Council passes resolution regarding flag
By Michael Butler
In a special called meeting on Thursday evening, the Tallassee City Council passed a resolution stating that it opposes the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) intentions to erect a Confederate battle flag in the downtown district.
The item encompassed one minute and 53 seconds, with a unanimous vote from the council. Members of the audience were not given an option to speak, much to the dismay of Tallassee SCV memembers.
"You know when a special meeting occurs, only those items that are advertised can be covered, I think it would be best to adjourn the meeting," city attorney John Smith stated after addressing the council.
SCV member Marion Patrick was disappointed. "We were told each side could talk. We didn't get that. That's the way they do things in this town. We weren't even told what the resolution is," he said.
The resolution reads, "the display of Confederate battle flag in Tallassee will foster resentment, upset and ill-will among its residents and harm the City of Tallassee in its efforts to recruit businesses and industry as well as provide others an opportunity to ridicule our community."
Bob Taunton of the SCV issued a memorandum to the mayor and council highlighting reasons for placement of a flag at the SCV's local headquarters which included, "honoring and preserving our nation's history."
"It is my hope that the army of political correctness, the cadre of self-righteous politicians, the self-promoting race-baiters," Taunton wrote, "will be stopped, now, today, at the bridge in Tallassee, by an army of educated and knowledgeable citizens."
Literature was distributed at the meeting by the SCV explaining the history of Confederate flags pointing out that they are not "racists symbols."
In the resolution passed by the council, the concern over the battle flag being "a divisive and offensive symbol of injustice and intolerance" was noted.
Whether the SCV plans to heed to the resolution or counter it will likely unfold in the coming weeks.
RESOLUTION PASSED BY TALLASSEE CITY COUNCIL
WHEREAS, it is the desire of the City Council of the City of Tallassee, Alabama to foster a climate of tolerance, inclusion and diversity and reduce the potential for conflict;
WHEREAS, the City Council is aware of efforts to erect a Confederate battle flag to be flown in downtown Tallassee on a permanent basis;
WHEREAS, however good intentioned and a purported recognition of history and heritage those efforts may be, the Confederate battle flag has become, for many, a divisive and offensive symbol of injustice and intolerance; and
WHEREAS, while acknowledging the rights of all to the freedoms of speech, expression and association, the City Council believes that the display of the Confederate battle flag in Tallassee will foster resentment, upset and ill-will among it residents and harm the City of Tallassee in its efforts to recruit businesses and industry as well as provide others an opportunity to ridicule our community.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Tallassee, Alabama that the display of the Confederate battle flag is not in the best interest of the City of Tallassee and the City Council disappoves of such an action.