NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New Rochelle City Council voted last night, 5-2, against a motion by GOP Council Member Louis Trangucci and seconded by GOP Council Member Albert Tarantino to allow the Gadsden flag to fly atop the flag pole in front of the New Rochelle Armory. The matter now moves the courts.
Last week the 5 Democrats on City Council overruled a decision of the City Manager Charles Strome to allow the flag to remain and directed that the flag be removed. The flag was removed and confiscated by City workers.
The United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Society of New Rochelle has retained the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, MI to represent the organization in a legal decision opposing the decision of the City Council.
After the vote, during the public discussion period of the City Council meeting veterans, their children and other supporters of the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Society of New Rochelle spoke passionately about those who died fighting under the Gadsden flag as early as 1775 during the early days of the American Revolution and in modern day wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Global War on Terror.
"People died fighting under the Confederate flag too," said Council Member Barry Fertel as City Council members exited Council Chambers.
During the Committee of the Whole Meeting earlier in the day where the vote was called, City Council Member Shari Rackman compared the Gadsden flag to the Rainbow Flag used to symbolize gay pride.
Brian Sussman, a Democratic Party District Leader in New Rochelle, has compared the Gadsden Flag variously to the Nazi flag, a Mickey Mouse flag and graffiti.
All of those opposing the Gadsden Flag have done so on the grounds that the flag is a "Tea Party flag" and that intention of the United Veterans organization is to make a political statement in support the Tea Party. Mayor Noam Bramson has stated that the President of the United Veterans is a member of the Tea Party.
Peter Parente, UVMPA President, spoke last night and categorically denied being a member of the Tea Party or that anyone at the flag retirement ceremony in March when the Gadsden flag was raised participated as a member of the Tea Party.
"I'm a proud Republican," said Parente.
Council Member Jared Rice -- who took credit for making the original complaint about the flag -- explained his view that the flag was divisive because it "represented a brand of politics that is very offensive to many people in America and many people in New Rochelle."
"A lot of people do take offense to [the Gadsden Flag]," added Rice.
Council Member Shari Rackman said the veterans were asked to take down the Gadsden flag with the implication that the veterans had refused to do so.
A review of emails between the United Veterans and the City Manager by Talk of the Sound show that the veterans were never asked to remove the flag. They were initially informed that the City Manager has instructed DPW workers to remove the flag. Before that happened, the City Manager decided the flag could remain. Several hours later, the City Manager informed the veterans that a majority of the City Council wanted the flag removed and again stated that DPW workers would remove the flag, which they did later that day.
The United Veterans sent a color guard to the New Rochelle Armory to receive, fold and secure the Gadsden flag. Moments later, DPW workers approached the color guard members and stated that they were orders to confiscate the flag and return it to City Hall. The veteran holding the flag handed it to a DPW worker and took the flag to City Hall where it remains today.
Contrary to the suggestion of Council Member Rackman and others, at no time did the veterans refuse a lawful request to take down the flag. They were never asked to do so.
The U.S. "Stars and Stripes" flag the currently flies over the New Rochelle Armory, like all of the flags before it for decades was purchased by the United Veterans, donated to the City by the veterans, accepted by the City from the veterans. For almost 100 years the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Group, and a preceding veterans organization, have been chartered by the City of New Rochelle to manage a variety of responsibilities related to veterans affairs including holding memorial services and maintaining monuments including the flag pole at the armory.
When the rope holding the flag breaks, the United Veterans replace it. When the flag pole needs to be painted, the United Veterans paint it. When the flag becomes worn and tattered, the United Veterans retire the flag, removing it and replace it.
The City Council has never sought to intervene in any aspect of how the United Veterans fulfills its responsibilities. They have never involved themselves in which organizations can march in the Memorial Day parade, what sort of floral wreath is placed on Memorial Plaza on Veterans Day, which past war is chosen as the theme for a particular year, which tombstones are singled out during the annual cemetery honors or how exactly the annual appropriation of funds provided to the veterans by the City of New Rochelle is spent.
The direct interference by the City Council in the decisions of the United Veterans on how to fulfill their obligations under their charter from the City is without precedented.
For this reason, and the unsupported, false and contradictory assertions that have been made by Council Members who voted against the veterans raising the Gadsden flag, lawyers from the Thomas More Law Center are confident they will prevail in the courts.
STORY IS STARTING TO GO VIRAL:
Washington Examiner: New York town removes flag as ‘offensive’ Tea Party symbol
World Net Daily: Banished! Historic 'Don't Tread On Me' flag
Journal News: The Gadsden flag belongs to America
Past in the Present: Is the Gadsden flag too hot to handle?
Fox News Channel: New Rochelle Armory Flag FIght Goes National on Fox News Channel
Conservative Firing Line: N.Y. Dem. compares historic Gadsden flag to Nazi swastika, graffiti
WKIO News 510AM: Veterans Protest Order to Remove Gadsden Flag at Armory
Brain Cramps: What happened to the 1st amendment?
Moonbattery: Bureaucrats Suppress Gadsden Flag
WSAU (Wisconsin): New York Town Bans the Gadsden Flag
Save America FoundationNew Rochelle New York bans the Gadsden flag from city Armory