The Hollister City Council unanimously passed resolutions Sept. 7 to fly the Thin Blue Line flag next month in front of City Hall, as well as the LGBTQ Pride flag for the month of June 2022. They also had a consensus to bring a resolution to a future meeting to vote to repeal the recently approved city flag policy.
“We may have overthought this,” said Christine Black, city clerk, as she introduced the discussion about repealing the flag policy, approved in May.
Council members agreed the policy needs to be repealed, which Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said would “streamline” the process. Councilman Rolan Resendiz said the policy was the result of “good intentions,” even though he never supported it and instead suggested adopting San Juan Bautista’s policy.
If Hollister’s flag policy is repealed and the San Juan Bautista model is adopted, instead of a resident having to secure 100 signatures before submitting an application, any individual would only need to contact one council member about flying a particular flag. The council member would then sponsor the proposal and it would take a majority vote to approve a flag to be flown on the community pole.
Councilman Rick Perez pointed out there was still a pending application to fly the Christian flag. He asked about the equity of the process when the request to fly the Christian flag was tabled while Jason Epperson, city attorney, sent a letter to the state’s attorney general for an opinion.
“I’m really upset with our city attorney,” he said. “I have not gotten a copy of the letter he was supposed to send to the attorney general.”
Perez asked if the policy were repealed would the Christian flag request be denied. Velazquez assured him that all flag requests already being processed would go forward even if the policy were repealed.
Several residents expressed their concerns about flying flags, including the American flag, and the repealing of the policy. Sandy Patterson voiced her disappointment at the delay in approving the Thin Blue Line flag, which supports law enforcement. Thomas Daggett objected to any flags other than the American and California flags being flown.
“I don’t think we should be catering to any other groups, mindsets or persuasions to what these flags represent,” Daggett said. “Everyone should be treated equally. We don’t have enough months to cover everyone. We ought to stick with our two great flags.”
While favoring the LGBTQ Pride flag, Elia Salinas expressed her opinion of the American flag. She said as a descendent of Native Americans she was proud to be an American, but the flag “represents the injustice of the Native Americans, the injustice of the African Americans, the injustice of the Japanese American internments. It has a horrible history, and it has a great history. I’m proud of it, but we have to recognize that flag does not represent everybody.”
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