The only time I wear a hat is when I’m chasing gophers on a golf course by myÂ wife’s houseÂ in Florida.
Rex Rolfing last night asked a Vietnam Marine Corp Veteran, William Mourer, to remove his MIA/POW memorial baseball cap before addressing the council during public input. The vet refused at first explaining the purpose of the hat was to memorialize veterans. Rex of course (who I believe IS NOT a veteran) brought up the death of his son while serving in Iraq (which I felt was in poor taste) in a way saying his son’s sacrifice was greater than this veterans.
After a tit for tat, the veteran obliged, but he was NOT happy about it. When he was finished with his comments (another story about how the SFPD isn’t really doing their job when it comes to detective work and investigating crime-BTW, where is the Tuthill Ghost?) he quickly put his hat back on and gave one of the dirtiest looks I have ever seen to Rex.
I was actually surprised the veteran didn’t go up and, well, you know. Good thing the doggy fence is there for Rex’s protection. I guess I would have responded to Rex, â€œMr. Rolfing, if you want me to remove my hat, you are sure welcome to come down here and remove it yourself, otherwise, it is staying on my head.â€
Rex has asked me in the past to remove my hat, and I also obliged, he claims â€˜Decorum’. Well guess what â€“ no such rule in Roberts Rules of Order exists, the closest thing is that the CHAIR (which in this case would be the mayor) can â€˜ask’ someone to remove their hat if the hat is causing disorder and if they don’t he can either tell them they cannot speak or not, which would be very bizarre considering NO rules are being broken and wearing a hat is hardly disorderly, especially one that memorializes veterans WORN by a veteran. If Rolfing would like someone to remove their hat, he has to get that permission from the chair. And like I said, there is still nothing stopping anyone from wearing a hat while addressing the council.
I have read Robert Rules of order and the Board of Supervisors by-laws and I cannot find anywhere were it says you must remove your headgear in order to make a comment at the Board of Supervisors meeting.
So instead of just researching Roberts Rules, I also decided to delve into other aspects of when and where it is appropriate to wear a hat. Obviously, we are all not living in 1952 like Rex Rolfing, and etiquette has changed over the years.
In Public Places: You may wear a hat indoors (yehâ€¦ even a baseball cap if you absolutely must) in public buildings, such as airports, public lobbies, and crowded public elevators.
As I view this, Carnegie Hall is a â€˜very’ public place, and Roberts Rules aside, there is really nothing in etiquette saying you should remove your hat in a public place (except for invocation and pledge of alliegance).
People in Uniform: People in the military, Boy Scouts, police and people in other uniformed organizations keep their hats on during â€œfull dress.â€ Many other interesting regulations about hat wearing in the military exist, so hat etiquette is a required course in the military.
I haven’t looked into this totally, but I can tell you that it is very common practice for veterans to wear hats during public events. Just have lunch at the VFW some day, you would be hard pressed to find someone NOT wearing either a uniform vet hat or memorial baseball cap.
So was councilor Rolfing wrong in asking this veteran to remove his hat? I think so. First, because nothing prohibits hat wearing in Roberts Rules, it is okay to wear hats in public places and last but not least this man was a veteran wearing a memorial hat, oh and then there is that pesky 1st Amendment.
Is an apology in order? I guess that is up to Rex, because I also couldn’t find anything in Roberts Rules about elected officials apologizing to constituents after acting like a jackass.