Letter: Council Meeting Lacked Respect for Others, the Flag

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At the April 16 City Council meeting, children were watching. They were in the Council chambers and they were watching at home. They heard Mayor Whalen encourage respect for each person who would speak on the agenda item regarding the Laguna Beach police cars’ painting. They heard speakers invoke respect for the US flag and our country. So, what did these children learn about respect from the adults who were present that night?

They learned that the rules of City Council proceedings, a representation of our democracy and freedoms, do not need to be respected:

  • The audience continued to applaud, shout, and hoot after being instructed repeatedly by the mayor to refrain.
  • Speakers continued to speak to the audience, rather than speaking to the Council, after being instructed repeatedly by the mayor to speak to the Council.
  • Speakers continued to speak after their time allotted by the mayor was up.
  • Audience members shouted out of turn at Council members who were speaking.
  • A Council member spoke out of turn, in violation of the rules, several times.
  • Audience and a Council member made personal, name-calling remarks about others in the audience and the community.

The children also learned they could ignore, as members of the audience did, the US Flag Code:United States Code. Title 4 – FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES CHAPTER 1 – THE FLAG:

  • 8. Respect for flag

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery…

Are these the behaviors and attitudes we want the young people of Laguna Beach to carry into their classrooms, playgrounds, sports, and other interactions in the community and outside our community?


Barbara Dresel, Laguna Beach


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  1. Sometimes democracy is messy. Sometimes people who are passionate may want to speak beyond their coveted 3 minute rule, sometimes people want to applaud a particular well said statement. You are flat out wrong on the US Flag code – the design does not violate that laws.

    What almost all of us saw, and I hope the children saw too (in fact one child did come down to speak on behalf of the flag), was a passionate expression of the love of the flag. What they saw was patriotism. It was pure, spontaneous and inspiring. What a breath of fresh air. That’s what almost everyone there saw. Sorry you saw something differnt.

  2. Barbara Dresel –

    Does anyone actually think that children are at home, on a computer, watching the live video feed of a city council meeting?


    Of all the seriously vulgar and obscene crap that kids are exposed to daily – on television, in the movies, in the lyrics of their music, the fact that they can instantly log onto porn sites on their phones, you are worried that they will watch the video feed of a city council meeting – and see someone talk for a few seconds past when the bell says their time is up?


    You are hilarious.

    Please, but all means PLEASE, write more letters to the Editor. You’re on a roll. I’m going to go make some popcorn and wait for your next manifesto. This is brilliant.

    Maybe you can write next about how people should not wear red hats, anywhere ever, because someone might think its a MAGA hat and get triggered?


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