No Political Sign in Window

WSVN — It seemed like a simple thing; putting a small sign for a presidential candidate in her living room. A small thing to her, a violation to her homeowners association. So can they block you from showing your support for Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton? It's why we now bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

If you have been out of the country, welcome back. and did you know 14, I mean 15. Oh well. A lot of people are running for President of the United States.

Valencia Morris: "When it's time for voting, I vote for the one that will run this country in the right way."

The Republicans have a long list of choices for their parties nomination. The Democrats, not as many, but Valencia Morris, who is an Independent, has already made up her mind.

Valencia Morris: "She is on the top of her game where she is running for president. Very excited, very excited. I'm all the way Hillary."

Valencia Morris lives at The Enclave in Cutler Bay and wanted to show her support for Hillary Clinton.

Valencia Morris: "So I decided to put it in my front window that was inside of my home, right next to the ADT sticker."

A small sign, inside her home just like this. Valencia didn't think it was a problem, but…

Valencia Morris: "I got a letter from the association. They took a picture of the window and they asked if it could be corrected? Basically taking it down."

Valencia was surprised that a political sign inside her living room was illegal in her neighborhood.

Valencia Morris: "ReadyforHillary.com. Nothing vulgar."

Her neighbors have signs inside their homes that support guns. Others have flags. Valencia thinks that's great for them, so why can't a person living in a democracy have a sign for a presidential candidate inside her house?

Valencia Morris: "You have rights and I feel you have the right to vote. You have the right of freedom of speech."

Valencia emailed the management company running The Enclave asking where in the documents it said a political sign in her home was a violation. They didn't respond so to avoid the inevitable next step from them, she took her Hillary sign down.

Valencia Morris: "And I know the next steps. If you don't correct it, they are going to send you a bill. That is how it works, a fine."

Valencia says if her neighbors want to put up a Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio sign, they can't, but they can put up other signs. Howard, is that legal?

Howard Finkelstein: "The First Amendment freedom guarantees that the government can't stop you from expressing your ideas, but an association can if their documents are written properly. These documents are and if this went to court, the homeowner would probably lose."

We contacted the property manager for The Enclave at Black Point Marina. When we asked about Valencia's campaign sign, he told us this Hillary sign is considered an architectural change. She needs to fill out a form and submit it for approval from the board.

He then finally responded to Valencia's email and told her that neither the association or the management company are against your rights to express your political beliefs, just follow the procedures for the community.

Valencia sent in her request to the board to put up her Hillary sign inside her house. She has not gotten an answer yet.

Howard Finkelstein: "Legally, the board can regulate signs, but they need to be careful when they make exceptions like blocking political signs but allowing signs regarding guns. That could be what the law calls selective enforcement and that is illegal."

Valencia hopes the board approves her political sign, even though she thinks the they should focus on other more important issues.

Valencia Morris: "Associations are good but not when they are over exaggerating or trying to be the police or the law enforcement when it comes to you just expressing your support."

Patrick Fraser: "We were told by the property manager that the political sign is an architectural change. It's not a permanent architectural change of course, but if a board wants to step in and call it that, they have that power. Valencia is right, maybe they should focus on other things.

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With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.

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