Friday, February 03, 2012

Rules for Castro Rainbow Flag
Coming Soon from Merchants Group?

(Yours truly at the February 2 MUMC meeting. To my left is Matthew Bajko of the BAR. Credit: Bill Wilson.)

Yesterday morning was the monthly meeting of the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro, held at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center, and I attended to observe the group in action. Some of the businesspeople and civic leaders present welcomed me with smiles and approving nods.

Bill Wilson, longtime community photographer and my colleague in the push to bring transparency and a modicum of public input and control over the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza, was also there. At one point, I had to leave and use the bathroom, and Wilson later emailed about what transpired during my absence with the president of MUMC.

Wilson wrote, “After you left Steve Adams came over to me and said that the process for requesting the rainbow flag to be lowered would be on the website within a week and a half. In November Steve told me that they were aiming for December 1 as the date it would be on the MUMC website. Since he has told me the same thing many times with just the date of the appearance on the website being the only thing that changes, I am at the point where I only want to hear that it is up. Seeing is believing and I’m tired of excuses.”

For anyone who knows Wilson, they know he is quite a patient activist always trying to see the good and positive in everyone he crosses paths with. So it says a lot that he is over being repeatedly told that MUMC is just about to finally make their rules for community use of the flagpole, which is on municipal property, transparent and published on their site.

Once the meeting was finished, I stood outside the rec center's gate and distributed a handbill to MUMC members who, except for a few, were reacted positively to my pitch that there be community discussion regarding the flag. My flyer consisted of an excerpt from a December Bay Area Reporter calling on the merchants to develop written rules for the flagpole or be prepared for criticism.

Will MUMC's leadership heed the strong desires of activists, some merchants and other Castro stakeholders, and the urging of the BAR to bring the controversy, now in its second year, to an end? Can they start a public debate about the flag, the need for written regulations and an open process that fosters equal access to an important piece of historic public space?

I sure hope that in less than two weeks, the promise of MUMC's president to Wilson and the community is kept and that we will see the rules published on their site.

No comments: