Check the law
The recent controversy about flying the American flag at Trilogy in Nipomo got me thinking. I was certain that such a ban was against the law. It is! California Civil Code Section 1353.5 unequivocally gives homeowners in a project such as Trilogy the right to fly the flag. Trilogy’s ban is not only un-American; it is illegal.
Civil Code Section 1353.5 — Right to Display American Flag:
(a) Except as required for the protection of the public health or safety, no declaration or other governing document shall limit or prohibit, or be construed to limit or prohibit, the display of the flag of the United States by an owner on or in the owner’s separate interest or within the owner’s exclusive use common area, as defined in Section 1351.
(b) For purposes of this section, “display of the flag of the United States” means a flag of the United States made of fabric, cloth, or paper displayed from a staff or pole or in a window, and does not mean a depiction or emblem of the flag of the United States made of lights, paint, roofing, siding, paving materials, flora, or balloons, or any other similar building, landscaping, or decorative component.
(c) In any action to enforce this section, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
A dangerous road
The Tribune editorial (“A fine for flying the flag? Fie!,” June 2) that says despite the rules, a man in Nipomo “deserves a break” in putting up his flagpole because his violation was patriotically inspired brought to mind two quotes from one of America’s foremost dissident freedom fighters, Malcolm X:
• “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
• “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.”
I believe a policy of “anything goes, as long as it is in the name of patriotism” is a dangerous road to travel, as has been demonstrated time and time again throughout this country’s short history.
However, in light of The Tribune’s recent bouquet tossed to Morro Bay for the reinstatement of the patriotic July 4 explosions in the middle of a bird sanctuary, I do give The Tribune credit for consistency.
Birds or no birds, people who like to explode things shouldn’t be punished for their patriotic display.
Regarding individual property rights and flag poles:
Where do covenants, conditions and restrictions and association rules end and individual property rights begin?
Historians point back to the year 1215 when King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta, giving some “rights” to the people as the modern beginning.
Our property rights are enshrined by the Fifth Amendment and clarified by an abundance of judicial decisions. Many well-meaning covenants, conditions and restrictions and association rules have been modified or overturned because of individual property rights.
The right to own property was one of the main reasons thousands of immigrants came to settle in America.
Maybe the right to have a tall flag pole, a basketball standard, a skateboard ramp or a trampoline on your property should be decided by the developers, the homeowners, the city or the state.
Maybe this is a national constitutional issue.
Different jurisdictions have ruled differently on these very issues! Restrictions on individual property rights that do not involve safety issues should be looked at very carefully.
When I see an American flag in a neighborhood, I get a nice, comfortable, welcome feeling.