Col. Barfoot’s neighborhood

[couple of updates and stuck to the top of this block for a day] I put “boots on the ground” in Col. Barfoot’s neighborhood, to see what the fuss was all about, and to try to understand why the Board of Directors of the Homeowners’ Association wanted to make this recipient of the Medal of Honor take down his free-standing flag pole because it was not “aethetically pleasing.”

First, there was nothing to protest. I was there about 45 minutes and saw only two locals, and two service people (one mover, one electrician).  D-E-S-E-R-T-E-D.  Maybe because Col. Barfield’s new lawyer got him an extra week–today was the deadline set by the evil law firm representing the Board of Directors.

I spoke to one lady who lived in the little neighborhood. She didn’t even know where his home was located. Yes, she was aware that her neighborhood had made national headlines, but she didn’t want to talk about it.  

Did the Board of Directors make the right call? I’ll let my pictures do the talking.  First, there WERE flags everywhere. I’m not sure if this is to show solidarity with the Colonel, or business as usual.  I strongly suspect the former, being familiar with this neck of the woods.  Below are some pictures of flags that are deemed by the little Napoleons Board of Directors to be “aesthetically pleasing,” and then photos of the Colonel’s home for contrast.

Go KEYDETS, by the way.

Ruh, roh! Two flags in two adjacent homes! But still apparently “aethetically pleasing”!
”] And note the UVA flag in the distance.

NO! Not two more homes flying the flag!

THIS was the scene of the “crime.”  Oh, what wonderful little Nazis the Board of Directors are! See how this is soooo much worse than all those flags that are attached to buildings??!!! Follow the RULES! Submit to our authority! You vill obey us!!!

The Colonel's car--you ONLY get one of those Medal of Honor plates if you are the real deal

Oh, and just so that you know that the Board of Directors know “aesthetically pleasing” when they see it, they allow tacky Christmas decorations.  For now.

No flag pole for you!

Tacky, but "aesthetically pleasing" if you aren't a Medal of Honor recipient. At least in the Board of Directors' eyes!

 You decide whether these morons, the Board of Directors of the  Sussex Square Homeowners’ Association are doing the right thing in preventing a Medal of Honor recipient, a hero of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, from having his own free-standing flag pole.  It was a tough call for me. NOT! 

p.s. I apologize to all the other patriots in that establishment who were flying the flag but whose house I did not take a picture of.  And believe me, there were MANY more in that little neighborhood!  Cheers.

UPDATE 12/5/09: Welcome all you Freepers!  And GOOD job Mr. Klenk. To tell you the truth, I had not even noticed how secluded it was. I was lost, and drove all through the area and finally found it in about the last place I looked, so I was frazzled a bit by then…

UPDATE 12/7/09:  Michael Paul Williams, a (black, hey it will become import in my update) columnist for the Times Dispatch had this to say about Col. Barfoot’s struggle today:

“But it must be said that Barfoot was handed those rules [uh, no he wasn’t–there is no “rule” forbidding flagpoles]  when he chose his home in Sussex Square, restrictive covenants and all. That aside, think about it: How many free-standing vertical poles do you see towering above residences?  Barfoot’s yard is not the parking lot of a car dealership.  [emphasis added.]”

“Barfoot could fly Old Glory to his heart’s content on an angled pole attached to his house, as permitted by the homeowners association.  He should stop his fight and do so.”

First, Mr. Williams, if you went to the actual neighborhood, or at least read this blog, you’d know his flagpole doesn’t “tower” above his residence.  Second, if “rules” are rules, how come blacks don’t still sit in the back of the bus, and avoid “whites only” eating establishments. Not comparing this fight to segregation, I’m just saying that some rules are so odious that one just has to rise up and fight against them.  Williams ought to know that.

13 responses to “Col. Barfoot’s neighborhood

  1. Pingback: Raising an American flag on a free standing pole isn’t “aethetically pleasing” « Smash Mouth Politics

  2. I did my own independent research, using Google Maps.

    What I found is that Barfoot’s property is at the very end of a winding cul-de-sac that is NOT visible except by a very few of his close neighbors. His property is extremely inconspicuous.

    I phoned his house and spoke to Roger Nicholls, his son-in-law, for my story.

    Here’s a link, with images:

    http://loudcitizen.blogspot.com/2009/12/inconspicuous-flapgole.html

  3. My link my not work for while, because I’m updating my site.

    Here is a link to the same article at Free Republic, with images:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2400904/posts

  4. And Mr. Klenk, feel free to borrow my photos for your article. I’m proud to share them!

  5. Good story. Glad you took the time to do the actual research.
    By they way that’s a VMI flag and they are the Keydets not the VPI (VT) Hokies.

  6. Ooops. Mark, I REALLY knew that. Brain fart. I’ll fix it.

  7. First off, it’s all a dead issue when the lawyers of this association actually challenge federal law which states that “The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions” (Updated April 14, 2008) —Restrictions on Display of the Flag by Real Estate Associations— The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 56 (P.L. 109-243). prohibits a condominium, cooperative, or real …estate management association from adopting or enforcing any policy or agreement that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag in accordance with the Federal Flag Code on residential property to which the member has a separate ownership interest” .. Tell them good luck with their fight but this law was passed almost unanimously by conservs and libs alike. Secondly, those in that HOA need to grow up, get some level of maturity and realize how in the minority they really are.

  8. The law firm is not “evil”, it is simply acting on behalf of the HOA. The HOA must meet Virginia laws regarding HOAs, and part of the process for handling rules violations is to send a letter to the homeowner detailing the violation and providing the expected remedy.

    Unless this dispute is already past the point, the homeowner should have a right to a hearing, where he can present evidence that he is not in violation of the rules.

    Federal law requires that HOAs provide a way for homeowners to fly flags. This usually means you can hang them off your house.

    It is also possible that the HOA rules govern free-standing structures, but not things attached to the house. You’d have to get a copy of the bylaws to know for sure.

    It makes no difference that “flag poles” are not mentioned. I’m getting there are thousands of things you could put in your front yard that are not mentioned. For example, pink flamingoes. There is probably a rule requiring prior approval for all free-standing structures above a certain height.

    The pole does go above his house, but I agrree it doesn’t tower above it. And I personally don’t think it’s unaesthetic. Of course, they had to rule on the pole based on his submittal, not based on how it turned out.

    HOAs rarely regulate christmas decorations, because they are temporary in nature. However, many HOAs do have rules about taking down decorations after Christmas.

    It is never a good idea to ignore an official rejection from the board — they have a legal right to make rulings, and there is a legal process of appeal.

    If instead you build something you were told not to build, then you have violated another rule, and even if what you built might eventually be approved, building it prior to approval is a violation in and of itself.

    Plus, it is confrontational, and pretty much forces the HOA to send a legal notice, or else they can be sued for not enforcing the rules.

    The problem in disputes like this is that a lot of people get all worked up and start namecalling and drawing lines. Most disputes CAN be resolved easily, if people follow the process.

    Of course, bad cases make bad law — the HOA is in an untenable position here, because the guy is a war hero, it’s the American flag, they have the President of the United States, two U.S. Senators, and the Governor of the state against them, and the flag pole just doesn’t look that bad.

    So he’ll keep the pole, probably after his personal friend Senator Warner “mediates” and decides the pole is fine.

  9. Ah, Charles. Mindnumbed robots such as yourself are what is wrong with this country. Follow the rules. Submit. Thou must obey!

    I’m a lawyer. That law firm does not have to blindly obey when the Board of Directors makes a moronic decision. They are “COUNSELORS” at law. Tell the BOD what a moronic decision it was, instead of obeying them as lap dogs. If the Board insists, show them how wrong they are by refusing. If they fire you, so be it. THAT would be the courageous and right thing to do.

    Being on a BOD does not mean checking your common sense at the door before you attend each meeting.

  10. A group of students has just launched a PETITION to support Col. Van Barfoot and his right to fly the American flag with pride and respect.

    Please join & spread the word.

    http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/get-involved/online-petitions/petition-support-veteran-col-barfoot-american-flag.html

  11. OK, Charles, my last comment was a little harsh. Sorry.

    You sound reasonable. But I think that you are wrong. From all I’ve heard, there is no “rule” that Col. Barfoot violated, it was a discretionary ruling by the Board. They determined that the flag was “not aethetically pleasing.” Therefore, they could not be sued for ignoring the rules, as you indicated. Too bad they can’t be sued for gross stupidity.

    I HOPE this is worked out. Otherwise, I think we all should make life miserable for the law firm and for the Board of Directors. Sometimes, only a good public shaming will do.

  12. Guess who’s house is the tacky one – his daughters

  13. Too funny. [I didn’t REALLLLY mean it was tacky, just that it was ironic that Christmas lights are acceptable, but the U.S. flag on a pole of a CMH recipient was unacceptable. Thanks for stopping by.

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