The Pride flag will not fly over City Hall this week after the Stockton City Council neither approved nor rejected a measure to raise the LGBTQ+ symbol.

The council deadlocked with a 3-3 vote on the motion, with councilmember Susan Lenz absent. The tie vote effectively defeated the measure, at least temporarily. Council members unanimously approved reintroducing the subject on the agenda for next week’s meeting.

The multi-colored flag has flown over Stockton’s seat of government for the past four years during the month of June to commemorate Pride month. On Tuesday, Vice Mayor Kimberly Warmsley and council members Dan Wright and Brando Villapudua voted in favor of hoisting the flag for a week. Mayor Kevin Lincoln  and council members Michelle Padilla and Michael Blower voted against the item. 

Wright said he was disappointed by the vote.

“I was initially surprised, but maybe should not have been. There’s some craziness out there now, and I thought we had a stronger council that would ignore the national craziness,” Wright said. “The issue is not just the Pride flag. There’s other community flags to consider, and I don’t like the idea of raising some flags and not others.”

In 2019, the city created a policy regarding the ability to regulate which flags could be displayed on city flagpoles. Included were the city of Stockton flag, the flags of other nations or cities, or any commemorative flags, such as the Pride flag. During his comments, Mayor Kevin Lincoln focused not on the topic of Pride but instead on the city’s flag-flying policy. He said the current council needs to review the policy because it was adopted more than four years ago when other people were on the council, and it likely needs to be changed.

Attempts to contact Lincoln through his spokesperson on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Padilla stated her support for the LGBTQ+ community despite voting against the measure.

“Our city is suffering from crime and homelessness. And that’s where our focus needs to be,” Padilla said during the meeting. “I support Pride, I support what it represents. However, I cannot support the hanging of the flag.”

John Alita, a former assistant city manager of Stockton and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, expressed his disappointment in the vote.

“While I anticipated some members of the council not supporting it, I was surprised it failed,” Alita said. “I’m very surprised a city named the most diverse in the nation could not see the importance of this request.”

Last week, a similar request was made to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors to fly the same Pride flag at a county building in Stockton. It was likewise rejected.

Wright made the motion to put the question of flying the Pride flag back on the agenda for the June 20 council meeting, saying Lenz should have a chance to vote on the matter.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, it was incorrectly reported that Mayor Lincoln voted in favor of the motion to ply the Pride flag over city hall in the past.

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  1. Republican here. Also a Christian. What we used to be called conservative but now that defines a group so far to the right they might as well be on another planet. Another decade at least. 1930’s Germany for certain. Not shocked this council doesn’t have the strength to do what those SJ supes couldn’t do. Sad state of the city that we can’t acknowledge a group of our citizens that have been persecuted. This whataboutusism stinks of white privilege. Pride celebration isn’t a local phenomenon. It’s a recognized movement. No foul in flying that flag. It certainly doesn’t take away from anything else your body is supposedly doing to improve this city. Partisan politics at its finest. Shameful.

    1. This news is beyond disappointing. It is shameful. Small, rural towns all over our state are flying the pride for this month, but Stockton, with over 300,000 people, withholds this symbol of acceptance during Pride month. Shame on the city council!

  2. Absolutely sickening. And what BS reasons to vote it down.

    “We need to focus on crime and homelessness”. LOL. As if raising the flag for 7 days takes away from the city’s ability to deal with other issues.

    And the other council man who said he voted no because his gay friends don’t think the pride flag needed to be raised. Insanity.

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