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West Boca man says code enforcement is making him remove his Trump-Pence sign

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Posted at 7:22 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 21:11:38-05

A West Boca man says the county is forcing him to take down his Trump-Pence sign, saying its in violation of the county code.

His argument: If his neighbors are protected under the First Amendment to fly a KKK flag, why are the rules different when it comes to his political sign on his own property?

Michael Bagenstos came home Tuesday to find a neon notice posted on his Trump-Pence sign.

“I’ve got 10 days to remove it or they’re going to remove it for me,” said Bagenstos as he read the notice out loud.

The notice is from Palm Beach County Code Enforcement.

Bagenstos says he baffled by the code, wondering why his political sign has to come down but just a few houses away you can a flag that appears to be celebrating the KKK.

According to code enforcement, Bagenstos is in violation of the Unified Land Development Code, which says that “campaign signs on private property are permitted, but are to be removed “within 10 days after the election date.”

The code enforcement director clarified that when it comes to flags, the county does not regulate content.

Jim Green is the attorney for the Palm Beach County Chapter of the ACLU. While Green says he doesn’t know the specifics of the code, in general he says the first amendment protects political expression and sign ordinances are subject for first amendment scrutiny.

“I think he’s got a strong argument because he’s got a sign expressing a political belief on his own private property. Those are two strikes in his favor.”

Robert Santos-Alborná, the director of Code Enforcement, says the signs might also be too big, although that was not was the notice was for.

He explained if Bagenstos wanted to keep the sign, it would need “to be altered in such a way that would no longer be deemed a campaign sign,” and he would have to get it properly permitted.

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