'Romney's Racist' neon sign generates controversy in Newbury Park
A Ventura County man has generated controversy by erecting a large neon sign attacking GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Neighbors are complaining about the sign, and local zoning officials are also raising concerns.
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, he's 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 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 the candidate, 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.
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-- Catherine Saillant
Photo: Sign in front of the home of Steven Showers in Newbury Park. Credit: Noel Hazard