Letter to Editor - re: Yard Sign Vandalism in Winnetka

Is the line of what's acceptable free speech different in 60093?

Dear Editor -

Inspired by brave Highland Park resident, Betsy Brint, who wrote an open letter to the person(s) that trespassed and stole from her (http://highlandpark.patch.com/articles/an-open-letter-to-my-yard-sign-vandal), we have a similar story with a Winnetka twist. 

Three days ago, we posted several anti-Romney signs in our front and side yard. Granted, the signs are "rated PG." (PARENTS - Be warned, graphic descriptions follow.  Shield young eyes).  They are cheeky and some would say "sophomoric," but our sense of humor leans that way.  It ruins the punchline to have to explain the joke, but before his Big Bird and 47% comments, the big Romney har-dee-har-har was the tale of when he stuck his dog on the car roof on a family vacation.  One of our signs says "You're doggone right I'm for Obama!"  Another one says "Dogs Against Romney. PEE Here!"  

There's dual meaning for that latter one.  Living across from the Village Green, we are guaranteed to see two things everyday -- canoodling pre-teens on the cannon and leash-law violators letting Scooby relieve himself on the cenotaph.  "PEE Here" is simply reminding those dog owners they have other options.   

On Friday afternoon, between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. someone ripped two signs and tossed two others in the street. Replacements were promptly put up, but they were stepped on the following morning.  The Winnetka Police Department have filed a report and have promised to do more drive-bys.   

Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.  Several people have come to the door to ask if they could pose for a picture outside.  I got high-fives and atta-go's from five tipsy strangers @ Little' Ricky's.  The pre-teens leaving Love's and heading to the Green give us "thumbs up."  On the flipside, we got one anonymous letter from "Fellow Winnekan Neighbor" and unnamed people mysteriously called the caucus chair to tattle.  

We're not mad at whoever did this.  But we're puzzled.  I've lived in some sticksville towns (Grand Forks, ND, Clovis, NM, Mountain Home, ID) and major metros (NYC, LA, SF), and I've always displayed my viewpoints with colorful, edgy bumper stickers, yard signs, etc.  Yet only in Winnetka have our signs have been trashed and several of our car stickers removed. Why is that?   Is the line of what's acceptable free speech different in 60093?  We're genuinely curious and hope people will voice their opinions below.

