Trump Gets OK for Illegal Flagpole

The Associated Press
Thursday, September 21, 2006; 5:29 PM

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- Donald Trump: Famous. Worldly. Wealthy. Extravagant. Flag-waver. After three hours of discussion during Tuesday night's meeting, the City Council voted 3-2 in favor of letting the developer keep an illegal 70-foot flagpole topped by the Stars and Stripes at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Trump illegally erected the flagpole this summer.

"Congratulations to us for providing the kind of publicity a real estate developer seeks," Mayor Steve Wolowicz remarked sarcastically after the vote. Wolowicz voted against allowing the flag to remain.

The Trump Organization has a history of acting before seeking the appropriate jurisdictional approvals, including grading land without a permit and apparently erecting official-looking freeway signs directing motorists to the golf course. The Trump Organization denied putting up the freeway signs.

"Mr. Trump has blatantly ignored the rules and regulations and wrapped himself in the American flag," resident Betty Riedman told the council.

There were about six Trump representatives at the council meeting, and they got an earful from Councilman Doug Stern, who also voted against letting Trump keep the flagpole.

"The history, from my perspective, does not speak of an organization that complies with regulations. It speaks of an organization that views rules as for the rest of us," Stern said.

The council tried to act tough, adding conditions on the flagpole, including a requirement for steps from a public parking lot to the pole and ensuring the pole's construction complies with city codes.

The city also wants the Trump Organization to look into lighting the pole at night.

"I don't understand how two people voted against it because they're voting on taking down the (American) flag," Trump said Wednesday from his New York office. "I'm very happy with what happened. I'm honored with the three votes we got.

"It's a great day for the American flag and what it represents."

Golf course General Manager Mike van der Goes took responsibility for putting up the flag without a permit. The installer told him a permit was unnecessary, he said.


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