Flag Issue Update and Upcoming Calendar
by BRUCE SEAMAN
At the Marion County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting on Tuesday, September 1, Bridges Project advocates spoke out once again, insisting on the removal of the Confederate flag from flying on government property. Several flag supporters also spoke, with one needing to be escorted from the auditorium by the deputy as BCC Chair Stan McClain kept a tight rein on public comments, strictly limiting all speakers to the two minute allowance.
The BCC made no decision, and BCC Chair McClain reaffirmed that the decision on the flag issue would be a docketed agenda item for some future BCC meeting.
The BCC officially received the recommendation of the Marion County Historical Commission, an all-white board that operates under and is funded by Marion County government as a Citizens Advisory Board. Their recommendation called for moving the current five flags display around the corner from its present location on SE 25th Avenue to E. Fort King Street, facing Veterans Park. It would become part of a proposed “Heritage Trail,” apparently a name for a county fitness trail. The Bridges Project made it clear several (more) times that any flying of the Confederate flag as a function of Marion County government on government property was unacceptable.
Bridges Project did offer a compromise through Rev. Peggy Hostetler’s testimony. If the five flags display is located on the fitness trail, it should be enclosed in an outdoor display case or kiosk as is customarily done with historical artifacts displayed outdoors. In fact, all five flags could be displayed in a single case. The cost savings was noted since replacing all five flags twice each year likely costs around $1,000, an amount which could be quickly saved by taxpayers by the use of a kiosk.
The compromise effectively negated the flag supporters’ repeated talking point that complained of any attempt at “putting the flag in a drawer.”