American Flag Flyers Busted in New York
Article Courtesy of NewsMax.Com, America's News Page
Tuesday, May 14, 2002 

Police in the tony village of Garden City on New York's Long Island are giving out tickets to residents who fly the American flag in violation of a zoning technicality - prompting outrage from local homeowners.

"I can't believe I must appear in court for flying the American flag," Garden City resident Clare Basel told Newsday. Basel is one of a dozen flag-flying residents who have been busted so far.

"I'm very proud to be displaying 'Old Glory,'" she added. "Isn't it about time that Garden City either changes this code or grandfather in all of those who have been displaying the flag despite the law?"

At issue is a 1932 ordinance that specifies flagpoles must be no taller than their distance from the curb. In Basel's case, her 20-foot flagpole is a mere 18 inches too high.

Kevin Shine, another Old Glory-flying lawbreaker, told nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity that Garden City has no prior history of enforcing the flagpole technicality, and that there are flags on public property that also exceed the height regulation. But they haven't been cited.

"There's a number of flagpoles - including those at the fire department and post office - which are in violation of the law," Shine explained. "My father is an Iwo Jima veteran. I grew up with a flagpole in my front yard."

Village Administrator Robert Schoelle told Newsday that the Stars and Stripes crackdown began within the past month. 

"It started with some complaints to one of the village's [four] property associations about front yard violations ... not just flagpoles," he said. "Then the board of trustees asked for stepped-up enforcement from the building department."

Schoelle said he did not know how many summonses had been given out for flagpole violations, "but I don't think it was many."

But Shine questioned his explanation, telling Hannity that when he challenged Garden City officials to document complaints against the flag flyers, they couldn't produce a single objection.

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