A district court judge dealt another a blow to the right to paint a giant sign on your house to inform people driving on the highway about whatever you don’t like, be it Eminent Domain or women that use their teeth.
A district court judge upheld a ruling that said a St. Louis man could not display a giant mural protesting eminent domain.
The ruling was a big victory for the St. Louis’ Division of Building and Inspection.
In March of 2007, Jim Roos painted a mural protesting the city’s use of eminent domainto obtain 24 properties that provide low-income housing options for St. Louisans.
Property owner Roos’ mural was visible heading into downtown St. Louis when traveling along I-55, and it prominently featured the words “End Eminent Domain Abuse.” Roos was cited within weeks for violating St. Louis’ sign code, having never applied for a permit. When Roos subsequently applied for a permit, his request was denied.
Roos has gone back and forth and plans to go back again by filing a case with the circuit judge.
You know, this is a tough one. Sure this, on first glance, seems like a freedom of speech issue and frankly that’s what all the hippies are out there crying about right now, but we aren’t so sure having laws that require someone to register a large sign a bad thing. Sure Roos means well and we support him, but what if someone just wants to paint tub girl [Editor’s Note: That link is to Wikipedia, not the photo directly. You’re welcome.] on the side of their house? Is that freedom of speech too? Not sure on that one. The real issue here isn’t whether he should be able to post it without a permit, but rather why the permit wasn’t allowed…and they better have a reason better than “because we disagree with you.”
To be frank, we love the sign even though we just barely care about eminent domain. We just think its a cool quirky St. Louis thing. Though we personally think that maybe if he just put a little more art into it people wouldn’t hate it so much. Maybe add some flowers or two chicks with big jugs holding the sign up on each side…and a ninja fighting a pirate in the lower corner. Which one of them is pro eminent domain? You decide.