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Family That Painted Political Sign Faces 'Fit of Rage'

Shannon Bennett's family battles their HOA
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2018 9:40 AM CDT
The offending sign.   (Courtesy of Shannon Bennett)

(Newser) – Is painting your lawn the same as putting up a sign? A Texas family says it is after painting "BETO" on their front yard—but their homeowner's association wants the message removed, the Hill reports. Shannon Bennett and her husband say they painted the letters in support of Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic challenger of Sen. Ted Cruz, to prevent sign stealing in a heavily pro-Cruz neighborhood in Katy, Texas. But before they had finished the sign Sunday night, the Chesterfield Community Association's president drove up and gave them a piece of his mind: "He was very hostile," Bennett, 48, tells the Star-Telegram. "This is truly a shock, that they became so angry."

The association left them a notice Tuesday saying they had violated the HOA's landscaping code by creating a political sign "attached to plant material," ABC 13 reports. Bennett says it was "clearly written in a fit of rage" and gave them two different schedules by which to remove the sign unless they appeal the ruling within 30 days. So she called the community manager and said she would request a hearing, per the Houston Chronicle. According to Texas property code, an HOA can't stop the posting of "one or more signs advertising a political candidate" but can impose restrictions about signs attached to plants or bigger than four by six feet. And the Bennetts' sign (see it here) is a big one. But Bennett is standing by their work: "We wanted to be creative," she says. (See what O'Rourke called Cruz in their recent debate.)

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