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Ask The Answer Person your flag questions!

Posted: Wed, Sep 4, 2019 3:42 PM

(The Answer Person has been receiving questions in connection with the latest request to fly flags in downtown Decorah):

Nel asks, "Why is it named 'the Gadsden flag? Does this have anything to do with the Gadsden Purchase?"


The Answer Person says: "According to Wikipedia, 'The flag is named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden (17241805), who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution.' The Gadsden Purchase was made years later and involved the purchase from Mexico of land in New Mexico and Arizona. It was named after James Gadsden, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico at the time."

Bob asks, "Tuesday night's Decorah City Council voted ended in a 3-3 tie. Could the mayor have broken that tie?"

The Answer Person says: "Mayor Lorraine Borowski was out of town and did not attend Tuesday night's meeting. But even if she had been there, she doesn't have to power to break any tie. The city's Code of Ordinance says '(The mayor) may sign, veto, or take no action on an ordinance, amendment or resolution passed by the council." It does not mention ties, so for a mayor to act, the ordinance, amendment or resolution first has to be approved by a majority of the city council.

Paul asks, "How long will we be having controversies in Decorah about the American flag?"

The Answer Person says: "City Administrator Chad Bird wants to hold a meeting later this month to give the city council a chance to approve revisions to the flag policy. He pleaded with city council members Tuesday night, 'Get it decided, get it finalized.' It's likely a revised city flag display policy would limit the flags displayed to the current American flag, the Decorah Viking flag, the Luther College flags and the Scandinavian flags during Nordic Fest."