Battle Brewing Over Control Of SF Castro District Pride Flag

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The iconic rainbow flag that flies over the Castro in San Francisco was the topic of Thursday’s Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District meeting as the board decides whether to ask the Department of Public Works to convene a meeting on the flag.

Concern over who controls the flag came to a head in March when community members requested that the flag operators, the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro, lower the flag to mark the death of gay icon and actress Elizabeth Taylor, Castro Benefit District executive director Andrea Aiello said.

MUMC denied the request, the group’s president Steve Adams said. The group receives up to 10 requests each month to lower the flag for various reasons, and the board has to limit the number of lowerings.

“For us, the flag is a source of pride. People want it up as much as possible,” Adams said.

For the past 12 years, the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro have had control of the flag, located at the corner of Market and Castro streets, Adams said.

The flagpole is on city land, but the merchants’ association funds the insurance and upkeep of the rainbow flag in a “public-private partnership,” which Adams considers of benefit to the city’s Department of Public Works.

A DPW spokeswoman said the city maintains the area and landscaping around the flag, but has an agreement with MUMC that it is responsible for the flag and pole.

Adams said the city decided in the late 1990s to give control of the flag to the merchants’ association.

“The city didn’t want to deal with the liabilities of the flag,” he said.

According to Adams, MUMC spends $5,000 annually for insurance related to the flag, along with $4,000 per year to maintain the flag, which is replaced every three months.

“As simple it may seem to have a gigantic flag there, it’s not cheap,” Supervisor Scott Weiner said, whose district includes the Castro. “It requires effort. The city does not have resources to do this.”

Gay blogger and activist Michael Petrelis questions MUMC’s authority over the flag.

“There’s been no public discussion about how MUMC managed to get control of city property that is important to the gay community around the world,” Petrelis said.

He became concerned with the flag’s management earlier this year when MUMC denied requests to lower the flag when actress Taylor died.

“I don’t think it would be such a burden to have the flag lowered,” he said.

Petrelis said control of the flag goes beyond lowering the rainbow colors when a gay icon dies. He said the flag and space around it should be used creatively, such as hoisting an American flag next to the rainbow flag on Harvey Milk Day in May.

“Everyone is fine with the current setup,” Adams said, adding that Weiner knows about the agreement between MUMC and DPW and that there has been no controversy until earlier this year.

“When you have an organization like MUMC that has shown a willingness to pay for and manage the flag that’s a good thing,” Weiner said.

Aiello with the CBD says tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting would include discussion on establishing a protocol for community input on all things flag-related.

“We understand MUMC owns it, but we want to have more community input,” Aiello said.

The benefit district board is not proposing that the city or any other entity take over funding or maintenance of the flag, but is asking if the community wants more insight into MUMC’s decision-making processes for the flag, she said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBSSan Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • reggie

    to me the flag stands for a bunch of outsiders taking over a neighborhood in my hometown.

    • Fight

      Then take it down.. if it was in my town it would be GONE by now. We are a nation of wimps. Stand up for what you believe in and do not let them take over your neighborhood. Enough already!

    • Youdi oddo

      that town is lost forever. This country is in a death spiral. The libs are cancer. distroying this country with their multicultrial groups and marrxist agend. accepting everyone/ everything except a conservative thought

      • Corey

        Oh yeah, the liberals and gays are destroying the world, lol. Thanks for the laugh. Conservatives and liberals are equally responsible for this mess we are in. Thank you for George W. That really helped, lol.

      • beedogs

        yeah, because a group of people demanding equal rights is the thing that’s “distroying” America.

        You’re an imbecile.

      • TS_Jones

        @beedogs, Uh, the OP was talking about Liberals in general, not just gays. And the comment was a digression, mostly complaining about how Liberals are many times blind to the realities of economics. You can be generous to everyone and pay for social justice….IF you have the money. The conservatives, for all their faults, are much better on JOBS and TAXES than Liberals. Liberals have too much tunnel vision on causes which are dear to them, and many times cannot make the hard choice of postponing change because of a lack of funds.

      • Charles

        Yes George W was too Liberal for my taste too..

    • Corey

      If you really don’t like gays, don’t live in San Francisco. HELLO! And Castro is almost entirely gay. Don’t go there if you don’t like it.

      • TexasRick

        You’re absolutely right about George W. Corey. I hope we never go back to those horrible days of 5% unemployment.

      • Voxhalyn Rakkasan

        Yeah, those dark days of 5% unemployment, REAL economic growth and wars actually authorized by Congress.

        Thank heavens we have a POTUS that doesn’t engage in illegal conflicts, and did away with all those evil Bush tools like The Patriot Act and Guantanamo..

      • Thor

        Corey, keep your AIDS infested ass in SF and none of us NORMAL people will give a f_ck.

