Saturday, November 24, 2007

Does this mean TxDOT will take down all of the 'I-69' signs too?

Someone at TxDOT must have dirty mind

'Forno' vanity plates withheld, called obscene

Nov. 24, 2007

Houston Chronicle
Copyright 2007

Armando Florido said he is about as respectable as you can get — he's been a Houston police officer for 24 years, and has owned and operated Italian restaurants, Fornos of Italy, for 17.

Proud of his eateries, he put vanity plates reading "FORNOS" on his Hummer two years ago. He ordered a second set of plates this year reading "FORNO 1" for a Plymouth Prowler.

The plates are in, and he's even paid for them. But a clerk at the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector's office told him this week that she could not give them to him.

"She told me she couldn't release them because a TxDOT committee found them obscene," said Florido, a sergeant, on Friday.

A Texas Department of Transportation spokesman said he did not know why Florido was not issued the plates, but would try to find out Friday, a non-working day for the agency. He did not call back.

"We don't know why TxDOT found this obscene," Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt said. "All of a sudden, a letter showed up from TxDOT saying, 'Don't give him the plates.' We've run into some preposterous layer of bureaucracy."

In Italian, "forno" means oven or furnace.

"I just don't know why my plates and business name were found obscene," Florido said.

Bettencourt said his office will see what it can do for Florido next week.

"The man should get his plates," Bettencourt said. "And, if not, he should at least get his money back."

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