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Fresno City Council Bans Confederate Flag On City Property

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The Fresno City Council has voted to ban the display or sale of the confederate flag on city property. The vote sparked debate about where to draw the line when banning historical objects.

While the city is not currently displaying or selling the flag, the ordinance approved by the council today makes it clear that it cannot.

Council president Oliver Baines wrote the ordinance and says in the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina church massacre, it’s time to make a statement against what many consider to be a sign of racist hate.

“What the confederacy stood for, and it’s clear what that flag stood for, was something awful that none of us on this dais agree with. We don’t believe what those men believed back then and I think it is OK for us to say we don’t believe in that,” Baines said.

But council member Lee Brand worried that the council is being carried away by public opinion, and votes like this could lead to a slippery slope of banning other uncomfortable elements of history.

“Do we send a letter to Fresno County and ask them not to have a civil war re-enactment at Kearney Park where they display the confederate flag?” Brand said.

Both Brand and council member Steve Brandau abstained from voting.

The remaining four council members all voted in favor of banning the confederate battle flag.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.
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