Tawney Baccellia of Prescott Valley, Arizona, wanted to show her support for President Donald Trump by flying a “Trump 2020 – Keep America Great” flag in her backyard, but some of her neighbors took offense and voiced their objection to the city, which is now threatening stiff fines.
Baccellia began flying the banner in early November below a “thin blue line” American flag, which is meant to show her support for the police.
In late December, the Arizona woman and her husband received a letter from Prescott Valley — a city of about 45,000 people located 90 miles north of Phoenix — stating they had 10 days to remove “prohibited signage” from their flagpole or face a $100 fine.
According to Baccellia, the fine will continue to compound the longer they do not comply.
The portion of the city code cited to her prohibits “animated” or “flashing” signs, with animated meaning it changes positions, as flags of course do when the wind blows.
Baccellia also has a light on her flagpole to keep it illuminated at night.
A Prescott Valley woman was told to take down her @realDonaldTrump 2020 flag because it goes against city code. Mayor @KPalguta says he’s now working to change the ordinance in support of her. Full story @ 5 on #fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/FMAjSu906P
— Danielle Miller FOX10 (@Fox10Danielle) January 1, 2020
In addition to the city ordinances cited, Arizona state law provides that residents only have the right to post political signs up to 60 days before a primary election and until 15 days after the general election.
Baccellia told The Western Journal her response was to go purchase a new Trump flag to replace the one she had been flying, which was fraying.
“This is who I support. This is what I want on my flag and it’s in my backyard,” she said.
Baccellia posted the city’s letter directing her to take down the flag on her personal Facebook page, as well as local community pages, which she said “blew up” with comments of support.
Prescott Valley is in Yavapai County, which Trump carried by over 30 percentage points in 2016.
Baccellia received a strong ally in her cause in Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta.
Palguta wrote on Facebook late last month, “I want to thank Tawney Baccellia for making a post about recently getting a notice from Code Enforcement to remove a second flag she had on her flagpole because it was currently against Town Code.”
“I want everyone to know I am 100 percent against the Code as it is written and will be working with Council and Staff to change it,” he added.
Palguta told The Western Journal that a flag and a sign are two different things, meaning the state law prohibition regarding political signs should not apply.
Additionally, he anticipates the city code will be changed when the Prescott Valley council meets next month to make clear that Baccellia has a First Amendment right to fly her Trump flag.
“It’s not about the content of the flag. It has to do with the person’s right to fly it. … You can’t take that away from someone, and that is what the town is trying to do,” he explained.
Palguta, who is a diehard Arizona Cardinals fan, offered the example of his neighbor flying a Seattle Seahawks flag.
“I hate the Seahawks, but in no way am I ever going to tell him he needs to take it down because it’s not the right flag,” Palguta said. “That’s ridiculous. And guess what? I still say ‘Hi’ to him, and we’re still friends.”
“That’s what America’s about,” he added.
Baccellia intends to keep her flag flying and is hopeful the city ordinance will be changed before Prescott Valley levies any fines against her, which for now appears to be on hold.
She said the mayor has offered “amazing support.”
Palguta is optimistic all will work out in Baccellia’s favor in the end.
“I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution,” he said. “And the last time I checked the Constitution goes above the town code of Prescott Valley.”
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