San Anselmo Mayor Ford Greene doesn’t care for President Trump, so he made the unilateral decision to ditch the Pledge of Allegiance before city council meetings as a demonstration of defiance.
Greene didn’t tell any fellow council members about the change, and it was about five minutes into the first meeting of 2020 before anyone noticed there was no pledge.
“Did we not pledge allegiance to the flag tonight?” Councilman Brian Colbert asked Greene at the Jan. 14 meeting, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
“No we didn’t,” Greene said. “As mayor I made the decision not to proceed with the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. That was a decision I made.”
Greene explained that his decision “is intended to demonstrate his continuing disdain for President Donald Trump,” the same man who inspired him to take a knee during the pledge at an October 2017 event and every meeting and event since. For 2020, he decided to join other municipal boards in California and just ditch the pledge entirely, the Journal reports.
“For my taste, it’s a little too rote an action. It smacks too much of mindless obedience in a time when independent thinking and independent municipal action is at a premium because there is so little happening on a federal level.
“Over the course of the last two years, as I’ve been taking a knee, I turn around and look at everybody,” he said. “People’s hearts don’t really seem to be in it. They’re just doing something out of custom. What’s the point?”
Greene’s fellow council members think his excuses are baloney and demanded to have a public discussion about the move.
Greene’s decision to take a knee during the pledge in 2017 drew media attention and created an opportunity for him to talk about how much he hates President Trump. Greene also offered a list of grievances at the time, though none of his fellow council members bothered to ask him what he was protesting.
“I can’t stand the destruction that Donald Trump is wreaking on our country,” Green, a criminal defense attorney, told KPIX in 2017.
Greene said he opposes Trump’s tax reform, travel ban, “eliminating net neutrality,” and “his use of the office of the presidency for his own personal selfish business gains,” among other things.
Greene took a knee for every pledge for two months before a newspaper reporter asked him what his deal was.
“Nobody asked,” he said.
Fellow San Anselmo council members may not have cared about Greene’s grandstanding, but several told the Journal the mayor crossed the line when he trashed the pledge.
Colbert said he believes “the community is going to want the Pledge of Allegiance without a doubt.”
“I think Ford handled it about as poorly as it could be handled,” he said. “He apparently tried to sneak through removing the Pledge of Allegiance. It wasn’t brought up for council discussion, and I’m not aware of any broad conversation which Ford initiated within the community. That’s not the way you handle these things.”
“My father is a veteran,” Colbert said. “I respect all the men and women that have served our country in the military. I always take time whenever I see someone who has been the service to say, ‘Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice.’”
Councilman Burdo said “to make the decision on behalf of all the council members and residents of San Anselmo that made it seem improper.”
The pledge “means something different to everybody,” Burdo told the Journal. “People who have served in the military or law enforcement see it very differently.”
Council John Wright also told the Journal “I don’t believe this should be the mayor’s decision alone.”
All of the city council members except Councilwoman Alexis Fineman voted to schedule a discussion about the pledge removal for the council’s Feb. 11 meeting.