WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A controversial billboard comparing the death of Osama bin Laden to replacing President Barack Obama in November is forced to move farther down U.S. 30.
The billboard reads, “The Navy Seals removed one threat to America… The voters Must Remove the Other.” The billboard, which costs $800 to be visible for one month, is paid for by the Whitley County Patriots.
The billboard was erected August 29. Until Monday morning, the billboard sat above U.S. 30 at the Allen County-Whitley County border on Steel Dynamics Incorporated property, according to billboard owner, Perma Advertising.
Jim Heierman, a sales representative with Perma Advertising, says the land the billboard sits on is owned by SDI. Perma, which owns the billboard, leases the land below the billboard from SDI.
Dave Ditton, spokesman for the Whitley County Patriots, says he was notified Thursday, October 11 by Perma that his group would need to find a new place for the billboard.
“Steel dynamics originally approved a political billboard. They were not informed of the contents, and this is through the billboard company, and last Thursday, they called the billboard company and requested that it be removed," Ditton says.
The billboard was moved Monday to Larwill, about eight miles west of Columbia City. Perma granted Ditton and the Whitley County Patriots an extension on their lease for having to move the billboard. Perma also confirms that SDI contacted them regarding the removal of the billboard.
Indiana’s NewsCenter made numerous attempts to contact SDI regarding their role in the billboard’s move and why it was forced off of their property. Those calls were not returned.
As for the billboard itself, Ditton says the notion that his group is comparing bin Laden to President Obama is incorrect. He says both are threats to the U.S. but says they are different kinds of threats.
"They are both yes, threats to America, but they are different threats. Osama bin Laden was an external threat. He had openly declared war on this country. Barack Obama and his folks have said publicly that they are going to fundamentally transform the United States of America, and that is a threat to our continued way of life."
Ditton, who considers himself a constitutionalist, says the Affordable Care Act, despite being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, is one of the fundamental changes to what he believes to be the American way of life. He also says the Environmental Protection Agency’s reach is too big and is hurting energy production and costs in Indiana.
Ditton says he got the idea for the billboard after an identical one received national attention in Elkhart. He says the billboard will come down shortly after the election.
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