Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Milk Club Calls for Public Control
of Castro's Rainbow Flag

Last night was the general membership meeting of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club at the Women's Building on 18th Street in the Mission, and it was packed because folks were voting on whom to endorse in the November races for mayor, district attorney and sheriff. Every seat was occupied and dozens lined the sides and back of the room.

I was there to use public comment time to educate everyone about the campaigns to reclaim the enormous rainbow flag and pole at Harvey Milk Plaza for the public, and to rid public sidewalks of the empty news racks cluttering up the Castro. As I gave a thumbnail sketch of the matters, a smattering of applause went up because club members approved of my basic demand: public space controlled by the public.

One of the two club leaders running the meeting, either Stephany Ashley or David Waggoner, I can't remember which, called on longtime trans and labor leader Gabriel Haaland after I sat down.

Gabriel said it was not enough just to listen to my presentation, but that he wanted the club to go on the record calling for genuine community/public control of the incredibly important piece of city-owned real estate at Market and Castro Streets.

He made a motion asking the club to support efforts to return control of the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza to the public, and that the public and LGBT community, not just the private Merchants of Upper Market/Castro, should decide when the flag flies at half-mast or another flag is hoisted.

Stephany asked if anyone in the crowd had anything to say, pro or con, about the motion and no one raised a hand to speak. However, a few people near me whispered "you troublemaker" as they smiled at me.

The motion was restated by Gabriel, then all those in favor were asked to raise their pink post-its, which were given to all voting members of the political club, and since I was in the front row I had to turn around to see who was voting for the motion and too many hands with pink slips to count were raised high in the steamy room.

There were no votes against and no abstentions, so the motion easily passed and hearty clapping filled the room, as I said thank you to Gabriel and the club members for their important support.

I believe it's safe to say that if Harvey Milk were alive today, he would totally endorse a public process governing the rainbow flag in the heart of the gayborhood of America's gayest city. There is no way, unless he forgot his ideals, that he would embrace the current private MUMC ruling over the flag.

Oh, in other club news, they announced today who won their endorsements last night and their positions on propositions. From the club:

With nearly 200 ballots cast at our August General Membership meeting, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club is proud to make the following endorsements:
John Avalos for Mayor

David Onek #1 for DA, Sharmin Bock #2 for DA

Ross Mirkarimi for Sheriff

Ballot Measures:

Yes on A
Yes on B
no position on C
No on D
No on E
No on F
Yes on G
No on H

No comments: