P.R. Latta: A Contrary Approach to Yard Signs by Brad Miller

By at August 22, 2014 | 8:03 am | Print

P.R. Latta:  A Contrary Approach to Yard Signs by Brad Miller

Brad Miller

P.R. Latta was an institution in the North Carolina Democratic Party and was a legendary NC Trade Unionist. He passed away on August 17, 2014 at the age of 96. R.I.P.

P.R. Latta didn’t admit to being contrary; he boasted of it. The perfunctory question, “how are you doing?” usually gets a perfunctory “fine” for an answer. P.R.’s answer was “I’m contrary.”

P.R. and I argued over the right way to put up a yard sign. I said to pound a sharpened stake into the ground with a mallet (a hammer was inadequate) and then staple the sign to the stake. If you stapled the sign to the stake in advance, then the pounding knocked the sign off the stake. He said to staple the signs to the stakes in advance, pound a pointed pipe (which he happily provided any Democrat who adopted his method) into the ground with a mallet to create a suitable hole, and then put the stake in the hole and tamp down the loose dirt around the stake.

One year I agreed to give a neutral, fair description of both methods to our volunteers (“Does anyone want one of these damned pipes?”) and let them decide. They all decided to do it my way. P.R. still cut stakes with nice points for those misguided volunteers who did it all wrong.

Years later, under great pressure from my congressional campaign staff, who just did not understand the importance of the issue, I agreed to signs on metal frames that could be pushed directly into the ground. It was a terrible day.

P.R. and I did agree that democracy would work better if the personal endorsement of a candidate’s sign in a citizen’s yard was as important in politics as big money.

P.R. passed away on Sunday after a long and contrary life devoted to democracy in the workplace (his first involvement in politics was through the union movement) and everywhere else.

I miss him already.

R Bradley “Brad” Miller, Of Counsel, Grais & Ellsworth.  Brad is  a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives for North Carolina’s serving from 2003 to 2013. He served in North Carolina House of Representatives from 1992 until 1994 and was member of the North Carolina Senate from 1996 to 2002.

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