City Confiscates "Don't Tread on Me" Flag After Veterans Told Flag Could Remain Over Armory

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UPDATE: New Rochelle City Council Votes Down Gadsden Flag Equating "Don't Tread on Me" with Stars and Bars and Gay Pride Flag, Fertel Says "People died fighting under the Confederate flag too."

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- After telling New Rochelle veterans yesterday that a Gadsden Flag was to be removed from the flag pole in front of the New Rochelle Armory after he received unspecified complaints, City Manager Chuck Strome was convinced by the veterans to allow the flag to remain. Earlier today, after a phone call with Peter Parente, President of the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association of New Rochelle, the veterans were praising Strome for his decision to leave the flag in place.

"The City Manager has always been a fair minded gentleman when dealing with the NR Vets and we applaud him on his decision, " said Parente in an email to supporters.

Three hours later, shortly after noon, Strome informed the veterans that the flag was to be removed because a "majority of the New Rochelle City Council" had requested that the flag be removed. Sources tell Talk of the Sound, the "majority" was the 5 Democrats on City Council. The two Republicans opposed the move.

Council Members Al Tarantino and Louis Trangucci have requested the issue to be placed on the agenda as a discussion item for the next City Council meeting on April 9th.

At about 2:20 p.m. workers from the Department of Public Works inspected the flag pole, called for reinforcements and left.

20 minutes later, three DPW workers came back to the Armory with a ladder, untied the rope holding the two flags in place, lowered the two flags and removed the Gadsden flag which was turned over to, James Murphy and James Lasser, representatives of the United Veterans.

The American flag was raised as the Gadsden flag was neatly folded by two veterans.

As the DPW workers were preparing to leave, they were ordered to take the Gadsden flag from the two veterans. Murphy and Lasser were told the Veterans could pick up the flag at City Hall.

The Veterans discussed getting organized and picking up the flag, in force, at a future date, possibly during the Citizens to be Heard session of the next City Council meeting on April 9th. Stay tuned for more on that.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

BMWCH's picture
BMWCH on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 22:12

THE GADSEN FLAG!

This flag dates back to the 13 Colonies - we were taught this as far back as the 4th Grade here in New Rochelle - you know, where the mayor was educated. It is a historic and patriotic symbol as are the Declaration of Independence or Liberty Bell themselves.

To have such an item removed under the guise of it being a symbol for amd assoiated with a political movement is absurd!

I would gladly contribute to a legal fund to challenge this action by the city...

willyrand on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 22:29

If there were no ethics rules, a few of the attorneys on the council would take the case. Yes, they've got that much character.

TakeBackNewRochelle on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 19:09
Title: Flag Removal

To Mayor Bramson and the democratic Council.
I here by award you all with the life time Horse's ass award.

Above you all on Thu, 05/16/2013 - 22:40

No need to diminish the Horse's ass award. It should only go to the Mayor. The rest of the democratic Council can get the Jack ass award, also known as the We our puppet's award

Above you all on Thu, 05/16/2013 - 22:40

No need to diminish the Horse's ass award. It should only go to the Mayor. The rest of the democratic Council can get the Jack ass award, also known as the We our puppet's award

Ralph M on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:58
Title: Wow!

Maybe Noam and Jarrod learned something at the Democratic convention,that the new US flag will be a Socialist flag,great job Democrats,and the idiots that voted them in.Now lets get some flags and march on city hall!

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:00

The Gadsden Flag pre-dates the United State of America and the Stars and Stripes and has long-standing and direct connections with the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy and the Global War on Terror and the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration.

City Manager Charles Strome stated that he did not believe the Veterans were seeking to make a political statement by raising the Gadsden Flag and decided the flag could remain in place.

So on what basis does Mr. Bramson and Mr. Fertel apply their mind-reading powers to claim to understand the intentions of the veterans in raising the Gadsden Flag?

Bramson (and Fertel) basis his entire reasoning for demanding the removal of the flag because it is, according to him, a "Tea Party" flag.

Ken Valenti of the JN quotes Bramson and Fertel (http://lohud.us/16lUJ81)

Bramson: “We have more pressing things to worry about than this nonsense. If someone wants to make a political statement by flying a Tea Party flag on on their own private property, they have every right to do so.”

Fertel: “I think it’s inappropriate to have a flag which symbolizes an extreme right-wing organization on city property".

Here's the legal problem for Bramson and Fertel.

The City Manager had already determined that there was NO POLITICAL INTENT

Strome: "Whether it was your intent or not (and I believe you that it was not) to put something up that is associated with a political group, it is clear that the flag, for whatever reason, is now associated with this group."

