Update: I’ve now learned the replacement flag was purchased by a citizen, not the City.
by Diane Benjamin
Numerous citizens have asked the Bloomington City Council to remove the UN Flag from the Council Chambers. They have refused to openly discuss the issue, but privately they email each other. Here’s how they feel about the flag:
From the City Manager:On Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM, David Hales <[email protected]> wrote:To All:Recently several citizen letters recommending removal of the UN flag in City Hall were distributed to City officials. It appears that this issue will continue to be raised by a few citizens and I have been asked by one Alderman what action if any the City is going to take. We have also learned that the apparent reason the UN flag is in City Hall is because of the fact that Adlai Stevenson, Bloomington’s native son, served as UN Ambassador. Recently Bruce Meeks replaced the old and tattered UN flag with a new one. Greg Koos was asked if he wanted to receive the old flag for “historical purposes” but he declined. Apparently Mr. Koos was not convinced that the former UN flag was the “one” that used to sit in UN Ambassador Stevenson’s office as some have believed.If it was left up to me I would remove the UN flag, but, replace it with a plaque or framed picture of Adlai Stevenson which also could include a miniature replica or picture of the UN flag together with some history of Mr. Stevenson’s political service. In order to finally resolve this issue, assuming you are so inclined, please indicate your preference to the following:
- Approve the City Manager’s recommendation
- Take no action, leave the flag in place.
- Other action you might recommend.Thanks for your input.DavidDavid A. Hales
From Alderman David Sage:
To: David Hales <[email protected]>
From: David Sage <[email protected]>
Date: 09/22/2012 09:50AM
Cc: Bloomington City Council <[email protected]>, Barb Adkins <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: UN Flag
We’re talking about the man who was:
- Governor of Illinois
- Twice nominated by a major national party to run for President.
- Ambassador to the United Nations
- Considered by some historians to be the key public figure in the United Nations confrontation with the Soviets over the Cuban missiles.
In my opinion he is far and away Bloomington’s most famous native son.
I did some research and found the President and Mrs. Johnson, the Vice President and Mrs. Humphrey, the Chief Justice and Mrs. Warren, and many other dignitaries including Sargent Shriver, head of the Peace Corps all came to Bloomington to pay their last respects.
I remember standing along the street and watching President Johnson’s car go by.
And according to mondrian.princeton.edu/CampusWWW/…/stevenson_adlai.html
“His maternal great-grandfather, Jesse Fell, a founder of the Republican party, was a close
friend of Abraham Lincoln and the first to propose him for the presidency. His paternal
grandfather, Adlai E. Stevenson, was vice president during Grover Cleveland’s second term.”
When I look at that United Nations flag in our chamber I think of the man who worked at the highest levels of public service, but also who like me was born and raised in Bloomington.
From Alderman Jennifer McDade
Great research; I’ve enjoyed reviewing this. I agree with Alderman Sage and many of the others.
Alderman, Ward 5
City of Bloomington
First Issue: David Hales violated the Open Meetings Act by asking alderman for their opinions by email! Are the alderman to chicken to openingly state their opinions? Transparency in government? Not when your opinions are formed in internal emails.
Second Issue: Alderman Sage spent time researching Adlai Stevenson to justify ignoring citizens, even though he stated they have more pressing issues?
Third Issue: The UN Flag was recently replaced? The City spent taxpayer money to replace a flag that citizens would like removed. Can they be anymore arrogant?
Other cities do realize United Nations values are not American values. They have removed the flag. Hennepin County in Minnesota is the most recent. See the story here: http://tinyurl.com/9uzxnmf
The Council must not realize that city elections are very close.