Dispute pits displaying flag versus safety
PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - May 29, 2012 (WPVI) -- One day after Memorial Day, it's turning into a conflict between flying the flag and safety in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
Dawn Paulus was given the mandate to take down the American flags she hangs from her balcony at the John F. O'Donnell Apartments.
"I felt this that this was taking our constitutional right away from us," she said.
That mandate was made by officials from the Phillipsburg Housing Authority who manage the facility.
Now, Dawn says she is fighting the authority because those flags simply mean too much to her.
"My ex-husband fought in World War II, my uncle fought in WWII; I just feel that we should honor our veterans because they for freedom for us," Paulus said.
But Paul Rummerfield, the Housing Authority's Executive Director, says this whole thing has nothing to do with being a good American.
"People are trying to make it like she is into a flag issue; it's not a flag issue. It's a lease violation to hang anything from the balcony," Rummerfield said.
Action News checked out the lease and it does say that tenants are not allowed to hang anything on the balcony.
Rummerfield says it is a safety issue.
"The woman lives on the sixth floor, last thing we need is her bracket falling off and hitting someone in the head," Rummerfield said.
But Dawn believes her tiny flags are a danger to no one.
When we asked her if she has any intention of complying with the mandate, she firmly said., "No. No. I guess I'll take them down when I get evicted, if I get evicted."
The good news for Dawn Paulus is that New Jersey has anti-eviction statute that applies to cases like this.
Now, the Housing Authority will likely end up serving her legal papers, take this issue to court, and let a judge decide the case.
new jersey, memorial day, local/state, walter perez
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