Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary: October 2012 October 2012 | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

October 30, 2012

Who Can Think About Anything Other Than Hurricane Sandy?

Hurrican Sandy Satellite Image 10-29-2012

As Hurricane Sandy batters the east coast, It’s extremely difficult to think about anything else right now. With news outlets reporting that the hurricane that is battering the northeast - is the biggest storm to ever hit the region, with nearly 8 million people without power, and the death toll at 16 and rising, my thoughts and prayers are with my family, and friends, and everyone affected by this natural disaster.

Whenever I hear about these freakish storms, that are occurring more frequently and becoming the norm in our lives, I can’t help but think about global warming and climate change. I’m immediately reminded that the debate moderators in all four debates, neglected to ask the candidates any questions about the environment.

In that context, I hope that our political leaders remember that it’s a moral imperative to rely on facts and not fiction, and science and scientists, to develop public policy that reduces the frequency of these devastating disasters.

The presidential election is exactly a week away, and I hope that both candidates share their views concerning the environment, the causes of global warming, and what policies they will implement to impact climate change.

I know their positions, and think it’s criminal that there has been such little discussion about the environment, and that their views are not known by you.

Hurrican Sandy slams Jersey Shore 10-29-2012

straight talk in a queer world.     jiveinthe415.com        
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October 29, 2012

The Once Great Party Of Lincoln Has Been Taken Over By Racist Extremists


When Willard Mitt Romney’s campaign mouthpiece John Sununu appeared on CNN, trying to explain why General Colin Powell, a Republican, endorsed President Obama for a second term, his explanation was that General Powell might have endorsed the President because they are both black.

John Sununu confirmed what many people have long thought, that the overwhelmingly white Republican party views this election as being all about race.

Sununu was chatting with CNN host Piers Morgan, who mentioned General Powell’s endorsement of President Obama.
John Sununu: “When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder if that’s an endorsement based on issues, or if he has a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.”

Piers Morgan: “What reason would that be?”

John Sununu: “Well - when I think you have somebody of your own race, that you’re proud of being President of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”
Translation -- General Colin Powell supports President Obama because they’re both black. Sununu applauds Colin Powell for sticking with his race, just as Sununu sticks with his white race.

Aside from the racism inherent in Sununu’s statement, it’s just as shocking for Sununu to suggest that General Powell, who served his country as an Army officer, and served in three Republican administrations, including as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State, can’t think for himself - so he endorsed a candidate based on race. It’s insane, it’s insulting, and it’s racist for him to suggest that.

The party of Abraham Lincoln has been co-opted, and taken over by elements so extreme, that Lincoln would never recognize the GOP today. The only way that the Republican party will move back toward the center, is if the American people reject their brand of partisanship completely.

We hear disrespectful comments from male GOP politicians about rape, and women’s bodies, and reproductive organs, that are not only something you’d expect to hear in the cro magnon era, but are also so devoid of any empathy or compassion, and lacking in scientific evidence or fact, that you can’t help but wonder what planet these people live on.

General Powell’s former Chief of Staff was interviewed on MSNBC. Colonel Lawrence WIlkerson, US Army (Ret) served his country for over 30 years. He said (emphasis mine):
Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that's despicable.
If you want your government to be over run by racists, right-wing extremists, and Christians looking to inject their religion into social policy, public policy, education, and government, then vote for Willard Mitt Romney.

If you want your President to have no ideals or principles, and disrespects women, immigrants, minority groups, LGBT Americans, seniors, military personnel, and people of color, then vote for Willard Mitt Romney.

If you want a President who looks out for the rich, and forgets about the middle class, then vote for Willard Mitt Romney.

This election should not be close, and it’s only close due to veiled racism and ignorance.

The most interesting paradigm of this election, is that the very people who will be hurt the most by Romney and Ryan’s policies, are their most ardent supporters.

And they don’t have a clue.

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com        
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The San Francisco Giants Are The 2012 World Series Champions!

The San Francisco Giants won the 2012 World Series in Detroit
The San Francisco Giants swept the 2012 World Series in four games, and edged the Detroit Tigers 4-3 at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Detroit, Michigan -- The San Francisco Giants won game four of the World Series in extra innings, and defeated the Detroit Tigers 4 - 3. By sweeping the Tigers in four games, they are the World Series Champions.

The Giants won the National League pennant with strong pitching, and defense. They stuck to what they do best in the World Series, and beat the team that most oddsmakers picked to win to World Series in four games.

