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Gay News Briefs April 20

Posted: April 20th, 2012 | Gay News Briefs, News |

PRIDE FLAG PROJECT HELD FOR APRIL 26 PLANNING COMMISSION

Rendition of proposed flag (Design by Michael Brennan/Urban Green)

The San Diego Planning Commission failed to move forward the Monument Flag project at their April 12 meeting, causing project organizers to return to the Commission on April 26 for a second vote. The project, which would implement the installation of a flagpole and permanent rainbow flag at the intersection of University Avenue and Normal Street in Hillcrest, is scheduled for final consideration at the May 15 City Council meeting. The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) is overseeing the project.

At the April 12 Planning Commission meeting, HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls addressed concerns some Commission members raised with the project, which included the project’s scale, public safety and the precedence set from approval.

Planning Commissioner Tim Golba said, “It’s easy to be very supportive… [but] you have to look at what happens the next time. Does it open up the potential for flag applications that might not be as accepted as yours, or might be much more controversial than even yours would be.” Golba did not vote to recommend the project.

The Planning Commission is made up of seven appointed community members. Concerning the Monument project, the Commission’s role is to offer recommendation to the City Council only. At the April 12 meeting, there were not enough members present to approve sending the project to the City Council, as a motion passes with a four-vote majority. After discussion, the Planning Commission voted 3-2 to not recommend the project, one vote shy of the needed four, thereby requiring the return to Planning Commission on April 26.

“We look forward to returning to the Planning Commission to present our case as to why the pride flag project is so important,” said HBA board President Nicholas Moede. “The Pride Flag will send a strong signal that Hillcrest stands for diversity and tolerance; we encourage the public to come to the Planning Commission meeting at City Hall on April 26th to support this project.”

CANVASS FOR A CAUSE DELIVERS SIGNATURES TO DROP EQUALITY 9 CHARGES

The nonprofit Canvass for a Cause (CFAC) gathered over 1,000 signatures in one month to show support for the Equality 9. Signers are demanding charges against the nine marriage equality advocates be dropped and the petition was delivered to the County Clerk’s office on Thursday, April 19. CFAC has joined with the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) to push for all charges to be dropped in a case stemming from the denial of marriage licenses for two same-sex couples in August 2010. Following the denial, nine people were arrested for peacefully protesting at the County building. Their case continues, after repeated requests from CFAC and SAME to drop all charges. “Not only is this a question of whether all people will receive equal treatment under the law, but it’s an attack against a person’s freedom of speech and assembly,” said CFAC Field Director Jersey Deutsch. “The fact that nine peaceful protesters, who were asking that LGBT people be afforded the same rights as straight people, were arrested by over 50 police officers in riot gear, is horrifying.” The next court date for the Equality 9 is scheduled for April 30.

USD ALUMNI BAND TOGETHER TO SUPPORT DRAG PERFORMANCE

Members of PRIDE, the LGBT-inclusive organization at University of San Diego (USD), hosted a drag show on April 11 as part of a month-long series on gender identity. The showed initially caused controversy, including the launch of an anti-gay e-mail campaign by one USD alumnus. Chuck LiMandri, who graduated from USD in 1977, launched the web-based campaign, Alumni for a Catholic USD, with an open letter to USD alumni asking them to contact the University’s president, Mary Lyons, to protest the event. “We need your help for a few minutes to stop a grievous injury to the Body of Christ,” the website stated. In response, a second campaign was launched, this one from a group of USD alumni in support of the event. Called A USD for Everyone, the web-based campaign encouraged alumni to e-mail and call Lyons, to thank the administration for their support. Identified as the first drag show for USD, the event included a student drag competition hosted by local drag queen Tootie Nefertootie. Co-signers for A USD for Everyone include the current president of the USD Young Alumni Network, Lauren Crawford; and District Three Councilmember Todd Gloria, among other alumni. Gloria graduated from USD in 2000.

HARVEY MILK STREET TO CITY COUNCIL MAY 8

The San Diego Planning Commission voted to recommend the renaming of Blaine Avenue in Hillcrest to Harvey Milk Street at their April 12 meeting. Members of the Committee to Commemorate Harvey Milk spoke at the meeting and the project passed in a 4 to 1 vote. There was no public opposition to the project voiced at the meeting. Blaine Avenue runs two blocks from The LGBT Center at Centre Street to Cleveland Avenue, parallel to University Avenue. Following the Planning Commission meeting, Councilmember Todd Gloria released a statement about the decision, showing his support and saying the project will now go before the City Council on May 8. “If approved, San Diego will be the first city in the nation to honor Harvey Milk’s contributions and achievements in this way,” Gloria said. Council President Tony Young released a statement of support as well. “Harvey Milk is an important figure in the ongoing struggle for full equality for all Americans,” Young said. “I’m pleased to put Harvey Milk Street on the docket and hope my council colleagues will join me in considering this landmark effort.” Recognizing the efforts to complete the project before celebrating Harvey Milk’s birthday on May 25, Young said, “Councilmember Gloria has worked hard with his constituents and grassroots community leaders to have Harvey Milk Street approved before his birthday. Taking action at the upcoming City Council meeting is critical to achieving that goal.”

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