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Only three flags will be allowed to fly on City of Minot property following a decision by the City Council this week.
Members of the council created a new flag-raising policy that limits flags on City property to the United States, North Dakota, and City of Minot flags.
The council considered options, including allowing ceremonial and organizational flags if approved by the council and creating a freedom of speech space where monuments and flags would be allowed. Ultimately, council members decided to allow only three flags to be flown.
“I personally have not had any issues with any of the flags that we have flown. But my fear is that we’re going to go down a slippery slope, and it’s going to be difficult to determine, as a council, what flags should be flown,” Council President Lisa Olson said. “I think there’s going to be divisions when we start having discussions, and I don’t want to create that situation.”
Alderman Stephen Podrygula said he wasn’t comfortable deciding which flags would be allowed on City property and which ones wouldn’t be allowed.
“I’m not sure that the city – any city – should be in the business of promulgating views or even giving people a space to talk,” he said. “That’s already there. If people want to gather on the steps of City Hall, they can do that. I just don’t know that, again, it’s our job to facilitate speech.”
Alderman Tom Ross suggested groups work together to create a community space where freedom of expression through flags and other methods could take place.
“We have so many different entities out there, and many entities that want to fly a flag. It’s an opportunity for you to sit down, come together, find a space where the community can come together and celebrate each and every organization.”
The vote to create the flag-raising policy was 6-0. Council vice president Carrie Evans was not present at the meeting.