Please scroll down for an Update! We won this battle. 😀
A Navy veteran was served an eviction notice because he put up an American flag in his apartment complex on Navy Day.
Kristina Nelson of KVAL News reports, Nov. 2, 2011, that the apartment management company delivered the eviction notice to Edward Zivica after he hung the Old Glory in a common area at the Springfield, Ore., complex. If he doesn’t agree to refrain from any more such flag displays, the complex would evict him by midnight Nov. 29.
Zivica said he’s been displaying the flag for at least a year on holidays such as Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. “They said nothing about it and so I figured, well, maybe they understand now that I’m only putting it up on special days,” said Zivica.
But when he hung it up on Oct. 27 for Navy Day, his landlord took it down and served him with an eviction notice.
The apartment management insists that the flag eviction is not due to a lack of patriotism. Terry McDonald, the CEO of St. Vincent de Paul, the management company, told KVAL that the eviction notice was for “hanging something outside the building without permission. If you’re going to live in a situation where there’s lots of other tenants, you need to follow the rules that are set up.”
To which Zivica responded: “I’m not doing something so terrible.”
The apartment complex had installed a lit flag pole outside the building after it was requested by some tenants. But Zivica criticized the pole, saying it lacks a pulley system, hence you can’t lower the flag to half mast. So instead he went back to hanging his flag on the building.
I found St. Vincent de Paul’s (SVDP) very detailed (absolutely no pets!) 12-page “Housing Rules and Regulations Manual” (click here). Nowhere do I see a rule forbidding the flying of the American flag anywhere in an SVDP apartment complex. There is no such rule in the paragraph on “Common Areas”, on page 5. Nor is the American flag mentioned as one of the reasons to evict in the section on “Removal from SVDP Complex,” on page 8.
Here’s the phone number for Terry McDonald, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul:
(541) 687-5820 x 125
You can also send him an e-mail via the SVDP’s Contact Form, here. This is the message I wrote on the Contact Form (feel free to copy & paste to use as yours):
To: Terry McDonald
St. Vincent de Paul
I am writing you to protest your treatment of Navy veteran Edward Zivica. You claim that he’s being evicted because he didn’t follow the rules when he put up an American flag in his apartment complex. But, in SVDP’s very detailed 12-page “Housing Rules and Regulations Manual” (http://www.svdp.us/assets/sitefiles/rules_regulation_2009.pdf), nowhere do I see a rule forbidding the flying of the American flag anywhere in an SVDP apartment complex. There is no such rule in the paragraph on “Common Areas”, on page 5. Nor is the American flag mentioned as one of the reasons to evict in the section on “Removal from SVDP Complex,” on page 8.
UPDATE (Nov. 4, 2011):
A day after I’d sent the above e-mail to SVDP, I received this reply:
Thank you very much for your email. We would like to share the following updated information. This morning our tenant agreed to provide a list of dates when he would like to fly his flag. St. Vincent de Paul granted him permission to fly the flag on those dates, provided it is done in a manner that’s respectful to the flag and our other tenants. In accordance with the rules of the complex, St. Vincent de Paul will be happy to grant permission to put an additional American flag at the complex if tenants inform us in advance.
Our tenant feels this issue is resolved, and we are pleased to have reached a resolution to this issue. This was never an issue about patriotism or respect for veterans. St. Vincent de Paul sponsors numerous emergency assistance, housing and job training opportunities for veterans. This was never about the American flag; a lit American flag flies on a flagpole at the complex 24/7. We are pleased that this issue has been resolved and we sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding. Please contact us if you have more questions or want more information. Thank you again,