- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A couple of bar owners in California who brought their pro-veteran message to a rooftop billboard said they’re engaged in a public dispute over zoning laws and whether the mounted message meets code.

Fox News reported that John Marovic and Johnny Kresimir, the owners of Johnny’s Saloon in Huntington Beach, erected the illuminated sign on their rooftop to echo a common greeting among its patrons: “THANK a VETERAN for your FREEDOM!”

But someone lodged an anonymous complaint and the city stepped in, saying the sign didn’t meet zoning law.

The bar owners said the city mailed them a notice giving them two days to remove the sign or prove they have the permit it to display it. The two face fines totaling nearly $1,000 if they don’t comply.

The owners, who said the billboard has been atop the building for years, believe there’s something deeper at play, though — and they’re fighting the order, rallying support for their sign on Facebook.

“We will fight for the sign bc that sign NEEDS to be where Veterans can see it,” Mr. Kresimir said Monday in a Facebook post. “And it needs to be where kids can see it and make them think and not forget the sacrifice our Veterans have made!!!!”

But Huntington Beach officials said the issue has been skewed and blown out of proportion.

“It is not the message,” a city spokesperson said. “It’s the structure itself.”