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North Ridgeville business owner resigns Council seat after sign flap

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    Kari Foreman of Carlisle Township and Richard Gast of North Ridgeville protest a sign in front of Northridge Auto Repair on Lorain Road in North Ridgeville.



A local mechanic who posted a sign outside his North Ridgeville business directed toward the LGBT community resigned this week from his role as Council president in Olmsted Falls.

“I resigned because the mayor and I don’t share the same views,” said Jay Linn, who owns Northridge Auto Repair and Service on Lorain Road in North Ridgeville.

The sign read, “If you don’t know who you identify as pull down your pants and look.”

In Olmsted Falls, Linn served 20 years on the Planning Commission, six years on the Zoning Commission and four years on Council with two of those years as Council president.

Linn said his sign had nothing to do with his being an elected official. Olmsted Mayor Ann Marie Donegan did not immediately return calls for comment.

Since posting the sign, he said he’s been attacked by the LGBT group including death threats toward his family and threats to blow up his shop.

“I haven’t filed police reports. The police are going to do absolutely nothing,” Linn said. “I shut my Facebook page down. I’m not going to respond to any more comments. I served for 30 years on three different boards and commissions. I won’t bend to any special group.”

The sign outside his shop has been changed to now thank his supporters, of which he said he had many.

“We went though a box of business cards,” Linn said.

He said he got about 30 threatening voicemails and emails but about 100 who were in support of the sign.

“My sign meant, why can’t these people be satisfied with what God put them on earth as? Why do they have to re-indentify? Why can’t they be satisfied with what they truly are brought into the world as?” he said.

Linn said he did not have an opinion on the LGBT community before, but that’s since changed because of the threats he received.

“I had no views on that group in either direction other than I’m puzzled by their inability to identify, and now this comes, death threats, now I have an opinion of them and it’s not very fond,” Linn said. “I’m sure that doesn’t represent their whole group, but overwhelmingly they are a sick bunch of people to try to attack someone’s business or family.”

Linn said he was contacted by several media outlets since putting up the sign and went on The KidChris Show on WEBN in Cincinnati where he talked with a transgender woman Rissa Trent.

“I questioned his position on the City Council,” Trent said in a phone call Thursday. “I said, you’re supposed to represent everyone in your city, so how can you be impartial when you hate a portion of your community. He started screaming on the air with, how dare I bring it (Council) up.”

Trent, who lives in Akron, said the sign made her feel unsafe but does not support violence or death threats towards Linn.

“There’s no excuse to be violent,” Trent said. “What we need to do is educate rather than make threats.”

She said she was happy that Linn resigned as Council president.

“I’m glad that maybe they’ll have a chance to get someone in there that’s more positive toward the LGBT community,” Trent said. “He actively stated that he does not want to learn. He does not want to be educated.”

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.

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