Friday, November 09, 2012

Castro Town Hall on Rainbow Flag in January?

The San Francisco Human Rights Commission met last night at City Hall, and Bill Wilson, pictured, and I were there to push for full transparency on control of the Harvey Milk Plaza rainbow flag. HRC's executive director Theresa Sparks gave a verbal report about her investigation thus far into whether MUMC engaged in discrimination against Veronika Fimbres when they denied her equal access to the city-owned flagpole.

Commissioner Todd Mavis said a community forum was needed in the Castro to give all sides a chance to weigh in, hear from the merchants, listen Department of Public Works and City Attorney staffers about current and future control policies, with everyone in the same room at the same time.

Bill and I applauded Mavis mightily. For 22-months, a key demand to MUMC and Scott Wiener was for them to hold a forum with equal open access to all and engage in community communication, and now we were hearing a city human rights commissioner, of his own volition, strongly recommending that HRC hold a town in the Castro just on the rainbow flag.

Today I asked Theresa for clarification about exactly what HRC was committing to, and when to expect their hearing to take place. Seeing how Wiener has thwarted other city-led attempts to conduct simply public dialogue, Bill and I know how wily he can be halting communication, so we'll believe it when we're actually attending the HRC hearing.

From Theresa:

Thank you for attending the meeting last night. Your comments were very informative. You are correct in that Commissioner Mavis requested a meeting in the Castro to listen to public input on the issue surrounding the Rainbow Flag. 

Just to be clear, there was no vote on the issue. It was a request from a Commissioner. As a matter of procedure, the final decision though rests with the Commission Chair, Michael Sweet. I have no reason to expect him to deny the request of Commissioner Mavis. 

When the meeting is scheduled, we will extend invitations to various City officials, including department heads. We cannot not require any of them to be there or to send representatives. Any discussion between the HRC and our City Attorney is protected and cannot be disclosed. 

We will also extend an invitation to the District Supervisor. The exact date of the meeting will, to a certain extent, depend on his schedule and availability. 

We will probably have the meeting in place of the normally scheduled second meeting in January or the first one in February, but again, that decision rests with the Chair.

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