Claremont Insider: Flag Gate

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Flag Gate

A thought for the Fourth: In Claremont not all the fireworks are in the sky. Today's Daily Bulletin carries a Will Bigham article about last year's "Flag Gate."

For those who don't remember, before the 4th of July last year Claremont realtor Nancy Telford and her husband Ted, who live in the exclusive Claraboya hillside neighborhood, planted small American flags on the lawns of the area's houses. The flags had Mrs. Telford's business card attached.

Claremont Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Education member Steve Llanusa, whose partner Glenn Miya also figured into this year's city council election, was at the time the president of the Claraboya homeowners' association. (The Claremont 400 is everywhere!) Llanusa claimed that the flags were advertisements and violated the association's rules.

Llanusa contacted the Telfords, who refused to remove the flags. So Llanusa took matters into his own hands and with his son drove around the neighborhood removing all the flags, which he then discarded into a dumpster.

The Telfords responded by getting leaflets to their neighbors describing what had happened. They called for Llanusa's recall from the association board. Eight residents called the Claremont police department to report the theft of their flags. The Claremont PD referred the matter to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, who declined to file charges against Llanusa.

The whole matter escalated into a back-and-forth shouting match carried out in letters to the Claremont Courier. For more background on the contretemps, see the Courier's 7/8/06 article (also by Will Bigham).

Whatever else it showed, the incident illustrated that Llanusa, like the rest of his Claremont 400 friends, believes that he is the law. No need to find out what his neighbors are thinking or to wait until an association board meeting. Just do what you want to and split your neighborhood apart. Oh, and no need to take responsibility for your actions.

According to today's Bigham article, Llanusa remains on his homeowners' association board as secretary.