Monday, January 30, 2012

Castro Flagpole Zap at Warner Plaza;
Feb 4 @ 2 PM: Leno,Wiener, Dufty

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the controversy surrounding the public rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza. Last January 26, gay Ugandan activist David Kato was brutally and senselessly murdered in Kampala and as part of a global call to action, Gary Virginia and I organized a vigil the first week of February and requested that the flag be lowered at half-mast.

This simple request to the illegitimate holders of the key to the flagpole's control box, the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro, ignited a debate over why this private group has domain over an incredibly important piece of public space.

The flag was eventually lowered for Kato, but it took overcoming unnecessary hurdles and an extreme uncooperative nature on the part of Steve Adams, the president of MUMC and the local Sterling Bank.

On Saturday, February 4 starting at 2 PM, many of the politicians, merchants and civic organizations that have adamantly refused to hold any public discussion over the one-year and counting flagpole controversy, will be at Jane Warner Plaza.

At this public event, a gaggle of straight and gay elites will be unveiling a plaque honoring the life and work of the late policewoman and lesbian activist Jane Warner. According to the Bay Area Reporter, gay career politicians Mark Leno, Scott Wiener and Bevan Dufty will be officiating. They'll also be mouthing off about how great they are. Any time one of them speaks, it always is with the intent of advancing themselves and the unveiling on Saturday is the perfect opportunity to zap them with questions over the flag.

Of course, not one of them is known for holding regular town halls, which would be a more perfect venue to discuss issues like the flag, but because the pols don't democratically engage voices of protest must be raised in the (ever-dwindling) public space.

Leno, Wiener and Dufty together don't make up even half of the greatness of Harvey Milk, their predecessor as the Castro's supervisor. Unlike these three who have buried their heads in the sand on the flag, Harvey would be bringing all factions together and creating a solution.

Since this is the Castro, and we are talking about one of the two plazas that may soon come under additional city restrictions because of polarizing legislation from Wiener, where he held no community meetings of his own open to all to discuss the proposal before introducing it, and the legislation is expected to pass the full board tomorrow, I expect I won't be the only activist there.

If the three amigos were smart, they'd organize for a public comment and general assembly, and not stage just another photo-op for themselves and only they get to talk. Lemme know when gay democracy breaks out in the Castro.

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