California DoT Nixes Public Display of American Flag, Calls it “Impermissible Public Expression”
From Pundit Press:
Can someone please tell me what world we live in when we cannot erect our own American flag because it might upset some people?
In the town of Orcutt, California, thousands of dollars in donations have been gathered to create a monument to fallen soldiers and the branches of our military. The memorial would go between “a highway exit and a park-and-ride lot;” a pole would rise out of the center and display the American flag.
The California Department of Transportation was okay with the plan… that is, until it was revealed that our nation’s flag would be flying. When CalTrans heard, they stymied the effort, declaring the display of an American flag an “impermissible act of “public expression.””
The panel that ruled that the American flag could not be displayed demanded “viewpoint neutrality” at the monument. In other words, they declared it illegal to solely fly the US flag, stating that other flags must also have the right to be flown at the memorial, be it “the British flag, the Nazi flag, or the Jolly Rogers.”
In response to concerns, CalTrans wrote:
To answer your question regarding the court’s decision in Brown v. California Department of Transportation pertaining to flying the American Flag in the State right of way, it was established that, “The display of the United States flag constituted expressive activity, within the meaning of the First Amendment.”
The concern that we have in this situation is that, whether a flag hanging on a bridge [not OTORA’s proposal], or a monument placed within a park and ride lot [the proposal], we would be placed in a position of having to permit all forms of expression as encroachments in the right of way if we were to allow yours. As such, the department has determined that the state highway system is not a forum for public expression except as expressly allowed.
And do you want any more proof that CalTrans has no idea what it is doing? More from the Weekly Standard:
Last summer, a few days before the Fourth of July, CalTrans painted over a 35-foot American flag mural on a hillside in the East Bay, several hours north of Orcutt, which had been completed in the wake of the terrorist attacks. CalTrans painted over the mural with gray paint.