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Veterans side with city in sign dispute

Many are outraged about the Autos 4 Less veteran signs dispute, but some people are siding with the city of Idaho Falls.

Military Affairs Committee chairman Mike McLendon is a retired Army Ranger. He knows how important community support is.

“The Military Affairs Committee supports any organization that supports military and veterans,” said McLendon.

McLendon said there is an exception to this rule when it comes to the dispute between the dealership and the city.

“It’s a worthy cause, but they need to follow the law,” he said.

City ordinance states that portable signs need a permit and have to be less than 3 feet tall. The city says the dealership has a permit but didn’t follow the guidelines. The city has come up with a proposition for the dealership to move the signs closer to the building and away from the road, but owner Jonathon Long isn’t accepting that.

“That is not acceptable to me. I’m not going to hide my patriotism and show that my support should be backed away to the wall,” he said. “How can our city and government spend the time, energy and money to have military flags taken down, and a half a block down the road, there’s people violating the city code and they do nothing about it?”

With all the fuss, protester Chase Demott said he feels the owner’s pain.

“The fact that the city doesn’t have the spine enough to just tell whoever complained to tough it out, is ridiculous. I went to work this morning, and I just couldn’t get it off my mind, so I wrote it down on a piece of cardboard and said, ‘See you, I’ll be back when I’m back,'” said Demott.

The flags have been taken down, but the dealership is filing a petition to put the signs back up. The city is also looking to revise the jail penalty for violating the ordinance. The misdemeanor that could be charged is not typical and was not a factor in this dispute.

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