ALCOA (WATE) – Free speech or too far? That’s the debate over a home in Alcoa causing quite a stir. The front yard has Halloween and election 2016 decorations, but some of it is raising questions for those who pass by.
Homeowner Blanche Taylor says this is free speech. For the last few weeks, the display has gotten cheers, honks and some tough criticism, along with rumors about the decorations. But the Taylor family says it’s worth it.
“I had the masks, put it up, and put it out here,” said Taylor’s daughter Mary Waldo.
There is a Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and President Obama mask.
“I wished everybody would enjoy it as much as we do. We think it’s funny,” said Waldo.
If you wait a few minutes, you’ll see cars stop to take pictures or honk showing their approval.
“We’re just telling Obama goodbye. We’re not trying to be hateful. We’re wanting someone different in the White House and that’s all there is to it,” added Waldo.
The signs in the front yard spell out the family’s opinions, but they say some in Alcoa are saying too much and embellishing on their decorations.
“There’s no noose. There was no intent to have a noose,” said Waldo.
“I just like to decorate and I like it all,” added Taylor.
Over the last three weeks the decor and signs have not been vandalized. Years ago Waldo says they put up a similar display when former President Bill Clinton was elected.
“They threw one of the dummies out in the road and the police lady brought it back because she knew where it belonged,” she said.
This family believes differing opinions belong in the community and they’re just demonstrating their freedom of speech.
“If people don’t like it, this is not the main road through here. They can go on some other road. They don’t have to look,” said Waldo.
The City of Alcoa has provisions on political signage. A homeowner is allowed to have one sign per candidate, but there is flexibility when it’s on private property. A homeowner can put signs up 30 days before an election and during early voting, but everything must be removed within 10 days after the election.
The city generally doesn’t get complaints about political signage, though most deal with signs on public property or in the right of way. Leaders will be looking at these regulations over the following months because they say updates are needed to account for changing times.