Letters: Flag bill left out to dry

Wednesday - April 07, 2010
By MidWeek Staff
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Dear Editor,

For those who own property in a planned community association, your ability to help define and clarify how the American and Hawaii state flags are displayed on your property is being shut down by the state Senate. After the House unanimously passed the “flag bill,” HB2311 HD1, the Senate has determined not to entertain it, and has spun a good tale that the bill was about erecting huge flagpoles and monstrous flags.

This is pure nonsense. The bill was never about the size of flagpoles or flags, since those details were left to the associations to determine.

Section 4 of the federal law provides a loophole for associations to place time, place and manner restrictions on our flag. As written, the loopholes have allowed community associations to charge $100, $200 and even $300 in fees to fly Old Glory and have forced homeowners to endure burdensome application processes to seek approval to allow for its respectful display.

The flag bill, which was introduced by Rep. Kymberly Pine, was designed to have homeowner associations: 1) stop charging homeowners a fee to fly the flag, and 2) stop restricting the flag display to a limited number of days.

Last year, the state Legislature intervened in the contract between homeowners and their associations that prohibited clotheslines and overrode those contracts to make them permitted. As it stands, laundry is being treated with more respect and attention than the flag.

This needs to be corrected and carries no political affiliation. I have documented the course of HB2311 as it has moved through the Legislature with videos, and they can be viewed at http://america-3.org:8080/flag/jsppages/flag-2/pages/tbergone.jsp.

A support-the-flag rally will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. April 15 at the state Capitol. Please bring your flags and help us convince the Senate to do the right thing and hold a hearing on the flag bill.

Tom Berg
Ewa Neighborhood
Board member and chairman of its Legislative Committee

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