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Palo Alto may fly rainbow flag

Original post made on Apr 1, 2013

The rainbow flag may soon fly high over Palo Alto's King Plaza as a colorful reminder to the world where the city stands on the topic of same-sex marriage.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 1, 2013, 9:22 AM

Comments (51)

Posted by ???, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

The City should not be making a stand on a national issue in which it has not polled its residents.

How does the City decide which national issues it should support? Perhaps they should look into this issue deeper.

As another example, the City does not know how its residents would feel about gun control.

I do not think the City should fly flags either in support or against any divisive national or state issue.


Posted by parent, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

The rainbow flag is not a gay marriage rallying cry. It is a call to end the bullying of our gay children. All parents can stand behind that.


Posted by Supports-Traditional-Marriage, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

The Palo Alto City Council could not find its way clear to fly American flags after the 9/11 Attack on America by Islamic terrorists in New York, and Washington, DC.

Yet--the Council seems prepared to make clearly political jestures for which there is no Charter authorization.

This Council can not seem to recognize when there is high crime in the streets of the town--but seems able to claim that the City Government--and presumably every resident supports this movement.

It is difficult to believe that everyone in Palo Alto--or even a majority--support homonsexual marriage, whatever this flag is supposed to represent.

The Council is way out of line here.

This proposal should never have been brought before the Council in the first place, and should be voted down if it does.


Posted by William, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:02 am

I would certainly hope that the majority of Palo Alto residents support equal rights for all people.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:11 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Paul, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:17 am

To "???": Residents have not been polled on this issue?
To "Supports...": Difficult to believe a majority in PA support same-sex marriage?

Did you not read the article? 76% of PA voters said NO on Prop 8! Seems like residents have been polled and are overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage...


Posted by Mike, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:17 am

So cliché. I support equality under the law, and I voted against prop 8. I support love and want bullying to end.

However, rainbow flags are so cliché. This is not the Castro, this is Palo Alto. Just stick to the basics - American flags and California flags. Keep it simple and uncluttered.

Yet another way in which our elected local representatives waste time and energy and issues which are not part of their mandate. Your job is to manage the affairs of the city, not to take a stand on social issues. You are free as a person to have your opinion and fly a rainbow flag over your house.

As "The Rock" might say...."know your role..."


Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

I want the government out of marriage altogether. It's for individuals, churches & private institutions to decide whether or not a marriage can or should occur. The government shouldn't be involved at all.


Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

The city has no place taking a position on the subject. They cannot speak for the people of this city.
Personally, I don't care which way it goes, but there are people who care on both sides of prop 8. So the city should not speak for all one way or the other.


Posted by Midtown resident, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:39 am

I agree with Chris, it is not the role of the city to promote this either way.


Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:46 am

Even though I am amoung the 76% of us who voted against the DOMA I agree w/previous poster that the Council is way out of line here.

Plea to PACC: please shift your focus to matters of municipal concern - THAT is your job.


Posted by Norman, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

"How does the City decide which national issues it should support?"

That's easy: Whatever the Republicans are for Palo Alto is against and thus the decision on what Palo Alto supports.


Posted by Donald, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

I love the idea because it makes the people in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas, Fox News so on so mad when we do stuff like that. If 79% of us voted against Proposition 8 it is pretty clear we support it without doing a poll.


Posted by RP, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:58 am

I strongly oppose the idea of the city flying the flag because the city should not take stand on this issue. There are residents for and against the issue and taking side will be a disrespect to the other side.

The city should definitely stay out of the way. I understand individual council members can have their own stand on the issue but the city cannot be used as a platform to push forward their own personal agendas.


Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:01 am

@Donald 79% does not equal 100% and it's not clear that "we" support it.
Like I said, I personally don't care either way, but there are some strong opinions on BOTH sides. The city should stay out.


Posted by Josh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

I'm all for same sex marriage, but this is wrong. I agree with RP. The city should not get involved.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever heard of! The city is not supposed to speak for the residents or proclaim one "moral view" to be superior to others. What next? Is the city going to proclaim one religion's "flag" over the city?

Whoever came up with this unbelievably stupid idea needs to step down from this city administration.

nzWDQ


Posted by cool, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:29 am

April 1st...


Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:50 am

I HOPE this is an April 1st joke; says something about the PACC that it is inherently believable. Not too long ago one of the PACC said something about how Palo Altans rely on the PACC to make good health-related decisions for them; I think she was talking about the smoking in parks issue. The comment confirmed what I have long suspected: there's confusion about what the role of CC is. I'm of the opionion that the PACC should be focused ONLY on municipal matters.


Posted by Ken, a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

So apparently the Palo Alto city council shouldn't do anything unless 100% of its citizens agree with the decision...


Posted by Supports-Traditional-Marriage, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:58 am

> Did you not read the article? 76% of PA voters said NO on Prop 8!

And what percentage of all Palo Altans actually voted for Homosexual Marriage?

How many of these people were voting against the Mormon Church, and how many were actually voting to set the stage for disruption to our tradional family that will invariably follow?

