CLEVELAND, OH — I follow the local political movement for Ron Paul intensely, so when I saw that our very first billboard for Ron Paul was going up in Cleveland, I was pretty excited. I went out one Wednesday morning in January to take a photo of the sign to simply share around the web (and gloat oh behalf of Cleveland, obviously). When I returned home to examine the pictures though, I did the logical thing when presented with a sign like this and Googled the name Harry X. Sysack.
At first, I was shocked and horrified. What came back from a Flickr result page were some of the most over-the-top political billboard paintings one could imagine. They are lectures to a vehicular audience at the busy intersection of State Road and Pearl Road; offering of “affirmative action pricing” for sign making, Obama being lectured by a spanking, a swastika on a green blackboard while a teacher how Hitler was the first green president. They elicit a shocking response, and that’s clearly their intent.
Digging through my contacts within the ranks of rabble-rousing libertarians, I was able to ascertain the chain of events in the ownership of the sign. A Columbus Ohio PAC had done the payment processing, but a local Ron Paul meetup member had actually suggested the location. I spoke with him and he seemed to not know as much about the company’s history as as provocative placement pimp.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Nancy Sysack for an exclusive interview and get her side of the story on these billboards. Miss Sysack is a small grandmotherly figure in her late 50s, the remaining family owner of Harry X. Sysack. She’s sharp though, and was quick to flip the interview script and start asking me questions. She still hand paints every commercial sign (every other month or so will put up a new political sign). With the help of a small army of local artists she employs, she is still making a successful living of it. She and her brother have been running the family business since her father passed away in the 1980s, but sadly her brother followed just a few years ago.