Joni Bernstein says she just couldn’t take it anymore.
Bernstein, a Hillary Clinton supporter and activist who attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and marched with Black Lives Matter, said she had to confront the owner of the large Trump/Pence campaign sign planted outside a scooter shop on the city’s main artery, North Roosevelt Boulevard.
“It felt like a kick in the stomach,” said Bernstein, 52, a massage therapist and 20-year resident of the island. “I have no regrets of speaking out and trying to let someone know we are the walking wounded around here and to show us a little respect.”
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So she tried to reach Alvin Crockett of Florida Keys Cycles, 2222 N. Roosevelt Blvd., but left an unsigned note at his shop telling him the Trump sign may as well be a swastika in her eyes and that it felt like a big, “F--- you.”
This could be logged as just another ugly post-presidential verbal standoff between a proud Trump fan, outraged at being called a bigot for his decision at the ballot box, and a pro-Clinton liberal who says such signs are still up only to taunt those devastated by the result.
But in Key West, the election did more than shock Trump opponents. For decades, a safe haven for the LGBTQ community and an official motto of One Human Family, Key West is a place where people care more about what fund-raising party you’re going to than your ethnic heritage.
Crockett replied publicly, posting a handwritten, obscenity-laced letter on his Trump sign for several hours Nov. 30 that stated he was going to take the sign down Nov. 28 but now will leave it up until Dec. 5.
“I only hate two people,” Crockett wrote. “Those lying, corrupt Clintons.”
In response to being called a bigot, Crockett added his girlfriend is a Cuban and, “The guy who runs my shop is a Jew,” and then wrote his critic should do something that cannot be printed in this newspaper.
He redacted the F--- words he included and before sunset removed his letter.
Florida and Monroe County went to Donald J. Trump in the Nov. 8 election, while Key West remained a deep shade of blue with Hillary Clinton winning all 10 city precincts and the Stock Island firehouse voting spot.
Everything north of mile marker 5 went to Trump.
On the same day Crockett posted his letter, Key West city officials announced all political signs must come down within 30 days of an election under state law. Starting Dec. 8, the city will enforce that law, said city spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen