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Carson mayor resolves Michael Jackson flag controversy

August 6, 2009 |  2:51 pm


Even in death, Michael Jackson and controversy can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The latest dust-up comes in Carson, a working-class city the singer may never have set foot in, a universe away from Jackson’s haunts in Neverland, Bahrain or Holmby Hills.

The problem started when Mayor Jim Dear ordered the American flag outside City Hall dropped to half-staff the day of Jackson’s funeral, an honor usually reserved for dead presidents, heroes and other public officials.

Dear, 56, says he wasn’t a Jackson fan.

"I have issues with his lifestyle," he said.

Several people in the city, younger than 35, though, contacted him suggesting the flag be lowered.

"It made sense to me," he said.

Then came the letters, the e-mails, the phone calls, the letters, about 30 in all, from around the country, excoriating his decision.

"My view is it’s a generational schism," he said.

Like a Michael Jackson dance step, Dear did an about face. He introduced legislation that the City Council passed Tuesday that says that the mayor can no longer order the American flag lowered.

His authority now is limited to the city flag.

-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Carson mayor Jim Dear.  Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times