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City Vows To Shut Down Man’s Lawn For Too Many Trump Signs

According to CBS Boston, a Haverhill, Massachusetts, man named Rick Early is in violation of a city ordinance because of his numerous Donald Trump yard signs.

CBS reports, "The city has an ordinance prohibiting political signs that total more than 32 square feet of space. Early’s signs add up to more than 300 square feet."

Early's lawn looks like Donald Trump campaign headquarters, with typical yard signs eclipsed by massive billboard-like posters in support of his candidate.

On September 9, Early got notice that he was in violation of the city ordinance regarding sign space, but he thinks it's political, telling The Boston Globe:

"The signs have been up since January and now someone decided that since Trump is getting momentum, it’s time to abide by the rules. They’ve been up for eight months, so I just think the timing is wrong."

Haverhill's Mayor, James J. Fiorentini, told the Globe that's simply not true:

“When I ran for mayor, my campaign was asked to and did take down signs that did not comply...It was enforced against former Mayor Bill Ryan. It was enforced against City Councilor Sven Amirian two years ago when he put up signs that were too big."

Fiorentini says that to claim "you are allowed to violate the law" because the "inspectors did not catch you earlier" is ludicrous, and that if Early wants to change the ordinance, he should mobilize to get it "repealed."

This didn't stop Haverhill's number one Trump fan from having a YUGE rally in his front yard Saturday in support of his right to express political affiliation through his yard signs. Dozens of supporters showed up, some of whom, according to CBS Boston, don't even support Trump--just free speech.

The rally is completely legal, although some neighbors were none too happy about the general noise and constant honking of car horns.

However, the wind seems to favor Early.

Neighbor Paul Fitzmeyer won't say who he's supporting in the presidential race, but he is supporting Rick Early:

"I am not decided yet, but he’s been getting pushed around for exceeding the square foot limit. I don’t see where this isn’t anything but his free speech."

Early says that if the city decides to levy a fine, he'll hit right back with a lawsuit.

"This is my property, and I have a constitutional right to express my opinions," he told CBS Boston. "They’re not coming down."

Early continues to question the timing of the notice, telling the Eagle-Tribune that "signs have been up since January, and all of a sudden there's an ordinance?" The ordinance Early is in violation of was adopted in 1971.

Though he may be in violation of a city ordinance, Early isn't necessarily creating a nuisance.

Richard Vetstein, real estate attorney and Founding Partner of the Massachusetts-based Vetstein Law Group, told the Daily Wire that he doesn't believe "an abundance of political signs would rise to the level of a nuisance--which would require a substantial level of disturbance," and that Early "would enjoy First Amendment protections for putting up the signs. Ordering him to take down the signs would be in effect censorship."

 
 
 

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