      • Calyptratus

        Fine! Stop trying to change our marrige laws if you don’t like them

      • beedogs

        Calyptratus: are you insane?

        “stop demanding the laws which discriminate against you be changed”?

        Seriously, that’s the best you can come up with?


    • Bama Fan

      Did they lower it when the guy who invented preperation H died?

      • Prep

        Best. Comment. Evar!

      • JeddMcHead

        I believe his name was Ben Dover.

      • BigBoa

        AH HAHAHAHAHA!!!

        Absolutely AWESOME!!!!

        Bama,,,,, the mighty Boa says….. YOU ROCK!

      • bobo bob

        oh myyyyyyy

    • markus

      We cant be in economic straits if people are spending this much to keep special interest flag up on its pole? Seems the people of Castro are all experienced enough to keep a pole up-there would seemingly be enough volunteers to do this. The money not spent could go to those in need.

    • larry davis

      Remove the flag. We need to protect our children from the gay lifestyle.

    • jColes

      …sounds like that ‘community’ is in a bit of a snit, eh?

    • Kiall Hill

      Why not fly the nazi flag? or the commie flag? Its AMERICA not IMAGAY no i do not mean URUGUAY.

  • johnny

    I doubt the good people of SFO would have the same level of passion over Old Glory. Why does the city even pay one cent to maintain the flag of a special interest group, anyway? Oh that’s right, it’s SFO. Why not replace it with a good ole American flag — remember E Pluribus Unum, anybody?

    • beedogs

      Well, if you’d READ THE ARTICLE, rather than just jumping to the comment section to post your idiotic Drudge bigot-rant, maybe you’d know that the city doesn’t pay a cent to maintain the flag.

      But then you’d have to read long words, with more than two or three syllables! OH NO!

      • johnny

        I did read the article and noted that the city spends money to maintain the area around the flag …

        here’s a quote from the article: “A DPW spokeswoman said the city maintains the area and landscaping around the flag, but has an agreement with MUMC that it is responsible for the flag and pole.”

        I doubt if the pole is magically suspended in mid-air, so I would suspect that the city maintained plot of land that supports it is crucial to the structural integrity of the flagpole. Also, the city at one time did maintain the flag and pole before turning it over to the MUMC — I note that they didn’t turn over control because it was a waste of tax dollars but because it was too controversial for them to handle

        And I don’t think the inclusive E Pluribus Unum is “bigot-rant”

      • batman

        From what I read, the people that want the flag lowered don’t pay for it either… guess you skimmed over that part.

  • majajh

    Why hasn’t San Francisco fallen into the ocean yet?

    • beedogs

      maybe you’re not PRAYIN’ TO JAYZUS hard enough. just keep that aimless hate flowing, fools.

    • Dave Turner

      It hasn’t because the environmental impact study on that happening isn’t back yet.

  • NoMasGaygenda

    Just lower the flag…permanently.

  • Charles Ross

    Can I put a cross there?

    I’m sure all of those tolerant, noble, all-inclusive members of the “alternative lifestyle” would understand, right? I mean they expect the same from us, while they try to mainstream their disgusting behavior by ramming it down our throats. right?

    • Tired

      They would love to ram it down your throat…. Freaks

    • beedogs

      what is it with conservatives getting things rammed down their throats? Insecure much?

      • San Diego Steve

        No, not insecure at all. Just tired of gays and affiliated groups trying to force me to accept and approve of their “lifestyle.” I will not do so. My authority for this refusal is the Constitution of the United States. As a free American I will continue to think and believe as I choose, without dictation from a minority “thought police.” Fly your silly flag all you want, but do not try to restrict the freedom of people who refuse to salute it.

      • not a friend

        @ steve You have it right. They demanded and got the right to place a gay flag but would deny others the right to place a cross. The right to disagree is just as improtant to the mainstream as it is to the fringe.

        Now if only they would abide by the standards of our nation and fly their “special” flag under the US National flag as it should be, they might deserve some small respect for at least behaving well.

        I don’t expect that of course why should gay rights be subject to any limitations at all right? I mean the gay soldiers who fought for this nation alongside the rest of the armed forces would never be expected to respect our national flag right? Oh they would? Imagine that!

  • Ramon

    The least that MUMC could have done was to recognize Liz Taylor’s contribution to the fight against AIDS.

    • Charles Ross

      Peter, I have a better idea. Let’s stop paying for it and let them @ss fvck and IV themselves into oblivion.

    • Jim in Houston

      A better way would be not to bang someone in the butt.

      • beedogs

        An EVEN BETTER way would be to not care what other people do with their bodies because it doesn’t MATTER.

        Useless bigot.

    • igetitalready

      I’m confused.
      Is the rainbow flag an AIDs icon or is now billing it as such the best approach to making it “acceptable”?

