NEWBURY PARK, CA -- Police threw a man in jail for 3 weeks because he displayed a sign on his own property. The man refused to back down from the zoning dictators who impose unjust rules on land they have no right to regulate. He was convicted of 8 misdemeanor zoning code violations.
Steven Showers, 59, says compliance is not an option. "I can't bend before an unlawful order," he says. "My conscience won't allow that."
"I mean, the last bastion of freedom of speech is private property in a residential area," he says. "If you can't speak freely on your own property, where are you gonna go? There’s no place to go."
Showers, as eccentric as he may be, is right. If you can't control your own property without other people making the rules for you and throwing you in a cage, then you are not free. Property rights are essential and somebody must be willing to stand up to the ordinance nazis. Showers says he will be that man. He will not dismantle his sign.
"I'm going to destroy it? No way. That’s impossible. That’s not within the realm of the possible," he said.
"I have made my decision to electrify my neon sign installation again," Showers e-mailed Daily Intelligencer. "I turned it on this morning at 8:00am. That means I will be going back to jail."
"This decision to turn the neon sign installation back on, and to face the consequences of the much longer jail sentence, will carry this message loud and clear," Showers says in the e-mail, "that my belief in this project is so profound, so sincere, my conviction is so solid and immutable, that I will give the most valuable thing to it that I have, which is my life."
"I have been home (from jail) for about six days now, and the darkness of the sign is eating away at my soul," he writes. "I say, let there be light."