Wooden Works Wrought Whimsical Words
THOUSAND OAKS: Campaign signs rise above mere election rhetoric.
By Margaret Daly
Lance Winslow was convinced that Thousand Oaks voters would pick him to be their new councilman in Tuesday's special election, and as motorists spotted his folksy signs cropping up everywhere in recent weeks, it seemed he had a chance.
A sign that said "Thank city staff for making our city #1" was planted in the ground across from City Hall. A round sign at the Rancho Road exit to Highway 101 read: "Keep small business rolling vote 4 Lance."
The signs were not the pretty professional signs that voters were accustomed to. They were pieced together out of junk plywood and recycled paint.
"We hand painted them so people will know they are mine," Winslow said. "Everybody said they were real good, and we couldn't afford anything else."
The signs took on a life of their own. Some teen-age girls put up a sign on Olsen Road near California Lutheran University that read: "Lance has great buns." Winslow was even asked to pose for a picture by it.
But the signs also triggered more trouble with the law for Winslow.
An area businessman accused Winslow of stealing the wood to make the signs and filed charges against him with the Sheriff's Department. The case was investigated and a police source said the district attorney's office dismissed the case.
Winslow said he got the wood out of trash bins behind some of the businesses in the Rancho Conejo Industrial Park. "It was junk wood," he said. "It was scrap. We took whatever we wanted." The paint, he added came from the city's recycling program.
When Winslow realized how popular the signs were becoming, he decided to try to boost his chances in the council race by making a 10-foot sign with the words "I'm Lance" painted vertically down the side. He stood with the sign on street corners near freeway entrances waving and giving motorists the thumbs up sign.
In the end, the signs didn't work the magic that Winslow had hoped for. He only got 8.8 percent of the vote or 1,522 votes. But he remained optimistic. "I guess it's not really my loss, it's theirs, too bad," he said. "It's probably better for me because I can get on with my life."
But it may not be the end of the signs for thousand Oaks. Winslow says he may take the remaining signs and repaint them to read: "Congratulations Mike from Lance."
Reprinted from the The Star, June 1995.