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Gieryic: New flagpole going up

ALBANY, Ga. -- The business owner at the center of a debate over where a person can put an American flag told Albany City Commissioners that he would like to see city ordinances and state laws changed to give a preference to the American flag.

Thomas Gieryic told commissioners Tuesday that he now knows that it's against state law to put a flag in a right-of-way, but he said he believes there should be an exception made for the American flag.

"The American flag is not an advertisement or a message or a sign," Gieryic said. "Under the U.S. Code, it's a living, breathing representation of this country."

Gieryic was cited by Code Enforcement officials after a complaint was made that an illegal sign was at the Village Green Shopping Center.

Gieryic's service station, which shares the same address as the shopping center, was cited for having a sign for Sherwood Baptist Church in the right-of-way, as well as an American flag.

Gieryic removed the Sherwood sign but refused to remove the flag. City officials later rescinded the citation and gave him a warning. And Gieryic moved his flag to a utility pole at the rear edge of the right-of-way, where the flag now stands.

"Countless lives have been lost defending it and for which it stands, so let us also protect it," Gieryic said.

Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict, told Gieryic that he shared Gieryic's sentiments about the flag but that he was in violation of state encroachment laws that prevent items from being placed on government property.

When Gieryic said that he plans to remove the current flag and erect a flagpole on his own property to fly the flag, Postell said that was a fair compromise.

But even this action is not likely to be the end of Gieryic's story. Gieryic says that under the current sign ordinance, flags can be flown but they count against the total square footage of signage that a business can display.

"I don't think it's right that I should have to choose between advertising my business and flying the American flag," Geiryic said. "So I'd like that looked at."

Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta, who is also a veteran, told Gieryic that he's been told by the city attorney that the city can't specifically regulate American flags because it then becomes a free speech issue, but that he applauded Gieryic's stand.

"Sometimes the only way to get things changed is to challenge the status quo, and you've done that," Marietta said.

Comments

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 4 months ago

Recap Gieryic moves Flag and buys new flagpole. While Village Green Shopping Center still has TWO signs in violation of the Sign Ordinance and done NOTHING to correct the violations.

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Moe 2 years, 4 months ago

The sign ordinance is an obscenity. Why do we even have it other than to satisfy busybodies and cranks such as Judy Bowles? This is the real question.

Business and commerce should be encouraged not impeded. Doesn't Albany have enough unemployment?

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 4 months ago

You are right. I think they were out to pick a fight that day. I stand behind Mr. Gieryric. The sign ordinance needs an over haul and it is time to make those much needed changes. Why didn't the commission want to listen to business owners a couple of weeks ago about their proposed changes?

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iko 2 years, 4 months ago

The panderer Roger Marietta asked that Bo Henry be allowed to take part in the discussions over the sign ordinance in the last review and then they ignored Mr. Henry. If you doubt this, go ask Bo. It was all for show. The ordinance needs to go and so do the politicians who support it. Albany's economy is bad enough.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 4 months ago

You are very correct, Iko. I have talked to Bo in the past about this issue.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 4 months ago

...waiting on Wonderbread to reply.

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iko 2 years, 4 months ago

And, by the way, I see nothing wrong with the signs at Village Green. It looks like a prosperous and active shopping center....that's what we should want, not block after block of vacant buildings!

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iko 2 years, 4 months ago

The answer to your question is that the city commission lacks the character and courage to rescind their idiotic sign ordinance and tell country club cretins such as Judy Bowles to take a hike. I would like to see more signs, not less. More signs mean more prosperity.

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Cartman 2 years, 4 months ago

The Sign Ordinance does not need an overhaul. It should be rescinded in its entirety. It is unnecessary. Read it. It's all about getting in someone else's business. Our forefathers didn't need a Sign Ordinance. Why do we need one?

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PatrickY2K 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm not commenting on the flag situation, other than if the sign ordinance exists for motor vehicle safety, then the flag shouldn't be allowed where it would compromise safety. Anyone who doesn't believe there should be at least some sign guidelines, has never been in a city that had no regulations regarding size or height of signs - it looks trashy. Flags of reasonable size and height should be allowed.

Wouldn't it be interesting if someone flew a Jesus flag? What would that start?

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