Posted Friday, July 26, 2002
takes on homeowners association
of The North County Times
By HENRI BRICKEY
MURRIETA ---- With the help of a few construction
workers, Rick Alkire put up a 25-foot flagpole in his yard Friday and raised
the United States flag that was draped over the coffin of his wife's grandfather,
who fought and was wounded in World War I.
It was a moment Alkire had waited more
than half a year for after battling with his homeowners' association over
the size of the flagpole.
When he moved into his new hillside home
in Olive Hill Ranch nine months ago, Alkire planned to erect a 30-foot
pole to fly the heirloom American flag he inherited from his wife's family
on special occasions.
But the Olive Hill Ranch Homeowners' Association,
which approves architectural design in the small, gated community, told
Alkire in April that his plans for the pole were denied.
Alkire appealed the decision and submitted
plans for a pole five feet shorter than the original 30-footer he had wanted.
Backing him up, Alkire says, is a senate bill recently signed by the California's
Senate Bill 2032, signed into law by Gov.
Gray Davis on July 11, prohibits homeowners' associations from imposing
restrictions on the display of the United States flag except as required
for the protection of public health or safety. But a week ago, Alkire received
a letter from the homeowners' association attorney stating that the 25-foot
flag pole Alkire wanted to erect would not be allowed.
Thursday morning, though, Alkire refused
to obey the association's orders and raised his flagpole, which he says
he has the right to put up on his one-acre estate.
"It's over now," Alkire said Thursday.
"I won the battle."
Tammy Vardakas, president of the Olive
Hill Ranch homeowners association, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Board Vice President Steve Pilling said this week that Alkire's flagpole
was not approved because its height.
"It will hit cars if it falls," Pilling
While Pilling says he personally doesn't
object to Alkire's flagpole, the vice president said he doesn't know what
other board members may do to enforce the association's regulations.