Former District 1 City Councilor Rick Garcia was most famous for his uncanny ability to turn simple neighborhood problems into even bigger messes. His mid-second-term departure last month to take a job as the director of the regional Housing and Urban Development office is a case in point: It spawned a special election on May 4, 2010 to name his replacement. To make matters worse, all ten of the candidates vying for the District 1 City Council seat sound remarkably alike. Spoiler Alert! They all want safer neighborhoods, responsible zoning and better schools. As if!
The only way to tell these political hopefuls apart is by taking a long hard look, and reading between the lines of their campaign signs. A keen graphic artist's eye can readily see that many secret messages and hidden truths that are revealed in each of the candidates' choice of graphics and typography...
John Haney (above right): Name type choice: Highway Gothic. This is the font that it used on all U.S. Interstate Highway signs and Denver city street name signs. Subliminal message: Implies that John is most comfortable as a "traffic director," and that he may be more of a people manager than a visionary. Which may be just what the city budget needs.
Ken Padilla (above left): Type Choice: Franklin Gothic, the font was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Subliminal message: Emphasizes Ken's belief in following the ideals of pursuing civic and personal virtue that are explained in the masterpiece, Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School.
Chris Jeffrey (above right): Graphic choice: Underlines name with a "Zorro" letter Z. Subliminal message: Implies the Chris sees himself as the cunning, mask-clad candidate that defends the people of District 1 against tyrannical government officials. It also suggests that he takes great personal pleasure in publicly humiliating his foes.
Ambrose (above left): Graphic choice: No first name given, scant information provided. Subliminal message: Implies that Ambrose is either too busy for such trivial details, or that he/she may have a history or a reason to withhold pertinent information. The uplifting tilt of the "City Council" graphic does suggest that Ambrose thinks his/her inclusion in city government will mean a good time for all involved.
Paula E. Sandoval (above right): Type and Graphic Choices: ITC Bookman in a three-line list. Subliminal message: Implies that Paula is a real task-master who doesn't have time for silly frills. She probably designed and ordered these on her iPhone in less than one minute.
Randle Swan (above left): Graphic choice: Six white stars in a blue field. Subliminal message: The use of five-sided stars in a grouping of six universally implies that Randle is community conscious, responsible and very charming, yet he is equally susceptible to flattery and just a teensy-bit self-righteous.
K. Jerry Frangas (above right): Type choice: Century Nova, the type most often used in school textbooks. Subliminal message: By using the type font in which most people learn to read, K. Jerry solidly implies that he performs his public service work "Old School" style.
Susan Sheperd (above left): Graphic choices: Green ink and plant image. Subliminal messages: By being the only candidate to use green ink, Susan separates herself from the pack and implies that she is the more environmental candidate. The nondescript plant imagery that accompanies the "cultivating community" tag line also has winning appeal to the district's two largest voting blocks -- senior citizen gardeners and medical marijuana vendors.
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Jon Lehmann (above right): Graphic choice: Larger type size used for last name, which is further emphasized with a school-marmish chalkboard underline. Subliminal message: Implies that Jon's last name is his greatest asset and qualification for the job.
Georgia Sigala: (above left): Graphic choice: "Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" style. Subliminal message: The circle outline of the graphic contains the six stars (see Randle Swan), which implies that Georgia struggles to find a balance between truly helping and interfering. For example, when a sunburst symbol is removed from the sky (where it represents the Sun) and is placed in the foreground of a skyscraper, it reads more like an image of a bomb blast. The campaign sign graphic therefore implies that Georgia supports a routine firebombing of Aurora. This may help the image of the city of Denver, but it would interfere with many lives.
Click on each candidate's name to open a page to their website. The next District 1 Candidate forum will be held on Thursday, April 8, 6:30 P.M. at the Berkeley Community Church, 3701 W. 50th Avenue. The event is hosted by Berkeley Community Church & North Denver News.