Bossier business owner defends fence message

By Carolyn Roy – bio|email

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) – A Bossier City business owner is taking offense to the recently passed health care overhaul, and he's sharing his displeasure with everyone who passes by.

The message is stuffed into his chain link fence in the 1700 block of East Texas Street in Styrofoam cups in all capital letters:  "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID BUT YOU CAN VOTE THEM OUT."

It's raised some eyebrows and questions about who exactly who it's targeting.  "To me it has some type of prejudice to it, even if it is against Obama or whoever," says Margie Brown, a Bossier City resident who lives near Wells Steel Fab, Inc.

Owner Bill May says he's exercising his right to free speech. "I was irritated with them passing the health care package and forcing it down our throats!  And that's my way of saying, we can fix it by voting them out!"  That's what Mays says he intends to do: vote out every single legislator who helped pass the historic $938 billion health care insurance reform bill in March.  "Oh yeah, it's time for a change," Mays says, "We need some new blood in there."

"They have a right to speak their opinion," says Brown, "but I don't really know who he's speaking of, because he could be speaking in terms of his own self, really." Mays says he's heard nothing but praise for his fence message from passersby to customers of his structural steel fabrication business, and dismisses it's description by some as offensive.  "Well if you pass health care package that's unconstitutional, isn't that unconstitutional, isn't that kinda stupid?"

With the help of one of his three employees, structural welder Charles Neff, Mays purchased a load of the white Styrofoam cups and got to work.

"We were talking about things you could do, things you could say and this was something that we could put up that wasn't vulgar but at the same time it still go the point across."

The spark for Mays' outrage: his once-booming steel fabrication business is already smarting from the economic downturn of the past 18 months.  He once employed 28. Now, he fears for the future of the final three when the reforms take effect.  "If it doesn't get repealed, I've already told the guys I'm gonna lay em off and close this place down."

Which is why he won't go as far as turning business away from those who voted for Obama, like the Florida urologist who posted a sign on the Orlando area urologist front door that reads: "If you voted for Obama, seek urologic care elsewhere." But he doesn't blame others who do. "I'm all for what he did. You know, if you voted for the president, then go someplace else!"

Mays says he's planning a new message for next week.

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