Billboard Nails Discontent

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 Billboard Nails Discontent

December 27, 2009 11:26 AM
Tom McLaughlin
Daily News

HOLT — Gene Gartman’s is truly a sign of the times.

Gartman has decided people need to know what’s going on in the world, so he’s using his very own billboard to get the message out.

Photo: Gene Gartman sits in front of a sign he has erected on his property along U.S. Highway 90 in Holt. He posts a message every Friday. (Nick Tomecek | Daily News)

“I know people think I’m a nut, but I don’t care,” he said. “I don’t know what it’s going to take to get people to pay attention.”

Gartman and his wife, Adrienne, are Vietnam veterans who said they have become disillusioned by what they see as rampant and open corruption within the federal government.

“They’re spending money like it grows on trees,” he said of Congress. “And we’re going to have to pay the bills.”

Gartman contends that most people can tell you who won American Idol five years ago, but don’t know the name of the speaker of the U.S. House. He’s doing what he can to rectify that.

The “forced retired builder” constructed his sign out of plywood and set it on 16-foot 4x4’s. He bought a bunch of track letters and puts out a new message every Friday for people to read.

He said one side of the message board is always dedicated to the nation’s deficit and federal politicians’ spending habits.

“Any politician who would sell a vote that benefits his district but does harm to the USA is a treasonous pimp” was one recent offering dedicated to senators in Nebraska and Louisiana who negotiated pork barrel deals in exchange for health care votes.

A different message appears on the other side of the billboard. Sometimes Gartman encourages reader education through humor, as with the proclamation: “Politicians, like baby diapers, need to be changed often, for the same reason.”

The Gartmans’ billboard stands on their property along U.S. Highway 90 in Holt. The Emerald Coast Dragway is down the road, so there is no shortage of passing motorists.

Just as attention getting, or maybe more so, than the sign for some people are two upside down American flags next to it. An upside down flag sends a message of distress, not of disrespect, the Gartmans said.

“We’re both veterans. We’re not against this country. We love this country,” Adrienne Gartman said. “We’re very proud of the American flag.”

Adrienne Gartman said the passersby overwhelmingly favor of the billboard and its messages. Every day, someone leaves a suggestion for next week’s message in their mailbox, she said.

“People seem to like it,” she said. “Everybody stops and takes pictures.”

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/holt-24124-thought-billboard.html

http://standeyo.com/NEWS/09_USA/091231.Holt.billboard.html

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