Piece of Mind: Vanishing signs of the times

Every so often it occurs to me that I'd like to reinvent myself. Yet again. And maybe I've hit upon a real money-making idea this time: manufacturing political yard signs. Think about it, because maybe you'd like to join me in this venture. At the rate they are stolen or destroyed, we could split a tidy sum if we could manage to dominate the market.

This latest light bulb went off earlier this week when we received a call at the office. A woman on the other end of the phone advised us that a yard sign endorsing President Obama for reelection had been stolen from her property. Not only had her sign been taken, but others in the neighborhood (near Crown Avenue and Baptiste Way) that were touting our president had also disappeared. She certainly didn't sound like the sort to unfairly point any fingers, but she did mention that the campaign signs dotting lawns nearby that endorsed Republican challenger Mitt Romney had been left untouched.

We get calls similar to this every political season, whether it's during a national election or a local school board race. I happen to believe our caller this week was merely advising us of the thefts, not trying to get a sympathetic story that would have the effect of supporting her presidential choice, but that sort of thing does happen. In my experience, a call comes from a campaign worker who expresses outrage that someone has stolen a bunch of his candidate's signs. The caller will often further point out, very specifically, which candidate he blames for being behind the thefts.

I recall the time a decade or so ago when a supporter of a candidate in a local race howled loudly when his candidate's signs went missing from La Cañada yards. It was, the tipster claimed, no doubt the doing of one of the others running in that particular race. Within hours after we received the complaining call, we learned that a pile of signs representing every candidate running in that election was found dumped in Memorial Park. It appeared there was no bias involved, just the work of either vandals out for a good time, or someone fed up with looking at what can sometimes be unsightly campaign signs lining the streets.

I'd like to say this practice of stealing political yard signs is scandalous and un-American, trampling on the rights of others to freely state their political preferences, but the opportunist in me loves it. A stolen sign costs a campaign money to replace, no? Political war chests are getting awfully bloated these days. Let's help them spend it.

Are you game? As your partner, you could trust me to do a good job, I promise, although I can't say with a straight face that I have a terribly long attention span. I like to change things up. Consider my resume: Despite my most recent (15-year!) career turn in journalism, I do have some experience in the business world. Just out of college, I wanted to become a buyer for a retail chain. That was accomplished in relatively short order and remained interesting for a time. Then I was enticed to do a little wholesaling. I lost the thrill of that after a few years.

Next, my thoughts turned toward the notion of becoming a mother and, happily, my husband agreed. We went in for an uber-small family, with one (splendid, as she'd no doubt like me to point out) child. When she was in school, the idea of opening my own gifts and stationery store appealed. That kept my attention, and even turned a profit, until the landlords, perhaps whiffing success in the air, raised the rent by a ridiculous amount.

The Valley Sun beckoned next, with its plaintive advertisement for someone who could string sentences together. I've loved, really savored, helping to bring the news of our city to our neighbors. It's been a great fit for my personality and, hands down, the best job I could imagine, even in the most trying times for our industry.

But still, my mind wanders. A recent fantasy of mine is to become a homemaker, perhaps tending to a kitchen garden between community engagements. Alas, it would seem that the household budgetmeister sees the need for more revenue-generating endeavors. Do you think my political yard sign idea has any legs? If I grow tired of it, could you buy me out for a princessly sum and carry the banner? If so, give me a call.

CAROL CORMACI is the managing editor. She can be reached via email at carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

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