Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Harmless wreath ... or instrument of SATAN?

Ow. Reading news sometimes hurts my head.

A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said. [source]

Ah, the Christmas season....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another community that has never heard of the right to free speech...

9:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moral: Don't buy a house that requires compliance with a homeowners association.

10:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you read the original article, it is actually not that bad. Apparently, the president of the homeowners' association told the board of directors to fine Lisa Jensen for putting up the wreath, and they refused "concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything". The president then fired the five board members and imposed the fines himself. Obviously, this is simply a case of a nutbar who has let power go to his head. The rest of the neighborhood seems to be pretty reasonable...

10:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kearns sounds like a nutbar allright. He said that "the peace sign has a lot of negative connotations"...

We are living in the world of Bush where peace is a negative thing.

11:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody that belongs to something called "Loma Linda Homeowners Association" in a place called "Pagosa Springs" deserves whatever happens to them.

They should have joined the "Cascade Glen Homeowners Association" at "Mimosa Falls". Much nicer over there. Your wreaths can be up to 15", but no blinking lights.

1:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it is a little big:


Peace sign creates stir
Pagosa homeowners asked to remove symbol or risk fine

RANDI PIERCE/Special to the Herald
Bill Trimarco and Lisa Jensen stand next to their peace wreath at their home near Pagosa Springs on Friday. The couple received a letter Tuesday from their subdivision’s homeowners’ association telling them to take down the sign or face a fine of $25 per day."I just wanted to put a message of peace out there," said Lisa Jensen, who hung the wreath Nov. 19. She said Wednesday she didn't intend the wreath as a statement against the Iraq war.


Duplicated here because their server seems to be having "problems":

November 26, 2006
By Thomas Munro | Herald Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs resident is resisting an order by her homeowners' association to remove a peace symbol-shaped wreath from an exterior wall of her home.

"I was really trying to be in favor of something - peace," Jensen said.

She was informed by letter from the Loma Linda Homeowners' Association that "Loma Linda residents are offended by the Peace Sign displayed on the front of your house."

The letter, citing a use-restriction banning "signs, billboards or advertising structures of any kind" within the subdivision without prior approval, said the wreath had to come down by Friday, or Jensen and husband, Bill Trimarco, would face a $25-per-day fine.

Jensen said Saturday that Friday's deadline had come and gone without contact from the board of directors. She was unsure of how, if imposed, collection of any fine would be enforced, but planned to leave all of her Christmas decorations, including the wreath, up until after Christmas.

Homeowners' Association President Bob Kearns said Wednesday that the board had required another resident to remove peace symbols a week before, and that property owner complied.

Jensen said the other property owner, a neighbor, had sunk skis marked with peace symbols in his driveway as driveway markers. She said the neighbor told her he was informed that residents were offended by the posting of the peace symbols "while our country is at war."

Kearns declined to describe the complaints he had received about Jensen's wreath but expressed his own opinion.

"The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it," he said. "It's also an anti-Christ sign. That's how it started."

The 1972 edition of Symbol Sourcebook: An Authoritative Guide to International Graphic Symbols, a major reference work by Henry Dreyfuss, admits to uncertainty about the source of the "crow's foot" design.

"Controversy surrounds the origin of the ubiquitous peace symbol," Dreyfuss wrote. "It was introduced by pacifist Lord Bertrand Russell during Easter of 1958, when he marched at Aldermaston, England, campaigning for nuclear disarmament."

Dreyfuss said the symbol, designed by a British commercial artist, most likely represents the convergence of the semaphore symbols for the letter and D and the circle symbol, for total nuclear disarmament. Others claim the symbol represents an upside-down cross with broken arms and is therefore anti-Christian or Satanic.

Jensen said she put up the wreath to honor the Biblical call for peace and goodwill toward men.

She said the board had unfairly singled out the display, given that other houses regularly display Christmas lights. A former president of the board, she described the current board as "pretty vitriolic."

Kearns denied any personal vitriol. He said Jensen and Trimarco were first notified of the decision in a letter attached to an e-mail stating the board's "courtesy and respect (for) the both of you." He said the board has not fined anyone in the three years he has served as president and that the board would place itself in legal jeopardy if it treated Jensen's case differently from the other peace symbol offense.

Kearns said those he contacted for legal advice had "laughed at" the idea of allowing the display of a peace symbol.

On Wednesday, every member of the subdivision's five-person Architectural Control Committee was asked to resign when they collectively opposed the decision by the board of directors to fine Jensen and Trimarco.

In a public letter posted on on Friday, Jack Lilly, the chairman of the committee wrote, "The Architectural Committee was asked to intervene. The five members met and decided that no message, other than a wish for peace could be inferred in the symbols and saw no violation of the CC&Rs (covenants, codes and restrictions). The Board of Directors has the authority to override the ACC and did so. But that wasn't enough. They demanded that anyone that disagreed with them should be removed from the committee. We all resigned."

Changes in Colorado law in 2005 prevent homeowners' associations from prohibiting a number of actions, including display of the American flag, display of a service flag and display of a political sign meant to influence an election.

However, the law does not keep these associations from prohibiting other types of displays. The sign restrictions quoted to Jensen were in force during her presidency.

Jensen said she may consider legal action through the American Civil Liberties Union.

Attempts to contact Kearns were unsuccessful Saturday.

tmunro@durangoherald.comStaff Writer Ted Holteen contributed to this report.

1:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a homeowner's association! If you choose to live in a repressed community BY YOUR OWN CHOICE, then deal with it. Don't complain about the complainers either. It's their own foolish choice to live in a restrictive neighborhood. They need to accept the consequences of their decision.

2:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the creeping intolerance of bigotry has worked its way into a simple gesture for "Peace". How sad for us. As for Mattguys comments on "restrictive neighborhoods", give me a break. Of course there will be restrictions on issues of safety or asthetic concerns, but this is not the case here. It is laughable Mattguy even attempted to connect the two. Mattguy, please don't try and defend the indefensible. It makes you appear desperate. The decision to remove an obvious "passive" gesture of peace was made by somebody who likes war and the chaos it creates. I guess if my life doesn't amount to much on its own, I must climb even higher on the "power ladder" to gain the "feeling" of superiority.

3:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The woman won.
Interesting that she was a past association president, eh?


12:33 PM


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