East Rochester man told 'Black Lives Matter' sign violated code

Charles Molineaux
Updated: June 26, 2020 11:10 PM
Created: June 26, 2020 10:28 PM

EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Leaders in East Rochester did a quick reversal over a “Black Lives Matter” yard sign which was declared in violation of local code.

After it was ordered removed on Friday morning, it was deemed acceptable that afternoon.


“I felt I was, to be honest, between a rock and a hard place here,” exclaimed Jim Burlingame, who erected the sign in front of his house. 

On a street with plenty of flags and assorted yard signs, Burlingame got a call from the village administrator in the morning saying his sign had to go, that because it was “political,” it violated code.

“It’s not political,” he declared, “Because… well, look at Rochester and all that. It’s all over really.”

“I wanted my daughter, to know that we stand in solidarity,” explained Burlingame’s son, Michael, who bought the sign with his own daughter, Rose, in mind.  

After the call from the administrator, Michael Burlingame sounded the alarm on social media and it wasn’t long before his father got another call clarifying that this was all a mistake. 

“It’s pretty benign in my mind. How could you argue against it?” he asked. 

Rose said she watched the discussion get passionate on Facebook, and found some of it… encouraging.

“It’s good to be angry because you have to stand up for what you believe for. And make a change,” she said. 

In an email to News10NBC, East Rochester Mayor John Alfieri said, “What the resident was told was incorrect. The sign should not have been characterized as a ‘political’ sign.”  

He went on to say, “We will look at our codes and ordinances and make necessary changes. We will also educate our employees to avoid this from happening again.”

The quick resolution was a relief for Jim Burlingame.  

“A good ending as far as I was concerned,” he said. “A little touchy for a while. But I think it ended up well.”

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