Wednesday, October 17, 2012

HRC Emails: Secret MUMC/Wiener
Castro Meeting Over Trans Flag

For the nearly two-years of various requests from gay men to the Merchants of Upper Market Castro to modify the public rainbow flag and pole at Harvey Milk Plaza, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has ignored the controversies.

But last week, the MUMC insulting rejection letter to a trans leader denying use of the flag pole for Transgender Day of Remembrance generating renewed controversy, the transgender executive director of the HRC, Theresa Sparks, got involved. One of the actions she undertook was an invitation-only meeting with Terry Bennett of MUMC and politician Scott Wiener.

Sparks told me in a phone conversation yesterday that the meeting was part of her confidential investigation into whether there was a human rights violation at issue with the MUMC rejection. In that chat and a voice mail message, Sparks revealed many details even though she claims this is all confidential.

It's troubling that the public flag on public property has yet to be the subject of a single open public meeting in the Castro. So much for TRANSparency.

As you see in the copy of emails below, a secret meeting was held on Monday at Cliff's Variety Store. I would not have a problem with that, if there were a meeting for the public to attend about all of this controversy.

I filed a public records request for all of her emails about the flag flap and here is the HRC reply:

On or about October 12, 2012, you contacted HRC with a verbal complaint about Merchants of Upper Market Castro (MUMC)’s refusal to fly the transgender flag in place of the existing rainbow flag. In response, HRC agreed to meet with MUMC. 

As of today, October 16, 2012, HRC, has not yet made a final determination with regard to your complaint. Please be advised that while a complaint is active, the contents of the complaint filed are not public record. Disclosing the contents would affect the integrity of our investigation before we have weighed all of the evidence and made a determination. 

Accordingly, HRC is hereby providing you with certain items responsive to your request but which will not affect the integrity of HRC’s investigation of your complaint. 

Specifically, please find attached: 

1) A copy of Theresa Sparks’ calendar for October 2012; and 

2) A redacted copy of all emails exchanged to date between HRC staff and various parties in connection with your complaint. 

Once HRC has completed its investigation, you may resubmit your request to HRC. At that time, HRC will be able to provide you with all non-privileged and non-confidential statements exchanged in these emails and any other documents that may exist at the time of your subsequent request. 

And here are the two pages of redacted emails:

The battle for public discussion about the public flag continues, along with efforts to hold MUMC accountable for their wildly inconsistent rules and stewardship of the flagpole at Milk Plaza.

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