‘When they are faced by people holding them accountable they say the right things; then when they are there to vote and do the right thing, they do the wrong thing…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) The Statesville City Council rejected an amendment to the city’s flag ordinance that would have allowed Gander RV to fly its 40- by 80-foot American flag.
In a 5-3 vote, the city council opted to stand its ground and keep the limit on flag size to 25 by 40 feet, WBTV reported.
The city council defied Statesville’s mayor and planning board.
Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh said he supported an amendment to increase the flag size.
The Statesville Planning Board recommended, with unanimous agreement, that the city council should increase the flag size limit to 40 by 80 feet in the highway business area, WCNC reported.
“As part of the Planning Board’s recommendation, they asked the code contain additional language enhancing the engineering and design of the flag poles, and also advised to add language referencing the U.S. Flag Code as found in Title 4 of the United States Code,” city officials said.
The division on the city council has not changed since October 2018, when members rejected 5-3 an amendment to increase the limit on flag sizes.
Statesville City Council members C.O. Johnson, John Staford and Steve Johnson voted to allow larger flags, while William Morgan, Roy West, Doris Allison, Keith Williams and Michael Johnson voted against the measure.
The city filed an injunction against Gander RV in May. If the court approves the injunction, then Gander RV will have to take down the flag and pay a $50 fine for every day that it violates the ordinance.
Gander RV Owner Marcus Lemonis said the flag size ordinance violates the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions.
Given the advice of the mayor and planning board, Lemonis seemed to think the city council would reverse its decision.
“Unbelievable, I’m stunned,” Lemonis said. “When they are faced by people holding them accountable they say the right things; then when they are there to vote and do the right thing, they do the wrong thing.“
Lemonis said “the flag is not coming down under any circumstance.”
He said he would go to jail before removing the American flag.