City of Fresno bans Confederate flag

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The flagpoles in front of Fresno city hall have never flown a confederate battle flag, and city council members Oliver Baines and Esmerelda Soria lead the charge to make sure they never do.

Baines told the Council, "I think we are okay by saying in the city of Fresno we are never going to acknowledge that flag on our property."

Soria added, "We know this flag is a symbol of racism, oppression, violence, that's what it is."

Baines proposed an ordinance to ban the flag from being hoisted by the city on city property as a symbolic move to honor those killed in the South Carolina church shooting. He did not see it as a divisive issue.

"I don't think anyone is saying we want to the flag to be flown or that we agree it should, so if we don't agree, or if we don't disagree then let's agree."

However, City Council Member Lee Brand saw it as an unnecessary move.

Brand said, "The bigger issue to me is the city jumping on the political correctness bandwagon and entering the slippery slope of debating symbolic issues."

While Brand saw the ordinance as a distraction from city business, Baines maintained it was right for the city council to take a stand.

Baines explained, "While I understand what council member Brand was saying I think from a very real point of view we always deal with the larger national issues we just deal with them at a local level."

The ban only applies to city government hoisting the flag on city property. Not individuals. Action News Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says the ordinance is pretty clear on that, but said it could still lead to future conflicts.

Capozzi said, "Somebody coming into city hall carrying a flag, is that going to be a problem, it might incite a riot it may incite fights it that's the case the city could preclude it from coming in."

Four council approved the confederate flag ban. Council Members Lee Brand and Steve Brandau abstained, deciding not to vote. Council member Clint Olivier was absent. The measure takes effect in 30 days.

Click here for the full ordinance. null
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