Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Castro Merchants Contacting
SF Mayor On Rainbow Flag Lowering

While I was busy today emailing and telephoning San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's communications staffers, requesting that the mayor nudge the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro to lowering the rainbow flag they illegitimately control at Harvey Milk Plaza, my friend and colleague Bill Wilson was reaching out to the merchants' leader. That person is Terry Asten Bennett, who manages Cliff's Variety.

Wilson made her aware of the mayor's directive and she replied:

Thanks for the "heads up" on this. We had not been notified by the City. We will work starting tomorrow on trying to improve that line of communication. We're also working on clarifying the City's intent here, and on a mechanical issue with the Flag, for both of which we hope to have answers in the morning. 

Regards, Terry Asten Bennett, MUMC President

How sad is it that Supervisor Scott Wiener has not served as a conduit between Mayor Lee and MUMC, and helped make the business owners aware of the flag-lowering directive for the victims of the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin on Sunday. I would think Wiener would welcome the chance to serve as the bridge between the mayor's office and his constituents.

Thanks to Bill Wilson, activists have been that bridge in this instance and may help San Francisco's LGBT community join with the rest of the city and nation in flying community flags at half-mast out of respect.

It's laudable that she has changed her rigid position on the flag that she articulated to Matthew Bajko of the Bay Area Reporter in March when she assumed the top spot at MUMC:

"The MUMC board as a whole has worked diligently on the flagpole policy over the last year. I have no intention of changing what the board as a whole has agreed to," she told the B.A.R.

The current policy full of dissuasive arguments and an unnecessary high number of hurdles may be amended this week, I hope, to honor the Sikh victims killed by gun violence. How many presidential and mayoral proclamations will it take for MUMC to gain flexibility and meet community needs for equal access to the public flag at Market and Castro Streets?

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