BY BOB HOLT
An ordinance regarding “General Sign Regulations” for the city of West New York specifically bans flying of flags and banners, leaving some opponents up in arms.
American flags could be considered part of the ban, according to the ordinance’s first reading. Flags are included among 19 items "prohibited anywhere" in West New York, a Hudson County community, according to the ordinance.
The town’s mayor, Felix Roque is currently under federal indictment for computer hacking, according to The Huffington Post. His spokesman, Pablo Fonseca, denied that the ordinance would prohibit displays of the American flag. "That takes it to an extreme," Fonseca said. "The mayor is a retired colonel in the Army."
Roque’s opponents consider the ordinance a political move. Frank Ferriero is the head of “Residents for a Better West New York,” an organization that is trying to have the mayor recalled.
Ferriero owns TV on Wheels, and had a mobile TV ad campaign running out of the back of his truck designed for that purpose, according to BizPac Review. He said, “The mayor and commissioners are infringing on commercial freedom of speech.”
The West New York Board of Commissioners passed a preliminary version of the ordinance by a 4-1 vote. Count Wiley was the only commissioner to vote against it. Wiley said, according to Politicker NJ, “This is a violation of freedom of speech and this town is setting itself up for a big lawsuit.”
Myfoxny.com reports that the ordinance also prohibits signs fixed to the exterior of a window or glass, neon signs framing windows, and window and door signs that take up more than 15% of the glass section.
Final vote on the ordinance is scheduled February 20 at the community’s municipal building.