One of the two Republican candidates for Fort Lee Borough Council announced recently that he would not be putting up any political advertising signs, and he also called upon his Democratic opponents to follow suit.
“I am not a big believer of decorating the landscape with graffiti,” said Thomas A. Bennett in a statement. “I remember seeing Route 4 with signs from Fort Lee to Fair Lawn, NJ, and it looked horrible.”
Contending that the signs are a waste of money and pointing out that some people and business owners are “bullied” into putting signs up and that the borough’s sign and façade and beautification committees are likely to find the signs “unattractive,” Bennett said simply, “Signs don’t get you elected; that’s my philosophy.”
“I’m not trying to stop anybody’s First Amendment rights,” Bennett told Patch. “I’d just like them to momentarily not put up signs because they’re so ugly.”
He added, “[The Democrats] have been in office for 17 years. They don’t need signs to get elected if people want to elect them.”
Bennett said his running mate, Peter B. “Mack” Campbell, who has assured him that he’s “totally committed to running and getting elected” in spite of questions early on as to , is joining him in not putting up campaign signage.
Asked how he does plan to win the election in November without using signs, Bennett said “by meeting people” and attending candidates’ debates, such as the one on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at .
He’ll also attend as many community gatherings as possible, including the upcoming senior picnic and health fair, and stand outside the post office on Main Street on Saturdays and maybe on Sundays.
“I ask my Democratic counterparts to join me in not using political signs,” Bennett concluded in his statement. “I am sure that they will agree that the landscape will look much better without those unattractive signs.”
However Bennett’s Democratic counterparts, incumbent Councilmen Harvey Sohmer and Joseph Cervieri, said Thursday they’ve already ordered their signs, and that they’re going to use them.
“We believe that the public has a right to know who’s running, and those who do not get newspapers and do not watch TV or have access to the Internet, would see through the traditional methods who is running,” Cervieri said, noting that their lawn signs will be red, white and blue. “As such, we will continue our long tradition of having tasteful signs that will located in appropriate areas, and lawn signs will only be on lawns of people who would request them to be on their property.”
Cervieri said the Democrats won’t put signs in the public right-of-way and emphasized that they don’t put lawn signs on properties without getting permission.
Sohmer also pointed out that Fort Lee residents are going to see plenty of signs for candidates running for the Fort Lee Board of Education as well, now that that election also takes place in November.
“We put them up and take them down at the appropriate time,” Sohmer said.