Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Saw at SF Dems
First Post-Primary Meeting

(Public comment speakers tonight at the Milton Marks office building. Credit: Luke A. Thomas, Fog City Journal.)

Here are random notes from tonight's Democratic County Central Committee that took place at the State Bldg on Golden Gate Avenue.

1. I wore a 5x3 rainbow flag taped around my neck, leaving it to trail in the wind as I swished around the lower lobby auditorium, where the meeting transpired. Walked in just as John Burton was starting to swear in all the 30-plus members of the new DCCC folks, for the first meeting since the June primary election.

On the stage were five members of the Board of Supes out of the six who are DCCC members, along with all the other appointed and elected members and it was a crowd to be sure.

Leslie Katz was the temporary chair who ran the first part of the meeting, which included public comment and also heard DCCC members comment on the agenda or suggest a change or two to it. The list of members from before the June election is here: . Many of those folks are still on the DCCC and the official list of new members should be up on the SF Dems site soon enough, now that they and returning members were deputized by Burton to begin party business.

2. A number of bloggers, leaders of assorted local Dem clubs, Dem dignitaries, the DA George Gascon and good government folks were in the audience, numbering at least 50. Tom Ammiano's aide Kimberly Alvarenga and her wife Linette were present with their new-born baby, bawling away like a Democrat in training. Luke Thomas of Fog City Journal was darting in front of the stage and on the sides of the auditorium, snapping pix.

3. The first items of business were housekeeping things, including questions about the Brown Act provisions that now apply to the DCCC because of the number of BOS members, and also does the Brown Act apply when a Supervisor sends a proxy to the DCCC meeting.

On that point, Supe David Campos said he had consulted with Sup. Scott "Not Harvey Milk" Wiener and they were in agreement to err on the side of adhering to more times and for more reasons on when Brown Act is in effect.

4. Public comment allowed for two-minutes per speaker and others spoke about party business, reelecting Obama in the fall, what their local club was doing for get out the vote, or offering best wishes to the DCCC now that June election is over.

My comments were terse, as I stood with the panel to my left and the public to my right, studded with silences after dramatically stating the facts mentioned in my flier. Stressed that I will return to the DCCC with a resolution calling for lowering the Castro rainbow flag. My final 15 seconds were used for a moment of silence and everyone was silent int that room.

Many panel members had pained looks, I believe because of emotions over the Aurora carnage, and held their heads up. Wiener cast his eyes downward and was expressionless. I didn't name him once verbally as a culprit behind the disrespect of the Castro flag not coming down. That was done in the handbill I gave the members.

The woman who spoke after me, whose name I didn't hear, started off thanking me for my presentation and temp chair Katz gently interrupted her to assure me that the meeting tonight would adjourn in memory of the Colorado victims. There was no question from any member of the DCCC about how they would adjourn.

5. Each DCCC member got a handbill on pink paper from with this text: In response to President Obama’s proclamation on Friday to fly all American flags on U.S. government property at half-staff until sundown on July 25, to honor the dead killed in the Aurora movie theater massacre, our state and city governments complied with his wishes. The War Memorial Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall also lowered their flags.

Down in San Diego, where a newly-installed 65-foot flagpole flies the rainbow flag in the heart of that city’s LGBT community, the flag was lowered. Out of respect for the grieving Aurora community and because of the president’s proclamation, San Diego’s LGBT community proudly displayed visual solidarity and patriotism.

Sadly, the public’s rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco was not lowered, showing tremendous disrespect for the dead in Aurora and our president. We all know that if Harvey were alive today, he would have lowered the rainbow flag. 

Shame on the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro and Scott Wiener, for again refusing to lower the Castro’s rainbow flag.

When does the public regain control of the rainbow flag on public property at Harvey Milk Plaza?

6. My advice to all sunshine and rainbow flag advocates is get yourself to the next DCCC and let the powerbrokers on it, and the proxies for the likes of Feinstein, Pelosi, Speier and Leno, and everyone in the audience hear what you have to say. It's time to use public comment at the Democratic Party meetings to our advantage.

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