Pablo Sandoval was picked as the World Series MVP after going 8 for 16, and hitting 3 homers in game 1.

San Francisco went wild in the streets after the Giants won. Our small tolerant city by the bay is immensely proud of our San Francisco Giants!

The San Francisco Ginats are the 2012 World Series Champions!
Our small tolerant city is immensely proud of our San Francisco Giants, the 2012 World Series Champions!

straight talk in a queer world.     jiveinthe415.com        
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October 28, 2012

The Giants Won Game 3 And Could Sweep The World Series Tonight!

The San Francisco Giants beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 in game three of the world series.
The San Francisco Giants shut down the Detroit Tigers 2-0 victory in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night. The Giants are a game away from winning their second World Series in three years.

October 27, 2012

U.S. Attorney’s Office Accused Of Anti-Gay Bias In Charging FRC Shooting Suspect As A Terrorist

Tony Perkins is the President of the anti-gay hate group FRC
Tony Perkins is the president of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council.
2009 U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Gunman Was Not Charged As A Terrorist

By Roy Steele

Washington, D.C. -- On August 15th in Washington, D.C., a lone gunman walked into the lobby of an office building at 801 G Street N.W., brandishing a 9 mm pistol. After telling the security guard "I don't like your politics," he shot the guard in the arm.

The gunman was quickly subdued. When the police arrived, they found 50 rounds of ammunition, and 15 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, in the gunman's backpack.

The gunman was 28 year old Floyd Lee Corkins II of Herndon, Virginia. Corkins was a volunteer at the Washington, D.C. LGBT Community Center. His alleged target that day was the Family Research Council (FRC), the Christian right-wing extremist anti-gay and anti-women organization, and political action group. Their offices are in the building where Corkins shot the security guard.

Willard Mitt Romney issued a statement after the shooting:
"There is no place for such violence in our society. My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today's horrific events."
“[The SPLC] repeatedly and without cause demonized FRC, and have spent years stirring up anger in the homosexual community and directing that anger toward an organization whose only crime is to promote and defend the classic American values of faith, family, and freedom. The SPLC, by their own hateful and malicious rhetoric against FRC and AFA, essentially claimed responsibility for this shooting, and they too should be held to account in the court of public opinion.” 
Tony Perkins, the president of FRC, issued a statement that day, alleging that the shooting was "an act of domestic terrorism."
 “Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC] that have been reckless in labeling organizations as hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”
Chris Lissee of the Religion News Service reported:
The SPLC tracks domestic extremists and lists the FRC as an “anti-gay” hate group. On Thursday, Perkins called “an end to the reckless rhetoric that I believe led to yesterday’s incident that took place right here.”

The SPLC’s Mark Potok called Perkins’ accusations “outrageous,” and said his group is committed to offering “legitimate and fact-based criticism.”

“The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false,” Potok wrote on the SPLC’s blog. “It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.”
Just to summarize, FRC's Tony Perkins says that when they lie, demonize, slander and deride the LGBT community on a regular basis, that they shouldn't be labeled as a hate group, because their rhetoric is within the context of a public policy debate.

This is rich coming from a man who has ties to the Klu Klux Klan's David Duke, and has spoken to a white supremacist organization, don't you think? And he's obviously a Romney supporter to boot.

I abhor violence, and I detest gun violence even more. I think that we as a society must address the rampant gun violence plaguing our cities and towns, sooner rather than later. Violence never solves any problem, and it only adds to it and makes it worse.

I don't condone what Corkins did, and hope that he gets the obvious help that he needs. And thank God the security guard was able to subdue Corkins, and he has fully recovered and is back at work.

Floyd Lee Corkins is the alleged gunman in the Family Research Council shooting
Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28 years old of Herndon, Virgina is alleged to have shot a security guard at the Family Research Council office building in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, the alleged gunman was indicted on additional charges. According to the Washington Newspaper Metro Weekly, John Riley reports:
Floyd Lee Corkins II, the man accused of shooting a security guard at the Washington headquarters of the anti-gay Family Research Council (FRC) in August, pleaded not guilty to 10 charges against him, including a charge of ''terrorism,'' in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Friday morning.

