Thursday, November 20, 2014

Minden, NE persuades resident to remove sign: "AIDS, Ebola, Obama — Thanks, Africa"

KLKN interviewed Minden resident Chris Nielsen, who
was not amused by the anti-Africa sign, saying it had
"tones of racism."
Minden, (pop. 3,000) calls itself Nebraska's Christmas City and puts on a holiday pageant, so the timing of a homemade billboard tirade (which borrowed a right-wing Internet meme) couldn't have been worse.
     Via Deena Winter of Nebraska Watchdog:
     Word of the sign in the central Nebraska town of about 3,000 spread quickly on Facebook, where outraged citizens immediately began talking about vandalizing, tearing down or painting over the sign. By Tuesday morning, the sign had been removed.
      One man asked what kind of poles it was erected on, saying “I need to know if I need a metal blade or wood blade for my reciprocating saw.”
     “Who’s got a paintball gun I can borrow?” another man asked.
     ...Brett Maline, a Minden native now living in Hollywood, spread the news of the “awful sign” on Facebook, saying he’s proud to be from Minden and the sign is not representative of the town.
     “I fear that people driving through will not know this,” he wrote on Facebook. “This angers, saddens and embarrasses me and I hope it would you too. Let’s get something done about it.”
     A city hall receptionist told Tuesday morning, “It’s been taken down.”
Nicholas Bergin of the Lincoln Journal-Star reported that it was Mayor-elect Ted Griess who talked to the unidentified sign-maker:
     ...Griess spoke Monday evening with the person who put the sign up and asked him to take it down. He did.
     “I tried to point out to him that a sign of that nature alongside a highway gives the wrong image for a community,” Griess said. “It was just a citizen who, I guess, was expressing his political viewpoint. He had the right to do so, but it was a sign I interpreted, and I think the vast majority of citizens interpreted, as being very distasteful.”
     ...Griess said many of those reacting had made a “mountain out of a mole hill.”     “I wish it would go away, but it hit the social media,” he said.
     Outgoing Minden Mayor Roger Jones said most people in town had not seen the sign.
    “It’s over, done and forgotten about as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

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