Elderly Woman Faces Eviction From Apartment For American Flags On Balcony

Letting your patriotic side fly with three American flags might sound like a harmless act, but one elderly woman is facing eviction from her apartment for violating the rules of the New Jersey housing project she lives in for just such a display. Those rules say nothing can be on the balconies of the apartments.

Dawn, 75, tells CBS Philadelphia,”I feel I have a constitutional right to fly a flag.” She put up three small flags in honor of Memorial Day, adding that she has known many people who have served the U.S.

“I think the veterans, they fought for us and this is why we have our freedom. My ex-husband was in service, brothers, nephews, cousins — to me this is a big thing,”

Soon after the flags were flown, she received an order from the Phillipsburg Housing Authority, telling her to remove the flags immediately because they were in violation of her lease. If she didn’t, she’d be evicted.

The director of the town’s housing authority says he’s just doing his job, but even he doesn’t relish the idea of evicting Dawn.

“I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want my legacy to be I kicked anyone out over a flag,” he said, adding that the flags are a safety hazard.

“We’re not anti-American. It’s just a lease provision that says nothing can be on the balconies.”

Dawn is willing to face eviction over the flags, and says people in her building support her. So far, she’s refused to allow building maintenance to take the flags down. Once the eviction notice is served, she’ll have 30 days to take down the flags before facing a judge.

New Jersey Woman Faces Eviction For Displaying American Flags On Balcony [CBS Philadelphia]

Comments

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  1. Republicrat says:

    Sounds like an easy way to be let out of your lease.

  2. Malik says:

    Wind knocks one down and it spears someone

    Press would be conspicously absent

  3. partofme says:

    “I feel I have a constitutional right…”

    Feelings have nothing to do with actual Constitutional rights. There is zero chance this is a Constitutional issue. There may be a provision of the US Code… but I’m not aware of one.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Even if there were some legal backing here, the landlord has a reasonable interest (liability) in preventing things hanging from balconies themselves.

      She could put a flag up against a window, or something.

    • longfeltwant says:

      I feel I have a constitutional right to call her an ignorant ninny.

      …and I actually do have that constitutional right, but not because of my feeling.

      • humphrmi says:

        The constitution does not cover contracts between private parties.

        • coffee100 says:

          The 5th, 7th and 14th amendments called. They’d like to introduce themselves.

        • LorgSkyegon says:

          It does, actually. SCOTUS and various state and federal courts have said that certain rights cannot be contracted away, and either broke the contract or refused to enforce the provisions.

    • bhr says:

      Well, flying or displaying the flag (or protest signs, or artwork) has often been protected under free speech rights, and since this is a government agency rather than a private landlord she might actually have a case.

      A private landlord can limit pretty much everything you do to the appearance of a property (as long as it’s in the bounds of the lease) but a government official or agency has must stricter rules on what they can do to you.

      • partofme says:

        Flying the flag (or burning the flag) is protected under free speech requirements… but there are those pesky time-place-manner restrictions. It is interesting that it’s a government agency, but that’s unlikely to change much. The government is acting in the role of a housing provider and has a strong interest in safety regulations on their properties. The rule is also content-neutral. It’s quite unlikely that it’s a 1(c) problem. So, maybe I’ll step back from zero… but it’s pretty close to zero.

        • who? says:

          Courts have ruled in the past that flying the flag is indeed protected. However, it looks like she’s done some damage to the balcony railing by attaching the flag holder to it. That wouldn’t be protected. If she had a non-destructive way of hanging the flag, the housing authority would probably back down.

          I’m not sure I’d want to get evicted from subsidized housing over this, but to each his own, I suppose.

        • kpsi355 says:

          It’s content neutral, and that’s why the housing authority is able to do this. I don’t like it, nobody it sounds like likes it, but thems the rules. I thought maybe she could get a pedestal and stand a flag on the floor of the balcony, but the article says Nothing on the balcony. WTF? Why have a balcony if you can’t have anything on it?

