Free Speech

City Says Man's Giant, Semi-Ironic 'Trump 2020' Sign Is a Code Violation

A massive 15 foot tall Trump/Pence yard sign has unfortunately turned political.

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A 15 foot tall Trump/Pence yard sign has turned extra political after a city government in Washington ordered a homeowner to lower the placard or risk the ire of code enforcement.

West Bremerton resident Kevin Chambers says the 32-square-foot Trump 2020 campaign sign in his front yard started out as a joke, having been installed by his friend as a prank while he was out of town.

"I had originally just laughed it off and decided I'd leave it up for a week or so and then take it down," Chambers tells Reason, who described himself as "actually pretty liberal." (He does co-host a radio show one night a week on a local AM station described by KING5 as a conservative outlet.)

But that was before he saw comments on a local Facebook group threatening to vandalize his sign. At that point, Chambers decided the sign was going to stick around for awhile longer.

"I'm not a huge supporter of [President Donald] Trump, but I'm even less of a fan of people trying to tell me what I can and can't do in my own yard," he said. In an interview with KING5, Chambers said he even planned to add a big Democratic campaign sign once the party picks its nominee.

Eventually, this trolling provoked a local vandal to graffiti the Trump sign. To prevent future defacement, a friend of Chambers placed the sign atop 15-foot wooden stilts.

That move might have deterred the vandals, but it attracted the ire of city code enforcers.

The week of Christmas, Chambers received a letter from the city informing him that non-commercial signs can be no taller than six feet, and that he had until January 21 to lower or get rid of the sign or face possible fines.

City planners stressed to the Kitsap Sun that their sign height limit is content-neutral and based on international signage standards. They said they do not proactively enforce the code, but are required to take action when violations are reported.

Chambers says the city's practice of relying on citizen complaints nevertheless carries its own form of bias in the largely liberal community. Kitsap County, where West Bremerton sits, voted 50–9 in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Gary Johnson earned 6.9 percent.)

"That's someone who saw the giant Trump sign and didn't like it. I guarantee if this had been a Biden or a Gabbard or a Warren [or] a Sanders sign, it would have never been reported," he says.

Chambers says that regardless of the code, his sign poses no safety risk, and that he should, therefore, be allowed to keep it. It's his yard after all.

"Why does anyone have the right to tell anyone what they can do in the yard? I don't think it's the government's room to do that, I don't think it's our neighbor's room to do that," says Chambers.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that local governments cannot regulate signs based on the content of their message.

This ruling probably offers little protection to Chambers, who's being railroaded by a content-neutral sign ordinance purportedly passed to protect public safety. Regardless of constitutional issues, freedom lovers everywhere will sympathize with his desire to keep a giant, semi-ironic political sign in his front yard only because people told him he couldn't.

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  1. Some people just can’t stand the thought of someone enjoying freedom.

    1. Examples: Drug warriors, anti-abortion absolutists, gay marriage opponents, critics of those who kneel during a government sing-along, proponents of tariffs, those who would criminalize flag-burning . . .

      1. Or Progtards…..Reverend. 🙂

      2. Oh, please…as an obvious occupant of the farthest left real estate, do you really not see the plank in your own eye? (Forgive the scriptural reference, as a liberal pastor you may not be familiar with it.) Hypocrisy abounds on all sides of the political spectrum, and if you can’t see the problem, you’re the cause of it.

  2. A massive 15 foot tall Trump/Pence yard sign has unfortunately turned political.

    You scamp.

  3. So where is the gofundme page to keep paying his fines until the election?

  4. Would love to do this where I live but would probably get my house firebombed. In 2008, I saw a lady have her dog pee on a McCain lawn sign

    1. McCain was literally Hitler so it was ok.

      1. Perhaps you should buy a dictionary and look up the meaning of “literally.”

    2. There’s a video somewhere of a guy who electrified his Trump yard sign in 2016 and then set up a hidden camera to watch liberals try to piss on it.

    3. Times have changed since then. It would not be the dog doing the peeing! Besides it would be much worse than any body excretions.

