A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Things have changed: A flag for June

Written May 11th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

In this screenshot, Councilwoman Steph Newton, left, proposes to fly a “pride flag” at City Hall during June.

With only one dissenting voice, the Albany City Council voted Wednesday to hoist a “pride flag” in front of City Hall during the month of June.

Councilwoman Stephanie Newton made the proposal and motion to fly the flag as a symbolic step to celebrate diversity and inclusion of all people in the Albany community.

This was an unannounced move, coming during the meeting’s final moments under “business from the council.” That’s a point on the agenda when members are free to bring up anything they want.

Councilwoman Matilda Novak first said she didn’t want to vote on the issue, even offering to leave the room. The recording I saw didn’t show whether she stayed or left.

This was a voice vote without a roll call. I heard one “no” vote. The city clerk’s summary of the vote today said: “Motion to fly a donated Pride flag on the City Hall flagpole during the month of June passed 5-1, with Smith voting no.”

That would have been Councilwoman Marilyn Smith. Novak either voted “yes” or abstained, and as she acknowleged ahead of time, an abstention would count as “yes” under council rules.

Advocates for what’s commonly called the “LGBTQ community” consider June “Pride Month.” (The term strikes me as misused, considering that pride normally is reserved for accomplishments like completing a difficult job or mastering quantum physics, not a natural characteristic like being tall or belonging to a particular race.)

Listening to the brief discussion on YouTube, I gathered that governments are not supposed to fly flags with political messages, but City Attorney Sean Kidd told the council there would be no legal problems with a pride flag.

You can watch the meeting here.  The flag issue comes up near the end, about 2 hours and 20 minutes into it.

The only snag might be practical. Flags that were lower on the staff at City Hall sometimes got caught on the building, the council was told. The staff will check this before the proposed flag is added.

Six years ago, in 2017, a previous Albany council caused a flap when it balked at including the words “equity, diversity and inclusion” in the mission of an advisory commission of volunteers.

That was three elections ago. And if people see a rainbow flag next month under the U.S. and Oregon flags at City Hall, it will remind them of how things have changed. (hh)

This story has been edited to correct the vote tally. In my viewing of the YouTube council session, I heard the single “no” vote and assumed, wrongly as it turned out, it had come from the one councilor who had talked in opposition to voting on the issue. (hh)

41 responses to “Things have changed: A flag for June”

  1. sonamata says:

    Last year, Linn County commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker unanimously approved a proclamation declaring June “Pride Month” throughout the entire county, which was a first. (The proclamation was also not on the meeting agenda) Glad to see it.

  2. Anony Mounse says:

    As I mentioned before, I self identify as transabled since cutting off my feet. I didn’t even need to transition.

    We have a flag, too.

    Can we fly it at city hall during June?

  3. Terri Wilson says:

    Glad to hear this!!!

  4. Over It says:

    The woke libs have now taken over Albany. Kiss this town goodbye. You’re correct Hasso, pride shouldn’t include sexual orientation, but then again, this whole woke agenda is upside and backwards with norms being demonized and abnormal being glorified. Strange times are upon us. Unreal.

  5. Ana says:

    This is absolute garbage. The City Council doesn’t represent a small number of individuals. The Pride Flag is not inclusive, it’s the exact opposite. The American and Oregon flags represent everyone who lives in our state and country – those are truly inclusive. When you start flying a flag for only a small set of individuals, where do you draw the line? The Council needs to focus on real problems and stop playing these games.

  6. Cap B. says:

    Hasso, it isn’t really “pride” month per se (June, that is). So, no need for your school-teacher-ish reminder on what the word pride means. The term came into being quite some years ago as “Gay Pride,” (pride in being gay) and then morphed to LGBTQ Pride. And, I agree with the majority of the Council, for once. It does not hurt anyone for the “Pride” flag to fly at City Hall in June to point to unity, which we don’t really have, as evidenced by the comments on your blog. But, it is nice symbolically to have unity for one month out of the year.

    • Abe Cee says:

      We already have a flag that’s supposed to indicate unity. It’s the flag of the United States of America.

      • Cap B. says:

        The U.S. Flag no longer conjures up unity, unfortunately. We are divided. The American Flag has been added to the Trump flag in the back of pick-up truck beds. Surely, you have noticed.

  7. Bill Kapaun says:

    How about a flag for that member of society that faces the most discrimination?

    The Male, Caucasian Hetro-Sexual?

    Now let’s hear the “wokes” actually explain why they love to discriminate against “those people”.

    • Pride and Privilege says:

      Real talk Bill. LGBT people are 4 times more likely to experience VIOLENCE in their life than their heterosexual counterparts. A record breaking number of MURDERS of trans people occurred in 2020 and a majority of them were women of color. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to experience POVERTY than their straight counterparts. Due to the stress and threat of discrimination, LGBTQIA+ individuals are twice as likely to experience mental health issues and have double the rates of depression compared to their straight counterparts and the youth are five times more likely to die by SUICIDE than their heterosexual peers. There is also a heavier burden to find access to limited avenues of care. Do I need to go on about exclusion, isolation, conflict and familial trauma? I assume you are a white male. You have privilege because of that and the world proves it every day to you.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        Maybe if they kept their mouth shut and did their job instead of whining, they would have more respect. Nobody wants disruptive employees.

        Violence is where you seek it.

        • DSimpson says:

          “Violence is where you seek it.”

          Replying to this Nazi propaganda and to HH at the same time. Sorry, Hasso, you really brought the crazy out in the open on this one. I knew the comments on this post would be an open cesspool, but didn’t expect you to approve disgusting comments like this. I’ll be looking for my local info elsewhere from now on, and leave this forum to the dangerous nut-jobs like this that call it home.