Cheers - - Jen McQuet528 Maple

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Marie-Helene October 11, 2012 at 07:20 PM
No, to call someone white trash is demeaning and low brow. But then again, so is posting a picture of a person with an invitation to urinate on it.
Marie-Helene October 11, 2012 at 07:27 PM
to Ms Schechter -- Your comments are laudable, but have you seen some of the posters Ms. Mcquet has in her yard? "...beauty, truth ,love...and unity with others" isn't the first thing that comes to mind..
Marie-Helene October 11, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Come to think of it, Ms Schechter, what DOES come to mind in this case are your words "...there's a need for modeling civility and mutual respect among all." That's where this whole thing started. Well, there and in Ms Mcquet's yard.
Deadcatbounce October 12, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Doesn't everyone know that Obama eats dogs. It's true, he wrote about it in his book. Dog on the top of your car in a cage or on your dinner plate, you choose?
nsmom October 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Since when is "e eryone does it" an adult excuse? And M-H, the difference between your humor and the signs is that the signs are funny.
Marie-Helene October 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM
nsmom -The signs are funny if you have a juvenile sense of humor. Otherwise, the signs are just crass.
Sully October 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
You got stuck in the trailer park too? Freshman year?
Claire Hill October 12, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I can't believe you filed a police report for a stolen piece of plastic. So stupid. Also, I HIGHLY doubt you would find it funny if someone had an anti-Obama sign of the same nature in their yard. Imagine a sign, Obama with a collar around his neck, stating "Dogs Pee Here." I can't even begin to imagine the reponse one would get for posting such a sign. I can already hear the cries of "racist" and "intolerant bigot." It's beyond evident that Jennifer enjoys the attention she gets regarding her yard signs. She even posted the letter she received from her neighbors on Oak on a different thread.
Jennifer Mcquet October 12, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Sully - No sophomore year. Manzanita T.P.
Marie-Helene October 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Everyone calm down, for Heaven's sake! Ms Mcquet's Romney signs are base, but they do belong to her, so stop stealing them. Why waste taxpayer money paying police to do extra patrols and fill out police reports for the theft of trash? The rude sentiment on the Romney sign is not going to change anyone's mind about the candidate for whom they will vote, although it may change a person's opinion of the character and intellect of the person who has so proudly posted it. Either way, we are all of us entitled to express our opinions, be they high-minded or low-minded, so leave the idiot signs alone!
Laxer October 12, 2012 at 05:54 PM
hey, mz. mcquet we talked about free speech in government yesterday and also in advisory. we talked about what people said about your signs. do adults think teenagers are not smart enough to gt a joke and would do something like that on thegrass? don't throw us under the bus. come on people!
blackwidow October 13, 2012 at 10:13 PM
M-H You just made the same angry and insane personal accusations....but in a "much more refined manner!" Not!!!! The original letter was about sign theft, freedom of speech, Winnetka's code of acceptability...can we get back to that?
M October 14, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Wow. The problems you face there on the Northshore sure are serious. Maybe I should bring up some of my homeless neighbors up from our 'hood to pee on Ms. Mcquet's porch... I mean sign. They could set up right on the village green and keep an eye out for brazen criminals lurking around her yard. They just want to know if the Grand accepts the Link Card.
Marie-Helene October 14, 2012 at 11:08 PM
No, M, the invitation is meant for dogs, not humans. But maybe you and your friends could bring your dogs. Just don't put them on top of your car, they should be IN the car. Don't know whether or not the Grand accepts the Link Card. You could always ask.
Glad to be from Glencoe October 15, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Go Jen for having the courage and sense of humor to put up a wacky sign that goes against the grain of severely conservative (and humorless apparently) Winnetka. Honestly, I don't know how you are able to live there at all, I almost throw up when exposed to the entitlement, feelings of superiority, and lack of generosity of that town. Maybe not everyone is like that but there sure are a high concentration of people that way!
nsmom October 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM
While I applaud the sign and Jen, I've seen equally entitled and obnoxious behavior in Glencoe for over 20 years, I'm afraid. It's not unique to Winnetka. It's all around us.
Jennifer Mcquet October 16, 2012 at 05:20 PM
MH - Your continued concern for our property is touching. It really is! I'm feeling closer to you each day. But I spoke too soon, I was @ Greeley for 3 hours this morning. And now the driveway sign is gone. Ka-ching....more spending of $$s and time to exercise "free" speech.
Marie-Helene October 16, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Jennifer -- despite our differences of opinion, and there are clearly many, it's not right for people to steal or vandalize your signs or any other of your property. Also, your tenacity is admirable. MH
Jennifer Mcquet October 16, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I admire yours as well. Sincerely.
Marie-Helene October 16, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Thank you!
Jennifer Mcquet October 16, 2012 at 08:06 PM
U R welcome. Maybe in a weird way we just demonstrated how two sides and come together and agree to disagree and focus on the legit big issues (crime, 1st amendment, for example) and not get caught up on the inflammatory ways sometimes we (me = guilty as others) express opinions. I did not see this result coming with my original letter or the posts that followed, but I have to say, "MH, your post made my day."
Ann Airey October 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM
As Betsy Brint said in her original posting, every time you replace your sign, it's more money to Obama... I wonder if the sign stealers realize that?!
Marie-Helene October 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Jennifer -- agreed. Your post made my day as well. It's nice to know that we can engage in spirited debate (we do get vituperative, don't we?) and still be able to express our mutual respect for one another. Have a great evening. MH
Jennifer Mcquet October 25, 2012 at 10:03 PM
And on the note, I just spent another $80 (+ shipping) for 4 more signs. Even my other, "tamer" signs were nicked today. One said Tea Parties are for Little Girls w/Imaginary Friends." I thought that was genuinely cute! And the other a simple MITT with a red circle/slash. If people that are for Romney have to resort to trespassing and stealing -- repeatedly -- it's a pretty sad statement about how desperate they must feel.
Molly October 25, 2012 at 10:48 PM
This comment may be the result of months of listening to newscasters, op Ed columns and various friends but I'm a bit hesitant to endorse your new signage. I've spoken out prior to this in support of both yourself and Betsy B. to display a political sign in your yard. And you still have that right but I would rather you support your particular politician w/o the funny, yet insulting signs. I enjoy the wit & humor but wonder if we should rise above insulting "the other side". Just pondering from an election weary citizen.
Jared Boyar October 27, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I thought I was the only person who read this e-paper. I'm glad to see that there are seven others that do as well.
Catherine Karabas October 27, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I'm on my 4th election sign because they keep getting stolen out of my front yard. I think it's kids, because adults surely understand that stealing a sign won't change my vote. That said, elections are serious and especially this year, when people feel so much is at stake, I feel it lacks integrity to make 'sophomoric' humor about the opposing candidate instead of just supporting yours. Our kids are watching us.
Molly October 28, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Scary thought...today's kids, tomorrows politicians. Lets raise them right folks.
Jennifer Mcquet November 08, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I was very happy to take my signs down this morning. End of chapter '12.... Folks might find this entertaining.... http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/11/floridian_steals_neighbors_oba.php
North Shore Lady February 15, 2013 at 09:09 PM
I thought people of Winnetka had class...grow up and stop making the rest of us look bad.


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