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Monday, 09 November 2009 11:57

Clearwater's American Flag Controversy Featured

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Sons of the American Revolution Members Nelson Jantzen, George Pratt and David Kitchen on the steps of City Hall - Photo by Betsy ClementThe “Sons of the American Revolution” members: Nelson Jantzen, George Pratt and David Kitchen, dressed in revolutionary war attire - complete with brass buttons, three cornered hats and drum - appeared at Clearwater’s City Hall on October 22nd, to present Mayor Hibbard with a certificate of appreciation for displaying the American flag.

This summer, in a cost-saving measure, City Manager Bill Horne decided to remove 13 of the city’s 50 American flags, mostly from low-profile buildings like the city worker’s daycare; as well as the high-profile Memorial Causeway location. The causeway pays tribute to veterans of both World Wars. The city had received numerous complaints that the Memorial Causeway flag was improperly lit.

Horne’s decision was met with public outcry, criticized as unpatriotic; despite the fact that Horne – a former Air Force colonel – proudly displays the flag at his own home. The city conceded to public demand, and the broad stripes and bright stars now remain gallantly gleaming.

This story speaks to a larger issue. Despite budget limitations, the City’s elected officials must try to keep their constituents happy while also ensuring the greater good. Other cost-cutting proposals included cut-backs to the North Greenwood Library, and reducing police presence in the East Gateway neighborhood.

Both ideas were scrapped due to opposition from citizens. Our elected officials are still human, and whatever they decide, they are bound to displease some. City government can be a complex, oft en delicate matter, requiring that we as citizens get informed, involved and make ourselves heard.

Leave your comments on the issue below.

Read 1433 times Last modified on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 14:54