Shortening of flagpole causes flap in Rockwall

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 28 at 6:41 PM

ROCKWALL - Rockwall Commissioner Jerry Wimpee got a verbal scorching from constituents Tuesday after he trimmed the US flagpole at the Veteran’s Memorial last week.

By shortening the pole, it is now no taller than the Texas flag.

Wimpee said he was just enforcing Texas law, and wants the county to reimburse him for $760. That is not how a group of vocal group of Rockwall voters saw it.
   
They said Wimpee voted for the design of the memorial that called for a US flag above the others, which is acceptable under federal law.

They attacked him for acting on his own, in effect vandalizing county property.
   
“You can bet if Joe Citizen had done something like this and then confessed to it, he would be behind bars, not holding court,” said Connie Christensen, who served on the memorial planning committee. “Who, Mr. Wimpee, do you think you are?"
   
“Well, I’ve always tried to what’s right and not what’s popular necessarily,” Wimpee said at Tuesday’s commission meeting. “That’s what it came down to for me."

Wimpee also voted for the memorial's original design, with the US flag higher. He said that was a mistake.

"In my statement, I say a mistake was made," Wimpee said. "I didn't say who made one. Because whoever made the mistake, me or someone else, that didn't trump the state flag code. So, it needs to be corrected."
        
Wimpee said, what’s right is enforcing Texas law, which says the Texas flag should fly at the same height as the US flag.

That puts state and federal law somewhat in conflict. The state flag code says the Texas flag and the American flag "should be flown at the same height," thought it doesn't say "shall."
   
This matter has been referred to the Texas Rangers to determine if a crime was committed.

News 8 asked Wimpee if would handle the flagpole flap the same way again tomorrow, if he could.

"Yes," he said, after hesitating.

E-mail dscechter@wfaa
 

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