The Divisive Issue of Peace

Bob Kearns is president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The enormous power he wields seems to have gone to his head.

Lisa Jensen put a Christmas wreath on her condo door. The wreath features a peace sign, although Kearns claims that some residents believe it to be a symbol of Satan. Whether those residents are of sound mental health is unclear, but the three or four resident complaints prompted Kearns to warn Jensen that the association "will not allow signs, flags etc. that can be considered divisive." He plans to assess a daily fine of $25 if she continues to display the wreath. Peace, it seems, is a divisive issue in Pagosa Springs.

The association prohibits residents from posting "signs, billboards or advertising" without approval of the architecural control committee. When the five committee members concluded that the rule didn't apply to Jensen's wreath, Kearns fired all five of them. Merry Christmas.

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    Peace On Earth, and Mercy Mild... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by norbizness on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 10:19:32 AM EST
    ... whoops! prohibited lyrics! Forget that reconciliation, God and sinners!

    Homeowner's Associations (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Dadler on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 11:04:05 AM EST
    Paint your house purple paisley, make the roof look like shag carpet, put protest signs all over your lawn, and tell your freedom-averse neighbors to go shove it.

    i read the entire story (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by cpinva on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:06:45 PM EST
    i submit mr. kearns just became a significant financial liability for the homeowners, and he'll be gone shortly.

    on a related note, i see that some parents in a (i think) missouri school demanded that maya angelou's biography "i know why the caged bird sings" be removed, not just from english class required reading lists, but from the school entirely.

    perhaps those people ought to form their own community, with those 3 or 4 neighbors of ms. jensen's.

    In a later post (Wed.) I asked if... (none / 0) (#28)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 03:57:29 PM EST
    ...it was squeaky or peaches that nailed it when they said Kearns had become a liability to the association.

    Obviously, much like former President Reagan, I misspoke.

    Apologies and a hat tip for the excellent call!


    This Kearns guy sounds pretty insecure... (4.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 06:58:36 AM EST
    What a cute little thing. Do they still call it a (brain) when it's that small, Bawb?

    How low have we sunk (4.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 11:56:42 AM EST
    as a society, when a peace symbol is banned?

    This has gone international (4.00 / 1) (#22)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 04:00:31 PM EST
    Here's a link to the story from Yahoo! Germany's site.

    Note that the story also has a picture of the offending wreath (which I haven't seen elsewhere).  Seems a pretty small, unoffensive decoration, but you know wingnuts....

    Here's my translation of the german-language article:

    Because Lisa Jensen hung a peace symbol as a Christmas ornament on her house's wall, this American has been fined 25 dollars (19 Euros).  The Homeowners Associaction in a development in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, based its decision on the complaints of neighbors.  A few saw in the peace symbol a protest against the Iraq war, and others saw it as a symbol of the devil.  
    In spite of this, Lisa Jensen will not bow to the pressure from the Loma Linda Homeowners Association.  She had no thought of Iraq when she hung the wreath, she explained.  Peace is much more important than the latest political events.  "This is a spiritual issue," Jensen reasoned, knowing that holding onto her peace symbol could cost her about 1,000 dollars (760 Euro). She has no idea how she would pay the fine. But she is determined first to have the wreath hanging through Christmas.

    The President of the HOA, Bob Kearns, sent Jensen a letter in which he advised that no constroversial symbols are allowed on the house walls.  [Kearns first got a panel of the HOA to opine on the wreath and forcing her to remove it, which he rejected.] This came, contrary to the opinion/decision of the panel.  President Kearns had, in response to the panel's opinion, first fired all five members of the panel.

    Nice looking wreath. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 04:03:48 PM EST
    If I look reeeely close I can almost imagine the horns and bat wings behind it. :-/

    Good catch, scribe!


    Amazing (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 04:45:26 PM EST
    It is certainly quite a statement, both the peace wreath and its effect. Funny that something so, er...peacful, can start a local war.

    Perhaps the offended can go off to Iraq and blow off some steam.


    divisive (3.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jen M on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 09:10:02 AM EST

    This is about one guy on a power trip :p

    what's your sign? (3.00 / 1) (#5)
    by oldtree on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 10:37:03 AM EST
    have lived in two communities with CCR's.  never again.  
    I can't wait to find out how much the generalissimo is fined for attempting to restrict the free speech of another person,  the board members fired?
       I hope the people that belong to the CCR have a better way of recalling a mentally challenged leader than do we the people.

