December 6, 2021

Homer village to discuss Confederate flags

The Homer Village board will discuss in a future work session an ongoing issue between two Park Street neighbors, one with a Black Lives Matter flag and the other a Confederate battle flag.

Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe said he received a complaint about a person in the village who put a 3-by-5-foot flag on the side of a house or garage on Park Street.

“It looks like it was in response to the person across the street having a Black Live Matter one,” he said Tuesday during a village board meeting. “At some point, we need to talk about what we think is OK, what we think is not OK. Do we let this run its course? I don’t know the answer.”

The date for that work session has not been set, but McCabe said work sessions are open to the public.

Village Code Enforcement Officer Kevin McMahon and Village Attorney Dante Armedio will be asked to weigh in on the topic, he said. “My concern is, I don’t like the idea of the neighbors working it out themselves,” McCabe said.

“Well they may, but let’s hope it doesn’t escalate to something violent,” said board member Ed Finkbeiner.

“That’s my concern,” McCabe said.

Finkbeiner said the village also must keep in mind people’s First Amendment rights.

“It’s an issue that is pretty big for a village this size to tackle in one day at a board meeting without really thinking through the implications and the repercussions,” McCabe said. “Free speech is very important and we haven’t even scratched the surface of the discussion on it. I want the residents to know it’s come to our attention, we know that it’s an issue and we’re going to talk about it.”