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After rainbow flag, Costa Mesa councilman suggests flying Blue Lives Matter flag at City Hall

An American flag with blue and black stripes
A flag with a blue stripe, symbolizing support for law enforcement officers, flies at a protest in Massachusetts in 2016. The Costa Mesa City Council will consider a proposal to fly a Blue Lives Matter flag at City Hall.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

About four months after voting to fly the rainbow flag outside City Hall, the Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday will consider raising a couple of other flags: one for “Blue Lives Matter” and another for “In God We Trust.”

The city usually displays the U.S., California, POW-MIA and Costa Mesa city flags. But in May, the council updated its flag policy to approve flying the rainbow colors, a symbol of the LGBTQ community, from Harvey Milk Day on May 22 through June, LGBT Pride Month.

At the May 7 meeting, Councilman Allan Mansoor, who cast the only dissenting vote on the rainbow flag, mentioned that he wanted to sponsor a resolution to fly the Blue Lives Matter flag — a symbol of support for law enforcement officers — and an “In God We Trust” flag. Mansoor, a former Orange County sheriff’s deputy, was not available for comment Friday.

City staff didn’t find a flag depicting “In God We Trust” — the official motto of the United States — and said one would have to be custom-made and given a special day to fly, according to a staff report. The phrase and the Costa Mesa seal are above the dais in the council chamber.

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The Blue Lives Matter flag is a version of the U.S. flag, typically including black stripes with a blue stripe running through the middle.

The report suggests the Blue Lives Matter flag could fly around May 15, which is designated as Peace Officers Memorial Day and falls during National Police Week, or on Jan. 9, National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

The report says staff couldn’t find other government bodies that display an “In God We Trust” flag.

The phrase “Blue Lives Matter” began as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement that grew after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Blue Lives Matter supporters urge more respect for and better treatment of police forces across the country.

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In April, Multnomah County in Oregon agreed to pay $100,000 to a black employee who sued, alleging she was harassed by co-workers after asking that a Blue Lives Matter flag not be displayed at the office.

Four years ago, the city of Somerville, Mass., unfurled a Black Lives Matter banner over City Hall. The following year, more than 100 police officers rallied in protest, carrying Blue Lives Matter flags.

Costa Mesa’s decision to fly a rainbow flag elicited discussion at the May meeting from some who thought it symbolized inclusion and others who felt it showed intolerance for those who do not embrace the LGBTQ community.

Mansoor posted on Facebook at the time that he treated everyone with respect but was concerned the flag “may mean different things to different people.”

“To some it may mean that we should treat everyone with respect, which if that were the sole symbolism of the flag, I would support it,” he wrote. “To some, however, it may mean intolerance or hostility to anyone who morally or due to religious conviction does not support some of the things in the LGBTQ agenda, even though they do not support harassment or violence.”

About two weeks after the Costa Mesa council vote on the rainbow flag, the Orange County Fair Board voted 6-1 to fly it year-round.

Just days after the flag was hoisted at the state-owned fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, somebody stole it.

The fairgrounds replaced the flag and added unspecified security measures.

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The Laguna Beach City Council voted May 21 to fly the rainbow flag through June.

Tuesday’s Costa Mesa council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

Pinho writes for Times Community News.


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