A sign erected in front a home in unincorporated Newbury Park in Ventura County has drawn attention. Neighbors are unhappy, but signmaker Steven Showers said his anti-Mormon message needs to be heard.
A Republican man who erected a giant neon sign in front of his Ventura County home says he doesn't think his target -- presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- will win the November election.
Steven Showers is vowing to keep the glowing, flashing 14-foot-tall sign up through the remainder of Republican National Convention in Tampa this week.
"The sign will not come down in the immediate future," Showers said.
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Showers' determination comes in the face of concerns from Ventura County officials and Showers' neighbors who say the sign is a nuisance that's caused too many drive-bys in their residential neighborhood.
The sign reads "Save the GOP'' and "Romney's Racist Heart Dotcom." It is surrounded by red flashing police lights.
A similar neon sign sits in the window of Showers' home in the unincorporated Newbury Park area. The Michael Drive home is owned by his mother.
Jim Delperdang, code compliance director with the Ventura County Resource Management Agency, said the sign's flashing lights, brightness and proximity to the curb put it in violation of county rules. His agency has issued a notice for immediate changes to be made, and Showers has said he wants to comply with county code.
But Showers said he's been disappointed by neighbor's negative reaction to the sign.
"I'm disappointed that some people don't like it, but I would ask them to join me in what I think is an important cause: to stop the encroachment of a racist ideology in the Republican party," Showers said.
Showers, who said he's a lifelong Republican, believes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is centered on a "white-supremacist, anti-black, racist ideology." He is concerned about the impact on the party of nominating a Mormon and wants to see another nominee selected this week instead of Romney.
"If they set this great freight train of racist baggage aside, and pick up the other candidates who don't have that baggage, the sign will come down," Showers said in an interview with NBC4.
Asked if the sign will remain up if Romney is elected, Showers laughed.
"What an imagination," Showers said. "Once the independents really get a good lock hold on the fact that [Romney] has a racist ideology in his heart … they're going to say, well, we don't need that. He can't win."
On his website, Showers writes that the GOP has a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a bridge of rapprochement" with African Americans and other minorities.
The Mormon church for many years did not allow black men to become priests or bishops, but that policy was reversed in 1978 when males of any race were allowed to take such roles. The church has had a complicated relationship with race since its founding, but the religion has grown in recent decades, especially in countries with black populations.
Romney has said he wept in gladness when the ban was lifted when he was 31.