Monday, May 9, 2011

Freedoms Lost - #2885 - California Balks at Public Display of American Flag - Weekly Standard

In the small town of Orcutt, California, a private association has raised donations to erect a flagpole and monument between a highway exit and a park-and-ride lot, at the entrance to the community’s Old Town section. The pole would hang the American flag, encircled by five pillars, one each for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), however, has stymied the effort, calling it an impermissible act of “public expression.” The Orcutt Pioneer reports that, although the Old Town Orcutt Revitalization Association (OTORA) “intends its flag as a tribute and symbol of freedom” — which would seem to be how most Americans would view their nation’s flag — “CalTrans sees it as a form of speech or expression, something more personal than patriotic.” OTORA, a typical Tocquevillean-style private civil association, has been fundraising for over a year to collect the necessary $60,000 to build the flagpole and monument, above which would wave a 12-by-18-foot iteration Stars and Stripes. But CalTrans has declared that its policy forbids such efforts. In a letter to OTORA, CalTrans explains that it developed its policy in response to a ruling released by a 3-judge panel of the notorious Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, a ruling that was issued in response to impromptu flag-hanging in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
          
The panel’s ruling demanded “viewpoint neutrality.” That is, if CalTrans was going to allow the hanging of the American flag on public land, then it must also allow the hanging of all flags — whether the British flag, the Nazi flag, or the Jolly Rogers — as well as “expressive banners” of all sorts. In its letter to OTORA, CalTrans writes,  Read more.........  AW: This is a must read, you won't believe this could happen in the U.S., well close, after all it is California.

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