Friday, September 19, 2014

SF Mayor Lee: 91-Pages of Palestinian Related Emails 
By Michael Petrelis

As a taxpayer, I requested that Mayor Ed Lee fly the Palestinian flag from the publicly-funded flagpole outside his office at City Hall overlooking Civic Center and the request was emailed to him and his top staffer on August 25th.

Despite many attempts to receive a confirmation from Mayor Lee, it never arrived so I filed a public records request for all emails related to Palestine and Gaza from August 25th forward.

On September 5th, the mayor's staffer for sunshine requests emailed a document containing 91-pages of emails and I knew not to get our hopes up for much, if anything, of relevance.

Sure enough, ninety-pages are all the emails ( I sent to Mayor Lee except for page number ninety which shows a our flag-flying request was forwarded by communications director Christine Falvey to Caitlin Jacobson of the mayor's Protocol Office with "FYI" included.

That's it. Three letters is all that was generated by Mayor Lee's staff in response to this simple request to raise the Palestinian flag for a few days. I noted in our request that I couldn't locate any public document about the process taxpayers should follow when making such requests to have equal access to the flagpole we paid for.

I asked the mayor to use this opportunity to finally develop a transparent process and, well, like our Palestinian flag request, all that generated from City Hall was radio silence.

Back on May 9th, San Francisco's mayor and Supervisor Scott Wiener were joined by Israel's consul general Andy David and our chief of protocol Charlotte Schultz and they collectively raised the flag of Israel (, and the consulate posted the photo below on their web site.

Btw, for two years now, in Paterson, New Jersey, the flag of Palestine has been raised at the local City Hall ( I suggest Mayor Lee look to this city for guidance on how to handle and agree to our request.

While I assuredly support Israel's right to exist and protect itself, I also vehemently opposed its latest war on the citizens of Gaza and the deadly intransigence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Thousands of Palestinian civilians were killed or maimed by Israeli bombs, the wanton destruction of homes, healthcare facilities and schools turned them into rubble and dust, and Israel does not wish to be held to account. This is unacceptable.

If San Francisco's City Hall can fly the Israeli flag, not to mention flags of sports teams and the LGBT rainbow flag, I fully expect for there to be a way to raise the Palestinian flag too.

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