With the general election less than three weeks away, the campaign sign season is in full swing.
Some have the polish of the graphic artist's touch, some are of the homey, hand-lettered variety, and my personal favorite is one featuring a glamorous photo of the candidate -- who, I might add, bears a striking resemblance to Joan Collins -- set against a hot pink background.
The signs of the times; it seems they're everywhere. But there are regulations that limit where politicians can put their signs.
This excerpt from the Howard County Code shows just how complicated sticking a sign in the ground can be: "Signs announcing candidates seeking public political office and other data pertinent thereto shall be permitted up to a total area of nine square feet for each premises in a residential district and 32 square feet in a commercial or industrial district."
The penalty for violating the county sign laws is a $100 fine.
James Rawle, the county's sign code administrator, said that, in general, candidates are abiding by the sign restrictions and no citations have been issued so far.
But don't think that all is well on the sign front.
Some workers at the county election board say they've heard of some rather serious crimes against signs.
There's sign stealing: "I know of one that's been put up five times."
There's sign defacing: "All signs have an attraction for people that want to draw mustaches."
And these veteran sign watchers have even spotted some illegally placed signs.
Observed one part-time election board clerk: "I saw one of Liz Bobo's nailed to a tree."