February 24, 2009

Controversial Sign Must Come Down

PINELLAS PARK - Randy Heine says he has surveillance video that shows a man and woman climbing over a fence. The couple heads right for a sign that reads "One Nation Under Obama." They paint over Obama and replace it with God.

Heine owns the sign and isn’t too happy about what he caught on tape.

"To me it’s all about racism," said Heine.

Heine, who owns Rockin’ Cards and Gifts in Pinellas Park, put up his Obama sign a day before the inauguration. He says it was his way of showing his support for the new president.

"I thought one nation under Obama would create unity. Although there are only a few people who would rather see our president fail," said Heine.

Since his sign went up it has been defaced, over and over. However, after every incident Heine has fixed the sign and proudly displayed it again.

Some people don’t agree with Heine on the message behind the words.

"It is very un-American because that’s our pledge of allegiance. I hope somebody messes with it again. And trust me, as Americans, we will," Kathy Konopinski told FOX 13.

Heine has a new battle to fight if he wants to keep the sign on display. Pinellas County code enforcement says the fence he put up around the sign is one foot too high. He’s also been slapped with another violation. County code allows only one freestanding sign per business. Because of that, officials say the sign must come down.

Randy plans to fight that decision. "The only way I would consider taking down the sign is if President Obama asked me to. Otherwise, it will stay."

Of course we disagree with Mr. Heine’s contention that painting God over Obama was “racist.”

But we do tend to agree that he should be able to put up such a sign on his own private property. Though this seems to be more about the local zoning laws, than his free speech.

Still, that Mr. Heine would even want to put up such a sign is troubling.

It reveals far too much about his “thinking,” and that of so many of Mr. Obama’s supporters.

They want a king – or a benevolent dictator.

They have no concept about what it means to live in a republic.

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