As residents Richard Booth and Mimi Leary were returning to Hull around midnight last Wednesday, July 6, they were surprised to see the digital sign in the Department of Conservation and Recreation parking lot on George Washington Boulevard displaying a vulgar message about President Joe Biden.
This sign is normally used to alert residents and visitors about parking restrictions, fireworks notices, and other important information. It is unclear how the lighted message was changed to include the derisive political message, which included an expletive, and who is responsible for the act.
After noticing the sign, Booth and Leary made a U-turn into the Jake’s parking lot and circled back to the DCR lot, where they joined Hull Police officers and a couple of other cars that were already parked near the sign.
They learned that a similar digital sign near the Weir River Estuary Center that they had already passed had earlier borne an inappropriate message that had been disabled by the time they passed it.
“We stayed by the second sign by the DCR parking lot for about 45 minutes, talking with some other observers and the police, who were looking for ways to shut the sign down” but were unable to do so, Booth told The Hull Times.
Efforts to reach the state police and the DCR for assistance were unsuccessful at that time, according to Booth.
Leary suggested covering the sign with a tarpaulin using duct tape to secure it, which was achieved with some effort
On Thursday, Leary received a return call from a DCR staff member who said the DCR was “horrified” that the sign’s message had been changed to a political message and included an expletive. The Hull Times left several messages with the DCR community relations office but has not yet heard from the agency.
When Booth drove by the sign that afternoon, he noticed that both signs were “not lighted in any way” and that the tarp was gone.
In response to an email inquiry, Hull Police Chief John Dunn said that because the signs are on state-controlled land, the DCR “will be handling anything to do with their signboards and property. If a police agency is needed [to assist], it will be the Massachusetts State Police.”