Corkins, 28, of Herndon, Va., was indicted by a grand jury on all 10 charges Wednesday, Oct. 24, becoming the first defendant charged with an ''act of terrorism'' as defined under a section of the District of Columbia's Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002. The law's definitions of terrorism include an act or actions committed with the intent to ''intimidate or coerce a significant portion of the civilian population of the District of Columbia or the United States.'' The terrorism charge alone is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, confirmed to Metro Weekly that the charge against Corkins is the first time someone has been charged under D.C. law of committing an act of terrorism under that specific section of the 2002 law, although he added that another section of the law was used in the prosecution of another case.

Corkins was previously indicted on a federal count of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, as well as two local counts of assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, charges to which he pleaded not guilty at his last court hearing, Aug. 24.

Wednesday's indictment incorporated the three previous charges, along with one count of committing an act of terrorism while armed, one count of attempted murder while armed, one count of aggravated assault while armed, one count of second-degree burglary while armed, and three counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.
The U.S. Attorney's office has NEVER charged someone with committing an act of terrorism before, and they indict a gay gunman who shot one bullet, never got past the security guard, and this is domestic terrorism? I smell discrimination. Big time discrimination.

Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray awarded the Mayor's Medal of Honor to FRC security guard Leo Johnson this past week. According to ABC7 news station WJLA, they asked Johnson if he was frightened when he confronted Corkins.
"No it wasn't frightening it was just a situation where I had to react and that's what I did,” he says. “There wasn't any fear involved in it."
Again, I do not want to minimize what Corkins did. Does he sound like a terrorist? Is he worthy of a domestic terrorism charge?

The scene outside the Family Research Council on August 15, 2012
The scene outside the offices of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. on August 15th, 2012.

FRC's Tony Perkins wasted no time to issue a press release.
"The terrorism indictment announced today - the first under the District's ten-year-old anti-terrorism statute -- makes clear that acts of violence designed to intimidate and silence those who support natural marriage and traditional morality violate the law and undermine the security and stability of our form of government.

"We again call on organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center to stop its reckless practice of labeling organizations that oppose their promotion of homosexuality. The SPLC's 'hate' labeling of Christian organizations is fostering a dangerous and deadly environment of hostility and it needs to stop.

"The Family Research Council and our supporters understand the essential nature of our First Freedoms of religion and speech in the survival of our constitutional republic and remain unequivocally committed to our mission of advancing faith, family and freedom," concluded Perkins.
Tony Perkins and his right-wing extremist pals have been lobbying for a terrorist indictment since the shooting occurred, and FRC got their wish. As you can see from Perkins' statement, they continue to demonize our community, and the SPLC, while abrogating any responsibility for the slanderous lies and hateful remarks they have made for the past 20+ years.

When Perkins mentions a "deadly environment of hostility," he conveniently ignores the blood on his own hands. His hateful rhetoric has caused more deaths by suicide, than any other political figure alive today. His vitriolic words and actions directed toward the LGBTQ population, in the name of public policy, is an outrage, as is his blaming SPLC, which is a feeble attempt to obfuscate his own reckless behavior.

Let's look at another recent shooting in Washington, D.C.

On June 10, 2009, a lone gunman walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and shot a security guard. Sadly, the guard was killed.

The gunman, James W. Von Brunn, 89, from Annapolis, Maryland, was a known white supremacist and Holocaust denier. At the time, CNN contacted SPLC and asked about the shooting subject.
"He is in our files going back way into the 1980s," said Heidi Beirich, a researcher for the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama. "He has an extremely long history with neo-Nazis and white supremacists. He's written extremely incendiary publications, raging about Jews, blacks and the like." 
James Von Brunn died on January 6, 2010 before he could go to trial. Despite that, a federal grand jury had convened earlier and indicted him for his crimes. According to the Washington Post, Von Brunn was charged as follows:
Von Brunn was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, committing a hate crime and gun violations. If convicted, he would have been eligible for the death penalty.
Von Brunn was a straight white male. Corkins is a gay white male. Von Brunn murdered an innocent man with a young child at home, and went to the museum to kill. We don't know what Corkins intent was, and he shot a security guard in the arm.

CNN described the scene at the Holocaust museum like this:
Witnesses described blood on the floor and chaos within the museum's halls.

Visitor Maria Hernandez told CNN she heard five shots and saw the wounded security guard.

"It was definitely a security guard; he was down bleeding on the floor," said Hernandez, 19. "He was face down. His back ... blood was coming out."

Sirens blared as emergency vehicles converged on the area, which is near the Washington Monument and other popular tourist attractions. The museum was full at the time, with a "couple of thousand" people inside, said William Parsons, chief of staff at the museum.

