SFO Could Be Renamed After Harvey Milk

An SF supervisor is introducing an amendment to name the airport after the first openly gay man elected to public office.

San Francisco International Airport could be renamed after slain supervisor and civil rights leader Harvey Milk under a proposal being introduced at today's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Supervisor David Campos announced that he plans to introduce a charter amendment to rename the airport in honor of Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the state.

Milk, 48, was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White at City Hall in 1978.

The charter amendment, which would change the airport's name to "Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport," needs the support of five other supervisors to go on the November ballot. It would then have to be approved by the city's voters.

Gay rights activists lauded the proposal this morning.

"Renaming the airport for Harvey Milk would be an international symbol of hope and freedom, and an enormous educational opportunity," Equality California executive director John O'Connor said in a statement.

"People from around the world -- including countries where being
gay is still against the law -- will learn about Milk's great legacy. This is
a chance to lead the world and affect positive change on a global scale,"
O'Connor said.

Stuart Milk, Harvey's nephew and an Equality California board member as well as co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, said the proposal "is a wonderful and fitting tribute to Harvey and the spirit of inclusion that embodies the core values he taught and lived by.'

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who was a close friend of Harvey Milk, said, "It's about time that an out gay person was recognized on this international scale. I can't think of a more fitting name for the gateway to the city of San Francisco, for which Harvey and his legacy have done so much."

If the proposal becomes reality, SFO would join more than 80 other airports around the country that are named after individuals, according to Campos' office.

Similar changes, including the addition of "Norman Y. Mineta" to San Jose International Airport, have cost up to $250,000. If approved, Campos would seek private funding to reduce the costs of the name change.

The supervisor said in a statement that naming the airport after Milk would bring a message of hope to its 40 million-plus passengers each year.

"Our country is nearing a turning point in recognizing equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation," Campos said. "It is the perfect moment to send a message of hope from San Francisco across the globe."

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Jim C January 16, 2013 at 09:34 PM
I am tired of San Francisco being known as the "gay city". When you see something about SF on TV, what are the chances that there's imagery or mentions about homosexuals or homosexuality. I am NOT saying that we should hide it away but, in my opinion, far too much importance is placed on that aspect of the city...the percentage of gay mentions far outweighs the importance of gays to our beautiful city. There is so much more. Mind you, I am thankful for many of the contributions that gays have made to the city (certainly not the naked guys in the Castro district, they're just rude and self-absorbed), just as I am thankful for the contributions of Italian-Americans, Chinese-Americans, etc. Without them - all of them - the old girl would not be nearly as vibrant and fun. So, I vote "no" to re-naming SFO "Harvey Milk International Airport" because it continues the problem of making San Francisco sound as if it is a one-dimensional city, caring only about gays and the cause of gay rights. Again, that's part of the beautiful patchwork quilt that is San Francisco, but it's only a part. Kindly do not be so cliche as to use the word "homophobe" in reply. I have friends that are gay, I have friends with gay children, I told all of my kids that I would love them the same, gay or straight, and I am pro-gay marriage.
Charles Smyth January 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Very well said Jim C. I couldn't have expressed it better. I too would vote NO. on this proposal.
Marcus n January 18, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Thanks Jim C. Well put. I hope SF doesn't waste more money putting it on a ballot. How about turning your attention to crime, homelessness or even J Walkers to start.


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