The American flag and RIOC’s crude disrespect


“RIOC loses respect for the American flag,” a disgusted reader wrote in his email’s subject line. And he he sent photos. “The picture says it all…” Indeed it did.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The American Flag and RIOC

As the symbol of the United States, the American flag should be displayed with respect in all cases. But RIOC, with Governor Kathy Hochul now in charge, never got that message, somehow.

The Roosevelt Island Daily thanks our reader for the tip and the photos.

the American flag behind Blackwell House
An America flag belonging to RIOC has been shredded and stuck in tree branches at Blackwell House’s main entrance since last year.

The American flag is a symbol of our nation’s history, values, and unity. It represents the ideals of democracy, liberty, and justice that are central to our country’s character. The flag also represents the brave men and women who have fought for these principles throughout our history. We should never forget the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom, and we should always be proud to display the American flag.

Why has RIOC disgraced it? You can see this directly outside President/CYA Shelton J. Haynes’s office in Blackwell House.

There are rules

“The flag shall be displayed only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open,” according to New York State Law. But the American flag has flown 24-hours a day for months outside Haynes’s office. It’s at the main entrance to historic Blackwell House where visitors from all over the world arrive for tours of a carefully preserved interior.

What message is RIOC sending here? Moreover, is anyone in charge? Where is the governor whose name appears at the top of the letterhead?

“No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America…”

United States Code: Respect for the Flag

The Past Dictates the Future

In December, Debra Kustka took a position as Vice President of Operations. This falls within her domain. The American flag at Blackwell House has been ripped apart in that tree, day and night, during her entire tenure. While we always feared that President/CYA Haynes and some other six-figure earning executives were afflicted with Elbow from Ass Distinction Disorder (EADD), we hoped new blood might bring relief.

But it didn’t. Kustka seems as dimly committed to our values as Haynes and his vaunted Community Relations team. When all she had to do was send over a cherrypicker with a worker to rescue the American flag… Leaving it up 24 hours a day, ragged and stuck, was thoughtless enough, but letting it go for months on end is a public disgrace.

The condition of that flag is an insult to American values, but it’s worse, a slap in face of veterans who fought and died for the values it represents. The values, the rules are clear, but like so much else, RIOC just doesn’t give a damn.

It’s one more reason why putting an end to RIOC is the best thing that can happen for this community.

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