A Calimesa man says his homeowner association doesn't want him to fly the American flag, and he has vowed to fight back after it issued him a $300 ticket.
Ron King sees the rules prohibiting flagpoles within JP Ranch as unpatriotic, and an attack on the flag.
"The American flag -- that's what we stand for. That is our freedom," he says.
Coming from a military family, red, white and blue runs in his veins.
After retiring and buying his dream home, a flagpole was one of the first things he put in.
"I get a little emotional about it, you know?" he says.
A few months after he put up the flagpole, King says his homeowner association, JP Ranch Maintenance Corporation, decided it had a problem with it, sending him a $300 fine because he never asked permission. He says they want it taken down.
"It kind of hurts," King says.
He says JP Ranch never gave him guidelines when he moved, in despite requesting them.
The HOA's manager refused to give NBC4 a copy of the guidelines, saying only "He has made modifications to his home that need to be approved."
"We all should have the right to fly the flag," he says.
California law says "No governing document" can "Limit or prohibit, the display of the flag of the United States.” Flying the flag is an American right.
"The law couldn't be more clear on this issue," says Brian Kabateck, a Los Angeles consumer attorney. "You can make no prohibition about putting up a flag."
An attorney for JP Ranch sent a statement to NBC4, saying it's not the flag that's the problem, it's the flagpole.
"The purpose of requiring approval is to ensure that the flag is properly installed and secured … To prevent it from falling and injuring anyone or damaging property," the attorney’s letter said.
King says that's outrageous and says all his neighbors have already signed a petition he plans to submit to the HOA.
In the meantime, he says JP Ranch is using his monthly dues to pay the fine, causing him to fall behind on his payments.
He's says he’s prepared to go to court if that's what it takes.
"Who in their right mind would want you to take an American flag down?"
FULL STATEMENT FROM JP RANCH MAINTENANCE CORPORATION:
The homeowner has informed you that the Association is prohibiting him from displaying the U.S. flag on his property; however, the Association is not prohibiting the display of the U.S. flag, but has requested that the homeowner submit for the required approval for installation of the flag pole.
The Association allows for the outdoor display of the United States flag. Installation of the pole used to display the flag is subject to submittal and approval by the Association’s Design Review Committee pursuant to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“CC&R’s”) recorded against all properties in the community. The purpose of requiring approval of the flagpole installation is to ensure that the pole is properly installed and secured with structural integrity to prevent it from falling and injuring anyone or damaging property. The review process also ensures that any necessary permits for the improvement have been obtained by the owner. The Association requires that flagpoles be solely within, on, and over the owner’s property.
The Association’s requirement that homeowners receive approval of the Design Review Committee prior to the installation of certain improvements to their property is a common provision included in the CC&Rs that are recorded against each of the properties in the Association. A copy of the CC&Rs and other “governing documents” which govern the Association are provided to each homeowner at the time they purchase their property.