CBS 2 News Reports New Rochelle Council Members Have Received Hate Mail Over Gadsden Flag Issue

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CBS 2 News Reports New Rochelle Council Members Have Received Hate Mail Over Gadsden Flag Issue

April 23, 2013 - 00:46

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Janelle Burrell of CBS 2 News (and most recently from News12 Westchester) reported on the "Don't Tread on Me" flag controversy today: Flag’s Believed Ties To Tea Party Lead To Removal From New Rochelle Building

The reports does a good job of summarizing the controversy although there are a few bits of misinformation in the piece.

1. The United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association is represented by the Thomas More Law Center but no lawsuit has been filed yet.

2. The building has been in use for a variety of purpose and has not been "vacant for decades".

3. City Manager Chuck Strome says "no permission asked for or granted to fly this flag on city property". Three problems with this: (1) under the authority granted to the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association by the City Council in 1958 they are not required to obtain permission to fly a particular flag at the Armory, at Memorial Plaza, at Hudson Park or certain other areas in connection with their memorial and patriotic responsibilities; (2) In 2006, during an unrelated dispute about veterans about flying a particular flag at Memorial Plaza, Strome declined a request by some veterans to intervene in the flag dispute and directed them to resolve the matter amongst themselves; (3) after the initial complaint brought by Council Member Jared Rice, the City Manager told the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association the flag could remain in place. It was only taken down after an informal canvas of Council Members conducted by New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.

The story contained one bit of new information:

Some members of the city council who voted against the flag said they have been receiving racially charged hate mail since the decision. The veterans’ group said it condemns any offensive and hate-filled backlash.

The United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association had previously issued a statement on reports of hate speech directed against Council Members:

We were disappointed to learn that New Rochelle Council Member Jared Rice has received some truly offensive, racially motivated communications in response to national media accounts of his desire to have the Gadsden flag removed from the flag pole at the New Rochelle Armory.

Whatever our disagreements may be over the Gadsden Flag or the Armory itself, we stand with Councilman Rice as New Rochelleans in condemning hate speech of any kind, directed at anyone, for any reason. Hate speech has no place in our political discourse.

Veterans across our country served, fought and, in some cases died or suffered grave wounds, to protect and defend our Constitution and our way of life.

That includes the right of the United Veterans of New Rochelle to fly a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag at the Armory and the right of Jared Rice to oppose their decision to do so.

Talk of the Sound contributed to the CBS 2 News report.