UPDATE: Renaming SFO for Harvey Milk Hitting Serious Turbulence

San Francisco Int'l Airport

Dist. 9 Supervisor David Campos initiative to rename San Francisco International Airport for the Castro's slain, LGBT, political icon, Harvey Milk, has hit some serious resistance on its attempted take off.

As we posted mid month in January, David Campos announced he was going to introduce an initiative to honor Harvey Milk by recasting our City's well used international airport in his name.

Under great fanfare Campos raised the issue with the Board of Supervisors knowing he had the support of five Supervisors John Avalos-Dist. 11, Jane Kim-Dist. 4, Eric Mar-Dist. 1 and Scott Wiener-Dist. 8 who currently occupies Harvey's historic seat on the Board.

The all important sixth vote from a Supervisor to make the issue move forward on to a Citywide ballot measure hasn't been secured leaving the whole proposal on shaky ground.

Resistance has come from several directions. One of the most surprising coming from the Bay Area Reporter (B.A.R.), SF's largest and oldest LGBT newspaper, who called the proposed name change, 'a bad idea'.

SF Mayor Ed Lee
SF Mayor Ed Lee

According to SF Gate's, City Insider blog, Mayor Ed Lee told the Chronicle editorial board that he found Campos’ process of announcing the legislation before building consensus to be disrespectful.

“Naming rights of areas also have to be respectful of other people who also have equally huge contributions to the City’s legacy and history,” the City Insider reported Mayor Ed Lee saying. “I just don’t believe that level of respect was reflected in the announcement of renaming the airport.”

Its obvious this suggestion to rename SFO for Harvey Milk by Supervisor Camps is akin to stirring a political hornets nest and many worry how this will reflect on the memory of the slain civil rights leader if it's put up for popular vote as it most likely will turn ugly.

Larry Mazzola, Sr-Pres. of Airport Com.
Larry Mazzola, Sr-Pres. of Airport Com.

SFO Airport Commissioner president, Larry Mazzola Sr, appointed to the Airport Commission by Mayor Frank Jordan on February 14, 1994, believes the airport shouldn't be named after anyone.

Castro resident, Cleve Jones, former legislative aide to Harvey Milk, Names Project Quilt founder, currently working as union organizer for UNITE HERE! was quoted in the B.A.R. saying, "I am supportive of the idea, but people need to understand this isn't necessarily a slam dunk-powerful forces, I suspect, will attempt to derail this."

Campos remains undeterred.

He believes Harvey was all about sending people a message of hope and equality as he historically stated in many campaign stumps and in his infamous 'Gotta Give 'Em Hope' speech.

Campos concludes the City has a rare opportunity to broadcast these core beliefs as its own to 40 million visitors who cross through SFO every year simply by being the first major international airport ever to honor the pride and worth of one it's LGBT citizens with this renaming distinction.


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