Dave Pearson, a sixth-grade teacher in the Washington area, said he was on the museum's fourth floor when he heard a loud noise.

"At the time, we're visiting and all of a sudden there's like a boom, and all of a sudden they told us to stop where we're at," he told CNN. "Only thing we heard was a boom, and that was it."
Tony Perkins did NOT issue any press releases calling on the U.S. Attorney to indict Von Brunn on terrorism charges. Does he think we can’t do the math? Tony Perkins and David Duke and white supremacists would never condemn one of their own.

James W. Von Brunn was not charged as a domestic terrorist, when he clearly was. Floyd Lee Corkins was charged as a domestic terrorist when he clearly wasn't.

The U.S. Attorney's office must have bought the baloney in FRC's press releases, and as a result they are exhibiting anti-gay bias with their indictment. Tony Perkins will continue to use the court of public opinion to cast the LGBT community as terrorists, along with the SPLC, unless we call him out on it.

Tony Perkins knows that I'm like a pebble in his shoe - that he can't get rid of - and I'll continue to point out his hypocrisy every chance I get. 

As for the gay gunman Floyd Lee Corkins, I hope he has a good attorney.

Otherwise he's doomed.

straight talk in a queer world.     jiveinthe415.com        
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October 26, 2012

Women, Seniors, Minority Groups, People of Color & LGBT Americans Cannot Support Romney

Willard Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan Will Destroy Our Nation

By Roy Steele

It’s clear that women can’t vote for Romney, when he wants to limit the availability of contraceptives and birth control, and he’s suggested that the federal government should overturn Roe v. Wade, and let each state decide whether to allow abortions. That in itself results in a government takeover of women’s reproductive organs. Where is the freedom and liberty in that policy proposal? So women can’t support Romney.

It’s clear that senior citizens can’t vote for Romney either. Romney has embraced many of the budget proposals of his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) studied the Ryan Budget and found that it would increase total health care spending attributable to Medicare beneficiaries (the government share plus the Medicare beneficiaries share) by over 40 percent.  The CBO estimated that Ryan’s Medicare proposals last year would have doubled the out-of-pocket expenses of a typical 65 year old. So senior citizens can’t support Romney.

It’s clear that minority groups, the disabled, immigrants, and people of color can’t vote for Romney. Romney thinks that these groups are freeloaders, and part of the 47% of Americans who don’t take responsibility for their life, and have their hand out for government assistance. He calls President Obama the food stamp President (veiled racism), he suggests that Latinos should self-deport, he doesn’t support the DREAM Act for the children of undocumented workers, and he wants to build a high tech border fence along our southern border with Mexico (where his father was born). So minority groups, the disabled, immigrants, and people of color can’t support Romney.

Anyone that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender won’t vote for Romney. Romney supports a Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He is the only major party nominee for president that has donated money to anti-gay hate groups. He doesn’t favor equality in the workplace for women or LGBT Americans, and has said he will reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. So the LGBT community won’t support Romney.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy organization working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Their President, Robert Greenstein had this to say about the Ryan budget that Romney embraces:
The new Ryan budget is a remarkable document — one that, for most of the past half-century, would have been outside the bounds of mainstream discussion due to its extreme nature. In essence, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse — on steroids.  It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation’s history).  It also would stand a core principle of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission’s report on its head — that policymakers should reduce the deficit in a way that does not increase poverty or widen inequality.
This isn’t a joke. It’s clear that a Romney Ryan administration would reverse the limits placed on Wall Street, eliminate health insurance coverage for contraceptives, decimate Medicare and Medicaid, repeal Obamacare (which would add to the deficit as Obamacare reduces the deficit), takeaway hard fought gains in civil rights for LGBT citizens, dismantle the President’s Executive Order to provide the children of immigrants a path to citizenship, and more. These radical changes will have a devastating affect on more than half of the American people, and will affect nearly everyone in a negative way.

It is patently clear that Romney and his Republican cohorts want to destroy our country.

For the life of me - I can’t decipher who exactly is supporting Romney?

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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The Giants Shut Out The Tigers 2-0

Giants win World Series game 2 over the Tigers 2-0
Madison Bumgarner pitched 7 flawless innings, the Giants shut out the Tigers 2-0, San Francisco grabbed a 2-0 lead in the World Series, and fourteen of the last 15 teams that were ahead 2-0 in the Series won it! Let’s go Giants!

