NewsLocal News


Dozens protest Punta Gorda sign ordinance, displaying profanity along Route 41

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 22:48:15-04

PUNTA GORDA — Dozens of people were out Friday night, protesting Punta Gorda’s new sign ordinance.

Earlier this month, the City banned profanity on any public signs, but the protesters were willing to risk getting a fine just to make a point.

"They’re going against a Supreme Court ruling and the 1st Amendment, which is totally wrong," said Andrew Sheets

Sheets has already received several fines for displaying profanity around town since the ordinance passed on June 2nd. He said it’s his constitutional right.

"They don’t have to listen, they don’t have to look. I have the right to protest," said Sheets.

But one man at the protest didn’t agree. Gary Snow said he supports what City Council did.

"I think the City Council was backed into a corner after they were just inundated with so many complaints," said Snow.

Council Vice Chair Debby Carey said that’s exactly what happened.

"We were having people who were afraid to use the Harborwalk. They were afraid to walk downtown. The farmer's market was really hit by this," said Carey.

Snow said he thinks these protesters are just looking to gain followers on social media.

"This is all about content. A lot of people are out here trying to get that YouTube content so they can get more subscribers, and then they can ask everybody donate to my PayPal, donate to my Patreon," said Snow.

But Sheets denies that’s why he’s protesting.

"If it was about the money, then I’d be making money. I’m not making money. It’s about holding the Government accountable just like they hold us accountable every single day," said Sheets.

Sheets tells us he and several others are searching for attorneys to challenge Punta Gorda’s ordinance in court. Carey tells us she believes the ordinance will not be struck down if there is a lawsuit.