Club 45’s Hansen addresses Decorah City Council on flag policy

By Denise Lana,

Monday’s council meeting opened to a nearly full house of community members and residents who turned out to hear and speak on numerous topics. Club 45 head, Thomas Hansen came forth to address the council regarding the recent incident where Hansen was charged with violating city code when he affixed a Gadsden flag, which reads “Don’t Tread on Me” to the light pole in front of Club 45 in downtown Decorah. Hansen was found not guilty April 27 by a Winneshiek County magistrate judge, and in response, he took the opportunity to address the council at the start of Monday’s meeting. 

Hansen said he believed the council was using the court to block the freedom of speech of someone with whom the council disagrees. He said the city was also violating his freedom of speech by not allowing him to hang a flag of his choosing from city-owned light poles. 

Hansen was vehement when demanding the city change its flag policy to reflect the city’s special event application that states, “Any community-oriented organization … may request that the city fly special flags.” Hansen ended his speech by declaring his intent to file a request to have flags displayed this fall for Club 45’s Constitution Day Celebration, and he warned the council that he would be filing a federal lawsuit against the city if they did not honor his request. 

In addition to Hansen, three residents addressed council regarding the flag policy — all three agreeing that the current flag policy should be rescinded, and the only flags allowed to be flown in Decorah represent all the taxpayers — the Iowa State flag and the US flag. 

See Zach Jensen’s article on the Hansen case in this week’s edition of the Public Opinion. 

Other business

Second readings of ordinances

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