Remove sign or leave, GOP chair told
The chairman of a Port Vue-based political organization said he was given an ultimatum — remove an “Impeach Obama” sign or vacate the quarters he rents in a shopping center along Washington Boulevard in the borough.
Mon Valley Republican Committee chairman Brent Kovac said he did neither, so on Thursday his landlord Helen Siudyla-Totty painted over a sign that was painted on plywood posted after the political committee storefront was vandalized in October 2008.
“We did that mural on the panels where our windows were,” Kovac said.
Bricks and a tire were hurled through the storefront window a few weeks before the 2008 general election.
Kovac said Siudyla-Totty told him she had received “so many threatening phone calls” about the sign. Port Vue borough officials said they had no reports of any complaints about it.
The sign reportedly went up on Tuesday and was painted over later in the week. As of Friday morning red and blue rectangles had replaced the “Impeach Obama” caption.
“I just sat and watched it happen,” Kovac said. “I talked to a legal person who said, ‘You should call the ACLU.'”
The Mon Valley Republican Committee chairman said he wanted to tell friends to call his landlord in support of the sign, which went up as an endorsement of the “Overpasses for Obama's Impeachment” campaign.
“We were trying to get this together for a national event,” Kovac said.
The “Overpasses” campaign website shows efforts in 14 states. Pennsylvania is not one of them.
Siudyla-Totty did not return calls requesting comment by presstime.
Kovac's committee promotes Republican candidates in Port Vue and surrounding communities but is not listed among local affiliates of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County.
“I was appointed Port Vue chairman since 1999,” Kovac said. “(Then-)county chair Rich Stampahar appointed me.”
“It doesn't sound like this incident would be anything that we would get involved with in any way,” current county Republican committee chairman James Roddey said.
Roddey said he was not aware of the controversy until he was contacted by The Daily News and added, “I think the whole episode ranks along with static cling as important to the political landscape.”
As the shopping center is private property, Roddey said he does not believe Kovac has legal protection for his sign.
“If they want to put up the sign, they need to put it up on their own property where they are protected by the First Amendment,” the county Republican chairman said.
“I think we have some legal standing here,” Kovac retorted.
However, the Mon Valley committee chairman said he is thinking about a move, after nine years as a tenant in the shopping center.
“Our plan is to vacate there,” he said. He provided no timetable for such a move.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cemetery in Munhall considers filing for bankruptcy
- McKeesport salons merge
- East Allegheny officials willing to continue contract talks
- Organizers prepare for Warrior Run fundraiser
- Steel Valley keeps taxes flat in 2015-16 budget
- UPMC McKeesport’s stroke team recognized
- Propel sixth-graders chronicle McKeesport history for younger peers
- Students benefit from annual Brewster-sponsored government seminar
- Elizabeth police join DUI task force
- Munhall bridge to close for reconstruction
- Truck smashes into house, driver arrested in Elizabeth Township