Rancho Penasquitos man receives notice for Trump banners being against city code
RANCHO PENASQUITOS (KUSI) – As the results from Super Tuesday finalize, one man from Rancho Penasquitos is facing a complaint about his “Trump 2020” campaign banners and signs posted on his property.
“I got a letter from the city telling me to take down my banners. They’re Trump banners I got off Amazon,” said 20-year Air Force Veteran Bill Niedzwiecki.
Problem is, the City of San Diego, or any other city in America, cannot regulate free speech on private property.
“It says right here in the city code. You can only regulate signs and banners on public land and public thoroughfares. This is a private home.”
Oddly enough, or not, the neighbor two doors down has a collection of political signs on their front yard, all Democrats. No one has filed a complaint against that.
“I think all political views are welcome. I don’t care who they support, we need to have respect.”
The City of San Diego is now backing off. After our story, we received an e-mail saying the complaint has been dropped.
The City now claims they didn’t know they were Trump signs, otherwise they would not have sent the letter to take them down. However, Niedzwiecki said he never received that letter.
And if what the City says is true, that means they sent a complaint to the man, without even knowing what the signs said, or might have represented.
Both the complaint letter from the City and the original complaint from the neighbor had no names attached. An anonymous complaint results in an anonymous letter from the City.
“Let me say this. I don’t think this would have happened if I was flying a Bernie banner,” said Niedzwiecki.
The City sent KUSI this statement after hearing about our story:
The City’s Development Services Department Code Enforcement Division (CED) received a request for an investigation on Wednesday, Feb. 25, alleging that the property had “two 10-foot tall banners and a flag that have curse words on it.” It did not state that the signage was political.
Had the requestor clarified that these were political signs, CED would not have taken any further action on the request. Infraction-level requests for investigations such as this are administered through Alternative Compliance, and CED automatically mails an informational letter to the alleged violator and the complainant to help resolve the situation between neighbors. The letter received by the property owner is this same letter.
After further review confirming that no violation existed, the request for a CED investigation was closed on Feb. 28.
Thursday morning, Niedzwiecki told KUSI’s Paul Rudy and Lauren Phinney all about the violation notice and why he is not going to remove the Trump signage.