Statesville councilman appears on FOX News over Gander RV flag controversy

Heather Childers and Statesville City Councilman John Stafford. Picture courtesy of FOX News.

STATESVILLE, N.C. – Statesville City Councilman John Stafford joined “FOX & Friends First” Thursday morning to discuss Monday’s vote where a proposal that would have allowed Gander RV to fly its oversized flag was turned down.

Stafford was among those in favor of the change, telling FOX’s Heather Childers he was hoping Monday’s vote would put this issue in the city’s past. (App users click here)

“I would challenge my fellow council members to tell me what harm, who it endangers or what right it violates of anybody to keep this flag up," Stafford said.

C.O. Johnson, John Staford and Steve Johnson voted in favor of increasing the allowed flag size to 40’x80′. William Morgan, Roy West, Doris Allison, Keith Williams and Michael Johnson voted against the change meaning the current flag at Gander RV is still out of compliance. There were no speakers at a public hearing before the vote.

“This was never about patriotism. It was never about the flag,” Councilman William Morgan, who voted against the proposal noting the rules had been changed before and then ignored, told FOX 46 news partner WSIC.

“It was simply about drawing, if you will, a line in the sand and determining which ordinances you’re going to enforce and which ordinances you (are not). We can’t ask law abiding citizens and those that obey the rules to just turn their heads and ignore someone who is not playing by the rules”

Mayor Costi Kutteh asked the city’s planning department to draft the amendment following harsh local and national criticism over the current rule.

Gander RV CEO Marcus Lemonis has been driving the flag debate and responded to Monday’s decision on social media.

“The flag is not coming down under any circumstance,” Lemonis said, adding that he is prepared for any other consequences that should arise if he is ordered by a court to take the flag down.

FOX 46 news partner WSIC contributed to this report.