In fact, it is not clear at all. There is a long historical context for the Gadsden Flag going back to the 1700's. Any connection with any Tea Party groups is over very recent vintage and entirely tangential.

For anyone familiar with the Armory issue at all, they would know that the flag appeals to veterans and other supporters of a revitalized Armory because the attempts over the years to blight the building and tear it down, led primarily by Noam Bramson. The word "me", in this case, applies not just to the United State of America but to the building itself. Saving the Armory is NOT a political message by any stretch of the imagination.

Fertel even says it is “very appropriate for the American flag to be there.”

Where does Mr. Fertel think that the American flag flying over the Armory came from?

For many years the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Society of New Rochelle has been a duly recognized group with the City Code responsible for all manner of veterans affairs including conducting the City's official ceremonies for Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Patriot's Day (9/11) including ceremonies at the New Rochelle Armory.

The City funds, in part, the UVM&PS-NR, and has long granted the responsibility for maintaining the flag pole to the Armory including funding the cost of the flag, retiring and raising flags and maintaining a light to shine on the flag.

Further, the City Manager made a decision to allow the Gadsden Flag to remain. Bramson, Fertel and the three other Democrats overruled the City Manager and ordered the flag removed.

Less than six weeks ago, this same Noam Bramson chastised the City Council for voting down a proposal by the City Manager to create the position of Assistant Police Commissioner within the NRPD on the grounds that it was not appropriate for the Council to ask questions of the Police Commissioner, to second-guess the City Manager and for not being deferential to the City's management team.

If you jump to the 40:30 mark of the video from the 2-19-13 City Council Meeting you will see the Mayor make the following remarks:

"None of us, I think, among Council Members, has ever served in a Police Department either in a Superior capacity or as an officer. We don't know really what it's like in a PD, we don't really know the nature of the relationships between superiors and subordinates but we have received a clear, unequivocal recommendation from our City Manager, from our Police Commissioner and from our Deputy Police Commissioner. This is precisely the kind of issue on which a City Council ought to be most deferential to its management team."

To the best of my knowledge, none of the City Council Members has ever served in the military either in a Superior capacity or as an officer. None of them know really what it's like in a branch of the military, they don't really know the nature of the relationships between superiors and subordinates but after consulting with the leadership of the UVM&PS-NR, the Council received a clear, unequivocal recommendation from their City Manager which is, according to the Mayor, precisely the kind of issue on which a City Council ought to be most deferential to its management team.

Except when it involves Ron Tocci for whom the Mayor has a deep and abiding hatred going back to when Tocci defeated Bramson for State Assembly.

It is obvious to clear-thinking residents of New Rochelle that Noam Bramson has a blind-hatred for New Rochelle's veterans and will take any and every opportunity to attack them or slight them.

During the same City Council meeting in February, Bramson said:

"I think for us to be engaged in this kind of exploration of minutiae….is overstepping a wise course of action for a City Council."

Before calling the vote, he concluded:

"If we're not going to trust the judgement of our City Manager on an issue of this kind we should be getting a new City Manager but we shouldn't be second-guessing choices of this kind I think it's not healthy for the organization and not healthy for the relationship between the Council and the staff."

In the case of the Assistant Police Commissioner position, that was a budgetary issue involving large sums of money that was rightly and legally before City Council yet the Mayor derided the Council for delving in to what he called "minutiae".

In the case of the Gadsden Flag, that was purely an administrative issue yet Bramson had no problem second-guessing the City Manager in a matter which Bramson himself described as "nonsense".

So the Mayor finds it appropriate to take up Council Members time with nonsense but not minutiae.

More to the point, the Mayor ignores the judgement of the City Manager in a matter of what he calls "nonsense" after having said just a few weeks earlier that if Council Members were not going to follow his lead and "trust the judgement of our City Manager" then "we should be getting a new City Manager".

It is worth pointing out that three members of Council -- Rackman, Hyden and Rice -- have now twice in six weeks voted to override a decision of the City Manager. By the Mayor's own standard, he is making the case for removing Chuck Strome as City Manager.

Ken Lewis on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 14:25

Chuck Strome may need a little bit of a backbone.
We have a City Charter that describes the City Manager not the Mayor as Strong. For many years now I have witnessed Strome's "Acquiescence" to the Mayors emotions and childlike wishes, not what is good for the City.
Clearly he is between a rock and a hard place but can we have something in the way of a pair here. Jeez its a bit embarrasing to be the City Manager with this Charter and be Gelded every step of the way. Hey Chuck for the sake of your own reputation and dignity can you pick up a bottle of Ageless male or something. You look bad in the dress you are wearing. Man up.

