The 10-foot-tall pro-President Donald Trump sign that sparked some controversy in an Oakdale neighborhood during the summer will not be available for holiday viewing.
The plywood sign erected about a year ago on Alan Herrick’s lawn — and had “GOOD JOB TRUMP,” “BUILD THAT WALL” and other messages written on it — is gone, and so is Herrick.
“Well, I sold my house,” Herrick, 75, said recently. “I guess the people didn’t want the sign there no more. So, I moved out.”
Some neighbors said recently that they didn't realize right away that the sign was gone, but they're happy it is.
“The sign just disappeared,” said Salvatore Longhitano, 73. “It was an eyesore and totally inappropriate for the neighborhood.”
Islip Town officials said they had received at least two formal complaints from neighbors during the summer but determined the sign did not violate town code and was a case of protected speech.
“We observed the sign and we did not receive further complaints,” town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said last month. “No violations were issued.”
The sign was across the street from Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School. Representatives of the Connetquot Central School District did not respond to requests for comment.
“It was an eyesore, a headache and made you cringe driving past it — especially if you don’t care for Trump,” said Oakdale resident Lesa Combs, 63. “But I think it bothered me more because it was a political sign right across from a school, the first thing students see on their way out.”
Herrick, a retired carpenter, had fastened a toilet seat and cover on one of the wooden poles, which had CNN, NBC and CBS scribbled on the seat along with the words “FAKE NEWS” written in marker. The phrase is often used by President Trump to refer to mainstream media.
Despite his neighbors’ complaints, Herrick was adamant about keeping the sign up because he said it was his protected right to do so.
“It’s my property. My thoughts. I’m not hurting anybody,” Herrick said, adding that he had also received money to help maintain the sign from those who supported him.
Combs said there were people who liked the sign and those who didn't.
“It would get spray painted on and then he would put up a message that said ‘you’re on camera;’ then people would try to pull down the toilet seat, and he would just fix it up,” Combs said. “It all depended on what side of the bench you were on, but it got exhausting.”
With Antonio Planas