      • vivalakellye says:

        If the Housing Authority’s policy is that no one can place/hang anything on/from the project balcony, that’s that. She most certainly got a copy of the rules and codes of her housing project upon signing a lease. She’s simply being stubborn (and she’s in the wrong.)

    • Difdi says:

      Depends. Is the Phillipsburg Housing Authority a government agency? The rules for a government-owned property are a bit different from one that is privately-owned.

  4. Coffee says:

    “I feel I have a constitutional right to fly a flag.”

    Just because you feel something doesn’t mean it’s true. Going by that rationale, I could join the church of Bacchus a stick a giant inflatable dildo on my balcony, then claim that my speech and religion are protected under the First Amendment.

    Also, I’m usually pro-OP, but I don’t really know what the director of the housing authority is supposed to do. If he makes an exception for American flags, he must make an exception for all other flags, which just starts that inexorable march down the slippery slope, and before you know it, down is up, left is right, and cats aren’t assholes. Choas. Utter chaos.

    • humphrmi says:

      I was going to say the same thing. A lot of people seem to think that just saying it’s a constitutional right makes it so, even though they’ve never actually read the constitution and have no idea what rights it contains.

      That and, in contractual disputes (like this one, where the OP signed a lease) why do they always think that the constitution governs their private business matters? The constitution was intentionally left bereft of any private contract guidance for a reason.

      • frank64 says:

        “The constitution was intentionally left bereft of any private contract guidance for a reason.”

        This is the part people don’t realize. Also, they think that any right expands the right to include everything else: Free speech means you can swear everywhere with nor repercussions or free speech means you can swear if it involves politics.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Oh except for those pesky sections and amendments that apply to all parts of life, be it private or public.

        • humphrmi says:

          No, they don’t. The constitution defines how the Federal government deals with the states and it’s citizens. Period. There is no 1st amendment application to private business dealings.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            So, then, you’re saying I can deny service to minorities? Evict people for holding a religious service at home, like, say, lighting a menorah?

    • DarthCoven says:

      I can concur on this. When a cat isn’t being an asshole, something is most definitely awry.

    • Difdi says:

      If your house is owned and administered by the government, you may well have exactly that right, since the Constitution makes an absolute prohibition on some things that are perfectly okay if done by a private landlord.

  5. jayphat says:

    Does this guy now know the law? This is the one thing you cannot evict someone for. Its a federal law that the United States Flag can be flown at your discretion.

    • AcctbyDay says:

      Reference? Not snarky here, just curious.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        jayphat is just trolling…or, rather, making it up the way this woman made up a “Constitutional right”. If that were true, what’s to stop someone from erecting a 500-foot flagpole and flying a flag that covers most of the building?

        • bhr says:

          So, now that he posted the link are you going to apologize for calling him a troll? The law might be ambiguous on rental properties (“exclusive use” has been ruled in different ways by different courts) but it does exist.

          • bonzombiekitty says:

            The code applies to members of a condo, coop, or real estate management association. In order to be considered a member, you have to have some sort of ownership (i.e. own the unity). She rents, she does not own, so the code does not apply to her.

            Even if it did apply to her, the code also allows exceptions if there is a substantial interest in preventing the flag from being displayed. That’s a little more vague, but I’m sure the housing authority could make a good argument in regards to worries about the flags not getting taken care of and easily falling off the balcony.

          • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

            As others have pointed out, this probably does not prevent the housing authority from restricting the display of flags, and probably does not even apply to rentals, only to ownership associations like condos and HOAs. More importantly, jayphat was not the one to cite the law, and if he had even a vague memory of a law, he could have easily researched it before posting rather than after the fact.

            • jayphat says:

              This was the law I was referring to. I was unaware there was a provision that excluded those who are not actual owners but rather renters from the act. And, I’m not multi-tasking from a smartphone. I’ll admit that I was wrong here.

              • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

                Then I’m very sorry I called you a troll. You did get the conversation going in the direction of discussing this law, which, considering you were posting from a phone, was a reasonable thing to do. I just get really furious when people like the woman in the article make assumptions because they “feel [they] have a constitutional right”, and I guess I assumed you were doing the same thing.

    • chefboyardee says:

      source, or you made that up.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      [citation needed]

    • david.c says:

      On your own property … but this person doesn’t own their property.

      Also, there are times when you “give up” your rights willing … like signing an agreement when you buy property (like HOA rules). If you don’t want to give up your rights, that means possibly not living among other sheepal that willingly gave up their rights.

      • Difdi says:

        How can you sign a lease to give up rights, when the provision that requires you to sign away your rights is illegal to put into the lease agreement in the first place?

    • nugatory says:

      senate.gov: Restrictions on Display of the Flag by Real Estate Associations
      The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 200557 prohibits a condominium, cooperative,
      or real estate management association from adopting or enforcing any policy or agreement that
      would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag in accordance with
      the Federal Flag Code on residential property to which the member has a separate ownership
      interest.

      • DarthCoven says:

        “residential property to which the member has a separate ownership
        interest.”

        Key provision right there. She’s a tenant, not an owner.

        • Difdi says:

          A tenant has a limited ownership interest in the form of their rental period or lease. If they didn’t, the landlord would be free to enter the apartment at any time for any reason, and stay as long as he wanted.

  6. ferozadh says:

    You’d think the Patriot Act would have a provision for this.

    • Kuri says:

      A law like that being made to protect rights? Maybe on opposite day.

    • Mark702 says:

      The “Patriot” Act is actually the un-patriotic act, destroying personal liberties and freedoms. It should be destroyed and it’s creators executed for treason.

  7. philpm says:

    Dawn, 75, tells CBS Philadelphia,”I feel I have a constitutional right to fly a flag.”

    As stupid as this situation is, I’m sorry ma’am, but you do not have a constitutional right to fly a flag in a location where a legal contract says you can’t.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I sort of agree with you, but I’m wondering how a contract can be valid if it directly violates a federal law/constitution. If the contract said the super could come in and rape tenants on the 15th of every month would the contract still stand over the law?

      • tasselhoff76 says:

        It doesn’t violate federal law or the constitution to restrict the display of a flag.

        • Shadowman615 says:

          Actually there are quite a few federal laws regarding displaying the american flag. Even one that prevents HOAs from prohibiting homeowners from flying flags. But it doesn’t apply to flying one on someone else’s property.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        That would be relevant if the landlord were contradicting a law. Which he isn’t. You have legal protection in flying the flag on any property you own. She does not own, she rents.

      • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

        Well, if I understand correctly, federal law only states that you have the right to display the flag on property you own. She doesn’t own this property. Ergo, this situation isn’t protected by that particular law.

      • philpm says:

        Based on what was posted above, it would probably be okay if she actually owned the apartment, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

      • AtlantaCPA says:

        Responding to your question in general, no contract that is for an illegal act is enforceable. You can sign the contract but if you don’t comply they would take you to court and the judge would throw it out. In this particular case there seems to be some amount of grey area.

      • atomix says:

        You can sign away some rights that would otherwise be held. A nondisclosure agreement, for instance, would hold you liable for speech that would otherwise be protected under the constitution.

      • JJFIII says:

        No contract can be enforced if the contract is for illegal activity. You can not sign a contract to sell Guido 8 kilos of cocaine for $100k, but he comes to the delivery says he could only get 6 kilos and it is still $100k, you can not sue him and say you want your other 2 kilos. The same would hold for rape or prostituion or any other illegal activity.

      • stevenpdx says:

        Because people can waive their constitutional rights, and that’s that I believe happened with this renter.

        For example, you have the right to remain silent if the police have arrested you and are questioning you. That’s a constitutional right. You can waive that right by speaking to the police anyhow.