    Lived in one of these (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 06:30:32 AM EST
    in Denver. They seem to attract people such as Kearns.

    Sounds like this guy needs a new job... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 11:15:31 AM EST
    ...Like maybe the head of the Sadr City Homeowners Association?

    It's not what she said, it's the way she said it (none / 0) (#9)
    by aw on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 12:12:06 PM EST
    I wonder if he would have objected if it had been spelled out:  like this  Probably not.

    Fixed (I think) (none / 0) (#10)
    by aw on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 12:15:26 PM EST
    Who knew this is the path to politics! (none / 0) (#12)
    by Kitt on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:27:16 PM EST
    When did being the president of a subdivision become so powerful? And when did the peace sign become synonymous with Satanism?

    I'm almost afraid to ask. Are people becoming stupider?

    Ummmm.... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:31:17 PM EST
    Well.... How would anyone know?

    I couldn't resist, Kitt. Sorry. ;-)

    Is that your final answer, Edger? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Kitt on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:37:20 PM EST
    I'll have to ponder that one, I'm afraid.

    Here's a better, more local view (4.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Kitt on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:48:02 PM EST
    Although the homeowner described the current board as vitriolic, check this out:

    On Wednesday, every member of the subdivision's five-person Architectural Control Committee was asked to resign when they collectively opposed the decision by the board of directors to fine Jensen and Trimarco.

    In a public letter posted on Pagosa.com on Friday, Jack Lilly, the chairman of the committee wrote, "The Architectural Committee was asked to intervene. The five members met and decided that no message, other than a wish for peace could be inferred in the symbols and saw no violation of the CC&Rs (covenants, codes and restrictions). The Board of Directors has the authority to override the ACC and did so. But that wasn't enough. They demanded that anyone that disagreed with them should be removed from the committee. We all resigned."

    It was when I read this (none / 0) (#15)
    by Kitt on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:41:09 PM EST
    Kearns, meanwhile, also said he was concerned about the pagan symbolism of the peace sign. "It's also an anti-Christ sign. That's how it started," he told the Durango Herald.

    No, not at all Kitt. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:48:23 PM EST
    ...I really wasn't being snarky. I've asked myself the same question often. Sometimes it seems that way, and maybe we are. Some sure seem to be.

    Anti-Christ sign? Is he stupid? ;-)

    Contact Information for Bob Kearns (none / 0) (#18)
    by maggiegault on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:49:40 PM EST
    ...as well as the other morons involved in this heinous decision:

    Bob Kearns, President 264-4706

    Jeff Heitz, Vice President 264-3611

    Tammy Spezze, Director 264-9558

    Judy Estell, Treasurer 264-6966

    The area code is 970.


    Oh maggie! (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Kitt on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 02:25:34 PM EST
    I'm still a bit slow getting to the point where those wondrous 'F-bombs' don't flutter from my lips when I try to talk to people like this.

    During the election, our democratic candidate for governor asked me why I hadn't come out sooner. I don't know if his intent was to chide me; I just know he understood this: 'when I could get to the point where every other word wasn't a variation on the word 'f*ck' when discussing this administration and its primary players.'

    It's been easier since the election.....


    Your self-restraint is admirable! (none / 0) (#21)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 02:45:31 PM EST
    Ooooh. Nasty. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01:54:46 PM EST
    Good move, Maggie!

    I swear... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 05:00:30 PM EST
    homeowners associations serve no purpose but to  put a litle tyranny into practice.

    "It's good to be the king..." and all that.  Self-important idiots.  I couldn't care less what my neighbor puts on his door...it's his door, not mine.

    A dose of "mind your own business" is in order, me thinks.

    homeowner's associations are required (none / 0) (#26)
    by cpinva on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 07:44:01 PM EST
    by state law, in subdivisions where common grounds are located. their basic function is to provide maintenance for those grounds. i have served as the treasurer of one (naturally, cpa's never get to be the president!), and we tried, as much as possible, to be low-key.

    clearly, this isn't the case in this instance. i don't recall ever being contacted about someone's christmas, or holloween, easter or thanksgiving decorations. seems like some people need a little more going on in their lives, to keep them from meddling in other's.

    You gotta love the internet (none / 0) (#27)
    by Al on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 12:29:22 AM EST
    whereby a jackass in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, instantly becomes a world-renowned jackass.

    The peace symbol is of course better known for anyone who lived in Britain in the 1960's as the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I regret to inform Mr. Kearns that there is nothing satanic about CND. Here is a nice history of the symbol.