  5. “Chambers says the city’s practice of relying on citizen complaints nevertheless carries its own form of bias in the largely liberal community.”

    I don’t know what it is about this phrasing, but it really does sum up a lot of the issues we have these days. It’s not just the government enforcing their rules unevenly. It’s also that having so many rules, the group most willing to run to the government gets defacto bias against their opponents.

  6. I wonder if he could turn the sign into a garden shed. May not be the same height restrictions. Plus he’d get to see who the tattle-tales are at the permit hearings.
    Honestly running government is the adult equivalent of “I’m telling Mommy!”

    1. Or a tree house.

  7. “That’s someone who saw the giant Trump sign and didn’t like it. I guarantee if this had been a Biden or a Gabbard or a Warren [or] a Sanders sign, it would have never been reported,” he says.”

    Word.

    And I guarantee you the same people would turn Ann Frank in.

    1. Maybe he ought to put up similar signs for Biden and Gabbard and Warren, see what happens, gore some different oxen.

      1. Joe Biden

        “Make America Doze Again”

      2. Gore is not running this time.

  8. City planners stressed to the Kitsap Sun that their sign height limit is content-neutral and based on international signage standards. They said they do not proactively enforce the code, but are required to take action when violations are reported.

    This seems pretty reasonable.

    1. The height limit may be content-neutral but their enforcement mechanism is on a lot shakier ground. As the article notes, the potential for discriminatory enforcement is high. The government cannot evade their responsibilities for non-discriminatory enforcement by “outsourcing” part of the enforcement to the community at large.

      But whether or not the height limit is content neutral as applied, I still question whether it is “reasonable”. On what moral principle does the city get to say how big a sign I can have in my yard? Who precisely is harmed by this 15′ tall sign on private property? I could see an argument if the sign blocked the line-of-sight at an intersection or infringed on air-traffic patterns. None of those scenarios seem apply to this situation, though.

      1. I don’t necessarily agree with this line of thinking specifically, but I am gaining an appreciation for ideas like subversive socialism. Whereby a government is lax at providing adequate law enforcement to prevent vandalism (for which citizens were taxed) but advertises itself as being fully competent at enforcing any and all code violations that any citizen may wish to report. Where actual violent crimes and crimes against property are massively deprioritized (de facto or de jure) relative to infractions that remunerate the state, support mob rule, or allow tyrants to do both selectively.

    2. Yeah, this freedom lover isn’t going to be too happy if his neighbor puts up a 15 foot high sign.

  9. Lower the sign. Set up a camera. Prosecute the vandals.

    Win win.

    1. Need 2 cameras. One, obviously visible, as a decoy that they might vandalize as well. A second one, well hidden, to record the mayhem.

      1. Now you are asking for trouble! The people who do those kinds of things think it is their right do damage your property without repercussion. So when they were prosecuted it would not just the sign but much more personal.

    2. That’s funny.

      You think someone would get prosecuted in Washington for vandalizing a Trump sign.

  10. Kitsap County, where West Bremerton sits, voted 50–9 in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Gary Johnson earned 6.9 percent.)

    Costing Hillary the election.

    1. Trump no doubt carried the constituencies of Citizen and Breathing.

  11. An honorable Democrat — will wonders ever cease?

    Good for him!

  12. “I’m not a huge supporter of [President Donald] Trump, but I’m even less of a fan of people trying to tell me what I can and can’t do in my own yard,”

    Libertarian moment!

  13. The display of a political sign has turned political?

    Well then.

  14. Terms like

    “”I had originally just laughed it off and decided I’d leave it up for a week or so and then take it down,” Chambers tells Reason, who described himself as “actually pretty liberal.”

    and

    “I’m not a huge supporter of [President Donald] Trump, but I’m even less of a fan of people trying to tell me what I can and can’t do in my own yard,”

    and

    “Chambers said he even planned to add a big Democratic campaign sign once the party picks its nominee.”

    are all code.

