COMMUNITY DISCUSSES PERMANENT PRIDE FLAG FOR HILLCREST
At the Oct. 4 Uptown Community Planning Group meeting, Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls and HBA Boardmemeber Johnathan Hale presented the Hillcrest Pride Flag Project to the community. The HBA is seeking to construct a 65-foot flagpole to permanently display a rainbow flag at the intersection of Normal St. and University Ave. The flag would be 20 feet by 30 feet.
In the presentation, Nicholls said there would be slight landscape modifications made to the medium to create a pedestrian area with low, round benches. On the base of the pole, there would be a place where plaques could be installed. After presenting the project to the planning group, Nicholls said the next step was to submit the site development permit application to the city. “Our goal is to have this structure built before Pride ,” he said.
Entirely privately funded, the HBA would assume all responsibility for the installation and upkeep of the monument. “We’re the stewards of [the Hillcrest sign], and I envision us being the stewards of this,” Nicholls said. San Diego Pride foundation has offered $2,500 annually to the HBA for maintenance.
“We want people to be standing at any business in Hillcrest and [say], ‘There’s where we come together every year to put on the largest civic event in San Diego,’” Hale said. “We’re trying to…create a destination monument and recognize the community that makes Hillcrest so vibrant.”
Per regulation, community members who wish to comment were given several minutes to voice their support or concern. An issues raised included the size of the pole, with several people saying it was not “pedestrian scale.” Public art was suggested as an alternative to a flagpole. Showing support, Hillcrest business owner and HBA President Nick Moede said, “I think it will become iconic for San Diego, just as it is for San Francisco now in the Castro.”
The Uptown Planners board commented next, although it was made clear by Chairperson Leo Wilson it was too early in the process for the board to make a formal recommendation. Issues raised by the association included erecting a multi-use flagpole and flying the rainbow flag on public land. Several members said public land use would create a bad precedence for other applications of this sort, including those from religious organizations.
Nicholls later responded, “It’s easy to get some issues confused. It’s not a religious structure, it’s a cultural structure.” Hale continued, “We are an LGBT cultural district and that’s what we’re trying to recognize.”
EQUALITY CA DROPS 2012 PROP 8 BALLOT MEASURE
Equality California announced Oct. 5 it would not seek a ballot measure for 2012 that would repeal Proposition 8. Instead, the organization said it was launching a new public education project called The Breakthrough Conversation. “For decades, opponents of equality have used prejudicial and dehumanizing myths about LGBT people being a harm to kinds and families as a weapon against us I the legislature, in the courts and at the ballot,” said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia. The Breakthrough Conversation, he said, includes research and media tools for training LGBT people to discuss their concerns with friends, neighbors and relatives in a “direct, honest and engaging” way. “Today, we are recommitting ourselves to doing the hard work of changing hearts and minds,” Palencia said.
COURAGE CAMPAIGN FILES FORMAL COMPLAINT
The Courage Campaign joined with North County LGBTQ Resource Center President Max Disposti in filing a formal complaint to demand an investigation into signatures being obtained illegally for a petition to repeal SB 48, the FAIR Education Act. The request was directed to John Mullen, Oceanside City Attorney; Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego District Attorney; and Kamala Harris, California Attorney General. The complaint cites California Elections Code Section 18600 regarding misrepresentation in gaining signatures.
On Sept. 25, Disposti discovered a person in Oceanside urging the public to sign a “Stop SB48” petition by saying it protects children from molesters. “When I approached them,” Disposti said, “actually I was interested. I almost [fell] for that.” Calling the collection of signatures “electoral fraud,” Disposti said the woman told him SB 48 “teaches homosexuality and sex in school without parent control, and we have a lot of cases of molestation and abduction of children in North County… That’s why you need to sign this petition.”
Disposti then recorded a video of the woman and her petition booth, which he later posted online. The Oceanside resident said he also stood at the booth for several hours, asking people who approached to sign the petition if they would like a different opinion. “They were horrified by this lady who was misleading them,” Disposti said. “I’m not a hero,” he continued, “[this] just happens throughout our communities and sometimes we need to be a little more aware.”
FIRST OPENLY GAY MEMBER ORDAINED
Scott Anderson will become the first openly gay candidate ordained in the Presbyterian Church since the church opened ordination to the LGBT community in July. Anderson will be ordained Sept. 8 in Madison, Wis. to a crowd of approximately 400 people. “It’s hard to believe it’s finally happening,” Anderson said. Reverend Nancy Enderle, interim director of Covenant Network, said Anderson was a “blessing to the church and community. This moment marks the Presbyterian Church living out God’s welcome to all.” In 1976, the Presbyterian Church changed their official stance, preventing openly gay and lesbian candidates from ordination. Anderson was attending seminary to become a priest at this time, after realizing he was gay two years prior. He grew up in Sacramento.