GALT (CBS13) – Controversy is flying high after a couple was told to take down one of their two flag poles, or they’d get fined.
“We thought it would look beautiful to show our patriotism of having two beautiful American flags on our property,” said Sherri Raeta, who moved just moved in.
Navy Veteran Ronald Raeta and his wife, Sherri, installed two flag poles on the front lawn and raised two American flags.
But soon the call came to take one pole down.
“I kept saying, ‘stop kidding stop kidding’, but it turns out it was not a joke,” Sherri said.
According to the city, the Raetas were violating city code.
“(City code) limits flag poles to one per parcel with the maximum height of 20 feet,” said the City Community Development Director Chris Erias.
It was shocking news for Sherri, whose father was a World War II vet, and husband and son both served in the Navy.
“We lost so many Marines at Iwo Jima trying to put the flag up and we are being hassled about taking the flag down,” Sherri said.
“I’m furious. I’m furious,” Ronald said.
He believes it’s the greatest insult.
“We both love the American flag, we love America. I just can’t believe anybody would want us to take down an American flag,” he said.
Outraged, the two went before city council and found out there’s little they can do.
“I believe this was really put in to respect the integrity of residential neighborhoods,” Erias said.
He added, the problem isn’t with the flag, the code specifically allows just one pole.
“We do not regulate content on who can buy what. For us, it really is limiting it to the pole,” he said.
Sherri is upset because the code allows you to have as many poles as you want on your home, but won’t allow more than one pole in the ground.
“He did so much for the American flag to be free, so what’s the difference if I run two American flag poles in the ground or two American flag poles on the side of the house,” she said.
After fighting for his country, Ronald said he never thought he’d be fighting to raise his flag.
“It’s my flag and I should be able to fly it,” he added.
The city said they’ve never had a problem with two flag poles until now. The city will look into whether a revision is necessary.
The Raetas have the option to pay to file a petition to amend the law, but that would cost a few thousand dollars.