October 25, 2012

Racism 101: The Ugly Side Of GOP Politics

By Roy Steele

I’m generally an optimist, and sometimes I view life through rose-colored glasses to preserve my point of view. The world that I live in day to day is free of overt racism and homophobia, and I like it that way. Don’t get me wrong, even in a very tolerant city like San Francisco, there are anti-gay homophobes and racists living among us. As luck would have it, they are significantly outnumbered, so they try to blend in and hope that no one notices.

In this huge country of ours, there are large cities, and small towns, and tiny hamlets, and huge counties, where racism and homophobia are ingrained in the culture. This is where bullying, racism and anti-gay slurs are often at it’s worst, because this harmful behavior has been continually accepted and overlooked, and everyone has become so accustomed to ill-manners, that the "witnesses" have masterfully and subconsciously become emotionally detached from the conflict and noise and verbal abuse, to the extent that they can’t even identify the harmful behavior as such.

The victims who endure racist taunts, or anti-gay slurs, are acutely aware that the bullying is happening - it’s just that no one hears their internal tears. Whether it’s due to embarrassment or fear, victims of bullying are reluctant to tell anyone about it. Even they’ve been conditioned to think it’s a rite of passage, in spite of the psychological and physical harm they are experiencing.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about this today, and the primary reason is the photograph you see above. I saw this photo on tumblr.com, and I don’t know who took the photo or where it came from, but it was in a political photo feed on the tumblr site.

I think that the t-shirt is ignorant, disgusting, and racist, and I'm shocked that anyone would or could wear it in public, regardless of party affiliation. There are people standing around listening to someone speak, and because of the obvious Romney/Ryan reference, I immediately assumed it had to be a GOP gathering. I could be wrong about that, but the racist message is clear, and I feel strongly that each and every one of us must call these people out, provided that we feel we won’t put ourselves in physical danger, whenever we see such overt examples of racism or homophobia.

I’ve never met President Obama or any members of his family, but I’ve seen enough of him to know that his heart, his mind and his outstanding character, is above reproach. His commitment to our country, and our military and military families, to his office, and to his family, is unquestionable. Whether someone shares his political beliefs or not, his service should be respected and admired, and commended, for the sacrifices he has made to work and represent all the people......we the people. Anything less would be Un-American.

straight talk in a queer world.     jiveinthe415.com        
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The Flag Flap: More Drama On Castro Street

Rainbow flag at Castro and Market San Francisco, CA  © jiveinthe415.com

San Francisco was at the vanguard of what historians call the “sexual revolution,” and sex, psychedelic drugs, and music were an integral part of that. The “Summer of Love” in the swingin’ 1960’s, still influences the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, near Golden Gate Park. There are head shops up and down Haight Street, and daily pilgrimages to Jerry Garcia’s former house, with a high concentration of aging hippies collecting social security, and wearing flowers in their hair.

San Francisco was at the forefront of the “gay liberation movement” of the 1970’s, that was so poignantly portrayed in Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Sant’s film Milk. I know that for me, the film taught me a lot, and many of the scenes are etched in my heart and seared on my mind, and will stay with me forever.

I live in the neighborhood where they made the film. The accurate historical portrayal of our vibrant neighborhood, and countless struggles to bravely come out, with street parties, police actions, wanton sex, and the legacy of Harvey Milk and his camera shop, can still be seen in the windows and doorways of the shops, and the bars, and homes, that line Castro Street.

On the corner of Market Street and Castro, there’s an enormous flag pole where a huge rainbow flag flies nearly every day. It serves as a beacon at gay ground zero, standing guard like a sentry at the most exclusive rainbow club on the planet. The rainbow flag that’s become synonymous with the LGBT community, was designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker (who is now based in New York).

For nearly two years, our symbol of LGBT pride, the rainbow flag, has been the subject of controversy, countless discussions and many debates.The flag pole sits on city owned property, in Harvey Milk Plaza. The flag itself, is maintained by a private organization of local merchants, who pay for the insurance and replacement flags, which costs about $10,000 a year.

There are some city residents who feel that the flag should be lowered to half-mast,  after the death of someone who has made a significant contribution to LGBT equality and civil rights, to honor and commemorate their life. In addition, many in the community would like to see the flag lowered annually on 9/11, Veteran’s Day, World Aids Day, and Harvey Milk Day. I personally feel that it’s very important to lower the flag on those days.

