Sit­ting On Flag­pole Pro­to­col

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - Letters -

ride their covenant? If this mea­sure passes, Planned Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tions in the en­tire state will be sub­jected to this law. The ques­tion is: Is the Leg­is­la­ture ready to pass this law at this time, or can this be set­tled at the as­so­ci­a­tion level?

There are pro­to­cols for fly­ing a flag on a flag­pole, such as rais­ing it at sun­rise and re­tir­ing it at dusk. If it’s flown overnight, you are sup­posed to shine a spot­light on it all night. You must know when to fly the flag at full mast or half mast. It has to be in good con­di­tion all the time, not tat­tered. It must be flown with honor and dig­nity.

It is worth not­ing, how­ever, that the Supreme Court up­held that it is con­sti­tu­tional to burn a flag as free­dom of ex­pres­sion un­der the First Amend­ment. Will we stay friends with our neigh­bors if they de­cide to fly a half-burnt flag on their own pri­vate prop­erty?

Other things to con­sider: A com­mer­cial-size flag makes a lot of noise on a windy day. Will that spot­light point­ing at the flag all night in­con­ve­nience your neigh­bor? If th­ese pro­to­cols are not fol­lowed, can the as­so­ci­a­tion ef­fec­tively en­force them?

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple live in planned com­mu­ni­ties. There are PCAs not just on Oahu, but on Maui and the Big Is­land as well. As a mat­ter of pub­lic pol­icy, is­sues of this mag­ni­tude merit fur­ther dis­cus­sion.

The leg­isla­tive ses­sion is a time-cer­tain event that moves rapidly. This mat­ter should be dis­cussed in the in­terim, per­haps with a task force com­prised of PCA mem­bers, vet­er­ans and non­vet­er­ans alike, manag­ing agents and mem­bers of the boards of direc­tors. They may all agree that it is all right to erect a flag­pole, but let us not blind­side them. Let them come for­ward and say, “We are OK with it,” but let us not make that as­sump­tion.

If a com­pro­mise can­not be reached, then that is when we need leg­is­la­tion.

I strongly sup­port fly­ing the U.S. flag on flag­poles; I need to know that we will em­brace the com­mit­ment that comes with it.

State Rep. Rida Ca­ban­illa Arakawa (42nd District — Waipahu, Honouli­uli, West Loch and Ewa) chairs the House Hous­ing Com­mit­tee. She may be reached at 5866080 or rep­ca­ban­illa@capi­tol.hawaii.gov.

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