Equal sign rules for all subdivisions

The president of the Grand View Subdivision Homeowners’ Association says the fight with a few residents of the subdivision over the display of political signs in their lawns last fall wasn’t about the First Amendment and political free speech.

He may not believe so, but to an awful lot of people, the whole dispute seemed to walk and quack like that species of fowl.

There’s one thing neither the HOA president nor anybody else can deny, however: Colorado has a two-tiered system for political signs in subdivisions represented by homeowners’ associations.

If you live in a subdivision where you pay more than $300 a year in HOA fees, you cannot be prohibited from posting political signs in your yard during an election season. But if you own a home in a subdivision where your HOA fees are less than $300 a year — such as Grand View — there is no such protection of your political speech rights.

This is a nation that, at least since the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868, frowns on unequal protection under the law. The real world may present occasional evidence to the contrary, but Americans don’t believe that those who spend more money should have more rights.

The current discrepancy wasn’t the fault of the Grand View Homeowners’ Association. It was an error created by the Colorado Legislature several years ago. It needed to be corrected and it has been, pending one final action.

Senate Bill 249, cosponsored by Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, eliminates the monetary discrepancy and gives the same political sign rights to all those living in HOA-controlled subdivisions.

It was passed by both houses of the Legislature, with the final vote on the last day of the session last Wednesday. It will not only end the discrepancy, but it will make moot a lawsuit against the six Grand View homeowners who posted political signs last fall.

We hope Gov. Bill Ritter will sign SB 249 to ensure equal rights for all subdivision residents.


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