A disgruntled California man has demanded the mayor of Burlingame remove the many yellow ribbons displayed on a major retail thoroughfare and to apologize to “any person who may have been offended by his illegal actions,” reports the San Mateo Daily Journal.

Mayor Mike Coffey had decided the city would not enforce an ordinance against private displays on public property when a woman asked if she could put ribbons on Burlingame Avenue. Now that nearly every tree and lamppost has a yellow ribbon, Seth Yatovitz, a resident of Palo Alto, wants the city to take them down, calling them “offensive ribbons.”

Yellow ribbons spark debate (photo: Michelle Durand, San Mateo Daily Journal)

According to the paper, Coffey couldn’t imagine anyone complaining about the town’s residents showing support for U.S. troops in Iraq.

“Clearly there are many laws on our books that are enforced when called to our attention, but we don’t have the resources to enforce all the laws we have until somebody brings it up,” City Manager Jim Nantell told the Daily Journal.

Even though Yatovitz is not a resident of Burlingame, he has the right to object, said Nantell.

In his complaint to the city, Yatovitz mentioned his belief that the soldiers involved in the Iraq theater are actually criminals.

“I find the yellow ribbons on city property offensive to my senses, as they are posted in support of violators of international law. I do support our troops that are not involved in illegal activity,” Yatovitz wrote to the council.

If his demand is not heeded, according to the report, Yatovitz will begin a boycott of Burlingame businesses and possibly file a lawsuit.

“I’m trying to put pressure on the city targeting their tax base. It’s not aimed at the businesses and I have no animosity towards the businesses,” Yatovitz said.

Some businesspeople will not tolerate the city removing the ribbons.

“We are at war and somebody wants to remove the ribbon? I think it’s over my dead body if he wants to remove it,” said Ashok Patel, owner of the Burlingame Smoke Shop, according to the report.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the Fieldsboro, N.J., borough council recently voted to ban yellow ribbons from public property after a businessowner placed a ribbon on the official borough welcome sign and one nearby.

The Burlingame City Council will take up the issue at Monday’s council meeting.

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