  • JohnF

    What a bunch of whiney cry babies, Don’t like it, find some space and put up your own flag.

    • Likell

      We don’t need the flag; our symbol is the pole.

  • Jimmy

    Where is the ACLU on this? Why aren’t they defending heterosexual rights here and demanding the flag be flown on private propert instead of government property? Oh wait, it’s CA.

    • John

      The ACLU needs to get A CLUe

  • citizen

    I must have missed the memo. Since when did the gay pride flag become an official banner?

  • Paul

    So, what if I wanted to fly a “Come and Take it” flag at the same location ? would various groups (such as the one flying this flag) object and say a “right wing” group cannot fly their flag on a “Public” flagpole ?

    • The Truthteller

      This whole thing makes me think of that Cross in the Desert that these same lefties have screamed is unconstitutional, cut down, and litigated for removal, but somehow, this flag for a lifestyle of disease, pestilence and much higher rates of mental disorder is somehow a right.

      Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, an angry Mob of Illogic driven by Hate.

  • johnny

    well, the Federal Government must think it’s an official banner, too, because the flag has been flying recently over a federal building in Richmond, VA … once again, whatever happened to E Pluribus Unum?

    • citizen

      Well, this IS the Obama Administration. We’ve witnessed MANY examples of how the Obama folks play fast and loose with the law, decorum, and protocol.

  • Christine

    They didn’t replace the gay flag with the American flag after 9/11 (as in the day of or the day after or ever). I was there. I was appalled. That would have been a stirring, tearful moment if the Castro would have hoisted a giant American flag on that flagpole during those dark days. But no. Gay first, country second (or nowhere).

  • Hedley Lamar

    Sissy fight!

  • pr

    Who owns the rainbow? Christians!

    Genesis 9:12-17

    12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

    17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

    • beedogs

      PROTIP: The bible isn;’t a history book. Stop using it as one.

      • RightisRight

        Actually, the Holy Bible IS a history book. Saying it’s not doesn’t change the facts.

    • chobers

      You are quoting from Judaism, not Chrisitanity.

  • klike

    Obviously these people do not have enough to do. Really? Whole meetings over whether or not to lower a flag?

    • BigBoa

      What?? You expect them to WORK or something???

      AH HAHAHAHA!!!!

  • willard phillips

    ‘Gay pride’ and Gay rights’; both lies. They have neither.

  • johnny

    and to the nitwit in the article who suggests hoisting an American flag “next to” the rainbow flag on milk day …. get a clue, man, by federal code the American flag should never fly “next to” any flag — it should always be flown higher than any other flag it is flown with

    • Jeri Tonti

      not in Texas…they fly the US flag and the Texas State flag side by side and at the same height

      • johnny

        I’ll bet if you look closer you’ll see that the Texas flag is on a slightly shorter mast

  • rab3

    A story involving Gay’s and a pole. Who da thunk it.

    • Charles Finley

      Now if Weiner would just move there and be their congressman. Then the headline could be “Weiner takes the pole for gay pride”

    • beedogs

      wow. what are you, twelve years old?

      • Binky

        Why, is that your target age group?

      • beedogs

        nah, that just seems like the average Drudge reader’s intelligence level.

    • BigBoa

      And the words raise and lower,,,,,,,

      AH HAHAHAHA!!!!

      How sick……….

  • corsair214

    The Federal Reserve (in Richmond Va. and everywhere else) is NOT part of the Federal Govt. They are a private bank.

    • johnny

      According to the Board of Governors, the Federal Reserve is independent within government in that “its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government.” However, its authority is derived from the U.S. Congress and is subject to congressional oversight. Additionally, the members of the Board of Governors, including its chairman and vice-chairman, are chosen by the President and confirmed by Congress. The government also exercises some control over the Federal Reserve by appointing and setting the salaries of the system’s highest-level employees. Thus the Federal Reserve has both private and public aspects.[12][13][14][15] The U.S. Government receives all of the system’s annual profits, after a statutory dividend of 6% on member banks’ capital investment is paid, and an account surplus is maintained. In 2010, the Federal Reserve made a profit of $82 billion and transferred $79 billion to the U.S. Treasury.[16]

      • johnny

        by the way, that info is cut and pasted from Wikipedia … sorry the footnotes are left in

      • BOB USMC

        Are you for real? Take your head out of your backside and think / research for yourself. Pathetic liberal sheep. I suppose you think the IRS is part of our government too. It is also a private corporation and fools like you will guarantee the USA will remain an insolvent one.

      • John Norcross

        Sounds like General Motors and Chrysler. Are the government entities?

        Just asking

  • sugar

    The queens are fighting again! Not a good sign!

  • Taxpayer

    As a vegetarian and there are more of us than gays, I think we need to fly a vegetarian flag!

    Long live vegetarians.

