Florida's Joe Milenkovic thinks 'God Bless America' is free speech; homeowners association disagrees
There seems to be something going on in Florida recently over displays of patriotism.
Last month, loyal Ticket readers will recall, we wrote about Sarasota County's La Casa Mobile Home Park, which banned the playing of the national anthem at the end of dances because no one could agree on sometimes playing "O Canada" for the park's Canadian residents.
Now comes disturbing word from our news colleagues at Florida's Sun-Sentinel that an assistant police chief in Delray Beach, Joe Milenkovic, is in some local trouble because he's displayed the phrase "God Bless America" in magnetic letters on his garage door. (Speaking of "God Bless America," see the video below.)
The homeowners association maintains that's a sign and, therefore, prohibited under association rules. Joe maintains it's individual letters like his house number and, therefore, not a prohibited sign. And anyway, it's free speech and who could object to such a patriotic sentiment?
"Living in an association can sometimes mean a rule or restriction we may not agree with," said property manager Ann Wactlar in her warning letter demanding removal. "However, there is a responsibility to adhere to the governing documents."
Content, she added, is no cause for exemption. And, hey, how about flying a U.S. flag instead? That's approved.
A neighbor points out that some time back during another unpopular presidency, the association forced a homeowner to remove an "Impeach Bush" sign for the same reason.
Joe says his sign is not only patriotic but supports the country's troops. (See video below.) And, by the way, the current teleprompter president ends virtually every one of his frequent speeches with the phrase: "God Bless America."
Although, candidly, Joe's driveway is one of the few remaining places where the Real Good Talker hasn't given a speech. Yet.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo: Alex Brandon / Associated Press