    They mean, “Jesus fucking Christ, I am SURROUNDED. If I can’t maintain that shred of doubt, these commie fuckers will burn me at the stake’

    1. Jesus WHO?????

  15. This is a good demonstration to show the difference between liberal/progressives of today and libertarian/conservatives of today. The libertarian/conservative would say that you are stupid to say that or do that or for what ever it is that they disagree with where as the liberal/progressives will try to force you not do do what ever it is that they disagree with. In some case they say there should be a law to prevent what ever it is. Which is just show that the liberal/progressives are more like the repressive regimes such as China and Iran. Sorry liberal/progressives just compare for your selves and if you do so honestly you will see and have to acknowledge it yourselves.

  16. The sign was vandalized, so he raised it. If they force him to lower it, than the city should be liable for any vandalization that should take place as a result.

  17. read the code carefully. Does it say no more than fifteen feet above the surface on which it is mounted? Or fifteen feet above the nearest structure? Or fifteen feet above grade?

    If it restricts height above the supporting surface, mount the silly thing up on the peak of the roof of the house. Fifteen feet above it.

    Make sure the code is clear, though…..

    Of course, to really play the game, he should wait until the day before D Day, remove the SIGN ONLY not the “stilts” Leave them there, empty.

    Three days later, mount the sign back on the stilts but in aa very different location. They will have to wait for another complaint, send another letter, it is a different structure, he did remove the first as required, they have to give him time, so it stays up anothermonth or so….. heh heh heh…..

    In yer face, rotters!

    I had an old hulk of a car left right ifront of my house years back, in California where no “abandoned, wrecked, dismant;ed or junk CAR” may be visible from the public right of way. As long as it was still a “vehicle” (and it was when I put it there) it can’t be out in front of the house. Too lazy/busy to cut it up, not having a title to legally bring it to the boneyard, and they refusing to take a stripped out shell of a car body, I had to get creative. SO.. cut the roof off, snaffled a few scraps of cheap plywood, a few sticks of tubafor, hammer and saw, I turned the inside of the hulk into a sort of tub. Plastic liner, some water, and suddenly I had a FISH TANK. That was a glorious In Yer Mug to the local County Mounty who clearly had it in for me. (and I assure you it was reciprocal). The goof actually swore out a citation, sent another of his pals to serve the summons into the local court. I showed up, as did he. When I presented the test of the Caifornia Vehicle Code defining “vehicle” and then pictures to clearly show the “thing” in my front yard is not only NOTa “vehicle” it is a FISH TANK the judge had to chuckle a bit as he banged the gavel and said CASE DISMISSED. The internal temperature of that bedecked and bebangled constable was obviously rising……. I got some thumbs up as I walked out of the courtroom. Seems this clown was widely despised. He had a ‘tude big enough to sink a fair sized ship. I left the silly ‘fish tank” there when I moved……..

  18. Get a night scope for a BB gun and for entertainment on a Saturday night wait for some woke to come on your property to deface the sign and then pepper them in the arse

    My Dad was on my town’s zoning board for a decade and it was all about if you liked you. I’m not sure he ever opened up the 1000 page zoning ordinance book-he was born in 1922 and was a WW2 vet. A young guy came in (this is 20 years ago) and wanted a larger sign for his business. My Dad told me “yea h some young guy comes in with a computer and some sort of projector and no one had any idea wha the hell he was talking about…and we didn’t like him.” Needless to say he didn’t get the zoning variance. I then noticed a old guy who had a shoe repair business (yes these exist why I don’t know) put up a monster sign..I asked the old man and he told me “Tony is having hard times and the board feels bad for him..” Yes this is how decisions are made in local govt.

    1. Apropos of absolutely nothing, it is possible to drain the fluid out of a paint ball and replace that with another.

      Also apropos of nothing, the chemical Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) penetrates the dermal barrier, and will carry other chemical compounds with it into the bloodstream, where they remain for a period sufficiently long to be tasted and/or smelled for an hour or more.

      Apropos of even more nothing, cat urine is a chemical compound, and is readily available in most urban settings.

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