Thursday, September 13, 2012

Castro Meeting Tonite:
Remove Milk Plaza Benches?

Just over two weeks ago, a meeting convened at the San Francisco gay community center by the Castro Benefits District to discuss activating Harvey Milk Plaza and the dominant item on the agenda was what to do about the large purple benches lining the north cement wall. My notes on the meeting are here.

As part of the follow up, the CBD regular monthly meeting tonight will address potentially modifying or removing the benches entirely. The agenda is posted here.

The CBD meeting starts at 6 pm, in the community room above the Bank of America located on Castro Street just off 18th Street.

The purple hard plastic benches are big enough for folks to fully stretch out upon and fall asleep. Indeed, many homeless folks do exactly that which upsets many Castro residents and business owners. At the same time, there are homeless people who roll out sleeping bags on the sidewalk of the plaza and camp out for a night or catch a nap.

Even if the benches are deleted from the plaza, we're still going to have homeless people hanging out and sleeping there.

It's my hope, as I've stated endlessly in the past, that the CBD and other components of Castro Inc start a serious dialogue about bringing people to Milk Plaza. Every attempt to activate the public space through use of the rainbow flag, and bring some vibrancy to the plaza, in the past two years have been rejected by the Merchants of Upper Market Castro.

Wish I knew what it would take for Castro Inc leaders to understand the plaza won't be fully activated until the LGBT public is allowed full use of the entire piece of city property and that means the rainbow flag and pole. Large parts of the community can't take "ownership" of the plaza because of MUMC's continuing policy of rejecting every request to use the flag for memorial events.

Hope to see you at the meeting!

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