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I am Ann Zeise, your guide to the best and most interesting and useful sites and articles about Milpitas and Silicon Valley on the web.

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Flag Display Letters to the Webmaster

How not to display the American Flag
Recently curb address numbers were painted on our streets. One of the options was to have a flag painted in the gutter with your street number. I was appalled! Note the street sweeper marks across the flag! Who would show such disrespect for the American Flag? Not a past candidate for mayor, surely!
The code for proper flag display is here. It is strongly suggested that you read the code and refer to it in your debate.

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Another prominent citizen who thinks that the gutter is a proper place for displaying the flag:
(Via email to, Monday November 19, 2001.)

You are the only person I know that would lie to your neighbor and than blatantly post the picture you did not take on your web site. If anyone should be appalled, it should be your neighbors. For you to continue your arrogant, disrespectful behavior is beyond me. I believe you owe all of your neighbors an apology. I believe the flag proudly displayed by the house number shows a great deal of patriotism, something surely lacking by others.

Althea Polanski

My reply:

First, I did not lie. I did not take a photo of their home at that time. The trash was not out that day. I was just out taking pictures of damage done to mail boxes so that the USPS would repair them. But her ranting did give me the idea, which until that point in time, I hadn't thought of.

Secondly, this isn't just ANY neighbor, but one who has pretentions of running for mayor and claims to understand flag display etiquette well enough to govern City Hall. It is one who likes to complain ad nauseum about the most trivial things his neighbor, the Mayor of Milpitas, does that he doesn't happen to agree with. If he can't take the heat, Ed should stay out of the kitchen.

...:... Ann Zeise ...:...

Please join our Community Forum to discuss this matter for all to read. Private letters addressed to me on this topic will be posted here, as I believe that all Milpitas citizens should see the caliber of the arguments presented, and judge for themselves.

Other Letters to the Webmaster


Subject: Flag Trash Talk

Date: Friday, December 21, 2001

Miss Zeise, as you show on your website in the clip above, you don't seem to extend the same courtesy to others that you ask of people in your clip below, which also is from your website. If you had, I certainly would have asked for your permission before copying and pasting these items into this e-mail. Yes, I did read your FAQ's, and I certainly believe in copyrights in the digital age. I also believe in the freedom from censorship of content on the internet, but along with that freedom comes an acceptance of responsibility for your content.
As I develop this site from my home, I do not wish to place my home address or phone number on the web. I am listed in the Santa Clara/ San Jose phone book.

Let me draw your attention to the photo below.

[No photo enclosed]

I do believe that if you are going to start throwing words and pictures around the internet "trashing" fellow Milpitas residents patriotism, and calling attention to their address, then maybe you should get yourself checked for dyslexia first. Looks like something at #### Grand Teton is affecting your senses of right and left, and in my opinion, your judgment. Since you seem so picture-happy with the curb address of one neighbor, why don't you post pictures of ALL of the curbs of Milpitas residents who showed that small gesture of patriotism? Tell all of them how "appalled" you are, and see what kind of reaction you get. I welcome you to put this e-mail on your GOMILPITAS website, but I don't believe you will.

David Richerson

In a message dated 12/27/01 12:08:09 PM, writes:

<< Dear Misinformed Ann Zeise,
I am emailing you again with no anticipation of a reply from the likes
of see cowards & busy bodies like you never confront people
directly, they just hide behind a web site or email program.

If you are so appauled(s.b.)appalled by the disrespect shown to OLD
Glory, then why have you not attacked the newspapers that print copies
of our beloved flag...I would much rather see a flag replica painted
alongside street curb numbers than see a flag reprint in a newspaper
where the final destination of said flag is either to line a litterbox,
birdcage or trashcan and ultimately end up in a refuse dump. It seems to
me those curbside flags are showing pride not disrespect. Also, if you
are so appauled(s.b.appalled) by these curbside paintings, then why
don't you go before City Council and ask them to stop this practise,
afterall I am sure the homeowner is not out there painting the curb
themselves...someone is providing this service and the City of Milpitas
is allowing them to do this.