          • Bill Kapaun says:

            If you consider that NAZI propaganda, you should go elsewhere. Corvallis, Eugene, Salem, Portland. Pick your favorite cesspool.

        • ShouldWeCallThePolice? says:

          This literally reads like a threat to the City Council?

        • centrist says:

          Language repeated often by folks who dislike others who aren’t of their group.
          Generally regressives longing for a time that never was.

      • Anony Mouse says:

        Does the + mean there is space for the transabled?

        If the + means we’re going to acknowledge different, unlettered, forms of self identity, then count me in.

        Perhaps it should now be LGBTQIAAb with more letters added as the many forms of self identity are accepted by the general public.

  8. LovingMyNeighbors says:

    This is a global thing you guys. Showing solidarity with people who celebrate being who they are, friendship, and love is absolutely something I want my community to feel good about.

    Some of you are clutching your pearls, but there is no existential threat here, folks.

    Live and let live.

  9. Brandon Rodriguez says:

    I love to see this!

  10. Katherine says:

    Better to be “woke” then asleep.
    But then my definition of Woke is, being alert to racial prejudice and discrimination.
    I don’t believe our fair city is going to hell. It was a ghost town with vacant building from Pacific Blvd. though downtown when I moved here decades ago.
    Now we have a more vibrant city with young families moving in.
    Yes we have issues but we can solve them.
    Don’t fly the pride flag. Maybe Albany is not ready for it.

  11. C. Printz says:

    The rainbow was created by God in relation to flooding. Calling the rainbow a representation of LGBTQ is a horrendous distortion of God’s intent.

    • Bob Woods says:

      The rainbow is formed when sunlight is scattered from raindrops into the eyes of an observer. Most raindrops are spherical rather than the often depicted ‘teardrop’ shape and it is this spherical shape that provides the conditions for a rainbow to be seen.

      God is WAY too busy trying to keep Christians from slaughtering one another.

      • Al Nyman says:

        Any evidence Christians are slaughtering each other, Bob. 9/11 was Muslims slaughtering Christians. Russian slaughtering Ukranians is not Christian against Christian so who are you talking about Bob?

        • Bob Woods says:

          Russian Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox are MOST ASSURDELY Christian churches.

          The fact that you state they aren’t Christian is a warning to all the other readers on how you routinely post lies. You should apologize for your error, but we won’t hold our breaths.

  12. TLH-ALB 1 says:

    Satanic rulers abound…
    Fix the dang roads…now that is inclusive and something we can all get behind.

  13. Beam Me Up, Scotty says:

    So flying the flag is a “symbolic step to celebrate diversity and inclusion of all people”? Do they mean along with all the other symbolic steps everywhere you look celebrating diversity (a ubiquitous liberal political mantra)? How many steps do they need for a group before they feel like they’ve been included? Is Oprah giving out free steps now?

  14. Craig says:

    I don’t have a problem with flying a Pride flag, it’s not going to hurt me or anyone else. However, this is America and allowing this flag to fly could open doors for flags I would never want to see fly.

    Tough call for the government, perfectly acceptable for private business. No a Pride Flag would not deter my business.

  15. Hartman says:

    It seems obvious. Hasso’s screed has brought out the best and the finest amongst the Albany intellectual class.

    The general tone of the comments Hering has “approved” prove a point. The Reactionary Right is afraid of so many things as to be paralyzed. Fortunately, there are some cool minds on the City Council (a couple excepted) who understand that a flag flying is not a threat. Only those uncertain about their own sexuality would get this worked-up over a piece of cloth.

  16. James Engel says:

    How about a plain white flag as in “we majority surrender” to all this nonsense. I’d like the “Rebel Pride” flag. Being a City tax payer & payer & payer, it’s my flag pole to!

  17. chris j says:

    This conversation reminds me of the people who get caught up in the nit picky “avocado and tomatoes are not vegetables, they are fruits” conversations. Why do people care? It does not matter what they are. You like them or you don’t. It is no one’s business if you like them or not. They are not poisonous nor toxic. Why would anyone even question that it is a legal matter to say either way. I would never even suggest or promote people to honor my dislike or like of them. It is none of their business. Are we not the land of the free? Wasting our time on these matters detracts from our serious problems and true needs as a society. Basic respect of each other should not need to be at the front of the conversation all the time. Putting a label on something does not encourage acceptance, it just draws a line to step over or not. No one should have to put up a flag to get respect for who they are.

  18. Bill Kapaun says:

    Isn’t it ironic that the people who want to be “inclusive” are so hateful? Look in the mirror fools!

  19. thomas earl cordier says:

    All this hype from the 1% who demand majority rights w/o any concerns for the real majority.

    • centrist says:

      Would that 1 percent be those regressives who fling “woke” like a cuss word ?

  20. Deborah Swenson says:

    I know God would want all people to be treated equally with thoughtful kindness and prayer. It should not be necessary to single out ANY ONE group and sully’s things for everyone else when any ONE group is highlighted. I think it was the wrong call. Not treating everyone equal here.

  21. Rick says:

    Boy! Keep your mouth shut and get back in line. Majority is the only thing that is important. God wants you to love people, but lets make sure it is “equal” love.

    Thanks for the lessons

  22. TiredOfWoke says:

    City and County elected officials should focus on business that affects all of us, such as street repairs, crime, cost of living, homelessness, etc. because such topics abound!
    If we’re not going to fly a flag for every person who wants one, whether they represent different groups, religions, nationalities, sexual preferences, etc., then they have no business hoisting a flag representing the “pride” of one group over another – that in and of itself is bias and has no place in a city meeting! I will wait for the explanation on why LGBTQ ideals are more important than any other…


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