Neon sign attacking Mitt Romney generates controversy
A large neon sign attacking GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is generating controversy in Newbury Park.
Steven Showers, 59, a technical writer, erected a 14-foot neon sign in the front yard of his Newbury Park home that condemns Romney as a "racist" who will doom the GOP itself. "Save the GOP,'' the sign reads. "Romney's Racist Heart Dotcom."
Since he plugged in the sign Thursday morning, Showers has gotten an earful from neighbors upset about its size and political message. On Friday, a Ventura County code inspector dropped by and left a notice that the monument was a violation of zoning laws.
Showers, though, seems determined to keep his neon-bright opposition to Romney up at least through next week, as Republicans move toward nominating Romney at the party's national convention in Tampa, Fla.Showers said he has always voted Republican and is still registered as one. But he said he finds fault with Mormon doctrine with regard to race and believes Romney, who is Mormon, would damage the party.
The Mormon Church first allowed blacks into the priesthood in 1978. Romney has spoken favorably of the change.
Showers hawks smaller versions of the neon sign for $800, and his website includes a "convention resolution" that explains why, in his opinion, Romney is unfit to get the nod.
Showers designed the display and had the neon sign specially made. He built the plywood structure that supports the 4-by-4-foot neon sign and painted it black. The monument rests on a raised concrete foundation that lifts his message 14 feet into the air. The installation cost about $2,000, he said.
Showers said county officials have given him a month to comply with zoning restrictions and said he plans to work with them to try to find a compromise.
A zoning official told the Ventura County Star that the sign may violate sign rules but that no final decision has been made about its fate.
The official said his office has received complaints.
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-- Catherine Saillant
Photo: The neon sign in front of Steven Showers' home in Newbury Park. Credit: Noel Hazard