The Signs Have It


October 23, 2013 by gossiportsmouth2

The season of changing leaves, crisp air, and candidate yard signs is upon us. You’ve probably noticed that the once green leaves hanging across the grand sidewalks of Portsmouth have transitioned into auburn and golden hues. Talk of evening chills has us bundled up under a layer of five down comforters. And every other yard of our fair city is now populated with technicolor signs as if flags planted by foreign empires on new lands. No, this isn’t a treatise on European colonization of the Asian subcontinent — this is about Portsmouth’s City Council elections.

Voting, by the way is great. You should do it. But, like purchasing a dirty magazine, only if you are 18 years or older. Check out the city clerk’s office if you need more information about your voting ward and other important information. Wait? Did we say voting wards? Yep. Portsmouth is a city, yo! We don’t all vote in one school cafeteria, we spread the goodness around.

To better understand the candidates we’re taking a close look at our only interactions with them: their yard signs. Here’s a review of most of the candidates. If you or your desired councilor has been left off the list, relax. We’re just not that into you.


Eric Spear

Mr. Spear has clearly gone the way of the minimalist here. Notice what this sign is telling us: Eric Spear is above City Council. You can’t pull the wool over our eyes, especially when we are not even wearing any wool. This sign reminds us of one of those brain teasers depicting a common phrase. For example, the word “long” underneath the word “wear” is meant to be long underwear. Hilarious, yes. But not when you’re running for Portsmouth’s City Council. City Council under Eric Spear? Eric Spear over City Council? Is this because he is currently serving in the role of Mayor? Maybe we’re reading this one wrong, but it just doesn’t jive with us.


Brad Lown

Mr. Lown provides his supporters with these green signs which must be eco-friendly. We love the bicycle at the top because it kind of says, “I really don’t care, put a bike on it.” We’re not Berkeley, but okay. Does Mr. Lown bike a lot? Maybe. We couldn’t find anything to support the bike on the sign, which is to say, did we even look? And yes we did, which allowed us to stumble upon this 2011 dispatch from the Portsmouth, NH Patch. In the article Brad Lown says, “I pledge to only LISTEN…” His comments go on to speak to what he thinks a proper city councilor should be, but it makes us wonder: If Mr. Lown is pledging to only listen, what happens when he’s to vote on a city council matter? So we looked into this matter further and, as it turns out, Mr. Lown broke his pledge and actually does more than listen. He sometimes talks during City Council proceedings, and has even voted as recently as this past Monday on a motion before the council. Someone certainly sounds wishy-washy.


Gibson “Mike” Kennedy

All we have had the opportunity to think about in regards to this rather pedestrian sign is how did Mr. Kennedy receive the nickname “Mike”? If Mr. Kennedy is elected, we might only refer to him as “Gibs” — sorry we’re not sorry.


Steve Taylor

Whoa kids, settle down. Steven Tyler is not running for Portsmouth’s illustrious City Council. Nope, we’re stuck with Steve Taylor the American Christian singer-songwriter. Wait, that doesn’t seem right. Because it isn’t. The Steve Taylor running for City Council is Richards Ave’s Steve Taylor, a business owner. Of note, he does not support Portsmouth bars staying open later — how’s that supporting local business? Also of note, his is the only sign that is purposefully printed askew. Mad props, Mr. Taylor.


Zelita Morgan

Well hello Ms. Morgan. We don’t remember the last time we saw a name with such, ahem, culture in the mix for Portsmouth’s highest offices. Also, let’s just state a fact: this is the best sign of any candidate. The city skyline with North Church’s steeple pointing straight towards Ms. Morgan. Well done ma’am. Sadly, if Ms. Morgan isn’t elected, the skyline may change (really, it already is) and Ms. Morgan won’t be able to reuse these signs in two years. So do protect Portsmouth’s historic character so that these signs may be recycled.


Joe Caldaroda

Mr. Caldaroda has us worried. His sign’s tagline — “This Time it Matters” — doesn’t really make sense. Is Mr. Caldaroda suggesting that when Portsmouth elected Mary Dondero that it didn’t matter? Or when we cast our ballots two Novembers ago that it was all for not? Why does it matter this time? To be quite honest, we’re a little hurt that Mr. Caldaroda thinks that we’ve just been wasting our time all these years. Also, it’s a tad early for Christmas colors.


“Bicycle” Bob Shouse

Well, hot damn. We could be the first city in the nation with a bicycle elected to its city council, possibly even mayor material here. As anyone who has lived in Portsmouth since Woolworth’s was overtaken by Ethan Allen and Planet Fitness knows, Mr. Shouse once owned Bicycle Bob’s. If you guessed that was a bicycle shop you’d be correct. So another strong showing for people with small business acumen running for City Council. But, we do have one issue with this sign: the nickname. The part in the quotes is supposed to be the actual nickname. Bicycle Bob’s nickname is Bicycle Bob. We’re quite positive no one ever calls him “Bicycle”, and if they do, well that’s just wrong because he’s Bicycle Bob. Knowing all this, we are strongly looking forward to a ballot that lists someone as “Bicycle” — here’s hoping!


Stefany Shaheen

Go bold, Ms. Shaheen. And you have. All caps. You’ve got yourself some exquisite san serif typography right there. And the hint of Portsmouth’s flavor in the background, how awesome. The boats and the bridge, superb. Maybe everything about Ms. Shaheen’s campaign is over-polished, but if we’re going to turn into Pawnee, IN we’ll need a Sweetums-esque benefactor at times and Ms. Shaheen looks quite ready. Some awesome things about Ms. Shaheen’s campaign: she organized an apple cider meet and greet, and you can request a yard sign! We are, to say the least, impressed.


Josh Denton

So this sign is boring. Mr. Denton, we were expecting a little more from you. We don’t want to say we are disappointed, but we’re a little let down. When you run again, please think more about your yard sign.



Who is this Dwyer character anyways? Dwyer apparently is on the City Council currently because the sign informs us that we should “re-elect”, but we’d rather be on a first name basis with someone. Thanks, but no thanks? Wait a sec, this sign is cool. The cartoonish Portsmouth buildings while maybe straight from Clipart are fun. The adjective-crazed Dwyer who has customizable yard sign toppers — this Dwyer is “reliable” — makes us proud to support someone with Madlibs always in their heart.


Saunders & Duncan J. MacCallum

To be fair, we’re not really sure who either of you are. And there isn’t much to say about a yard sign that features a rowboat on a sandy beach and another yard sign that, well, is rightfully trying to hide.


The Fox

What does the fox say? Vote Tuesday, November 5, 2013


One thought on “The Signs Have It

  1. […] wrote about yard signs for several Portsmouth city council hopefuls a few days ago, but then we noticed […]

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