Elgin woman downsizes her 'Impeach Trump' sign

  • Myra Becker, 94, of Elgin decided to comply Wednesday with the city's request to cut down her oversize political sign, saying it's the message that matters.

      Myra Becker, 94, of Elgin decided to comply Wednesday with the city's request to cut down her oversize political sign, saying it's the message that matters. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Kim Gilmore of Gilberts on Wednesday cut down a political sign in her friend Myra Becker's yard in Elgin. The city said the sign was too large under the municipal code. The sign now says "Impeach Trump" rather than "Impeach President Trump Now."

      Kim Gilmore of Gilberts on Wednesday cut down a political sign in her friend Myra Becker's yard in Elgin. The city said the sign was too large under the municipal code. The sign now says "Impeach Trump" rather than "Impeach President Trump Now." Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/6/2018 6:51 PM

Myra Becker, a 94-year-old Elgin woman who had an oversized "Impeach President Donald Trump Now" sign in her yard, decided to have it cut down Wednesday to conform with city code.

The sign now says "Impeach" in large letters and "Trump" is smaller letters. "When I first did it, I didn't think about the size. I wanted a big sign," Becker said. "I thought about it, and if that's the rules, I will conform to the rules."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The sign had been up since February. A code compliance officer told Becker on Monday that she needed to remove it within 24 hours because it was too large under city code. Typically, the next step is a written violation notice.

Becker said at first she wanted to fight the city's request, then decided what matters is to convey the message, even if in a smaller size. She asked her friend Kim Gilmore -- to whom she'd commissioned the sign and two more like it -- to cut it down to an acceptable size Wednesday.

The sign is now 10 inches by 36 inches, or 2.5 square feet, Gilmore said. City code allows 3 square feet. The original sign measured 3 feet by 3 feet, 8 inches, or about 11 square feet.

City staff members reached out to Becker after the Daily Herald inquired about the issue.

"The city and Ms. Becker were able to resolve this issue through communication and cooperation," city spokeswoman Molly Center said. "She was not aware of the sign size limitations in the municipal code and staff provided the education necessary to meet compliance."

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Becker said she can't attend marches or protest, so the sign allows her to take a public stance.

"It's a statement, and I think it's an important one," she said, adding her phone has been ringing nonstop with calls from supporters.

Gilmore said people have contacted her via Facebook commissioning 50 more signs at $5 each that state "Impeach President Donald Trump Now." She will ensure they conform to city code, she said.

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Illinois contacted Becker on Wednesday to get her perspective on the matter, said Ed Yohnka, the group's director of communications and public policy. The group is always concerned with matters of speech and plans to evaluate Elgin's signage ordinances, he said.

"We live in one of those times when there are hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people that are speaking in ways they never had before," Yohnka said.

"We don't want to see local rules put into effect that limit the capacity of people to engage in that kind of speech."

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