        You also have the right to a trial by a jury for any criminal charges against you. 90% of people who are charged with crimes end up waiving that right as well, either through plea bargaining or with a bench trial (judge only, no jury).

        I’m sure in the lease there was a provision that stated nothing would be allowed to be hung from the deck. If someone wants to live there, they must waive their “rights” to fly a flag.

  8. chefboyardee says:

    don’t like it? move somewhere without (the equivalent of) an HOA.

    also, i think the article is wrong. it says philadelphia housing authority (which makes no sense as it’s an NJ resident), then in the next paragraph says Phillipsburg housing authority. consumerist, might want to be ahead of the curve and update your copy to be accurate.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Look at who wrote it. Small chance for any corrections being made.

      • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

        Ah, I see. So you’re saying Mary Beth Quirk is the new Phil Villareal?

    • Browsing says:

      I came for this comment…she lives in Phillipsburg, N.J. . .

  9. Herbz says:

    This lady is a MORON.

    It isn’t because they are flags. It is because they are hanging off the balcony.

    IF THEY FELL, the building would be the one responsible. I, for one, don’t feel like getting speared in the head by a flagpole.

    • Golfer Bob says:

      Are you serious? Maybe if you were carrying a rum and coke or a piece of strawberry shortcake you would find the idea of these flags falling on you useful, considering how these flags are one step up from the kind that one finds as a drink stirrer or impaled into a hors d’oeuvre.

      • Herbz says:

        And even a drink stirrer, if it falls into your eye, can cause serious damage.

        Again, the issue isn’t that they are flags. It is because they are hanging off the balcony, which is not allowed.

        Thus, she shouldn’t be considered a special snowflake; she should be forced to relocate the flags.

        • Golfer Bob says:

          Really? I didn’t get that fine nuance. Thank you.

        • Difdi says:

          So you’re saying you’re as stupid as a domestic turkey? They can drown in a rain storm because it doesn’t occur to them not to look directly at the raindrops with their mouths open.

  10. Invader Zim says:

    Whats so hard about putting them somewhere else where they cant fall on passersby? Where is the common sense here? If she really cared that much about her fellow americans then take down the mini eye pokers and put them somewhere where they are less likely to raise fears.

    • kent909 says:

      It is not OK to fly a flag to honor it and the people who died to protect it, but we can send your children, that signed up with the National Guard, to Iran to honor our flag where the chances of dying far out weighed the odds of a flag falling on an innocent passerby. Really you think you might die from getting speared by a falling American flag? Really? Really? Do you come out of your hole very often?

  11. Rob says:

    The apartment complex I live in has a similar provision in the lease. No flags or banners of any kind. She agreed to that rule when she signed the lease. She should have either gotten writen permission to put them up first or hung them on the inside or her door or window. Evict her.

    • Difdi says:

      Except that illegal terms in a lease are null and void, regardless of signatures on the contract. So it doesn’t matter if she agreed to them, the landlord cannot put them in, nor enforce them.

      You cannot contract away your legal rights.

  12. dush says:

    People are talking about getting speared with these flags. I don’t see how it’s a danger.
    They are very small though. It’s not like she stuck five foot flag poles off her balcony.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      The ones talking about getting speared are our future “old hags and old men” that will be throwing a temper-tantrum when they dine out at blue-hair restaurants during their retirement years.

    • Costner says:

      The rules are the rules though. Maybe she has small flags, but if she gets away with it then you will have other tenants saying they should be able to fly flags from other nations, or perhaps state flags, or the flags supporting their favorite NASCAR driver or football team. Then someone uses larger flags, but because they are still flags are they supposed to be ok?

      No. Size has nothing to do with it. The fact it is an American flag has nothing to do with it either. She can show her patriotism simply by hanging a flag in her window, or perhaps even by having a standalone flag on her balcony that is not connected to the railing and/or hanging over the railing. But she is simply being stubborn and trying to raise a stink thinking she is special. Newsflash: she isn’t special, and her desires or mistaken beliefs of what is a Constitutional right do not change the fact that she is non-compliant with the very rules she agreed to when she moved in.