FedUpinNewRo on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 14:14

Let's call a spade a spade. This Armory issue has evolved into a giant pissing match. And what has happened. A faction of veterans have taken up a cause to preserve what is essentially a dilapidated eyesore. As each day passes, the potential for salvation of this "Taj Mahal" of a land mark becomes less and less.

On the other side, we have a ten-dollar-word mayor, who clearly has an axe to grind, and is completely out of touch with reality. He is a career politician, that has time and time again over stepped his bounds, and has done nothing, or very little positive for the city. God help the county if he is successful, but I doubt the the Democrat District Leaders will not line up in support of Ken Jenkins.

The Armory should be torn down, but the allocation of that land should be utilized more efficiently then the highly flawed, and short sighted Ratner Plan.

Oh, and while the Gadsden Flag is not necessarily a political flag, nor is the Tea Party a real political party (faction/movement would be more appropriate). The flag has been used for the following purposes, from a contemporary perspective according to Wikipedia: "Since the Revolution, the flag has seen times of reintroduction as a symbol of American patriotism, a symbol of disagreement with government, or a symbol of support for civil liberties."

So to promote a storming of city hall over an act that may have been allowed by Chuck Strome, is nothing short of a look at me moment. Let it go my fellow vets, and march in a parade.

NRVET on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 02:11

How sickening is it to think this bonehead Bramson is running our city!! Even more sickening, he thinks he can run the County? This is a personal vendetta he has against the Veterans, not only of New Rochelle, but every Veteran in the County, State and Country. This disregard all began when Bramson ran againt the Honorable Ronald Tocci over a decade ago for State Assembly. Bramson won the primary, but Tocci blew Bramson away in the general election. Tocci handed Bramson his ass on a platter and Bramson is taking his revenge out on every American Vet who has ever served. He just won't let Tocci have any possitive effect on or in New Rochelle as long as he running the show. Even if hurts NR in the long run, this Mayor would rather cut off his nose to spite his face. Rather than having a state of the art preformance center that serves our very own community, Bramson would rather have the stench of rotten fruit while he supported a "glorified fruit stand" to be established in the Armory and satisfy friends and contributors who were the ones who "presented" that idea to council. While that deal sloppily fell through, the Veterans and their proposal for a Performing Arts Center STILL have not been taken into consideration. Let it be known that Bramson will not and does not put you, me or New Rochelle first. We are at the bottom and he's just using all of us as a stepping stone to what he believes is a better place. Don't let him get away with using us for his own self advancment. Join us on Tuesday evening April 9th 7:30PM in the council chambers at City Hall for Citizens to be heard.

don corleone on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 00:13

So it takes three guys to take down one little flag? One to take it down, and two to watch....

NROld Timer on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 00:07

While this will be pinned on one of Bramson's flunkies, my money is on Fertel or Rice; it is evident that Bramson is the ringleader. At the very least, a 5-2 vote shows Bramson’s support to remove the flag. Many times we hear the democrats on city council dismissing facts brought forth by the loyal opposition claiming they “have an ax to grind”. In this case it is Bramson who has an ax to grind with Tocci and he is using every means possible to poke Tocci in the eye. Bramson’s problem is that he is also poking Veterans in the eye, the tree he can’t see from the forest.

The city charter empowers the city manager to control the day-to-day operations of the city and empowers the council as the legislative branch. Strome made a decision to allow the flag to remain and the council overstepped its bounds by directing the city manager to have the flag removed. When all is said and done, Bramson is vindictive and the city manager serves at the pleasure of council where Bramson controls the super-majority.

On another note, this is the second time council has rejected Manager Strome’s decision with first being the debacle of the assistant police commissioners. At that time Bramson stated, if we can’t support our city manager on a proposal like this we should get a new city manager. Be careful Manager Strome for this is strike two and even your beloved Mets only get three strikes.

It is sad that Councilman Hyden went along with this ruse. There were signs he could be independent but he has now revealed his true colors as another Bramson puppet.

willyrand on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 21:32

This should put an end to people referring to individuals on the council as "nice guys in person." These are not nice guys. If Obama weren't in office, I know at least one Councilman who would like the flag shredded. Outside the realm of politics, most of these people are completely useless. Besides the ones who are actual business owners, what do they do? What are they capable of doing? Their little legal careers don't count in my book. Some of them only think in terms of race. Some of them get off on handing out little favors in their communities. They hold a meeting on a flag, and they don't bother researching the meaning of it. This didn't come about by citizens complaining. It was one councilman who saw it and it pissed him off. They don't deserve respect in person or in their capacities on the council. They'll get their guaranteed benefits and they'll be gone. NR will be stuck paying for these f#$#ing idiots for the rest of their lives. But yeah, I know Councilman -----, he's a nice guy.