Is Bradford, PA issuing citations to businesses that display the American Flag, as this sign claims?
Local businessman Mike Smith is going to have his day in court after receiving a citation from the City of Bradford. The controversy involves two American flags and one POW/MIA flag that Smith has been displaying in front of his East Main Street business for years.
According to City Code Enforcement Officer George Corignani, the complaint was passed to his office after being received by City Clerk John Peterson. The complaint alleges the flags extend into the City’s right of way on East Main, causing a near accident.
According to City officials, both the City Clerk and Code Enforcement contacted Smith’s business and were told that the flags would stay. The citation was then issued.
Smith has entered a “not guilty” plea before District Justice Dominic Cercone of Bradford. Smith was unavailable for comment Monday morning, but his spokesman, Vince Ioderosa, confirmed that the flags will stay in place until the hearing. “Mike’s a very patriotic guy”, said Ioderosa, “and the calls we’ve had have all been positive”.
While it may be a patriotism issue for Smith, the City of Bradford contends the issue is simply a matter of public safety and enforcing the law. Mayor Tom Riel commented that the type of flag is not the issue. The issue is whether a there is a code violation. One City official stated, “When we receive a public safety complaint, it’s not our choice to ignore it.”
Ioderosa claims they were told the City had received several complaints. While no one has complained directly to him, he believed the complaint may have been based on the view from the driveways on either side of the building.
The case will be heard on August 11, 2008 before Justice Cercone.
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