      Everyone loves rules… provided they apply to everyone else other than themselves.

      • dush says:

        Kevin I’m not advocating for balcony anarchy here. I’m just thought it was weird so many people were thinking they could get speared by these tiny flags.

      • Difdi says:

        Yes, and there are these things called laws, they’re like super-rules in that they override regular rules.

        That rule the landlord has against putting things on the balcony may be against the law when applied to U.S. flags. If so, then it wouldn’t matter if the requirement was in a signed lease, it would be (and always have been) null and void.

  13. Goatweed says:

    I get her point but as a result of living there, the agreed to the terms in her Lease – whether or not she agrees with this specific term NOW is not the point. Sorry, but this is the kind of thing you accept when you sign your lease.

  14. daemonaquila says:

    Oh, please. A “constitutional right” to fly a flag? I don’t have much sympathy to that kind of stupidity.

    However, once again… living anywhere with a homeowner’s association (or its governmental equivalent) is a recipe for disaster.

  15. CalicoGal says:

    What part of “anything” does she not understand?

    It’s a safety hazard, regardless of what it is. Is this subsidized housing? She’s already getting assistance form the government, and in doing so has agreed to the rules. If she wants freedom to do as she wishes, she needs to get off the dole and buy her own home.

    • coffee100 says:

      > It’s a safety hazard

      Oh bullshit. A runaway train is a safety hazard.

    • Difdi says:

      Illegal lease terms are null and void. The ban on putting items on the balcony may be legal when applied to most things, but the U.S. flag is a protected class of object.

  16. bonzombiekitty says:

    Why is the Philadelphia Housing Authority worried about a property in new jersey?

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      ETA: It has to be a mistake in the article. The property is in Phillipsburg, which is not only in New Jersey, it’s pretty far away from Philadelphia (was originally thinking maybe the PHA had some weird deal with housing across the river in Camden or something)

  17. Kate says:

    Why would having something on your balcony be dangerous?

    • CalicoGal says:

      If it blows off or falls, it can damage property or hurt a person.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Ask my buddies in college that burned down their house due to a couch on the porch.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Your buddies went to CU Boulder didn’t they?

        • Bsamm09 says:

          College of Charleston. Old wood homes and highly flammable couches do not go well together.

          • Mark702 says:

            That can happen inside too you know. Should we outlaw furniture indoors too? The building itself is flammable, should we enact a law for homes to only be built with non-flammable materials?

  18. dulcinea47 says:

    Sorry, but constitutional rights do not equal “feelings”. If only.

  19. crispyduck13 says:

    “We’re not anti-American. It’s just a lease provision that says nothing can be on the balconies.”

    Serious question: why can’t the people in that building have anything on the balconies? Is it because they are out of code and therefore a safety hazard themselves? What is the point of having a balcony if you can’t have a chair out there to plop yourself in??

    • dulcinea47 says:

      My guess is that no one is allowed to have *anything* out there due to people who leave a bunch of trash and junk on their balconies… at some point it becomes easier to say *nobody* can have *anything* than to try to specify and police what you can and can’t have. You can probably drag a chair out there to sit in but have to bring it back in when you’re done.

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        I live in a complex like that. For every tasteful arrangement of outdoor decoration, there are scads of people who want to store their dented beer can collection outside. It’s probably simpler to just mandate against all outdoor decoration. That’s why we can’t have nice things.

        Also, ask me about the pig-man-child who lives next to me that flicks his filthy cigarette butts on to my stoop. Just ask.

    • Axon2 says:

      I’d guess it’s just stuff hanging over the balcony; if it falls off and some gets hurt it’s lawyer time.

  20. Clyde Barrow says:

    “We’re not anti-American. It’s just a lease provision that says nothing can be on the balconies.”

    _________

    “And we’re too lazy and inept to understand how to apply common-sense and good judgment so we zealously inforce a zero-tolerance rule because we don’t want to work harder than we have too. I mean really, I need to watch my reality t.v. shows too ya know”.

