In northern Santa Barbara County, an Orcutt veteran’s organization raised donations to erect a flagpole and monument at the entrance to the community’s Old Town section. The pole would hang the American flag, encircled by five pillars, one each for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. CalTrans, however, denied the effort, calling it an impermissible act of “public expression.”
The Orcutt Pioneer reports that, although the Old Town Orcutt Revitalization Association “intends its flag as a tribute and symbol of freedom” — which would seem to be how most Americans would view their nation’s flag — “CalTrans sees it as a form of speech or expression, something more personal than patriotic.”
CalTrans said that its policy is in response to a ruling released by a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, a ruling that was issued in response to impromptu flag-hanging in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
A bill (SB443) sponsored by Senator Tony Strikland, which would allow the flag and monument, is set to go before the senate appropriations committee on Monday.