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Minneapolis suburb's council drops Pledge of Allegiance

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (AP) — A Minneapolis suburb is dropping the Pledge of Allegiance from its council meetings in an attempt to be more inclusive to new residents and non-citizens.
The St. Louis Park City Council voted unanimously earlier this month to not require the recital of the pledge to the flag during its meetings. The measure will take effect July 15.
“Not everyone who does business with the city or has a conversation is a citizen,” said council member Anne Mavity, who sponsored the change. “They certainly don’t need to come into city council chambers and pledge their allegiance to our country in order to tell us what their input is about a sidewalk in front of their home.”
Council Member Tim Brausen said officials were concerned that reciting the pledge can intimidate newer residents, citing an increasingly polarized political climate and the national debate over federal immigration policies.
“I hope it’s not too controversial,” Brausen said. “Our community tends to be a very welcoming and increasingly diverse community, and we believe our citizens will understand.”
Roughly half of Minnesota’s cities already don’t require the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited at council meetings, Mavity said. That includes Minneapolis.
“I want to make sure that we are welcoming to everyone in our community, and so I just felt that was an unnecessary component to include every single week in our work,” she said.
St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano wasn’t present for the vote, but said he would have pushed to keep the pledge. He said there are more substantive ways to make the city more welcoming.
Resident Patti Carlson said she didn’t understand how the council could eliminate the pledge, which is part of their history. She said her grandparents wanted to be Americans when they immigrated to the United States.
“My fear for this council is that it’s all about image and not substance,” Carlson said.