    • frank64 says:

      Then someone would sue saying they allowed the US flag, now they have to allow another. This is how humans think, so it is best to nip it in the bud.

      • Mark702 says:

        The American flag is protected by law, other flags are not. There’s a difference.

      • Difdi says:

        You’re absolutely right. I hereby strip you of your right to freedom of speech, on the off-chance you might misuse it in some unspecified way at some unspecified future date. Better to nip it in the bud now, than be sorry later. Hope you can live the with inconvenience.

        Illegal lease terms are null and void.

  21. longfeltwant says:

    “I feel I have a constitutional right to fly a flag.”

    Your feeling is wrong. If you want to break the rules of the building where you live, then you have the “constitutional right” to move to a new place with acceptable rules.

    But, still, sounds like a dumb rule enforced by a dumbass.

  22. evilpete says:

    ” nothing can be on the balconies of the apartments.”

    What use is having a balcony then?

    • Doubting thomas says:

      consumerist error. The original quote from the MSNBC article I saw this in said the residents were prohibited from hanging anything from their balconies. That is quite a bit different from not having anything allowed on the balcony

    • j2.718ff says:

      This makes me curious about the wording of the contract. If “nothing can be on the balcony”, then I’d have to interpret that to include people, and as such, walking on the balcony would be a breach of contract.

      As to following the letter of the contract, though, I wonder if she has other options. Could she, for example, attach a flag to the wall of the building, or hang out the window? That’s not the balcony.

  23. Cicadymn says:

    Those look like little bitty mini flags, if they’re the small ones I don’t see what the problem is. Especially with all the OH NOES THEY’LL FALL ON SOMEONE alarmism in the comments.

    If they’re full size then that can be dangerous. But there’s certainly no harm in something so small.

    • sadie kate says:

      Maybe there’s no harm in those in particular, but if they bend the rule for her, who’s to say someone else won’t put a bigger, more hazardous item out there?

    • baltimoron says:

      Just because it is unlikely that someone would be harmed does not mean it couldn’t happen. I’m sure if it fell from high enough and hit a small child or baby then the lawsuit could devastate the property owner. If she if she owned an apartment building she would understand the reasons behind the provisions a little better.

      • Golfer Bob says:

        Wouldn’t a small child or baby present such a small target that the odds of these tiny flags hitting them would be even higher? Also, since small children or babies are in such danger from falling objects, why would anyone in their right mind have them outside on a sidewalk? I think banning small children and babies from sidewalks to protect them from falling objects and mini-flag impalement is the obvious solution here.

  24. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    It’s not her property. She also agreed to the provisions they set fourth when signing the lease, so she is in the wrong. Take the flags down and find another cause. They have those rules so everyone doesn’t put crap outside and junk the place up.

    • coffee100 says:

      United States Code Title 4, Section 5:

      “A condominium association, cooperative association, or
      residential real estate management association may not adopt or
      enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would
      restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the
      flag of the United States on residential property within the
      association with respect to which such member has a separate
      ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.”

      The landlord is wrong. Case dismissed. We’re adjourned.

  25. Sir Geek says:

    I found this and it probably does apply:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4/5 Look in the notes.

    “SEC. 3. RIGHT TO DISPLAY THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES.
    “A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.

    • Difdi says:

      And before anybody claims she has no ownership interest in her apartment whatsoever, I’d like to point out that if that were true, then the landlord could walk in any time he wanted, and stay as long as he wanted, and she would have no ability to kick him out.

  26. philpm says:

    Here’s an article with a more relevant quote about the balcony policy: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47643367

    Here’s the quote:

    Authority Executive Director Paul Rummerfield tells The Express-Times of Easton, Pa., newspaper that the lease agreement bars tenants from hanging anything on the balcony due to safety and discrimination concerns.

