Vista couple pushes back after being fined for front yard sign display


VISTA, Calif. – For those searching for Chad and Sarah Spinks’ political views, look no further than the signs in the Vista couple’s front yard.

Chad and Sarah Spinks have twice been fined by the city of Vista for violating local municipal code for front yard signage. The couple argues the fines violate their constitutional rights.

“I am really, really interested in civic engagement,” Sarah Spinks said. “Local politics. I feel really strongly that all politics is local so I have opinions about the direction of my community and this is how I share my opinion.”

But it’s the those very signs — containing support for Black Lives Matter and local candidates for public office — which have gotten them into trouble with the city of Vista. According to the city, the couple is violating municipal code rules for displaying the signs on their property.

“At this point we’ve received two fines — the first one for $125,” Chad Spinks said. “The second for $250, up to $1,000.”

Code enforcement officers came out to their home after receiving a complaint, the couple said. The city also noted that it sent multiple warnings about the violations before issuing citations.

In a statement, the city said officials don’t “regulate the content of signs, but rather the size, location, type … and other special considerations.”

“These temporary signs may not be erected, installed, placed, or maintained by any person prior to 35 days preceding any federal, state, or local election,” the city said.

But Chad and Sarah Spinks said they shouldn’t have to pay the fines, arguing that the city is violating their constitutional right of free speech.

“I stand convicted that this is an issue that I want to fight for and fight for all my neighbors,” Chad Spinks said.

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