CA Town Hoists, Then Removes Gay Pride Flag
By Andrew Belonsky
It all started innocently enough: a citizen from Calistoga, California, suggested at a City Council meeting that the North Bay town fly a rainbow flag above city hall to show gay pride. The Council agreed and the flag was raised for the first time ever on Friday. Apparently not everyone was feeling so proud, though, and critics flooded officials, including Mayor Chris Canning, with complaints, leading Canning and company to take the flag down on Monday, basically as soon as they could.
The complaints weren't necessarily against gay people in general. The local NBC News affiliate's report makes no mention of such protests, at least. Mostly the pride flag foes of Calistoga griped that there hadn't been an official vote or order on the matter and that the gay pride flag opened the door for other unregulated "statement flags." Critics felt the democratic process had been cut off, even though they could have attended the City Council meeting in question.
"It should go through a democratic process if it's a government building, it represents us the people. If it's a private building, I think we should do whatever we want," said one citizen concerned about rogue flags in Calistoga, a town 75 miles north of San Francisco that one imagines is similar to the satirical town Agrestic featured on Showtime's Weeds.
Mayor Manning concedes the flag wasn't given a "full vetting" before being raised and says he intends on helping the City Council hammer out a policy on statement flags so that next year their town hall can show some pride.