Saturday, October 13, 2012

MUMC's Straight Prez:
2nd Flagpole Coming to Milk Plaza?

How many cockamamie obfuscations and lies and poor arguments can Terry Bennett, pictured, the straight woman who is president of the Merchants of Upper Market Castro and general manager of Cliff's Variety Store, spin out of thin air to retain her grip on control of the public LGBT pride flag on city grounds at Harvey Milk Plaza? Let's go over some of her latest b.s., as posted on Don Romesburg's Facebook page.

Terry alleges the following:

It was mentioned to me by a reporter, that there is discussion of erecting a second flag pole for exactly that purpose, possibly at the time that Harvey Milk Plaza is remodeled. I don't know whose steward-ship that flagpole would be under, but I do know that the insurance, maintenance of the poles and replacement of flags would require a tremendous amount of fundraising to maintain.

As with so much to do with MUMC's sole control of the flag, basic info is omitted. What's the name of the reporter passing on the claim of a discussion? Who is having that discussion and where is it taking place?

FYI, the remodeling of the plaza is nothing more than a pipe-dream due to municipal budgetary constraints.

Terry says there's much money needed to maintain the pole and flag. Whatever. Let's see hard copies of original bills and fees paid in the past 3-5 years by MUMC for maintenance. Once we know what the real expenses are, community discussion can take place about following San Diego's example of grassroots and merchant fundraising to collectively steward the Milk Plaza flagpole.

Over the years, MUMC has made many claims that don't bear up under scrutiny or they haven't produced evidence to back up their allegations.

For example, MUMC used to say at least twenty flag lowering requests came in monthly from around the world. They first said this when there was no info on the MUMC site saying they controlled the flag, forget about info to contact them to make a request. So, how did the alleged requesters in Kiev or Kampala know to reach out to MUMC?

MUMC, of course, never showed us the requests burdening their in-boxes.

Second example, MUMC claimed a written agreement with the Department of Public Works granting them sole and perpetual control of this important chunk of city property. My numerous public records requests to DPW last year produced no such agreement on paper or in email format.

And now we have MUMC's heterosexual president floating the bogus idea that a second flag pole could be the answer to the almost two-year controversy over the Milk Plaza flag. Just goes to show how uninterested Terry Bennett and MUMC are to use the current public flag pole to unite us.

Let's close with Don Romesburg's response to Terry's refusal to open up community dialogue about raising the Trans Pride flag on November 20:

Terry, thanks so much for the logistical perspective on the issue. It helps bring context to how MUMC could have arrived at a decision that, on its face, seems terribly misguided. Since MUMC certainly does not want to be seen as indifferent to the national day of recognition for the many thousands we have lost to anti-trans violence over the years, I'm wondering if the organization might propose a solution that moves us forward. 

Not flying the flag is a further symbolic marginalization of trans people and own community remembrance of their loss as something that matters and must be honored--I'm sure that kind of marginalization isn't something MUMC wants to be associated with. Flying the flag (any flag, it seems) at half-mast isn't prudent. 

I encourage MUMC to step into this leadership opportunity and find a course forward that allows for an honorable solution. Suggestions?

Let's see if Terry offers suggestions, and I hope she does.


Anonymous said...

Your comments regarding Terry's sexuality are very disconcerting. Why does it matter what her sexual orientation is?

Unknown said...

Get over it. I'm stating a fact and in the Castro, it's very appropriate to ask about and report on someone's orientation, especially when they illegitimately control an valuable piece of queer public space.

Willo said...

Isn't Terry the daughter of the Cliff's owner? I thought she was pretty much born and raised in the Castro. I think her sexual orientation is as immaterial to her job as mine is to my job. She may not be gay, but she is certainly family and part of the community.