Stop kissing Henry's ass, get your head out of the gutters of Milpitas
and do something relevant to this city...not attacking a neighbor. To
paraphrase Rodney King "Cant' we all just get along"

Sherry Richerson
Milpitas, CA 95035 >>

My reply, 12/28/01

Dear Sherry,

I did confront the fellow on skates who was going around painting the curbs. I refused to have the flag painted in the gutter, and chose instead to have Neighborhood Watch and Safe House logos painted there instead. I was just surprised that others who honor the flag as I do would even consider to put the image of our Nation in such a place. I believe we have a "curb your dog" ordinance in this town, and to have the flag in the same place as dog poop does not show respect. (Actually, I think dog walkers are expected to bag the poop and despose of it properly, but curbing will do in a pinch. As the neighbor in question has a dog, I believe they are well aware of this.)

Yes, many flags have been printed in publications that also wind up in the trash, but I have also seen some of them displayed in car, house and business windows since Sept 11. I really doubt anyone used the print images for a litter box or bird cage or even thouight of doing so unless they had severe mental problems. Where did you get this idea?

Both Henry and Trish Dixon apparently agree with me, as they did not get flags painted in the gutters outside their homes. I cannot speak for other members of city council, as I have not seen their homes lately. I did not consult with any member of city council over this matter. The opinions express are my own, after reading the US Flag code which clearly states:

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America...
b. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
e. The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

As a flag in the gutter is clearly "on the ground" and very likely to come in contact with water, the paintings are against this part of the code. It is also subject to being "soiled" from street sweeping efforts, mud splashing from nearby traffic, or other means.

...:... Ann Zeise ...:...

Hi Ann -
We will ask nicely one more time.... Please remove the picture and your
story from your website immediately. While it is certainly a nice display
of your incredible ignorance, it also is an invasion of our privacy as well
as a possible act of libel as we stated in the attached e-mail dated
December 24.
Ed & Laura R.
PS - I have contacted Yahoo! to inform them of what you have done.

----- Original Message -----
From: "94301" <>
To: <>
Cc: "Sherry Richersen" <>; "Althea Polanski"
Sent: Monday, December 24, 2001 5:50 PM
Subject: Photo on website

> Hi Ann -
> It has been brought to our attention that a picture of our home appears on
> your website along with some disparaging copy regarding our respect for
> flag. It appears that you may be ignorant of a couple of important
> 1.) There is no United States flag nor depiction of a United States flag
> next to the house number painted on our curb. Like numbers painted on
> in front of thousands of homes throughout the United States, ours has a
> patriotic stars and stripes design. There are not fifty stars and not 13
> stripes and, in fact, the stripes are diagonal. Most people understand
> this. Obviously, you do not. There are numerous places you can check
> an American flag looks like, including your own website.
> 2.) We are private citizens, not public figures, and therefore are
> protected by the slander and libel laws of the State of California.
> Websites, especially ones with the huge number of "hits" you claim to have
> on yours, have the potential for considerable liability for those who
> publish them.
> Since #1 makes your picture and article ludicrous and #2 exposes you to
> legal action, I would highly suggest that you remove both from your
> Happy Holidays,
> Ed & Laura R

My reply December 29, 2001

Why should Yahoo possibly care? The site is not located on their servers.

Your name is not connected with the photo, nor what street it is on.

You declare you are proud of the flag painted there, so it can't be libelous. I merely pointed out that SOMEONE painted the flag there by their trash collection, someone who once ran for mayor. It would only be slanderous if I named you and said some untruth. Unfortunately, the flag really is painted there, and you are not named. I edited your email to show only your last initial so only those who happen to know "Ed & Laura R" could possibly figure out who the painted flag belongs to.

The photo stays.

...:... Ann Zeise ...:...

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