Oversized American flag causes flap in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- A flap over an outsized American flag and its flagpole has city officials and an auto dealership dueling over patriotism, advertising and neighborhood peace.

The city reports receiving more than 100 e-mail messages since the City Council last week ordered Towbin Hummer to take down its 100-foot flagpole. Most disagree with the council's decision.

Mayor Oscar Goodman blamed the dealership several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip for not keeping a promise to build a small veterans memorial with the tall pole.

"Get us a memorial, and then we can talk about a flag in excess of 40 feet," said Goodman, who last year endorsed letting the dealership exceed the city's 40-foot flagpole height restriction.

The Towbin Hummer flag isn't the biggest in town. The Terrible Herbst gasoline and convenience store chain has several American flags around the city measuring 30 feet by 50 feet on poles 100 feet tall, said Jim Smith, a purchasing agent.

Dealership owner Dan Towbin said his big flag, which at 30 feet by 60 feet is about the size of a competition volleyball court, fits his dealership.

"The building's oversized, the sign's oversized, the cars are oversized," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A Towbin aide said a concrete pedestal was being erected at the base of the flag for a plaque to honor veterans.

City spokesman Jace Radke said a City Council member could bring the issue up again. The next meeting is June 6.

Gary Swanciger, a resident who said the flapping of the big flag wakes him at night, said he thought the super-sized Stars and Stripes was designed more to attract customers than build patriotism.



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