Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Sheehy, Ronen push for Milk Terminal at SFO

Gay San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and his straight colleague, Supervisor Hillary Ronen, on Tuesday said they would push for Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport and the airport access road to be named after gay slain supervisor Harvey Milk.

(Two San Francisco supervisors are pushing for Terminal 1 (shown here as an artist rendering) at San Francisco International Airport be named after slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk.)

(Two San Francisco supervisors are pushing for Terminal 1 (shown here as an artist rendering) at San Francisco International Airport be named after slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk.)

Ronen was set to introduce legislation at the board’s July 25 meeting to begin the name change process. Her predecessor, gay Supervisor David Campos, had originally come up with the idea of naming the entire airport after Milk in 2013, but the project lacked support. He and Mayor Ed Lee later agreed to a compromise that would see a terminal named after the gay rights leader, but Campos was termed out of office before a committee could meet and decide which terminal should carry Milk’s name. (The panel sat dormant for years because the mayor wouldn’t name his five appointees. He did so earlier this year, and the committee had three months to vote on a recommendation.)

In a news release Tuesday, Sheehy said that naming Terminal 1 after Milk would be his top LGBT legislative priority. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a story last month, the Airport Facilities Naming Advisory Committee unanimously recommended Terminal 1 and the access road be named after Milk.

“Forty years ago this November, San Franciscans sent a historic message – voting in progressive mayor George Moscone and electing Harvey Milk as our city’s first gay supervisor,” Sheehy said in a statement. “Their legacy endures and in these dark times, Harvey’s message of hope resonates more than ever.”

Milk and Moscone were assassinated by disgruntled ex-supervisor Dan White in November 1978, just a year after the election.

Sheehy said that last week, he sent a letter to SFO officials asking for specifics on how the name change could be accomplished.

The airport advisory panel’s June decision was expected, since the committee members at their first two meetings had indicated they would select Terminal 1 as their preferred choice. A consensus had also quickly emerged behind the road naming idea, first broached by Jim Lazarus, the senior vice president for public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

“We need to consider the airport access way,” said Lazarus this week, noting that the terminal naming idea is still controversial and the road naming could be an acceptable alternative.

Designating the first of the airport’s four terminals after Milk could present a unique marketing opportunity, panel members had indicated, since Terminal 1 is currently undergoing a $2.4 billion remodel that will be unveiled in stages through 2024 and draw years of media coverage. They also had noted that christening the airport’s access road as Harvey Milk Way would mean all four of the terminals, as well as the airport itself, would be attached to the former supervisor’s name.

In May, airport commission President Larry Mazzola sent the naming committee members, the supervisors, and mayor a letter expressing his opposition to its naming a terminal after Milk. Four years ago the airport’s board created its own policy for naming areas of SFO, with one criterion being the person had to have a direct connection to the airport, noted Mazzola. Unsaid but suggested by his letter was that Milk did not.

“I’m confused and frustrated that the board would spend time and resources on a duplicative policy body, overriding the hard work of our committee without ever consulting our committee, and believe the board committee’s mission to recommend a terminal be named at (SFO) flies in the face of the established Airport Naming Policy,” wrote Mazzola.

Mazzola has not changed his mind. He told the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday that the supervisors should adhere to the airport’s naming policy.

— Cynthia Laird, July 25, 2017 @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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