Sunday, August 12, 2012

SF Flags at Half-Mast for Educator;
No Lowering for Sister Boom Boom

A longtime member of the City College of San Francisco's board of trustees, Milton Marks III, passed away on Thursday after a valiant fight against brain cancer. I liked Marks' platform when he ran for a trustee slot and happily cast my vote for him twice.

Out of respect to his survivors, and his years of dedication and volunteerism on behalf of City College students and faculty, something simple would be done. The school's public information officer "said the flags of the college will be lowered to half-staff in honor of Marks", according to a story in today's San Francisco Examiner by Dan Schreiber.

Compare the quickness and ease of those flags being lowered on city property with what didn't happen this week in the Castro district, due to the pathological opposition of Supervisor Scott Wiener and the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro.

First, the rainbow flag on city grounds at Harvey Milk Plaza flew at full-mast, despite a proclamation from President Barack Obama ordering flag-lowerings in sympathy with the Sikh community of Wisconsin after last week's tragic gun violence and deaths. There was also an order from Mayor Ed Lee "that flags on all City grounds and buildings be flown at half-staff until sunset, August 10, 2012."

In a clear sign of disrespect to the Sikh community, President Obama and Mayor Lee, Wiener and MUMC refused to lower the LGBT community flag at Market and Castro Streets.

Second, the Harvey Milk Plaza flag was not flown at half-mast as a sign of respect and honor for Jack Fertig, alias Sister Boom Boom. Like many LGBT people in these parts, I knew and admired Fertig over the years in his many incarnations. I was saddened to read Liz Highleyman's story/obituary in the Bay Area Reporter about Sister Boom Boom dying last Sunday after a long struggle with liver cancer.

Did Wiener and MUMC bother to honor Fertig with a simple and powerful rainbow flag lowering? Of course they didn't. They claim it's such a burden to insert a key into a control and spend five minutes lowering the flag, and that tourists would be upset seeing it at half-mast.

It's revolting the endless excuses Wiener and MUMC cite for retaining their illegitimate control of this important piece of public property and why they can't work with grassroots activists to use the rainbow flag to honor our dead and presidential and mayoral proclamations.

When will Wiener and MUMC end their unreasonable refusal to allow the local LGBT community control of _our_ public property? How many of us have to die and presidential and mayoral proclamations decreed before this abhorrent situation changes?

1 comment:

Stephen R. Stapleton, Sacramento, CA said...

I sit here in shock. I didn't know Sister Boom Boom had passed on. What a loss. He seemed like the very soul of San Francisco, at times. His puppet show in the early 80s saved my life (it was about wearing a condom to protect oneself from GRID -- gay related immuno-deficiency, later to be called AIDS).

Sister, where ever you are, I know that place is better for you being there and San Francisco all the poorer to lose you.