The Pride Flag may again fly over Manteca’s city hall.
So might the POW-MIA, Black Lives Matter or the Thin Blue Line Flag among others.
But it can only happen if an elected council member seeks a vote to authorize a third flag to fly and fourth fifths of the council agrees.
The council on a 3-2 vote Tuesday with Dave Breitenbucher and Charlie Halford dissenting adopted a formal policy governing when a third flag may join the United States and State of California flags on poles on either side of the council chambers building at the Manteca Civic Center.
“It would simplify our lives if we just said no other flags,” Halford said.
By that Halford said it meant they would not be creating a controversy every time a different flag is raised.
Councilman Gary Singh took a different tact.
While he noted “the world we live in today is different”, he added that having a policy in place would restrict who decided what flags could be flown to the City Council as opposed to an administrative decision.
Several people in letters, emails, and on social media criticized Interim City Manager Toni Lundgren for honoring a request by city employees that the LGBTQ+ flag be flown in front of city hall during Pride Month, which is June.
Lundgren acted on the authority granted the city manager’s office for overseeing city facilities when there is no existing policy or ordinance in place that determines procedures.
While those objecting to a third flag being flown stressed only the United States and California flags be flown, other flags besides the Pride Flag have been hoisted on flagpoles in front of the Civic Center over the years.
Among them were the 1776 flag during the bicentennial, periodically the Tree USA flag the city receives for meeting criteria of being a “Tree City” each year by the National Arbor Association, and the POW/MIA flag.
City Attorney David Nefouse noted restricting requests for other flags to be flown to council members and not requests of the general public makes the flags selected “government speech” as opposed as a way for individuals or other groups to express speech.
The new policy roughly mirrors what the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County have in place regarding other flags that may be flown in front of their facilities.
It also complies with the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding other flags flown in front of the Boston City Hall.
The new Manteca policy requires a member of the City Council to bring the request to the council at a public meeting and the request must be approved by a four-fifths vote of the City Council.
Among other provisions of the new flag policy are as follows:
*The policy is to provide procedural guidance for the displays of national, state, and other flags. In adopting this policy, the City Council declares that City of Manteca flagpoles, which include flagpoles located at City-owned buildings and facilities, are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression of or by the public.
*The United States Flag and the State of California Flag shall be displayed in accordance with Federal and State law, including Title 4 and Title 36 of the United States Code and Sections 430 through 439 of the California Government Code.
*The City of Manteca Flag, if displayed on a City flagpole with the United States Flag and California State Flag, shall be placed in the third position of honor below the United States Flag and California State Flag. * “Commemorative Flag” shall mean any flag which identifies with a specific date, historical event, cause, nation or group of people, whereby the City honors or commemorates the date, event, cause, nation or people by flying the flag.
*The City shall display Commemorative Flags only if authorized by the City Council as an expression of the city’s official speech in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy.
*The City’s flagpoles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by or for the public.
*City flagpoles will only display flags that may be safely accommodated on the respective pole.
*Commemorative Flags may be displayed on the flagpole(s) outside of the City Administration Building under the California State Flag, if one is flown.
* Only one Commemorative Flag will be flown at a time.
*Commemorative Flags shall be displayed for a period of time that is reasonable or customary for the subject that is to be commemorated, but no longer than seven continuous days.
*Commemorative Flags will not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when all-weather flags are used.
*If a Commemorative Flag is displayed with the United States Flag or the State of California Flag, it shall not be larger in size than the United States Flag or the State of California Flag.
*The City Council shall only consider a request to display a Commemorative Flag if the request is made by a member of the Manteca City Council. Requests to display Commemorative Flags may be placed on the City Council’s meeting agenda in accordance with City Council rules of procedure, thus requiring a consensus of the City Council.
*The City will not display a Commemorative Flag based on a request from a third party or outside entity/individual.
*The City Manager shall maintain a policy to provide uniform guidelines for flying flags at half-staff. This half-staff policy will be consistent with Federal laws. (
*Flags inside the City Hall Lobby: The United States Flag, California State Flag or any Sister City Flags (which the City Council finds are not commemorative flags) may be displayed in the lobby area of Manteca City Hall.
*The United States Flag and the California State Flag shall be the only flags displayed behind the dais in the City Council Chambers.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com