Reclaim Castro's Public Rainbow Flag
Supervisor John Avalos and former supervisor Bevan Dufty may occupy different points on the San Francisco political spectrum, but there is one area where they have much in common. Both men promised in writing to work on reclaiming the iconic rainbow flagpole that supposedly belongs to the public at Harvey Milk Plaza.
This is what Avalos wrote to me at the end of September:
Several months ago, I said that I am interested in reclaiming public space at the plaza. My staff has been stonewalled in this effort ... After the election in whatever capacity I serve, you have my commitment to bring people to the table to share views and hopefully work out more flexible use of the public space at the plaza.
Despite seeing him at his campaign office a few days after the election, and hearing with my own big ears from Avalos to contact him at his City Hall office, which I did via telephone and email, because he would keep his promise, it's a month later and Avalos and his staff have not contacted me. If they've done anything to keep his commitment, I'm not aware of it.
With conservative Supervisor Scott Wiener proposing sweeping changes at Harvey Milk Plaza, now would be an ideal time for Avalos to step up to the plate and finally make good on his promise. I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen, but if Avalos find his backbone on the flag issue, I'll be the first to laud him.
Also in September, Dufty shared this written promise with me:
Thanks for entreating me to become involved in the issue around control of the Rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza. ... After November 8th I will revisit the situation.
After receiving that note, my activist colleague Bill Wilson and met with Dufty at his campaign office and he told both of us to our faces that once the election was over, he'd meet with us and other flagpole activists. Dufty he'd give us the full behind-the-scenes machinations over the rainbow and work to make it more community-controlled.
In early November, via emails and phone chats, Dufty reiterated his promises, and he's not kept them. He's not replying to my emails anymore. So much for Dufty's hot air.
With Dufty, I always thought he'd find a way to wiggle out of his commitment, what with him needing the financial and political support of the bully who now single-handed controls the flagpole, Steve Adams, the VP of Sterling Bank and head of the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro. Adams endorsed Dufty and MUMC ran ads for his campaign.
My sense is that Dufty knew he wouldn't keep his promises after he lost the election, but he said what he did just to keep me out of his hair.
However, I expected Avalos to be a different kind of San Francisco politician, what with his progressive beliefs and all. Sorry to say this, Avalos is just one more politician who talks a great line when running for office, and when it comes time to deliver on a promise disappears into the woodwork.
Avalos the progressive and Dufty the moderate. On the matter of returning the public's rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza back to the at-large lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgeneder community and general public, they both have not kept their word. Political b.s. as usual in Ess Eff.