Can You Get Fined for Putting Up Political Signs?

(WSVN) - Odds are your neighborhood has yards with political signs, but one South Florida woman put up her signs and then started getting fined, so to straighten things out, she turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Many people can’t wait for Election Day and the political season to end. Linda, on the other hand, enjoys it.

Linda Schainberg: “Campaigning, yeah, I love it.”

One look at Linda’s yard and it’s clear she is passionate about politics.

Linda Schainberg: “I had signs for a judge. I had signs for congressional candidates, and I always had a Trump sign from day one.”

Then, according to Pembroke Pines records, a neighbor complained about the 14 signs Linda had in her yard, and that brought a visit from code enforcement.

Linda Schainberg: “I got a violation. They brought it, put it on my door. Then, it said I had seven days to comply.”

To avoid the $250 fine, Linda Googled the city ordinance that said she could have one sign per candidate.

Linda Schainberg: “And what did I do? I removed all the other signs and had only one sign per candidate per side of the street.”

But instead of ending her trouble, it escalated.

Linda Schainberg: “That was Friday. A police officer came out with code enforcement, and I said, ‘Do we really need a police officer?'”

Linda was now told she was going to be fined $500 a day for her political signs. She loves politics and her politicians, but her wallet has a limit.

Linda Schainberg: “I’m willing to do the $250, but, you know now, you’re looking at $750 and then $500 every day. I can’t afford that.”

Linda took all her political signs down, stunned as she put them away.

Linda Schainberg: “And I’m exercising my First Amendment, God-given right. I live in the United States of America. Why can’t I have political signs during a political election?”

Linda found the ordinance online that says she can have one sign for each candidate or can she, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “No, and it’s not her fault. The ordinance Linda found on the internet is an old one that didn’t get taken down. The new Pembroke Pines ordinance is stricter and limits the size and number of signs, so if it’s the average yard sign, you will be limited to about two signs.”

We have seen so much flooding in neighborhoods in the past few days. In general, who is responsible for the damage the flood causes?

Howard Finkelstein: “In most cases, the government is not responsible for flood damage. If it’s a construction defect, you might be able to go after the builder, and remember, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover the damage, but flood insurance should, if you have it.”

A viewer has a lien on her tag from 15 years ago. Do liens expire?

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes, they expire after five years, so she needs to ask the DMV to remove the lien since she no longer has to pay it.”

Linda Schainberg: “I’m pretty upset.”

Pembroke Pines told us they felt Linda was hostile and aggressive when code enforcement came out, and that’s why they took a police officer with them.

They added Linda at one point had 80 signs in her yard.

Linda said she seriously doubts that, but to avoid trouble, she took all her political signs down, and the city then wiped out the fines.

Linda Schainberg: “I’m at a loss because I still feel that they’re suppressing me, that they’re violating my Constitutional rights. I truly believe this.”

Howard Finkelstein: “And Linda may one day be able to put as many political signs as she wants. That’s because the city’s ordinance limiting signs comes from a 2015 Supreme Court ruling that, I think, the city will be forced to rewrite the ordinance again because it limits a person to showing support for two candidates when they have a right to support as many as they want on their property.”

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CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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