Monday, December 16, 2013

BlackLight: Ammiano & Campos Mute No Castro Mandela Flag Honor


Sidney Brinkley is a longtime resident of the Castro and a black gay writer who operates the BlackLight Online site, and he is one to always speak his mind no matter whose toes he's stepping on. What's pissed him off recently is the collection of gay and straight politicians, and the Merchants of Upper Market Castro and the Bay Area Reporter.

Frankly, after all the polarizing and conservative legislative and community actions of the District 8 Supervisor that are greatly at odds with the progressive views of Tom Ammiano and David Campos, I didn't think I'd see the three of them agreeing on anything this year. Don't forget Cleve Jones is also fine with no flag honors for Mandela at Milk Plaza.

As Sidney points out, not one of them raised any objection to MUMC's refusal to pay respects to Mandela with lowering the rainbow flag. Yep, the Supervisor, Ammiano and Campos have no problems with how MUMC's bullies community activists who want equal access to historical public property.

I wonder how Ammiano and Campos can  go before progressive supporters, offering praise and love for Mandela's life of radical change and legacy of hope, while knowing that as the Castro Supervisor and MUMC were quite visibly using City property to dishonor Mandela, Ammiano and Campos chose silence instead of protest.

Let's give praise to Sidney for standing up and doing the right thing and calling out the powerful for their lack of backbone. Here are excerpts from his spot-on essay:

Nelson Mandela is gone. [...] On Wednesday morning, December 11th, San Francisco held its tribute to Mandela in the grand rotunda of San Francisco City Hall. An enormous photo of Mandela stood at the top of the ornate marble staircase and African Drummers played as hundreds of attendees took their seats. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee had ordered all flags on city property to fly at half-staff until sunset on Sunday, December 15th.

In his remarks to the audience the mayor spoke warmly of Mandela’s support for Gay Rights, his support for people with AIDS, and his battle against oppression. “San Francisco mourns as we have lost a friend and truly inspirational leader who never stopped fighting for equality,” he said.

However, Mayor Lee wasn’t being entirely truthful. Not all of San Francisco was in mourning - and he knew it, along with a number of other people in that room, in particular District 8 Supervisor [redacted].

To see for themselves all anyone had to do was take a walk up Market street to the heart of the Castro, Supervisor [redacted]'s domain. Not far at all from where everyone was gushing about how much they honored and respected Nelson Mandela. All along the route one would’ve seen flags standing at half-staff. Flags flying over private entities were lowered as well, in solidarity.

However, upon reaching the corner of Market and Castro, site of Harvey Milk Plaza, one would’ve seen the Rainbow Flag flapping in the wind from the top of the flag pole. How can this be? Did someone not get the memo?

In fact, someone “did” get the memo to lower the flag - they just chose to ignore it. That someone was the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC), an organization of Gay business owners with establishments in the Castro. [...]

While activists like Michael Pretrelis howled in protest, and concerned ordinary citizens signed petitions calling for the flag to be lowered, not a single Gay politician with ties to the Castro is on record as being opposed to MUMC’s blatant act of defiance and disrespect [bolding added].

Not Supervisor [redacted] not former Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Mark Leno, both now California Assembly members, and not Supervisor David Campos, who wants to move up the political ladder by replacing Ammiano who’s being termed out of office - and is eyeing a possible run for San Francisco mayor in 2015. [...]

As expected, the BAR was full of tribute to Mandela. In fact, editor Cynthia Laird was positively effusive in her praise for Mandela. However, the BAR did not do a “news” story on the flag issue, which by then had been raging for days, something Laird was well aware of because Petrelis had told her about it earlier in the week. Instead, as a concession of sorts, Laird printed a “letter to the editor” from Michael Petrelis. For the BAR, as far as MUMC was concerned, that was it. There would be no story. End of story.

Good job, Sidney. Check this out from Campos last week:

Yeah sure, whatever, David. Mandela's spirit was not living in Milk Plaza lately thanks to your fear of standing up the District 8 Supervisor.

Go along, to get along, Campos was quite happy to be part of the official City remembrance and made sure his Twitter followers knew how he felt. Campos had nothing to say about the failure of MUMC to show respect for Mandela.

1 comment:

Michael Strickland said...

What's really disgusting is that the Mandela celebration hosts were those gangsters Willie Brown, Jr., his lackey Ed Lee, and war criminal George Schultz. Jesus, is there no shame in associating with villains anymore?