Marine Wife Challenges Homeowners Association Over Flying the Flag

It’s been said that the only thing tougher than being a United States Marine, is being the spouse of a Marine. They are tenacious, supportive, and loyal. They live to the same code and standards as their Marine, and are proud to do so. They also are not afraid to challenge something when they know they have been unfairly targeted.

Meet Marine Wife Heather Valenti, who fought against her homeowner’s association in Oceanside California. Valenti's husband is a Captain in the Corps and was on deployment. In honor of him and his service, she placed a small flag in the flower bed outside the condominium she and her husband have, right outside Camp Pendleton, California.

That didn’t sit well with the Board of Directors, who oversee her condominium complex, and they demanded that she immediately remove the flag as it was not in compliance with the Associations rules and regulations. The letter stated, “During a recent property inspection, a flag was noted in the Common Area landscaping at your unit, which is a violation of the Association CC&R’s. Page six of the Rules and Regulations states: ‘No property may be left or stored in the Common Area outside any residence.’ Please remove the flag from the Common Area landscaping immediately. Failure to comply will result in further action by the Board of Directors.”

Let’s recap. We have a Marine wife who isn’t allowed to fly the American Flag outside her home, and college millennials won’t fly the flag at school. In the United States of America, you can burn the flag, free speech they call it, but you can’t utilize that same free speech when you want to proudly fly your flag. And this in San Diego, one of the most veteran-dense areas in the country. Not to mention home to the 1st Marine Division.

Is it me folks, or has the world gone completely mad?

President Bush addressed this very issue with the American Flag act of 2005, which in part, states “A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use."

"With my husband, overseas, this is important to us. We're American. It's not offensive to anybody. It's not even doing anything," Valenti said.  "I just feel like I'm being targeted," Valenti shared. "There are other people in this community that have other things up in the same exact spot, and I haven't seen them taken down; no consequences with that."

"I don't want to be fined, so if I do have to take it down, I would like to have everybody take down their stuff for me to take it down as well," she added.

Patrick Campbell, the president of Curtis Management Company, responded by email Wednesday to a request for comment on Valenti's concerns. He said the issue had been resolved when Valenti moved the flag from a planter in the common area to her own potted plant several feet away.

"We at Curtis Management Company are Pro America and totally support all of our men and women fighting overseas for our freedom, and we support the displaying of the American Flag to all that wish to fly it.," Campbell wrote. "The HOA Board of Directors sincerely apologizes to anyone that was offended concerning this incident."

Thank you, Heather, for sticking up for Old Glory, and for you and your husband's service to our great nation. You have our respect and admiration, now… when are you leaving for Parris Island?