    • Axon2 says:

      Discrimination concerns? The hell’s that about?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        In order to avoid being sued for discrimination, we are discriminating in a blanket fashion. Now you can’t say we discriminated against, because we discriminated against everyone, making it not discrimination.

      • JJFIII says:

        Imagine a white supremecist moves in and says I want to fly their Nazi flag or the confederate flag.

  27. tasselhoff76 says:

    One part confuses me. She lives in New Jersey but the story is out of Philadelphia and the notice came from the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      I assume they meant Phillipsburg Housing Authority, not Philadelphia Housing Authority. Both authorities go by “PHA”.

  28. haru-chan says:

    i am not anti-flag, but i can see the safety issue behind this. it’s not a worry about tiny flags falling and hurting someone, but rather a fire safety issue. most apartments have written into their leases that nothing can be hung from a stairwell or balcony. if a fire were to start, things in these areas can also catch fire spreading it. they can in cases block exit routes and hinder fire fighters trying to enter.

  29. Golfer Bob says:

    OK, all these “being speared by a falling flag pole” comments are ludicrous. Maybe if these folks were carrying a rum and coke or a piece of strawberry shortcake they would find the idea of these flags falling useful, considering how the flags are one step up from the type that one finds as a drink stirrer or impaled into a hors d’oeuvre.

  30. ovalseven says:

    Why is everyone being so hard on this woman? Can’t you see the press wants us see her as a victimized patriot? She gets bonus points for being elderly. C’mon, support our troops already!

  31. rdclark says:

    How about a little respect for the housing authority guy, and the impossible position this cantankerous bitbo is putting him in?

  32. infinityspiral says:

    Why are they still up after Memorial Day if that was what it was really about. You got to display them like you wanted so stop having an itchy anus about it and just move on.

  33. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    As a vet, I’m continuously disgusted by peoples’ efforts at knee-jerk nationalism. They all think that if it’s “for the troops” it should be allowed. Heck, even some vets think that. It’s out of control.

    Look, we did our time. We served. You’re proud of us. Great. That doesn’t mean you or any other vet gets to be an asshole and demand special treatment outside of what’s already on the books.

    If you really want to show your support for the troops, write your Congressman to get them to adequately fund and staff the Veteran’s Administration so I don’t have to wait 2 weeks to find out if they got my fax or my buddy doesn’t have to wait a year to get an artificial leg or the people manning the phones for vets’ affairs aren’t overworked and underpaid.

  34. Pete the Geek says:

    “I’m only following the rules” which result in an elder being evicted for three paper flags due to a rule that is intended to protect people from being injured by items falling from balconies.

    In an alternate universe of common sense, the housing authority board quickly approved an amendment to the lease that states: “As an exemption to the prohibition on items on balconies, residents may hang a maximum of five small items made of lightweight materials provided that each item is securely fastened, has a mass not exceeding 450g (1 lb) and total surface area not exceeding 100 sq. cm. (16 sq. in)”

  35. Geekybiker says:

    Nearly every place I’ve ever rented has had rules about hanging stuff off the balcony. If you wanted a free standing flagpole that was fully contained on the balcony you’d normally be fine.

  36. chiieddy says:

    Just want to point out that Philadelphia is not in New Jersey.

    • chiieddy says:

      Oh I see, it should read “Phillipsburg Housing Authority” and not “Philadelphia Housing Authority”. Phillipsburg IS in NJ

  37. FirePuff says:

    In addition to the argument against the flag provision based on that she’s not a property owner, I’m really tired of all these people who don’t read the “fine print” of anything before they sign it. If you don’t agree with the rules of not having anything on your balcony and want to fly a flag, don’t sign it and find somewhere else to live. Signing something means you agree to their terms, and isn’t just a “if I put my mark on these pretty papers with random words on them, I get a place to live” and then change the rules to your own liking later.

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      Additionally, getting permission from a landlord for something like this is generally (YMMV!) pretty easy. For example, my lease says “NO PETS!!! EVAR!!!”*, but when I went in to see if I could have a Betta fish in a large vase, they were all “Oh, yeah, no problem.”

