San Leandro Mayor Suspends Council Decision To Fly Chinese Flag At City Hall

Mayor Stephen Cassidy voted against
the resolution on Monday.

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL//FLAG FLAP | The Chinese flag won’t be flying over San Leandro City Hall after all. Three days after a contentious City Council meeting narrowly approved celebrating China’s national day on Oct. 1 with a ceremonial flag-raising of that nation’s banner, Mayor Stephen Cassidy is suspending the decision.

“San Leandro does not fly the flags of other nations at our City Hall. We need to call a time-out and allow the community to weigh in on whether or not we should raise the flags of other governments before jumping ahead of ourselves and hosting the flag of a specific government at City Hall,” Cassidy said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

The resolution led by Councilmember Benny Lee, the city’s first-ever Asian American member of the City Council, was met with resistance from the some in the community and strong opposition from Bay Area leaders in the Tibetan independence movement. Lee said the gesture was only meant to honor the Chinese people and not their government. It would also signal to Chinese investors abroad that San Leandro is open for business, he said.

The 4-3 vote last Monday night was opposed by Cassidy and Councilmembers Michael Gregory, Pauline Cutter for the apparently divisiveness the issue had conjured in the community. The power to suspend the council’s decision is found in the City Charter.

Some San Leandro residents had vowed to protest the flying of the Chinese flag on Oct. 1 and the San Leandro Board of Education, which also holds its meetings at City Hall, voted last Tuesday to boycott the ceremony by moving their meeting that week to another location. The Chinese flag would have replaced San Leandro’s city flag, not the state or U.S. flag.

“I recognize this decision will disappoint many in our Chinese-American community,” said Cassidy. “I greatly value and am tremendously thankful to our Chinese-American community for its many and significant contributions to the welfare of the people and economy of San Leandro. We are proud that San Leandro today is one of the most diverse cities in California and the U.S.”

Those in our community wishing to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China are welcome to use one of our parks, as are other groups celebrating key dates and events of the nation of their origin.”

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