And to think, we just had lunch there last Saturday. Now the ACLU is suing the Colorado mountain town of Fraser over a homeowner’s anti-Trump signs. Excerpt:
A home in the Town of Fraser has become the center of attention after the owners were asked by the town to take their anti-Trump signs down because they didn’t comply with the code.
The ACLU has since gotten involved and says the town violated the First Amendment rights of the owner.
ACLU director Mark Silverstein says his clients had no problems for more than a year. That was until the town manager sent them an letter asking them to remove the signs.
“After the election of 2016 our clients began putting signs in their yard that expressed their displeasure with President Trump, expressed their views about the need to do something about global warming,” Silverstein said.
Additionally, he said his clients went back to the town manager after they were asked to take the signs down and showed them renderings of others they would like to hang. Still, they were denied.
“They met with the town manager one last time and the client said, “Look, these are works of art, these are exempt from the sign code and the town manager said, ‘No, those would just attract more attention,'” said Silverstein.
The town says they are only enforcing the code.
Here’s what the town code states:
Although the town manager chose to not go on camera, he provided letters that were sent to the owner.
The first one says the owner can only have one yard sign not exceeding 6 square feet.
In a subsequent letter, the town manager signed off on letting the owner keep one of the Trump signs that still hangs on the shed.
Now, the libertarian in me wants to defend these folks right to freedom of expression, even if I disagree with their opinions. The First Amendment overrides any political disagreement.
There’s a hedge, though: There seems to be a city code involved, and I can understand how the town of Fraser would want to enforce that; and I’m OK with that as long as the code has been a) adequately communicated to the homeowners and 2) completely, impartially and dispassionately enforced on all homeowners, regardless of political opinions or, indeed, any other opinions.
Frankly I’d be pretty annoyed with neighbors who feel the need to broadcast their political opinions like this, regardless of who/what they support. It’s cheap and tawdry. The Fraser town manager seems to be trying to keep the town presentable. That’s part of his job.
Here’s my big question: Would the ACLU have gotten involved if the town of Fraser was contending with a staunch Trump supporter who was displaying similar signs? I suspect not.