Friday, March 09, 2012

Man vs. City: FL Man Fighting Local Gov’t Over Right to Post Critical Signs‏

One man's war on bureaucracy:
"Auto mechanic Wayne Weatherbee has been waging a one-man protest against the city of Clermont for years. According to a local Florida station, WFTV, the dispute began after “Weatherbee [agreed] to move his business across the street, so the city could expand its police headquarters.

Now Weatherbee says the city has denied his request for an occupational license at his new shop.” To be fair, Weatherbee refused to apply for some of the “special permissions” he needs in order to run an automotive shop in the central business district, on principle.

But the current issue began later when, in protest, Weatherbee began erecting signs critical of the city on his property. He immediately began receiving charges of $75 a day, but rather than capitulate, new signs went up. Messages included, “27 Years in the Automotive Business and this Town is Trying to Turn Me into a Sign Painter,“ and ”ACLU Where Are You.”

According to the ACLU, which did step in and file a suit on Weatherbee’s behalf: "This series of actions crossed the line and unacceptably infringed on Weatherbee’s right to free expression…city officials have unconstitutionally targeted Weatherbee, attempting to suppress his free speech…"

The result? A federal judge ruled in Weatherbee’s favor in 2010, ordering that he be recompensed $62,000. But the signs are still causing problems, and the city is “bracing for a rematch.” How so? It went ahead and passed a new ordinance against signs:

The city may soon try to impose fines of up to $250 a day for signs that city officials contend violate Clermont’s new sign ordinance, which was approved by the City Council after the loss in federal court.

“Bring it on, brother,” said Weatherbee, thick engine grease under his fingernails.


1 comment:

Bird of Paradise said...

The city owes him a appology and for all of them to resign in disgrace