LA HABRA : Tire Store Ordered to Move Flagpoles

The owner of Big O Tires on Whittier Boulevard will no longer be allowed to fly U.S. flags in front of his business. The city has ruled that the flagpoles are too high and in the wrong places.

The City Council Thursday upheld a Planning Commission decision denying Big O's owner permission to keep the flags at their current location. City officials said the poles are in the public right of way and are thus a liability.

The flagpoles are positioned where passersby might be injured by walking, running or bumping into one of them, council members said. In addition, using flags to draw attention to the tire store is "disrespectful," Mayor Steven C. Anderson said.

"It's unfortunate that some people like to use our flag for advertising gimmicks, and it's unfortunate that we are called unpatriotic for watching out for our citizens," Anderson said.

The store's owner, Mike Altman, argued that he illuminates the flags and replaces them as they become worn, and said that the city flies torn flags outside City Hall. Council members said that the condition of the flags is beside the point.

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