With less than two months until Election Day, yard signs and bumper stickers for both Joe Biden/Kamala Harris and for Donald Trump/Mike Pence are more and more noticeable. For some homeowners, however, expressing a political view or supporting a certain candidate can be dicey.
For those supporting Donald Trump for president it can be more than dicey; it can be nearly impossible. Such is the case for one homeowner in Arizona.
Joe Nichols, who has lived in the Gladden Farms community in Marana since the summer of 2018, has been advised that flying a Trump flag is forbidden. The Home Owners Association (HOA) that oversees and enforces rules for the Meritage Homes community, sent Nichols a letter stating as much. I had an opportunity to reach out to the homeowner to get his side of the story.
ADI: Despite the recent dust-up with the HOA, what has been your perception of the neighborhood and the residents who live in the community.
Joe Nichols: We moved here from Dove Mountain to downsize. We really like the community. All the neighbors are friendly, never had any issue. I did have a pair of lanterns that lined my drive stolen a few months back. But it’s nice and quiet, nice walking paths.
ADI: You have flown an American Flag as well as a flag showing you’re an Ohio State fan. Has there been any negative feedback for either, especially the American flag?
Joe Nichols: We have flown the American Flag for 2 years and THE Ohio State flag for the same time. I also put up the U of A and Ohio State Flag from my garage every Saturday during Football season. Never negative. I’ve had many people comment, but it was always positive or where did you get your pole. I got the jabs about my OSU flag but just fun fandom.
ADI: According to one resident at Gladden Farms, many neighbors have expressed support via social media, and with some flying flags of their own. How has this made you feel?
Joe Nichols: I felt so much support when I posted that the HOA had sent me a letter. Within an hour, I had over 100 responses in all, and over 160 total, with only a couple negative. Even Biden supporters supported my right to fly the Trump flag.
ADI: Gladden Farms, by one description, has been a community that has many law enforcement, fire, and military families. Why do you think the HOA finds a Trump flag so offensive?
Joe Nichols: It is my opinion that it was all about politics and anti-Trump. It’s so funny that I have a Trump 2020 mask. I have worn the mask all over the state of Arizona. I have nothing but positive support for Trump. I am OK with any display that is not vulgar or uses profanity or that is hateful. This is America. I may not agree with what you say or how you say it, but the minute we take people’s right of free speech away or regulate their rights, it takes away why America is so great.
ADI: Have you witnessed any yard signs that display support for the Biden/Harris ticket in the Gladden Farms community?
Joe Nichols: There has been a Biden sign down the street since the time he announced he was running.
ADI: Have you or anyone else received guidance from the HOA regarding what is allowed or not regarding political signage? Is there anything in the associations’ Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCR) that would have made any resident aware that any political signage is restricted or needing HOA approval?
Joe Nichols: I have had many people reach out to me who have stated many things that I need a lawyer to look over. I have been offered free assistance from attorneys to fight this injustice. From what I have been told the State of Arizona allows the flags and signs for a designated period of time.*
*Arizona state law on political signage applies only during the period commencing 60 days before a primary election and ending 15 days after the general election, except for a sign for a candidate in a primary election who does not advance to the general election, the period ends 15 days after the primary election.
In my exchange with Mr. Nichols, his love of country is evident. His support for President Trump is the same. Meritage Homes did not respond to our email request for comment.