- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2013

Two co-owners of a hot dog eatery in Georgia have been fined by an zealous code enforcer who considered their patriotic flags, mounted on their restaurant’s roof to honor the military, a violation of McDonough city law.

The owners of CJ’s Hot Dogs, Darren Miller and Dean Patterson, said they recently received an order from the city to take down the nine flags, which were mounted to honor the members of all the branches of the military and had flown without complaint for about three months, the Daily Mail reported. But the code enforcement officer said the flags were tantamount to signs — and as such, these signs violated city ordinance.

The owners were shocked when they learned they were going to be fined if they didn’t comply with the order to tear down the flags.

“I’m an ex-firefighter for DeKalb County. My partner [Mr. Patterson] is a police officer,” Mr. Miller said, adding on Fox News that his father is a Vietnam veteran. “There’s just not a lot of places out there honoring our men and women that serve, whether it’s police, fire or military. So that’s the way we wanted to decorate our restaurant.”

Mr. Miller also said, as the Daily Mail reported: “I’m just floored. … I’m tired of being pushed around for supporting our local men and women and I’m not going to be pushed around anymore.”

Mr. Patterson, meanwhile, said in the report that he was “just devastated” by the city order and was puzzled “why we are being told we can’t do that.”

The story soon may end happily for the restaurant owners, however. Facing media pressure, city authorities put a stop to the fine. City Administrator Frederick Gardiner said he wasn’t aware until the media started reporting on the incident that the restaurant had been fined and said that the ordinance is vague and shouldn’t apply to the flags, the Daily Mail reported.

Mr. Miller said people across the state have been lending their support to the restaurant.

“Now the city is backpedaling a little bit, saying now it’s a permit issue,” he said, the Daily Mail reported. “I just don’t think I should have to pay money to fly the American flag.”




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