Some “activists” have recently posted provocative signs without the owner’s permission on the Philadelphia Cheesesteak building at 23rd & Union.
I have a couple of problems with this, but first I’ll provide some background.
I discovered this issue when I recently spoke to the representative of the Philadephia Cheesesteak property to ask him to clean up graffiti on the building. I let him know that someone had plastered large signs featuring the words “YES” and “NO” along with images of a plant sprouting and a handgun.
The property manager says that those signs were posted without the permission of the property owner. Someone did call the property manager asking for permission and was instructed to email a permission request that could be forwarded to the property owner. The email permission request never arrived, so permission to post the signs was never granted by the owner.
I have two problems with these signs.
First of all, even though the “activists” may believe they have a compelling message and good intentions, they should have secured permission from the property owner before posting these signs. Private property rights are fundamental rights that predate the right to free speech.
My other problem regards the content of these signs.
Given the property’s tragic history of gun violence, I personally take issue with any individual or group who posts handgun images on this particular property in order to bring attention to themselves or their ideas. Who are these “activists” to presume that my neighbors and I need a reminder that gun violence plagues our community?
The neighbors who live around 23rd and Union are humble, anonymous folks. A few of us went out early last Sunday morning and pulled weeds for an hour at the intersection. I’ve been calling property owners about cleaning up graffiti. We each do our little part to try and make the neighborhood better.
I don’t think we deserve to have someone’s provocative “media campaign” shoved down our throats.