Veronika Fimbres, a local transgendered activist, made a request of the merchant’s group, that the flag be lowered on November 20th, the Transgendered Day of Remembrance. The Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC) said no. MUMC has said in the past that they get an excessive number of requests to lower the flag throughout the year, and some of the merchants feel that it should never be lowered at all. After Fimbres received a letter rejecting her request, she started an online petition and quickly gathered over 1,000 signatures, and MUMC reconsidered their decision and acquiesced.

Blogger and gay organizer Michael Petrelis has been working on this issue for nearly two years. He has been in contact with the city, and MUMC, in order to ensure that MUMC make their decisions regarding the lowering of the flag, in an open forum so that the process is transparent, and the stakeholders can attend the meetings and participate if they wish.

MUMC is a private organization, so they aren’t required to have meetings that are open to the public. The flag pole sits on public property, and as such, Petrelis contends that MUMC should  have open meetings when they consider issues related to the flag, and the merchants should be attuned to the wishes of the community.

When MUMC refuses to lower the flag, they often cite safety issues, and the wishes of the flag’s creator. On the MUMC website, they write (emphasis mine):
In the 1990’s, Baker and community colleagues worked with City officials to erect a Flag Pole from which to fly the Rainbow Flag in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. It was dedicated on November 7, 1997 in what is now known as Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro and Market Streets, to commemorate the election of Harvey Milk to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The intent was that this Rainbow Flag would be flown at full-staff at all times, in a neighborhood which has become internationally recognized as a center of LGBT culture and freedom.

Consistent with the principles established by the Flag’s creators and with broad community support, the Flag flies almost always at full staff with very rare exceptions.
The issue that exasperates me the most, is how inflexible MUMC is, and the arrogant posture that they have maintained for nearly two years. I know someone on the board of MUMC, and I know that they have had spirited discussions about the flag, behind closed doors. And that's the problem that MUMC has created for themselves. As I said a year ago, since the flagpole is on public property, MUMC must have a set procedure to make requests, with an appeals process in place, when an individual or group wants to appeal MUMC’s decision. That is not an unreasonable request.

Terry Asten Bennett, the current President of MUMC, issued a statement recently about the flag. The online newspaper SF Appeal reported:
"Over the last two years the MUMC Board has been overwhelmed with requests to alter or change the flag," Asten Bennett wrote in a MUMC mailing Monday.

"These requests have regularly been accompanied by a great deal of personal attacks, blatant bullying and harassment. Due to these attacks it has made it very difficult to consider any requests."
I don’t know anything about personal attacks, though I certainly can empathize with Asten Bennett feeling bullied. Michael Petrelis is a niggler, and he will persist as long as MUMC maintains their arrogance, and doesn’t open up the process in a transparent way.

To add insult to injury, Petrelis staged a public scene outside of Asten Bennett’s business. The SF Appeal writes:
Regardless of the successful campaign for the transgender flag to fly in November, gay rights activist Michael Petrelis teamed up with three nudist activists and stood in front of the store Tuesday afternoon holding signs stating "Boycott Cliff's" and bellowing into a bullhorn.

Petrelis said MUMC needs to offer the Castro community more transparency with their decisions and use of public land.

"We are asking them to hold public meetings" and in the meantime asking customers to boycott Cliff's, he said.

Cleve Jones, a prominent LGBT activist who worked with assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk for human rights in the 1970s, walked through the store doors during the boycott to show his support for Asten Bennett and Cliff's.

"The attack on this business and family is unwarranted," Jones said.

Asten Bennett is one of the owners of Cliff’s Variety Store in the Castro. Cliff’s has been an integral part of the Castro for over 75 years. I must admit that it's my favorite store in San Francisco. Where else can you go to buy sequins, a bucket of paint, a halloween costume, a bit for your drill, a shower curtain, and have a key made all at once?

Cliff’s is vital to the neighborhood, and Asten Bennett and the store have done nothing to warrant a boycott. That’s also not the way to curry favor when you want something from an organization where she is the President.

I hope that Petrelis can find a place in his heart to apologize to Terry Asten Bennett and the employees of Cliff’s. The MUMC Board doesn't work at Cliff’s, so why would anyone want Cliff’s or Cliff’s employees to suffer? Dumb move in my opinion.

If you find yourself in the Castro, stop in at Cliff’s and buy something to support our neighborhood store. You’re bound to love it like I do.

In the meantime, the saga continues......

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com        
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