

Some candidates try to get messages on signs. I think that is a mistake. The key is the name. Focus, if you must, on making the name as large and visible as possible--and every once in awhile try to let them know what position you are seeking. I think there will be some popular losers this cycle--The Cheers Effect---people will know the candidates name but they will not know what office they are running for.

Businesses that put campaign signs up are probably not too smart. Unless it is a family member or incredibly great customer, they should stay out of the campaign arena. If I am a supporter of Candidate X, I am not going to a place of business that advertises for Candidate Y. I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I heard one person talking about a funeral home that was campaigning for a candidate. It is inappropriate, but more than that it is offensive. Still, it is the making of some great jokes. Are we not too far off of Bumper Stickers on hearses or tombstones that have sponsors? Maybe they will also offer rides to the polls as well?

I am ready for some good old fashioned political debates. I want to hear candidates on the stump. Most people recall the Lincoln-Douglas Debates from their history classes, (and perhaps a few readers were actually there). We need to focus on the issues of the day. If you are waiting on that full page

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Tallahassee, Florida. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  He served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



ad in the Cleveland Banner (or elsewhere) to tell you how to vote you are wasting your time, the same goes for most of the political reporting. If you advertise with some entities you get better media coverage. It is a sad but true testament to the times in which we live. The issues become irrelevant and that is such a shame. Because there are big issues to address and I have decided I am no longer an automatic vote for the most popular, best looking, or one with the most campaign signs.

There are a couple of political races I am unsettled on, the District Attorney's race for example. Neither candidate has impressed me--sorry both Steve's. I want a reason to vote for one man over the other. Both men are long term bureaucrats. I want to see a modernization of the office. I want a giant scoreboard outside of the building showing a conviction rate. By the way, I like shutouts. You know something like: The Public 10, Killers 0 or The Public 8, Child Molesters 0 or The Public 27, Meth Dealers 0. I want to see a cost analysis on the money spent in this office. You had an opportunity to elect someone from the private sector that had an eye on the bottom line and was accustomed to keeping costs to a minimum. He lost. So we must choose between Mr. Bebb and Mr. Crump. Both are nice men from what I hear. Crump's signs are much prettier, but Bebb has his signs in the most rural of locations---he has the Amish vote sown up in Etowah. My question is what will either man do if elected? Probably focus on prosecuting campaign sign thieves, or writers. I am not interested in a nice man in the district attorney's office. I want a mean, vicious person who has the heart of a Grinch. I want someone who is going to prosecute criminals, particularly those who kill, steal and harm children. We need a debate. A house divided cannot stand.

The Public Defender position is another race I am torn on. In theory the best guy for the position Richard Hughes already holds the post. From what I understand he is a fiscal conservative, and runs a tight ship. But as a Law and Order type, should I want the best guy for the post? I would probably be served best by someone who is completely incompetent. I want the guy who

attended a bad law school and passed the bar exam with only the minimum score on his final try. Someone who could not defend his sandwich from a house fly would suit me fine. I worry that Mr. Hughes might be too good, and I want every criminal behind bars. Since Hughes has the only signs I have seen, he wins hands down on that issue. I am worried though, should we let children go trick or treating at someone's house that has a preference for Public Defender? I would love a debate in this race. I want to find out why someone wants to replace another person in this position, do they promise to fight harder to put more criminals back on the street?

There are some attractive candidates this election. There are also a lot of good men and women seeking office. Do yourself a favor and go beyond the superficial. If candidate X is willing to spend $10,000 on campaign signs to beat Candidate Y and get elected, they probably have no qualms about spending your tax dollars on other worthless programs. There are probably some races where the least attractive candidate needs to win, but like mom used to say "beauty is only skin deep, but ugly is to the bone." Finally, do not let the media make you feel like you are wasting your vote on Candidate X or Candidate Y. Vote for the best informed candidate that can champion the issues you deem as vital. Elections are coming up so be an informed voter.

Like Bill Engvall says, I just hate stupid people. They should have to wear signs that just say I'm stupid. That way you wouldn't rely on them, would you? You wouldn't ask them anything. It would be like, "Excuse me...oops, never mind" "I didn't see your sign." See...If he'd been wearing his sign, I could have stopped him. We should just take the campaign signs down to the personal level, and people can wear individual signs. But big giant campaign signs taking over the landscape are not winning any favors with me, how about you? See you at the polls. Lose the sign.

--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Tallahassee, Florida.
He can be reached by email at:

Visit his website at: