Pleasure Flag debate exposes political divide – Press Banner


A rainbow flag was waving above Scotts Valley Metropolis Corridor by 10:15am on June 2—it marked the fruits of a 12 months of labor on a ceremonial flag coverage. Nonetheless, a shock political tactic the earlier night time on the council assembly threatened to derail its adoption.

Nobody spoke towards the rainbow flag itself, and but, the dialogue turned the assembly into one of the vital dramatic classes of the previous 12 months.

Councilmember Derek Timm acquired the ball rolling on the flag coverage throughout his mayoral time period, hoping Scotts Valley would comply with different space cities in elevating the rainbow throughout Pleasure Month.

On the council assembly, Metropolis Supervisor Mali LaGoe introduced two flag coverage choices.

Underneath Coverage 1, town would set out official procedures for flags however would solely enable authorities designs to fly. Coverage 2 would enable for others beneath particular circumstances: A council member must suggest flying the ceremonial flag; it should align with Scotts Valley’s strategic objectives and priorities; no spiritual, political, or election flags might be flown; town must “receive” the flag; it couldn’t fly increased than official flags, and it may look forward to a most of 31 days.

Timm famous many native college students report being discriminated towards for his or her sexuality.

“The youth are watching us, and I certain hope we are able to do the correct factor,” he mentioned.

Councilmember Jack Dilles mentioned some LGBTQ-identifying residents contemplate suicide.

“And that’s fairly heavy-duty,” he mentioned, including he believes Coverage 2 opens the door to spreading acceptance. “I’ve definitely opened my thoughts a complete lot extra and change into a extra tolerant particular person.”

‘Will you are feeling the identical approach if residents for Second Modification rights wish to come ahead and fly their flag?’

—Councilmember Randy Johnson

Councilmember Randy Johnson requested Timm if he was “placing the cart earlier than the horse” by selling a brand new coverage to lift a particular flag.

“You’ve coupled the rainbow flag with this coverage choice,” he mentioned. “However will you are feeling the identical approach if residents for Second Modification rights wish to come ahead and fly their flag?”

Timm mentioned he doesn’t imagine native elected officers would help a Nationwide Rifle Affiliation flag. Vice Mayor Jim Reed, too, puzzled if making a coverage for ceremonial flags to help the LGBTQ+ neighborhood would open the door for others to push their agendas. Gun rights advocates who “really feel beneath siege in California” may use a flag coverage to their benefit, Reed prompt.

Throughout public remark, Santa Cruz Councilmember Donna Meyers, Santa Cruz’s first lesbian mayor, urged Scotts Valley to undertake Coverage 2.

A number of audio system took difficulty with how Johnson and Reed framed arguments, given current mass shootings nonetheless within the headlines, together with the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. Jodie Fillhardt was one in every of them.

“Disgrace on you,” she mentioned. “That’s so horrific.”

Realtor Robert Aldana agreed with Fillhardt.

“As a accountable gun proprietor, there isn’t any motive why I’d wish to fly an NRA flag,” he mentioned. “That was utterly off-base.”

Watsonville Metropolis Councilmember Jimmy Dutra, the primary brazenly homosexual mayor of that South County municipality, referred to as Timm “courageous” for spearheading the flag coverage.

“You guys are final,” he mentioned. “We hope you’ll be part of us.”

Q. Licht, a Scotts Valley Excessive Faculty pupil who identifies as an LGBT neighborhood member, mentioned flying the rainbow flag would make a distinction to folks like them.

“It’s such a robust and such a visual image,” he mentioned. “It could imply a lot to me.”

Afterward, Reed spoke about taxes and what number of residents don’t like the federal government and argued for rejecting each proposed choices. Nonetheless, to not “be caught on the fallacious aspect” (as he’d later put it), he prompt permitting the rainbow—however no different ceremonial flag—to be flown.

“What occurs if the KKK turns round and asks for a similar privilege?” he requested.

Mayor Donna Lind mentioned elevating one flag—and prohibiting others—might be the extra appreciable authorized danger, and town lawyer confirmed this to be the case.

Johnson got here to Reed’s protection and referred to as out the audio system who’d admonished them.

“In some methods, I used to be a bit offended,” he mentioned. “We’re right here to pose uncomfortable questions.”

Dilles seconded Timm’s movement. Reed slid a substitute movement in, aiming to lift the rainbow colours the following day whereas looking for to codify the Pleasure Flag completely—however with out adopting an official flag coverage.

Johnson seconded it, “within the spirit of compromise,” he mentioned.

Timm accused Reed of constructing an “off the cuff” movement that will stop the Pleasure Flag from being flown this month since it could require workers to proceed finding out the legalities. He additionally accused Reed of constructing fear-based arguments with out having raised issues earlier.

In the end, Reed and Johnson voted with the others to approve Coverage 2, permitting ceremonial flags to fly in Scotts Valley.

The follow-up vote to begin flying the Pleasure Flag was additionally unanimous.



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