      I bet if she asked to put up a flag and gave a commitment to the length of time it would be up and how it would be affixed, they probably wouldn’t have a problem – or could’ve worked something out. She didn’t give them a chance to work with her, so they have to go right into douchey-mode.

      *Abridged version.

  38. RocheCoach says:

    Hey, look at that, more people using the Constitution as an excuse to do anything they want. Yes, you have a Constitutional right to fly your flags anywhere you want. That means you won’t be arrested for it. However, when you do something on *someone else’s* property that they don’t want you doing, they have every right to remove you from their property.

    ESPECIALLY because you signed an agreement that said you wouldn’t hang shit off your balcony.

    Goddamn it, I hate it when people use the Constitution to complain about what a private company is doing.

  39. Nyxalinth says:

    The rules are the rules. I understand how she feels, however, it isn’t worth losing one’s home over.

  40. offtopic says:

    Saw this on the news here in Philly. Something that was mentioned in the local NBC story but that is not covered here is that the housing authority said that she could hang a flag in the window.

    The tenant is a typical Philadelphian – loud, dimwitted and with an opinion on everything.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      Except the resident isn’t a Philadelphian. She’s in Phillipsburg, NJ. which is across the river from Easton, over an hour away from Philadelphia. The article had an error in it, they meant the Phillipsburg Housing Authority, not the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  41. brinks says:

    “She put up three small flags in honor of Memorial Day.”

    OK, lady, but Memorial Day is now over. You’re being threatened with eviction. No one said you can’t have flags all over your apartment or in your window. Just stop being a dumbass and quit displaying them in a manner that’s clearly in violation of your lease.

  42. NumberSix says:

    I’m pretty sure she does have the right. It is my understanding that we have the right to fly the flag any time, anywhere and that any restriction on doing so it illegal.

  43. Mark702 says:

    “The director of the town’s housing authority”

    I read that as “the dictator”, sounds appropriate actually.

  44. Libertas says:

    As the great Curly Bill Brocius once said: Well, bye.

  45. Stickdude says:

    After re-reading the comments I now want to see Mythbusters do an episode on whether or not a flag falling from a balcony could really spear someone.

    My guess is that the pole part of the flag would actually fall near-horizontally because of the air resistance of the flag itself.

  46. El_Red says:

    Please, explain to me, ho putting a Chinese made flag on your balcony makes you patriotic?

    This is an actual question, not sarcasm. The number of flags I see every time I go to US is simply flabbergasting.

  47. Alan_Schezar says:

    If the landlord allows a tenant to fly an American flag on Memorial Day, then denies another tenant to fly, say a Mexican flag on Cinco de Mayo, then the landlord can be sued for discrimination.

    Therefore, for liability reasons, landlords are encouraged to either allow ALL flags, or NO flags. No in between, no exceptions. The whole safety issue is just PR.

  48. corridor7f says:

    If she’s that patriotic and stubborn, hang it in your window. Problem solved.

    I think stipulations like this are just to prevent tonnes of crap from accumulating on balconies.

  49. corridor7f says:

    If she’s that patriotic and stubborn, hang it in your window. Problem solved.

    I think stipulations like this are just to prevent tonnes of crap from accumulating on balconies.

  50. shufflemoomin says:

    Good God, it doesn’t matter why she thinks she has a right to fly them, the rules say she can’t and she’s ignoring them. She’s in the wrong whichever way you look at it. If you make an exception for her, then where do you stop? Soon the rule becomes useless. Take them down or get out.

  51. libwitch says:

    Flying the flag isnt in the Constitution -and while free speech is, she signed a pretty clear and cut contract. They are not even violating *that* unless they were allowing other people to hang other items from the balconies without repercussion.

    Hang the flags from the exterior of the apt, inside the balcony and not on the balcony itself. Or get a small stand and put them on the balcony. Problem solved. .