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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 21, 2010

We love the flag. Now back to work.

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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People should be allowed to fly the American flag without restriction.

That was pretty much settled by the federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which says that real estate managers and condominium associations can't make rules that would prohibit residents from flying the flag.

Unfortunately, the law talks only about flags, not flagpoles.

And so for this reason Hawai'i legislators are now wasting time with pointless political grandstanding and overwrought professions of flag-love while avoiding more pressing matters on their agenda.

Legislators can't afford to dither on House Bill 2311, which was safely parked in a committee for "further study" but has reemerged for a hearing this week. The bill has the potential to emerge as The Big Distraction that will tie up the Capitol for days.

Sponsored by Rep. Kymberly Pine, the measure would require community associations to allow the installation of flagpoles in residents' yards.

But Pine's own bill includes a catch that those nitpicking community association directors will likely seize upon: boards would be allowed to "implement reasonable restrictions with regard to flagpoles, including but not limited to size and location."

That loophole pretty much puts us back to where we started, with associations having the authority to restrict flagpoles but not flags.

C'mon folks, let's get back on track. We don't need a law and we don't need a study.

If a proud American who lives in a planned development wants to dig a hole in his yard and spend $1,000 on a deluxe pole for celebrating Old Glory, we say go for it.

And if the proud American's neighbors don't like it, they can take it up with their association. Not the Legislature.