A California Navy veteran and his wife were told by their city to remove one of the two flagpoles displaying the American flag on their property.
Ronald and Sherri Raeta just recently moved into their home in Galt, Calif., and one of their first orders of business was installing two flag poles on their front lawn and raising two American flags. However, not too long after they did so, they got a call from the city to take one of the poles down.
“We thought it would look beautiful to show our patriotism of having two beautiful American flags on our property,” Sherri Raeta, whose father served in World War II, said. “We lost so many Marines at Iwo Jima trying to put the flag up and we are being hassled about taking the flag down.”
The couple was shocked when they received the call instructing them to remove one of their flagpoles because they were in violation of a city code.
“I kept saying, ‘stop kidding stop kidding’, but it turns out it was not a joke,” Sherri said.
“I’m furious. I’m furious,” Ronald added. “We both love the American flag, we love America. I just can’t believe anybody would want us to take down an American flag.”
According to City Community Development Director Chris Erias, the city “limits flagpoles to one per parcel with the maximum height of 20 feet.”
“I believe this was really put in to respect the integrity of residential neighborhoods,” he added when the couple went before the city council to challenge the order. “We do not regulate content on who can buy what. For us, it really is limiting it to the pole.”
The city has stated that it will look into whether revising the code is necessary, with Elias saying they’re “considering changing the development code to allow for a second pole.” For now, the Raetas could file a petition to change the law, but it would surely cost them a few thousand dollars.
After fighting for his country, Ronald is heartbroken that he must also fight for his right to fly the flag on his own property.
“It’s my flag and I should be able to fly it,” he said.