Supe panel OKs airport
naming advisory committee
by Cynthia Laird
A San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee has approved changes to the administrative code to create the Airport Facilities Naming Advisory Committee, the first step in having a terminal at San Francisco International Airport named after slain supervisor Harvey Milk.
The measure now goes to the full board for approval.
The San Francisco Airport Commission already has its own naming committee, but gay Supervisor David Campos noted at last week's rules committee meeting that the board has the final say in naming city facilities. Campos supported an amendment by Supervisor Norman Yee that could see some overlap in membership on the two panels. (The airport commission's committee had its first meeting in May and members didn't seem too keen on having SFO's terminals named after anyone, as the Bay Area Reporter noted.)
Campos and Mayor Ed Lee developed the board's SFO facilities naming advisory committee as a compromise to Campos's earlier plan to name the entire airport after Milk, which met with widespread resistance.
At the July 11 committee meeting, Campos said that his airport idea was primarily to honor the gay rights leader. After talking with "hundreds of stakeholders," Campos said that it was clear that the city should honor Milk and also consider honoring the legacies of other people. Campos said that a terminal should be named for Milk. SFO has four terminals.
Under the proposed administrative code amendment, the city's advisory committee would be made up of five people appointed by the mayor and four by the Board of Supervisors. The committee would then make its recommendation to the board on which terminal should be named for Milk. After that, the committee would look at other naming possibilities and finish its work within 18 months.
There was no opposition to the committee's formation. Tom Temprano, president of the Harvey Milk LGB Democratic Club, said that San Francisco is a "beacon of hope to queer people throughout the world."
"Forty million people go through SFO every year," Temprano said. "I was one of those people."
Erick Arguello, with the gay Latino group Aguilas, was supportive but cautioned the committee about the outcry years ago when Army Street was changed to Cesar Chavez.
Yee noted the airport commission's naming committee and said that he hoped there could be some overlap regarding members. Campos then offered his amendment.
Jon Ballesteros, vice president for public policy at San Francisco Travel, is a member of the airport commission's naming committee. He was at last week's meeting and, speaking in his capacity as a San Francisco Travel representative, said the proposal provides an open and transparent process while at the same time protects the SFO brand and avoids visitor confusion.
John Lazarus with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce was also supportive and said naming airport facilities is the "appropriate thing to do."
Doug Yakel, spokesman for SFO, told the B.A.R. Monday, July 15 that the airport commission's naming committee would continue to meet and develop a policy for renaming facilities at SFO. But he said that from an airport perspective, the supervisors' amendment allowing possible overlap of membership between the two panels is "a good thing."
"You don't want to duplicate things," he said, adding that the airport commission's advisory committee has already done a lot of work on an overall naming policy for SFO.