Common Council committee votes 6-2 to have Milwaukee Arts Board analyze the ‘People’s Flag’

MILWAUKEE -- Known as the "People's Flag" of Milwaukee, the yellow, blue and white banner was brought before the Milwaukee Common Council's Steering and Rules Committee Thursday, July 19. While many in Milwaukee have already adopted this flag as their own, it hasn't been officially taken on by the city -- and it won't be anytime soon.

Robert Lentz, the proposed Milwaukee flag's designer calls it "a banner that we stand under."

Proposed Milwaukee flag

Current Milwaukee flag

Steve Kodis

"I took the sun rising and it's reflection, reflecting on our past, reflecting on those three broken stripes, representing the three original towns of Milwaukee," said Lentz.

Steve Kodis is leading the effort for Milwaukee to adopt the "People's Flag" and spoke before the committee on Thursday.

"The old flag represents Milwaukee when it was adopted. 1955. It doesn't really do much for us. That city is long gone and it's changing every day," said Kodis.

Some of the decision-makers disagreed with the idea that this flag promotes unity, pointing to the flag's sun, colored in white.

"I have significant segments of my district -- African American segments who were not included, do not support this, some are outright offended by the design and have expressed that sentiment to me," said Alderman Bob Bauman.

Reno flag

Robert Lentz

Alderwoman Milele Coggs said she's concerned because Reno, Nevada has just adopted a very similar flag -- a design Lentz says Reno copied from Milwaukee.

"Their flag has mountains on it. It has a star. The only similarity is that there's a circle in the middle and there's some lines on it," said Lentz.

The flag does have its fans though. Alderman Khalif Rainey wore a pin with the design on his lapel.

"To connect the citizens with the city and it's generated some sort of civic pride," said Rainey.

In a 6-2 vote, the committee decided to prolong the process and seek opinions from the Milwaukee Arts Board.

"It's great to see the flag flying throughout the community and I hope we see even more," said Lentz.

The committee voted to give the Milwaukee Arts Board until Dec. 31 to review the proposed flag and report back with their findings and opinions before a decision is made.