Neighbors upset with political sign warnings

Coral Gables neighbors say they are being targeted for campaign signs

Published On: Oct 16 2012 05:41:52 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 17 2012 10:57:39 AM EDT
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -

People living in one Coral Gables neighborhood believe they are being targeted for their campaign signs.

"We have a right to free speech, free expression of our political views," said Armando Gutierrez.

Residents said there were plenty of signs on Old Cutler Road on Monday. But on Tuesday, many of them were gone.

"I noticed all the signs were either gone or set back," said Ann Podrasky.

People living in the neighborhood said code enforcement swept through the area, posted notices and warnings on many of the signs, and moved the signs to people's front doors.

"A code compliance officer from the City of Coral Gables was going around and removing all the political signs from the front yard," said one woman who asked not to be identified.

A city ordinance says a sign must be five feet within the property line and homeowners can only post one per candidate.

"The public right of way is close to the roadway, and typically, it's done for safety reasons," said Coral Gables City Commissioner Ralph Cabrera .

But long-time residents of the neighborhood said they couldn't remember code enforcement being strict about the law -- especially for temporary signs.

"We have all kinds of real estate signs here all the time and no one has interfered," said Armando Gutierrez.

"They've never done this before. We've lived in the Gables for over 15 years," said one woman.

In other parts of Coral Gables, political signs near the roadway were without notices or warnings. Residents have a theory.

"I believe it had to hit someone's nerve because this neighborhood was completely filled with Romney signs," said one woman.