Holly Hill group outraged by city's fines over flags

By Amaka Ubaka, Reporter, aubaka@wkmg.com
Published On: Apr 23 2013 11:46:51 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2013 07:22:13 AM EDT

A nonprofit club in Holly Hill is angry that it can't fly enough flags to honor all military branches -- unless it pays to do it.

HOLLY HILL, Fla. -

Clubs or businesses often fly flags to honor service members, but a nonprofit club in Holly Hill is angry that it can't fly enough flags to honor all military branches -- unless it pays a fine to do so.

Eddie Colosimo leads the group Bikers For First Amendment Rights, which supports veterans and their families.

He's been flying military flags for years, but a new city ordinance -- meant to target advertisements and banners -- only allows three flags for city businesses.

For each additional flag, the city is fining the group. So far, Colosimo has been fined $300 a day by the city of Holly Hill.

“Its a slap in the face to the military,” says Colosimo. “My position always has been when it comes to paying for permits for these flags, these flags (have) been paid for in blood, sweat, tears and lives.”

Because of the uproar, city council members held a special hearing Tuesday night and voted to put off making a decision to figure out their next step.

Susan Hawthorne comes from a military family and says the issue is plain and simple.

“As far as I'm concerned, a military flag is a military flag. It's not an advertisement, it's not a floppy flag, it's not a banner, it's to honor people who died for this country.”

Others, like Theresa Gordon, aren't sure exactly what the meeting accomplished.

“We're totally confused about this whole meeting," she said.

But Colosimo says he'll keep flying the flags, hoping city council members will do the right thing.

“I'm a little frustrated, but there is light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

City Council members are hoping to have a new ordinance by June 11 that is not based on the content of the flag, so that Bikers For First Amendment Rights can keep the flags flying.

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