Once this wall is removed--why shouldn't there be multiple partner "marriages"? Sharia Law allows for up to four wives. If the basis for homosexual marriage is the "equality", then how can Palo Altans not then support "equality" for Muslim marriages, too?

And what about child marriages? How many cultures support the marriages of children? Will Palo Altans support that too? Particularly since the definition of marriage no longer has any meaning.

A single vote on an issue that has not been thought out should not taint the public face of our City for decades to come.

The silent majority needs to stand up and be counted on this.


Posted by Nestor, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Just another example of symbolism over substance. Although I am in full support of same sex marriage, it's hardly a topic that a municipal government should be concerning themselves with when there are so many other pressing issues that they should be addressing. It demonstrates a lack of priority and focus in my opinion. What of the budget deficit? What of are inability to fund critical civic projects and capital improvements?


Posted by Bob , a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2013 at 12:27 pm

This City Council can't run the city's business, let alone the social beliefs of its residents. This is not in its charter. It is NOT in the purview of the council. The city has enough to do managing our garbage cans. This bunch of City Hall busy-bodies should mind its own personal business. Palo Alto is getting to be the 'laughing stock'......... due to the city hall circus. And didn't Mr. Keene come to us from Berkeley? I've got a one-way bus ticket I'll buy him. Council: vote NO because it's none of your business or the city's one way or the other.


Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

The city council should not offer a position on something that is a matter of personal opinion. They need to stick to matters of municipal concern. (They don't even get 100% agreement of the people on those items!)


Posted by Megan, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm

This is the Civil Rights issue of our time. Let's fly the flag! This is King plaza!


Posted by Stanley, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Hmm...maybe the City will hire a company/individual for $$$ to do a study on this and then make a decision in a year or so.

I agree, the PACC should stay out of this national isssue, it's NOT their place. Either way, if a flag goes up or not, there's going to be one side that disagrees. Stick with the American and CA flags and call it done!


Posted by Paco, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm

How about flying the POW/MIA flag supported by the 101st Congress and passed as Law 101-355 recognizing the flag in support of the National League of Families. The flag is a symbol to recognize an end to the uncertainity of families and the nation of missing POW's listed as Missing in Action.
Perhaps the ignorance of city leaders to recognize and fly a "rainbow" flag that has no offical law or governmental recogniztion and was created simply to line the pockets of those individuals selling them on street corners might prevail, however, if the council really wants to make a statement of national importance they will choose the POW/MIA flag to support those families with missing sons and daughters.


Posted by if you are, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

if police are following you ,they are in your wake. your fate becomes theirs. if your fate is to be met by aliens, then so is theirs! so ,if you dont want to meet aliens ,don't follow me! if you follow me ,thats stalking and harasssment. by by, gonna meet some spacemen.


Posted by moo, a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

" The only problem is that the city currently has no policies that allow the city to fly a flag unless someone dies. "

Ummm. . . . .


Posted by let it fly, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 1, 2013 at 2:09 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by joann, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by National Organization for Traditional Flagpoles, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Oh, no! If we fly the rainbow flag, what's next? Solid color flags? Pennants? UNDERWEAR? It's a slippery slope and will destroy all that flag poles stand for. Can you imagine the effect on all the other flag poles in the Bay Area?? I would list all the negative effects, but there are just too many to be specific.

Let's keep flag poles like the founding fathers intended. The silent majority needs to stand up and be counted on this.


Posted by Eliz Woodville, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I agree with Chris, also. The city is out of place speaking for the resident, none of whom they have polled first.

I personally support gay marriage; why should two people in love be kept from marrying? However, the city should not be speaking for everyone who lives here unless they know for sure that an overwhelming majority of the Palo Alto population feels this way. By overwhelming majority, I mean 75% or better!


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

We are pro-marriage for anyone who wants to make the commitment.

However, the city council and/or the city (staff/management) itself has no business making political statements or entering into arguments/opinions for or against a Supreme Court case.


Posted by Paco, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Poster Megan worries that city council should fly flags with no recognition over King Plaza because she believes that it represents civil rights and, afterall, "this is King Plaza". Unfortunately, the Palo Alto City Council fails to recognize the 3rd Monday of January as a national holiday (Martin Luther King Day) as passed into law in 1983 by the Reagan Administration and refuses to give their employees the day off in respect to Martin Luther King. Apparently city council's civil right concerns only apply to whatever bandwagon shows up in town that may fit into their dysfuntional agenda.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Totally ridiculous. Not the city's business to be flying the Rainbow Flag. Out city leaders are tools.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Enough people move in and out of Palo Alto that I would think a vote from several years ago might be out of date. In any case, I'm sure there is a diversity of opinion here.
Also, the City of PA is overstepping their role if they fly the rainbow flag. I think the city - staffers and council members - should focus on municipal duties, issues, services.


Posted by Liz and Dick, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

perhaps this is all an April Fools' joke?


Posted by businessdecision, a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I think this article appeared because it's April 1st, but want to say thank you to Chris Zaharias--I agree. Government needs to get out of this.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm

How can government - any government - possibly get out of it at this point?


