Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Posted by Katherine Rodriguez | 21 Sep 2017

A Maine woman says she would rather risk jail time than take down her yard signs in support of President Trump after city officials said she had to remove them.

Officials from the city of Rockland told Susan Reitman, 75, that she had to take down her signs or face fines because the signs violate a local ordinance, the Daily Mail reported.

“I was shocked,” she said. “This is my freedom of speech. People have a right to voice their opinion.”

The signs, which hang over her front gate, read “I Love Trump” and “He Won, Get Over It.”

A code enforcement officer from the city told Reitman that, under the city ordinance, residents could only display one sign attached to a structure no larger than two square feet or one free-standing sign no larger than four square feet. Reitman’s signs violate the ordinance because she has two signs that are just over three feet by two feet, according to the officer. 

Officials say that if she does not remove her signs by Friday, she faces fines of $100 to $1,000 per day. The code enforcement officer added that another resident complained about the size of the signs.

Reitman, however, is not backing down. She told New England Cable News that she would neither pay the fines nor take her signs down.

“If I have to sit in jail for the rest of eternity, that’s my choice,” she said. “I guess I’m being stubborn … but I’m not going to back down from what I believe.”

Town officials say that residents can apply for permits to display signs larger than what the ordinance allows.  Reitman added that she was not aware of the ordinance and thinks city officials should change it to allow for political speech.

Rockland Assistant Code Enforcement Officer William Butler argues that his directive had nothing to do with the content of the signs.

“I admire your passion for our president. Truly, I do,” Butler wrote in a Monday email to Reitman, according to the Press Herald. “However, we have received a complaint, and I have to do my due diligence, and I have determined your signs are not in compliance with the Rockland Code.”

“It is your business what you put on the signs. It is the city’s business regarding the size and number of signs,” he added.

Butler reportedly did not mention any threat of jail time in his email to Reitman. 

The Herald reports that Reitman would only face jail time if she refused to follow a court order from a judge asking her to remove the signs. For that to happen, the city would have to file a land-use complaint in court.

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