Signs of the Times: Can HOAs Deny Your First Amendment Rights of Political Expression?

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There is an interesting sign war going on in at least one East Dallas neighborhood, Enclave at Grove Hill. This sign, posted by one of the residents, is being met with resistance and called “offensive” by some in the neighborhood. It is in front of the home of sometimes political activist and candidate Adam Bazaldua, a friend who teaches culinary arts and believes firmly in freedom of speech, especially at election time.

Despite the protests of his HOA, Adam says he is leaving the sign up until after the election. 

“This sign sits proudly in our family’s yard displayed next to (his daughter’s) school sign and behind a Beto sign. This week we received a violation from the HOA because our sign is “offensive” according to a neighbor who made a complaint.  Is it irony that the complainant has a Cruz sign in her yard?” asks Adam?

“I’m offended by the fact that anyone can find these statements offensive!” he wrote on Facebook. “The Covenants and Restrictions clearly state that Political Signs can be erected to support candidates, political parties, sponsorships, political issues or proposals. Our HOA president says that these aren’t the right kind of political issues to be protected by that language and that it is offensive.”

Really? Can you put up Halloween decorations in this neighborhood? Christmas? Hanukkah? Isn’t that personal expression? 

“I just think it’s sad how it appears we have gone backwards lately in society,” Adam wrote me. “The current political climate has established a standard of division and entitlement to not be kind to those we disagree with. This sign is addressing just that, and there is nothing offensive about promoting equality and kindness. I agreed to take the sign down after the election, and that still was not good enough because apparently me exercising my 1st amendment right offends some of my neighbors.”
 

The sign features the GOP elephant logo with its trunk up the dress of a female figure, with the word “Help,” next to the phrase “Your vote matters.” Behind it in her yard were campaign signs for Democratic candidates Lupe Valdez, Beto O’Rourke, Julie Oliver and Miller’s challenger, Kim Olson.The sign features the GOP elephant logo with its trunk up the dress of a female figure, with the word “Help,” next to the phrase “Your vote matters.” Behind it in her yard were campaign signs for Democratic candidates Lupe Valdez, Beto O’Rourke, Julie Oliver and Miller’s challenger, Kim Olson.

This was about the time of the Kavanaugh hearings, and Miller thought the little girl was supposed to be the Supreme Court Justice’s daughter. Hence he wrote on HIS Facebook page: 

“This is in Hamilton, Texas and is supposed to be Judge Kavanaugh’s young daughter. Notice my opponent’s sign in the background. The Democrat sleaze knows NO bounds!”

Where was Miller’s mind? The sign’s creator, Marian Stanford, said it had nothing to do with Judge Kavanaugh’s daughter She painted the sign, basing it on a Washington Post cartoon post. Anyhow, the Hamilton police apparently confiscated her sign. Really, does this stuff happen? I know when I ran for Dallas City Council my opponent strong armed certain businesses into remove my signs. I don’t know, I thought maybe we we better than this? Anyone having trouble with political signs now that early voting is underway? Are they causing problems as you show listings? 

photo courtesy of Marion Stanford
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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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  1. Abigail Reynolds says

    I live on Adam’s street and am bothered by his specific comment that our HOA mentioned to him. If they truly said, “these aren’t the right kind of political issues to be protected by that language” then that is a clear violation of the first amendment and is blatant discrimaintion. I will stand by you, Adam! Don’t take it down and don’t let a neighbor remove your sense of justice and equality you’re fighting for. Whether or not others agree with you, it’s your home and you can display what you want. Almost every home in our neighborhood has a sign.

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