An Obama lawn sign battle has erupted in Alexandria, Va. On Feb. 9, The Washington Post reported that Sam and Maria Farran's Obama lawn sign in 2008 has caused a feud that has lasted for over four years. The sign was in direct violation of their community's home owners association as it was 4" bigger than what was allowed. According to the report, neighbors feel as though their community was destroyed because the Farran's wouldn't take the sign down.
"On one side, the Farrans said they were standing up to an HOA run amok. On the other, HOA supporters saw a couple that inflicted financial ruin on the association — and their neighbors — to make a point (sic)," The Washington Post reported.
The Obama lawn sign battle has left the HOA bankrupt thanks to attorney fees following years in court. A year ago, the center of Olde Belhaven -- "the square" -- was put up for sale to help bail out the HOA. Residents feel as though their community has been completely and literally ruined thanks to the battle between the HOA and the Farrans.
The Farran's knew that their sign was against the HOA's rules but they fought back because they felt as though their "freedom of speech" was being taken away from them. "It’s like we weren’t living in America. You are always one board election away from a tyranny. They wield enormous power," Maria Farran said. After the HOA fined them, they filed a lawsuit -- one that has left the neighborhood and the HOA in shambles.
The Obama lawn sign battle has consumed Olde Belhaven for years. In 2010, "a judge sided with the Farrans on the fining issue." The HOA was forced to pay about $100,000 in the Farran's legal fees, leaving them without money. A judge approved a plan for a former board president to "gift" $60,000 "to facilitate the settlement" but on Friday, the Farran's filed a motion to oppose the settlement. The people in this community just want one thing -- to feel a sense of "community" once more.
Who do you think is at fault in this case?
© Effie Orfanides 2013