A few weeks earlier, Mr. Demski received warm messages after area media (including the LA Times, Beachcomber, LBReport.com andPT) reported he was in failing health.
Mr. Demski allowed us to include his email address in our coverage and was pleased by email he received. [Thank you, LBReport.com readers.]
When we visited him on January 5, Mr. Demski told us he was planning additional flag waving appearances, including a possible journey to the Salt Lake City Olympics.
In 1981, a City Hall staffer claimed Demski needed a permit because his giant flag pole included shiny lettering saying "The Pole," making it a sign (which requires a permit). Demski refused and stared City Hall down. City Hall could have prosecuted him for a misdemeanor, potentially carrying a $500 fine and six months in jail, but the brouhaha ended when the City Council changed the law to exempt flag poles from the city's sign ordinance.
In 1988, LB City Hall did prosecute Mr. Demski, charging he had committed a crime by refusing to stop flying his giant flag after 10 p.m. City Hall acted after roughly two dozen neighbors complained over the flag's flapping noise; City Hall claimed the resulting decibels violated LB's noise ordinance and ordered Demski to lower the flag at night or face prosecution.
The Press-Telegram editorialized against Demski: "The order is reasonable. It simply requires Demski to follow normal protocol in handling the American flag -- and to demonstrate some courtesy toward his neighbors."
Mr. Demski refused to accept City Hall's decree and was charged with seven misdemeanor counts that could have brought a maximum of three and a half years in jail and $7,875 in fines. The case made national news. A judge eventually threw out City Hall's complaint against Demski.
Mr. Demski reacted by running for Mayor. Three times. In one Mayoral candidate debate, Demski appeared with a squawking pet parrot on his shoulder.
Despite his health, Mr. Demski travelled to New York and "Ground Zero" at the former World Trade Center. He was proud that one of his flags flew from a crane helping in the recovery effort.
Just days before his death, LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill had listed Mr. Demski as among her most enduring memories of 2001:
"The Ski Demskis of the city, with his flag and his passionate patriotism," as her voice trailed off. Applause from LB's establishment filled the room.
And in what must be one of the more unique medical descriptions in the annals of the L.A. County Coroner's office, its investigator's narrative indicates the body "appears to be that of an adult, Caucasian, male with numerous colorful tattoos all over the body. Most of which are of the American flag..."