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Now that the election is over, it’s time for the cleanup to begin.
Some of you might think I’m talking about cleaning up the airwaves after all of the disgusting mud-slinging forced into our households through television campaign ads. Others might believe I’m talking about the mess in government. Pick your area of concern and the level of government — local, county, state or national.
This isn’t what I mean. I’m talking about the need to rid our communities of all the campaign signs.
They are everywhere. Candidates and their supporters not only place them in yards, but at intersections and along the highways. Some are posted on poles, while some have been attached to trees.
There are little ones and big ones. Some are on plywood, while others are on banners, cardboard or poster board.
Whether they are red, blue, yellow, black or a mixture — many are red, white and blue — it’s time for them to come down.
In the city of Carrollton, the signs must come down within a few days after the election because of rules on signage. However, that’s not the case in the county where many are located.
We have beautiful scenery in Carroll County. Like you, I enjoy going out and driving around the county. It’s what helps us draw the thousands of visitors we have each year that support our local economy.
Many people come to Carrollton and Carroll County for their vacation. And next year, there will be even more visitors to our region as the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race comes to Kentucky Speedway.
The campaign signs, however, serve as a distraction that draws our eyes away from this beauty.
For the candidates, there is a great payoff for getting those signs as quickly as possible.
Candidates, whether they won or lost their bids on Tuesday, can save their signs for future use. Most appear to have held up extremely well, even after that strong storm that blew through the area last week. But it won’t be much longer before they fade, are blown down or are vandalized and become roadside litter.
The national organization that fights this problem, Keep America Beautiful, estimates that more than 51 billion pieces of litter land on our nation’s roadways each year. KAB’s litter survey in 2009 found that this is 6,729 items per mile.
It’s an expensive problem. KAB says litter cleanup costs the U.S. $11.5 billion each year, with businesses paying $9.1 billion. And it takes its toll on a community’s quality of life. The organization found that litter lowers property values by 7 percent, according to the 2009 survey.
Come on candidates, round up your supporters and hit the streets today to collect those signs. Show us all that you truly care about our community, and not just about getting elected. You can send a good message to the voters of Carroll County and show them the importance of keeping it clean.
The last thing you would want is to have someone out collecting litter next spring and finding a sign with your name on it in a ditch. Is that really how you want to be remembered?
Jeff Moore is the publisher of The News-Democrat and The Trimble Banner and resides in Carrollton, Ky.