By Wyatt Earp | October 1, 2010
How did the city respond? They threatened to arrest, cite, and fine Mr. Schirmbeck for the “crime” of exercising his First Amendment rights. In Texas!
A city official in Baytown, Texas on Thursday threatened a resident with fines of up to $500 for the crime of holding a sign urging passersby to vote against automated enforcement in an upcoming election. Byron Schirmbeck, the organizer of a ballot measure that would ban the use of red light cameras, was merely trying to remind passing motorists of the upcoming November 2 vote in a quiet demonstration held on Wednesday afternoon.
“The city of Baytown observed you holding and maintaining a sign advertising, ‘Ban Red Light Cameras’ in the city’s right of way on Garth Road and West Baker Road on September 22, 2010,” Baytown Sign Inspector Debbie Sherman wrote. “It shall be unlawful for a person to intentionally or knowingly erect or maintain a sign on or above property he has no right to occupy without the written consent of the owner of such property.”
After Schirmbeck appealed to mayor Stephen DonCarlos, the city quickly reversed itself. (H/T – Al B.)
Personally, Schirmbeck should demand that the city official stand in traffic and hold a sign that says, “I am a jackass.”