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San Francisco Condo Campaign Signs Spark Free Speech Lawsuit

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(AP)

(AP)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Two signs placed in the window of a San Francisco man’s Ocean Beach condominium, one opposing the Sit-Lie Measure and the other supporting a judicial candidate, ignited a free speech controversy in the building.

Optometrist Dr. Greg Kamin was told by the building’s homeowners association to remove the signs. The association’s board of directors has since relented, but Kamin said it took a lawsuit to settle the matter.

“It’s more than about just me being able to post my own signs because if they can stifle my freedom of speech, then what about everyone else?” he said.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Kamin was stunned to learn that no signs were allowed in his building and decided to press the issue by going to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The property management company that runs the building, Citiscapes, chalked the entire flap up to a misunderstanding by the building’s volunteer board of directors over the letter of the law.

“The board, thinking that they were doing the right thing, did the wrong thing. But it was resolved” in about two days, said Greg Wiley, a representative for the company.

Wiley said the ACLU was blowing the two-week battle out of proportion, since the board changed course as soon as all of its members realized there were other issues at stake besides aesthetics.

“Once the volunteer board of directors understood what the rules were, I would say within 48 hours, issue resolved and everybody happy,” he said.

Kamin said the right to free expression was “something that is very, very dear to me.” The signs are back in his window.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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