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Carson mayor stripped of half-staff flag-flying power

August 6, 2009 | 10:27 am

The mayor of Carson has been stripped of his power to have the U.S. flag fly at half-staff outside City Hall after military veterans and flag experts got upset when he had it lowered to honor Michael Jackson.

Mayor Jim Dear ordered the flag to half-staff July 7, the date of the pop star's funeral. But then local veterans and experts on flag protocol pointed out that mayors have no authority to lower the flag under the U.S. Flag Code.

The Daily Breeze has more:

"I got e-mails, letters sent to me, and phone calls," Dear said, noting the communication was about 80 percent negative. "To me, it's a generational thing. Michael Jackson appeals to a younger generation of people, and an older generation has no interest."

Dear was acting under a city policy, in place since 1996, that included the provisions of the Flag Code but also allowed the mayor to order flags to half-staff when deemed "proper." But as several critics pointed out, the Flag Code gives that power only to the president. Governors may also order the flag to half-staff upon the death of an active-duty serviceman or a current or former state official.