Punta Gorda ordinance removes obscenity from signs and clothing
After a series of vulgar displays during the election season, the leaders of Punta Gorda are mobilizing to control profanity on flags and lawn signs.
A new ordinance limits the number of signs a person can place on their lawn and what a person can wear in public.
The city plans to educate people first with warnings before issuing fines. Repeat offenders could face a fine of up to $ 200.
The ordinance will affect people like Joan Page, who keeps her yard dressed up.
“I have the crown with the coral and the starfish, and I have my mailbox cover and my flag to match,” Page said.
The two flags border his house. Under the new order, Page can only have two more.
But she doesn’t mind as long as the obscenity is controlled.
“I don’t think it’s good for kids to see this language,” Page said. “I don’t think it’s good for adults to use. And I find that a very bad way to express yourself.
The new ordinance goes even further.
This prevents people from wearing clothes with obscene language if they are visible from public property.
“I just don’t want us to be the sign police and I don’t want us to misunderstand that we are trying to enforce something that is not within our purview,” said the mayor of Punta Gorda, Lynne Matthews.
There are a few exceptions. Warning signs such as “no trespassing” or “parking” are allowed.
Decorative flags and signs for holidays such as Memorial Day are also acceptable.
“I have a problem if code enforcement were to shoot American flags on people’s property no matter the time of year,” Matthews said.
The code still applies to the American flag when it is not a statutory holiday.
The page supports self-expression if it is clean and considerate.
“If they can go out and express their opinion, in a respectful way, then that’s what they should be doing,” Page said.
For more information on the prescription visit here.