The Happy Fork vs the HOA vs Free Speech

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Could the ongoing saga of the fork, the ugly wall and the angry homeowners association get any more bizarre?

Apparently….YES. Well known San Antonio artist Gilbert Duran tells me he’s filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union alleging his right to freedom of expression and the rights of the homeowners are being trampled by the Stone Oak Homeowners Association. This gets really interesting – colorful civil rights attorney Gerry Goldstein has been contacted by the restaurant owner/chef to enter the fracas.

You’ve heard the story—culinary artist/chef Damien Watel commissions well known San Antonio artist Gilbert Duran to create a sculpture in front of his new restaurants Ciel and Ciao 2 on Stone Oak Parkway. The Stone Oak Home Owners Association cries fowl, and now a 14 foot tall eyesore-of-a-wall covers the artist’s creation.

Wow…what a mess! I don’t live in Stone Oak, so I can’t say how I’d feel as a neighbor, but let’s look at the big picture. Damiel Watel is an incredibly well respected chef and restaurant operator who most landlords and neighborhoods would welcome with open arms.

A successful business creates energy and often opens the door for more successful businesses where it locates. Then, there’s the revenue generated with property taxes, sales taxes…etc. A good business is good for business!

To please the HOA Watel doled out about $8,000 to erect the wall to cover the sculpture. Yet, nobody appears to be happy here.

My sympathies, so far, lie with Damien…unless someone can convince me otherwise. In fact, I think I’ll have dinner there this weekend.

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