Letter: ‘For Some Reason, the Flag Became the Issue’

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Peter Blake and Steve Dicterow both made this observation on Fox News. But there is no mystery about what led up to the chaotic Council meeting on April 16. At the previous meeting, a resident asserted that anyone who did not like the new police car color scheme, or the flag-themed decal, was blinded by hatred of the president. That became a featured quote in the LA Times’ story, which was quickly picked up by Fox News, where they know a “War on Christmas” opportunity when they see one.

When Blake and Dicterow were interviewed by Fox, they had a chance to stand up for a community that is clearly and overwhelmingly patriotic and pro-police. They had a chance to point out that no one—including those who found the decal design “aggressive”—was anti-flag or anti-cop. That kind of leadership would have spared us from a trumped-up spectacle that held us up to national ridicule and further divided us from one another.

If you thought the evening jumped the shark when a piercing, anonymous soprano from Newport Beach burst into The Star-Spangled Banner, you’re forgetting that Jim Gilchrist showed up to speak his piece. Remember him? It’s been 13 years since he and his Minutemen tried to sue their way into the Patriots Day Parade. Hometown heroes like my brother Charlie stood firm against this attempt to hijack our annual celebration of patriotism for political purposes. The vigilantes lost in court in 2006. On April 16, they won and our community lost.

Chris Quilter, Laguna Beach

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  1. You’ve got your facts wrong. Decent folks living in Laguna were outraged by the hard letfists in this town that made this flag issue politicial. If you want proof, I can send you the emails. Statements like too MAGA, too Trumpish, too nationalistic, symbol of hate, symbol of intolerance. That’s what angered people, and they stood up and said enough. So what you saw was decent people of Laguna and elsewhere saying you have gone too far, and we will not tolerate your BS and hateful rhetoric anymore. The flag stands for all – it is owned by no-one. I applaud Peter BLake and Steve Dicterow for standing up for the flag. What is shameful is people like Toni Iseman who tried to twist the facts and claim victim. CA is already a laughing stock for its politics, Laguna leftists are just more of the same and got what they deserved – national attention for politicizing the flag as something negative.

    Typicaly of the left, start the fight, lose the fight and then blame the bully that you bullied. Not this time.

    By the way, perhaos you shoudl check out all the other mainstraim media like CNN – Collusioin News Network, who covered this story.

  2. Here are the facts Chris.

    Village Laguna and some local extremists planted the flag bomb and it blew up in their face! They were the ones that sent the initial emails regarding their disapproval of the new police car that our chief of police requested. At first, they and other activists didn’t like black and white. Too militaristic, aggressive not in keeping with our artist’s community (it’s a cop car, not a sculpture)Then they didn’t like the red, white and blue flag-based image (too nationalistic, patriotic, offensive to immigrants because the word Ice stood out (Toni suggested we change the letter I to blue in order to remedy the “problem”) Once our local paper reported on this “issue” that they instigated, KTLA picked it up and within a day, had thousands of likes, shares, and comments on their Facebook page. Almost all in favor of the new design. Then it was picked up by national and international media as it had become a question of whether some activists had the right to remove a symbol of national pride from a government vehicle. A vehicle driven by government employees in the United States of America. I was interviewed by over 30 different news stations who provided hundreds of media outlets the facts on this issue including CNN, CBS, LA Times, Univision, etc ( Toni ran for cover when she saw the media). It prompted an overwhelming rejection of the removal of the flag from our police cars. When it came time for the Council to vote again, our local community came to the chamber and expressed their views. Village Laguna and their fellow dissenters were nowhere to be found. All of them were in hiding knowing that they had lost and not wanting to be associated with this betrayal of the local’s wishes to keep the cars as is. The local residents who came to voice their support were referred to as “MAGA mercenaries and extremists” They were overwhelmed with joy when the council voted to keep the car as is. Village Laguna and their fellow extremists claimed they were “robbed” of their opportunity to control yet another aspect of local government. When their wishes weren’t honored, Toni referred to it as “tyranny” and exclaimed that she was scared to come to the council meeting that night and had urged others not to come as well. Funny, Anne Christoph wasnt scared. She was there all night making sure her agenda on trees was observed and Johanna Felder showed up to make sure she expressed her disapproval of yet another issue.

    Nice attempt at trying to spin the truth on this issue Chris! Just what we needed was another Monday morning quarterback to opine.

    BTW, what do you mean by asking if I “were raised by wolves”?

    Peter Blake

  3. Peter, the facts that you lay out here — and endlessly elsewhere; where do you find the time? — do not address why I am so disappointed in you and Steve. Do you agree with Jennifer Zeiter that the people who did not like the logo on the cop cars were blinded by hate for Trump and were not true patriots? (If so, I have a 4-star retired general I’d like you to meet.) Do you really believe that the many people in Laguna Beach you detest, and verbally abuse at every opportunity, are anti-cop and anti-flag? Did you say anything in any of your interviews to defend a community where an Ivory Soap majority of us clearly love our police and honor the flag? To me, that’s a failure of leadership. BTW, did you like the logo? I heard you didn’t, but that you were determined to teach us extremists a lesson. Is that true?

  4. Chris, the facts are what they are. You don’t seem to be refuting them but are still twisting the truth to suit your post. I find the time to respond to posts because that’s what the residents of Laguna elected me to do. I find the time to express the opinion of my constituents and do not allow extremists to frame the narrative of important issues facing Laguna. I do agree that there was an element that was against the flag because of the reason Jennifer stated and you know that’s the case. There were residents that love our country and our flag who just didn’t like the graphic. There were many opinions on the police car appearance and contrary to the gossip you’re referring to, I love the way the car looks and was less interested in “teaching you extremists a lesson” and more interested in allowing our Chief of Police the opportunity to choose what she thought our police cars should look like. The police love the car and in the end, I feel that it’s in our interest to let them make this decision given they’re the ones who drive around in it all day proving safety for our community. If some of our residents had their way the police would be unarmed driving pink cars and wearing pajamas as to not offend our sensitive criminal justice advocates. Who knows, maybe they’d bath in Ivory soap to make keep you and your so-called “majority” happy. BTW, your judgment of my ability to lead is irrelevant to me so please spare me your self-righteous BS.


  5. All over social media, way outside of our city limits, people were responding to the LA Times article (see Twitter for example) saying they believed that the presence of the American flag on our police cars represented a symbol of hate and “racism”.

    Remember when a handful of professors at UCI got a bunch of radicalized kids there to demand the flag, our flag, the American flag, we taken down – so as not to offend or “trigger” certain students in attendance who might be visiting here from other countries?

    This kind of thing needs to be stopped before it even gets started. And those of us who showed up or spoke up in the media, in support of our flag are not the enemy.


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