By Sandra G. Leon
(story updated June 26 @ 6:01pm)
A South Bay home flying various flags, including two connected to the Confederacy, has caused some discomfort and complaints among residents of Chula Vista’s Eastlake area.
The home has 15 flags on display, some of which are flying and others are leaning against the home on the second-floor balcony.
The flags include a standard American flag, a Bennington American flag with 13 stars and a large ‘76 in the blue field, a Jack of the United States flag usually flown by US Navy ships when moored or anchored, a US Navy flag, and a State of California flag.
Other flags include a Donald Trump campaign flag, a skull and crossbones Pirate flag, and a Christian flag used in many churches.
But the home also flies a Confederate battle flag, the most recognizable symbol of the Southern states that fought in the US Civil War, as well a flag of the Confederate States of America with 11 stars, the official national flag of the Confederacy from July 2 to November 28, 1861.
The ongoing protests around the US over the death of black Americans at the hands of police have also included opposition to symbols of the Confederacy, including calls for the removal of statues of Confederate soldiers and Confederate flags in public spaces. In the past few weeks, the US Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and NASCAR tracks banned the display of Confederate flags.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a non-profit that tracks hate groups and fights civil injustice, the Confederate flag and monuments are symbols of hate and division that perpetuate the ideals of white supremacy, segregation, and disenfranchisement of black Americans.
“The argument that the Confederate flag and other displays represent ‘heritage, not hate’ ignores the near-universal heritage of African Americans whose ancestors were enslaved by the millions in the South. It trivializes their pain, their history and their concerns about racism — whether it’s the racism of the past or that of today.”
The Chula Vista home also displays several flags that have histories connected to various American rebellions.
One of the flags is the “Come and Take it” flag which was famously used in a Texas rebellion against Mexican forces at the Battle of Gonzales in 1835. It has since been honored in Texas as a symbol of its fight for independence and is often flown with the Texas state flag.
The home also flies an official Texas flag which is both the flag used in the Republic of Texas when it was an independent nation-state from 1836 to 1845 as well as the official state flag of Texas since statehood in 1845, and an Alamo flag, supposedly flown during the famous battle between Texans and Mexican forces. The flag is red, white, and green with “1824” in its center.
Other flags include the national flag of the Philippines and the national flag of Lebanon.
California law restricts HOAs from limiting or prohibiting “the display of the flag of the United States” or any “noncommercial sign, poster, flag, or banner…posted or displayed from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall” of a private home.
Several neighborhood residents posted pictures of the home on a community group’s Facebook page, and some included the home’s address. Posters complained that the display of Confederate flags during this time of protests is unsettling, but others have dismissed it as a personal expression and defended the homeowner’s decision to fly whatever flag he wishes. The group’s administrator has since removed the posts.
The homeowner did not want to comment when asked for an interview at his door on Tuesday. His truck parked outside his home had a large American flag flying from the rear bumper, as well as a sticker of Donald Trump’s head on the passenger side window that makes it appear as though the President of the United States is riding in the vehicle.
Steve Bowman, the President of the Eastlake III HOA, said the organization will be releasing a statement early next week indicating that the HOA will follow all local, state, and federal laws pertaining to flags.
The US Navy, Marine Corps, and Army announced last week that they will ban the display of Confederate flags in all public spaces it controls. Similarly, NASCAR banned the display of Confederate flags at all of its sanctioned car race tracks.
The NCAA and SEC collegiate leagues said they will not hold any sports events in Mississippi because its state flag contains the Confederate flag within it. Mississippi is the last state to still include the Confederate flag; Georgia removed it from its state flag in 2001.