Kudos to County Councilman John Frey. If you didn't catch Monday's Paper of Montgomery County, Frey penned a column that took me and a few others to task over some of the things we've said and written.

Good for him.

It's been written in this space many times that we need more civil discourse in this country, and specifically this community. We need for different opinions to be heard, stated, debated, discussed and, well, OK, cussed. I can't say that I agree with everything John said, but I surely respect the fact that he said it and said it well. At the very least, he wasn't like a few others who grumble and gripe behind your back while smiling to your face. Good for John for being the upfront guy he is. Let's all hope the debate continues. That's exactly what will make things better.

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PITY THE POOR peony. The state flower since 1957 (when it replaced the zinnia) is in danger of being replaced itself. The culprits are those pesky perennials, the political sign! You've seen them, they're sprouting up everywhere. They come in all shapes and colors. Some have just a few words, others a lot more than you can read while driving.

Sadly, the political sign has become a major way to woo voters. I'm not sure why. Ask almost any candidate and you can find at least one thing on which the left and right agree - they never have enough money. Believe it or not, it's not all that cheap to run for office. Candidates buy signs. They buy ads. They print brochures. It takes money, and most of them don't have a lot. So anything they spend on a sign that has six or seven words can't be spent on something that gives a detailed explanation on who they are and what they stand for.

Six or seven words. Is that the standard now? Is that a platform?

Look, nothing wrong with signs . . . to a point. And let me state the obvious. Our newspaper sells advertising. So take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. The thing is, a candidate really needs to campaign on multiple fronts. They need to knock on doors. They need to go to community events. They need to shake hands, look someone in the eye and tell that person who they are and what they're about. It's important. If a candidate relies heavily on signs, or any other avenue that's equally as lame, do you really think they'll be a ball of fire if elected?

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TO HELP VOTERS learn more about the candidates running for county council and county commissioner, The Paper of Montgomery County will once again put on a couple of political debates. We'll share the spotlight with GM Dave Peach and his good folks from your friendly Crawfordsville radio stations and give you the opportunity to listen to and evaluate candidates for county commissioner and county council.

Candidates for county commissioner will take the stage Monday, April 28 at the Crawfordsville High School Auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the debate will begin at 6:30. The same schedule will also be used the next night, Tuesday, April 29, for county council candidates. Sen. Phil Boots will moderate both events and the radio station will broadcast the events.

A fair question is why do we have these debates? After all, the League of Women Voters has an excellent candidate forum. This year's is Thursday, April 24 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a meet and greet and the forum begins an hour later. That event and our debates have two different formats. Combined, they give voters a chance to see the candidates in different settings and we believe there is value in that.

I for one think it would be great if all three events were packed. Three evenings and maybe five or six hours. Is that too much to invest in order to elect good leaders?

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.