Officials in Cambridge are threatening to fine Shiva Ayyadurai $300 per day until he removes two signs from a bus he owns.
The signs mock Democrat U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren's claim that she has Cherokee Indian roots. According to The Washington Times, Cambridge building inspector, Branden Vigneault, says the signs lack the proper "approval and permits."
The signs read: "Only a REAL INDIAN Can Defeat the Fake Indian."
Ayyadurai, who is an Indian-American, is challenging Warren as an Independent in this Fall's election.
Warren has come under fire from many for claiming to have Cherokee roots, with very little evidence to back it up. This is important because Warren may have claimed Native American heritage on applications to benefit herself at the expense of others. Even the Cherokee Nation has called Warren out, and has demanded she stop claiming to be one of them.
Ayyadurai, who has little or no chance of unseating Warren, has filed a federal lawsuit saying he has a constitutional right to position the campaign signs on his bus. He says the campaign sign rules apply to structures, and not vehicles.
While Ayyadurai is unlikely to be successful, his candidacy is useful in that it keeps Warren's Cherokee controversy front and center, and allows likely Republican nominee Geoff Diehl to focus on issues while sidestepping the matter.
Cambridge, which is certainly Warren country, is attempting to remove the anti-Warren signs from view. However, a court victory for the sanctuary city could have unintended consequences, as most candidates for public office place signs and bumper stickers on vehicles as a means of advertising. Would they be banned as well?
I believe Ayyadurai is within his rights.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.