Time running out for 'screwed' man

Dan Bowden

November 20, 2009 6:00:51 AM PST
When the clock strikes midnight Thursday, the man who painted "Screwed by the Town of Cary" on the front of his house will start racking up fines for violating the town's sign ordinance.The Town of Cary has given David Bowden months to remove the neon orange spray paint.

However, Bowden says he has no intention of taking it down.

But according to some in his Cary neighborhood, the sign is big, orange and obnoxious.

"It's rude, it's definitely rude," neighbor Marilyn Wienand said. "It's an eyesore. It's ugly."

Wienand says she can see the sign on the other side of Maynard Road from her front yard.

She says on the one hand she doesn't really have a problem with it, but on the other there's something about it and the reason behind it that leaves her wondering.

"It doesn't do the, do Cary justice," Wienand said. "But, you know, was he treated right by the city? So does he really have a fair beef? I don't know."

The town says it has spent $2,500 to fix problems associated with the widening and raising of Maynard Road in front of David Bowden's house.

Bowden says he still has drainage problems and has the pictures to prove it.

Cary says those problems have nothing to do with the roadwork.

So now the fines begin and Bowden is even more adamant about keeping his sign.

"I got their attention when I put the sign up," Bowden said. "Now if the sign comes down, their attention's been lost and I don't intend to take it down."

Bowden also says he plans to go to court and sue the town. He says American Civil Liberties lawyers are helping him with that.

"They got to do what they got to do, and I got to do what I got to do," he said.

Late Thursday evening, ACLU-NC Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Town of Cary for violating free speech rights.

In the meantime, Bowden decided that maybe at night people couldn't see the sign so well. So he added two spotlights to illuminate it.

That's another sore spot for his neighbor who says they can wait for the whole affair to be resolved.

"I hope he can be made happy somehow," Wienand said. "Hope the city can be made happy."

Bowden's fine Friday will be $100 and the next day it will climb to $250. On the third day and every day after that, the fine will be $500.

But Cary officials say they will allow Bowden a couple more days between each fine increase to take the sign down.

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