    • BOB USMC

      “They” like to be called VAgetarians.

  • Corey

    Yeah, and there aren’t any people in Texas that are crazy. Do you REALLY want me to dig up some stories? These people arguing over the flag are ridiculous, but San Francisco is an amazing city. Texas on the other hand, meh.

    • TexasRick

      Better not mess with Texas, Corey or we might just stop making payments to bail out California.

      • beedogs

        Texas takes in more federal dollars than it pays out. So, in addition to being a bigot, you’re also WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Idiot.

      • citizen

        @beedogs, dude, I’ve heard that liberal attack over and over. Liberals just switch up the target red state, but the attack remains the same.

      • beedogs

        what “attack”? It’s a fact, you imbecile. Texas takes in more federal dollars than it contributes. How does it feel living in a welfare state?

      • Mike

        I’m very interested in how you created that statistic. Texas in fact does not take more tax dollars than it contributes. Data from as far back as 1981 shows that they have never been a “welfare state”. I’ve actually checked several sites and they all come up with the same answer that you’re incorrect with your statement. A simple google search will prove that.

        I could care less about your political view, but I don’t like when people toss out statistics that are completely fabricated.

        As for the flag issue. If the city takes care of the land around the flagpole and the local organization is only responsible for the flagpole and associated flag, how do they spend almost $10,000 a year managing that? From the story, it’s a local business association. If hope they run their business better than they manage that flag.

      • citizen

        @beedogs, don’t think too hard, you might hurt yourself. In fact, I’ve read other liberals on the Internet use that same attack on other red states. I’ve even seen a liberals get into an argument on TV by using that exact same attack, on yet ANOTHER red state!

        …and besides, you are posting that I live in Texas, a welfare state. I NEVER said I live in Texas. In fact, I don’t live in Texas….and NEVER had!

      • Armed Texan

        The statistic you state is misleading. The fact is that MOST states are getting more back than they put in because of the enormous deficit spending being done by the Obama regime. The Fed just prints the difference. As a percentage of the deficit, Texas is getting les than most states.

      • TexasRick

        Build a wall….yeah right. Since when would Ohbummer lift a finger to protect our borders. Why not save a step and just build a wall around CA since you guys appear to be the only people in the country who get it and the rest of us are just out of step. I guess CA DOES have it all……except money to govern itself. I’m already pi$$ed off enough about all the Californians moving to Texas (you know, the state with the jobs) in huge numbers, so don’t get me riled.

    • gayequalsfreak

      we should give the whole shi**hole state back to Mexico and build a wall.

      • citizen

        Not necessary. Californians are allowing Mexico to take it back, one illegal immigrant at a time.

        ¡Viva La Rasa!


  • Blake S. Davis


    This is how Democrats act, as if they own the world and the world owes them a living. The flag is a symbol of one small group – shouldn’t other groups get to have their flag up there as well – the endless groups? Where is the Mexican flag, the Chinese flag, the African American flag etc, naturally, no American flag!

    That being said, people make a fundamental mistake about California – the way in which the Democrats have acted – – the Democrats want to make the economy as bad as possible, to subsidize the poor and government workers, to import voters by the millions from Mexico – all of this is done purposely, in an effort to drive business and Republicans out of the state. Democrats WANT a bad economy, with only a few rich and lots of poor – they WANT Republicans leaving, they believe, rightly, that the poorer conditions become the more powerful they become. This is the perfect Democrat state – and coincidentally a third world state as well.

    In short, Democrats are the party of misery, poverty, crime and everything bad about our country. And as long as they have a lock on the media, and control the agenda, they will never be called on it. Look how long they have been in control of the inner cities, and conditions just get worse. But, does the media ever take them to task for this? No – the media likes things bad as well, since that’s more news to write about.

    You show me a Democrat success story – there aren’t any. It’s all bad, broken families, violence, sordid living conditions, and on and on, perfect place for Democrats to thrive – like the vermin they are. The fact that nothing gets better doesn’t seem to matter since as a result of political correctness (a doctrine done to make sure the status quo doesn’t change) nothing gets reported.

    Democrats are truly miserable liars, arrogant, power hungry, cynical awful human beings. Those in power are lily white and mostly male but that never seems to be reported either.

    So you Democrats – either wake up to the fact that you have been systematically used, abused, manipulated and spat upon, or stay in misery for another 50 years.

  • nvslurker

    These “girls” should go to an IHOP, with a video camera,dressed to the nines of course, and fight it out.
    Then post the video on youtube.

    • beedogs

      mmm, more generic Drudge-bot bigotry. Keep ’em coming, fellas! All of you together in this little confined comment box space is kinda turning me on.

    • BigBoa


      Mighty even sell on pay per view!!

  • WilliamPenn

    In San Francisco, even thinking about the American flag is probably a felony.

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