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Does anyone remember a few months ago that several of the city council members were complaining that the meetings were "too long"?

Yet they can find the time to discuss raising a "rainbow flag", but not enough time to talk about the parking issues, the infrastructure issues, the downtown robbery issues, the PC Zoning issues, the structure deficits caused by the promises made on pensions & medical benefits to employees?

But the council feels that the rainbow flag is more important. But just not as important as the plastic bag ban (after finding 150 plastic bags in the creek (out of several million issued per year)

Bit out of touch are the council?


Posted by Don, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm


The City Council members need to get over themselves and refresh their memories about what their job is and isn't. They have no standing or mandate to make proclamations about national issues or foreign policy, etc. They can express their personal opinions on their own time at home, but taking up meeting time on things not part of City business is a waste of everyone's time and not appropriate.

By the way, I support gay marriage and civil rights in general, but that isn't a Palo Alto government matter.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

@ Aquamarine: Who are these "bigots" that you speak of? The politicians who try to push their views of morality (from wherever they find it) upon others?

I suppose that you would have no problem with a Central Valley town flying an "Abortion is Murder" flag? What about a town that flies a "Support Traditional Marriage" flag? What about a Midwestern town that flies a "Christians is the only true religion" flag? What about a border town that flies a "Open Borders should be the Only Borders" flag?

At what point does a local government have the right to push the social views of politicians -- even if it reflects the sentiment of the majority of locals -- as a banner upon which they fly high above city halls?

There are many pressing issues in Palo Alto. While we all have a position on this issue, it is a state issue. Our silly politicians (who think too highly of their own opinions) should not proclaim a view as the city's when a significant portion of the population might disagree.


Posted by lannie, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Not Yet..., a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I don't think the city should get involved in this. We have a large population in the city that doesn't agree with same-sex marriages. I'm not one of them, but I don't think we can do something like this without reaching out to everyone to determine how folks stand on the issue. This is everyone's town and some folks who live here have strong feelings against it. To fly the flag would be presumptuous. Maybe in our children's time but we aren't quite there yet.....


Posted by Gus L., a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm

This was the best April Fools joke I have heard in a long time..


Posted by Skeptical, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm

The nice thing about local government is that it tends to be more pragmatic, focusing on real issues that it can do something about -- like garbage collections, policing, parking, parks, etc. It's inappropriate for a local government like ours to take very public (and only symbolic) stands on issues like abortion, gay marriage, North Korea policy, the right of return for Palestinians, etc. It's needlessly divisive.

And coming at it from another angle -- California voted in favor of Prop 8. So what if the state mandated that we display anti-gay marriage symbols all around? Wouldn't that seem kind of inappropriate? Wouldn't it seem like just a mean-spirited "thumb in the eye"?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:16 am

Wow, this is pretty funny.

Gee, how dare the city council speak for us? Well, they're *elected* to do that. Don't like 'em, don't vote for 'em. But, otherwise, welcome to our system of government. Were none of you paying attention in eighth grade? That stuff about representative democracy?

Government should stay out of marriage? Good grief--marriage has been a civil and legal contract since ancient times. It's legally regulated. Marriage equality/DOMA deal strictly with the civil aspects of marriage. No church, for example, would be required to conduct gay marriage services, though plenty are happy to do so.

I'm for the alternative--religious institutions should stay out of politics--or give up their tax-exempt/protected status. There is no single religion that speaks for all Americans. Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

Comparisons of the rainbow flag v., say, a flag promoting a particular religion--well, separation of church and state ring a bell?

I have to say, though, it speaks well of Palo Alto's general civility that so few of you seemed to have noticed just how liberal we are here. I'll bet that the support for gay marriage is now over 76 percent--the percentage of those supporting gay marriage has risen over the past few years and, nationwide, it's at 80 percent for those under 30.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:37 am

@ OhlonePar:

That makes no sense. You're saying that the "wall of separation between church and state" makes the morality derived from an individual's religious faith inconsequential to the morality that a certain group decides.

However, this isn't about religion. It is about a moral stance that one city official wants to herald (literally as a flag) over the ENTIRE city. It truly is akin to a city council member in another community flying an "Abortion is Murder" flag over his/her city. Even if 90% of a town might agree, it isn't a city employee's responsibility to make his political views the standard for the entire city.

For all of the speech a few years ago about "tyranny of the majority," it is funny that some individuals want to "pick and choose" which minority voices that are infringed. It isn't "tolerance" if you don't tolerate any dissent or if you drown out their voices as though they don't count or matter. That is the epitome of what it means to be an "ideologue."


Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by mark, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm

What? The city standing together for Gay Marriage rights?

I am a long term Palo Alto resident and have paid property taxes for several properties here in Palo Alto over the last 20 years and I don't stand for Gay Marriage; I don't want to stand in the shadow of flag with Rainbow colors with my kids and explain how now little Tim and Bob can get married when they are older because "that is the right thing to do" and as a Palo Alto resident--we stand proud for this thing that has disgraced to the covenant of Marriage--in my opinion.


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