HUNTINGTOWN, Md. — On May 3, the Calvert County Democratic Central Committee Chair Jeanette Flaim released a statement regarding the latest billboard erected at the intersection of Maryland Route 4 and Bowie Shop Road.
“The obscene imagery and language displayed on this latest sign is deeply disturbing,” Flaim said in the release. “This does not reflect the values of our county, regardless of party. Our county is home to a myriad of families who must drive by this on their way from school or work.”
The billboard depicts what can be described as “caricature-like images of President Biden and Vice President Harris on feces and includes expletives in its caption.”
But this is not the first controversial billboard to appear at the intersection. The committee then described how the Calvert County Board of Commissioners voted in 2018 to allow signs with “graphic imagery” in some town centers such as Huntingtown.
“I’m not sure this is what those Commissioners had in mind when they took that vote,” Flaim said.
But the commissioners would go on to elaborate at their Tuesday meeting why they took the vote three years ago.
“There is nothing that we as county government can do for language that’s on a legal sign,” Calvert County Commissioners President Buddy Hance said as the meeting began. “You know this country was built on the foundation of free speech, and sometimes we like what that free speech says and sometimes we don’t.”
The county government would later put out a statement on Facebook to explain why they cannot take any action after citing protection by the First Amendment.
“Citizens should be aware that Calvert County Government cannot regulate sign content based on the Supreme Court case decision Reed v. Town of Gilbert (2015),” the post reads. “The Calvert County local sign regulations are based on location, materials and size, not verbiage. Regulating any content based on the Supreme Court decision would be illegal.”
Nevertheless, the Calvert Democrats are now calling for bipartisan support in condemning the billboard’s content, and in seeking its removal.
“Our county is home to a myriad of families who must drive by this on their way from school or work,” Flaim said. “Our county welcomes visitors from far and wide. Parents should not have to explain something so vile to their small children. And it certainly shouldn’t be what our visitors remember us for.”
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