Ronald Kienhuis of Great Neck, NY admits that he was trying to get a rise out of his neighbors when he planted the sign in his front yard that read “BUSH MUST GO!” though he didn’t expect to be threatened with a lawsuit from the village over it, but that’s what happened not too long after the sign went up.
First, one neighbor told Kienhuis that someone complained about his sign to the Village of Great Neck. A code inspector showed up. Shortly after, a “notice of violation” arrived from the village ordering him to take the sign down – although the village backed out of its warning yesterday.
Someone also left Kienhuis an anonymous letter asking him to put the sign away. Finally, the sign disappeared over the Fourth of July weekend.
Kienhuis got some cardboard and a marker and made another sign. It’s on his lawn again.
“When I put the sign up, I thought in the back of my mind that it would be either defaced or stolen, because there is underlying polarization on this issue, but I was surprised” with the village’s warning, said Kienhuis, 54, in Great Neck for more than 40 years.
Reading this I expected the sign to be huge and obnoxious, but it turns out it’s one of those typical little yard signs you see all the time for various issues. According to the article, Kienhuis’ neighbors were upset because they felt the sign would lower property values in the neighborhood:
The anonymous letter essentially told Kienhuis, courteously, that neighborhood property values, which the letter writer feared would plunge with anti-Bush rhetoric, matter more than free speech. “A sign of this nature,” the letter went, “will most certainly make it difficult for your neighbors to sell their homes.”
So if you’ve been considering moving to the village of “Great Neck” you might want to remember that your potential neighbors consider property values more important than your right to free speech. If you insist on putting up a small sign expressing your unhappiness with the President you can expect your neighbors to trespass onto your property and steal it if the village opts not to push the issue on their behalf.