Thursday, December 12, 2013

BAR: 4th Year Xmas Tree is News, MUMC/Mandela Flag Flap Ignored

Disappointment is what I feel after seeing Bay Area Reporter editor Cynthia Laird didn't think it was news this week that the Merchants of Upper Market Castro didn't lower the rainbow flag for Nelson Mandela at Harvey Milk Plaza.

While she has a terrific editorial and Heather Cassell wrote a solid piece about what executives at global LGBT nonprofits and others had to say about Mandela's memory and support of gay rights, and my letter complaining that MUMC again ignored the desire of activists to use the public flagpole to send a visual message of hope and solidarity, nothing appeared in the news section about MUMC again trying to out-do the GOP as the Party of No.

What was news in the BAR this week for the fourth year in a row, space that could have been used instead to delve into how the head of the NAACP/SF chapter, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, the Bayard Rustin Coalition and more than 100 people signed a petition urging a simple flag lowering as ordered by President Obama to pay respects to Mandela?

It's impossible to see who and what regularly gets coverage, the same sort too, a bright tree and Jeff Cotter of the Rainbow World Fund organization that erects the tree at City Hall, and the omission of the MUMC/Mandela flag flap this year and not think the BAR having a voting board member on MUMC is not influencing the lack of flag coverage. From MUMC's page about their board:

Scott Wazlowski has been a resident of the Castro District since moving to San Francisco on Summer Solstice 1997. A veteran of daily and weekly newspapers as well as national magazines, Scott joined the Bay Area Reporter (and MUMC) in May of 2010.

It says so much about what is wrong about who controls historic queer public space, the entire lot and structures at Harvey Milk Plaza, that a elitist private business group controls OUR flagpole, and what constitutes BAR/"official" news, that the paper chose to ignore MUMC's latest irrational GOP-like rejection of a request to lower the flag.

Check out this series of photos, with links, from the BAR and try to act surprised in 2014 when another such image appears in the paper.

BAR society columnist Donna Sachet in red dress and Cotter, second from right. BAR: December 12, 2013. Credit: Jane Philomen Cleland.

Cotter on the right admiring his Tree of Hope with a friend. BAR: December 6, 2012. Credit: Jane Philomen Cleland.

Cotter's nowhere in sight but the Bare Chest Calendar men posed in front of the tree two years ago. BAR: December 8, 2011. Credit: Rick Gerharter.

There he is again, Cotter with a friend, holding an origami crane of hope. This year's photo is staged almost like the 2011 version. BAR: December 23, 2010. Credit: Jane Philomen Cleland.

Come on, Cynthia, It's not to late to cover the _local_ angle to Mandela's passing and impact on _local_ LGBT and African-American activists.

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