BAR: Harvey Milk Plaza
Renamed MUMC Plaza
Over at the Bay Area Reporter's blog, editor Cynthia Laird today posted this remarkable story that deserves widespread attention:
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill from District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener changing the name of Harvey Milk Plaza to MUMC Plaza, to better reflect the reality of who actually rules the plaza - the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro.
The bill also requires an enormous dollar sign flag to always fly under the rainbow flag at MUMC Plaza's flag pole, which is now called the Official Steve Adams Flag Pole, in honor of the president of the merchants group.
When introducing his bill, Wiener said that as "someone who served on the board of the Human Rights Campaign for a decade, I am happy to push the agenda of the gay merchants because they donated big bucks to my campaign and HRC. I've no interest in working with streets activists who want to keep the plaza's name as is and free to all for demonstrations."
After the Supervisors' all voted in favor of the renaming, Gloria Chan of the Department of Public Works issued the following statement: "The 'p' in our name is really stands for private and we are pleased MUMC, a private group we have long ceded control of the plaza to, will now make all decisions about who gets to use MUMC Plaza."
Speaking on behalf of MUMC, president Steve Adams was reached inside the vault at the Sterling Bank branch in the Castro where he is the manager. "For years we've had pesky, persistent political activists using our plaza for rallies that don't charge participants user fees," said Adams. "With the control queens of MUMC formally in charge of the plaza, we will now require four-figure fees of any activist who wants to use MUMC Plaza. The political messages of all rallies must also first be approved by me."
The publisher of the Bay Area Reporter, Thomas E. Horn, who additionally serves as the president of the Bob A. Ross Foundation, announced after the Supervisors' vote that the foundation will pay for new signage at the subway entrance of MUMC Plaza and plaques at street level. All signs and plaques will prominently note the generosity of the BAR Foundation.
Out gay state Senator Mark Leno was pleased with the name change. "The businesses that comprise MUMC have funded my past campaigns and since I want their dollars and votes when I run for Congress after Rep. Nancy Pelosi retires, I embrace this renaming," Leno stated. "I've issued a proclamation heralding this transformation that benefits my donors."
Former Castro district Supervisor and current candidate for Mayor Bevan Dufty echoed Leno's words, and added, "Sounds like a back room deal was struck between Scott Wiener and MUMC, and everyone knows I love back rooms arrangements, sexually and politically speaking."
Before he stepped down as executive director of Equality California to retire to his luxurious estate in Palm Spring, Geoff Kors weighed in on MUMC Plaza. "We're pleased no public hearings were held giving the full spectrum of the community a chance to have a say about this terrific change. Open meetings are dangerous and threatening to the Gay Inc status quo, plus, MUMC members are big donors to EQCA," said Kors.
The name change is so popular even Cleve Jones, who is the gatekeeper on anything to do with Harvey Milk, has endorsed the plaza's renaming. Jones told the BAR, "I've profited handsomely off of Harvey's name for decades and have a nice savings account, so I can afford to share some of the Milk profiteering with MUMC. Besides, I received a consulting fee from them securing my approval."
The BAR tried to find someone opposed to turning Milk Plaza into MUMC Plaza, eventually locating Tommi Avicolli Mecca, an affordable housing gadfly of the Castro who never takes out full-page ads in the BAR and can't afford to attend HRC or EQCA award show galas. Because of space limitations, we can include only a short quote from him. "It stinks," he said.
Milk Plaza will officially become MUMC Plaza on May 22, Harvey Milk Day, at a red-carpet, velvet rope ceremony where the tickets will cost $250 per person.