The thin blue line has found its way to San Jose—brazenly displayed in a city employee’s official email signature.
Barbara Gregory is an Analyst II, working in San Jose's Office of the City Clerk preparing analyses, slides and reports with recommendations to city officials, earning a salary of $94,787 in 2019, according to OpenPayrolls.
Gregory’s flag logo was first published in public documents in December 2020, but the Fly’s spies confirmed it was still in her email signature by June 11.
While some view the flag and “Blue Lives Matter” movement as support for law enforcement, others say it’s morphed into a symbol of white supremacy that evokes fear and mistrust, especially after the modified American flag was visible at the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.
Ironically, the flag is six lines above a customer service survey collecting concerns and experiences with specific staff by name, including Gregory. She declined to comment on the record for this story.
The thin blue line has gotten several local governments in trouble before.
A county in Oregon shelled out $100,000 after a Black employee filed a lawsuit over a flag hung in an office, arguing it dilutes and demeans the Black Lives Matter movement, comparing racial identities to chosen professions. The University of Wisconsin-Madison's police chief banned officers from using any form of the imagery—flags, pins, decals—because it was "co-opted" by extremists with "hateful ideologies.” A Minneapolis suburb issued an apology after the flag was flown at City Hall in recognition of National Police Week in May.
San Jose’s employee email policies ban “anything that may be construed as harassment or disparagement of others,” based on identifiers like race, color, and political beliefs. Employees must also have values that “honor diverse views and backgrounds” and “foster teamwork.”