Updated: It’s Harvey Milk Day; No Pride in Anaheim

No Pride Flag in Anaheim on Harvey Milk Day 2017

It’s May 22 — Harvey Milk Day commemorating the slain LGBTQ civil rights leader from San Francisco.  Throughout Orange County, the rainbow Gay Pride flag is flying in Milk’s memory.  Except in Anaheim, where it is supposed to but is not.

The photo above was taken this morning just before 9AM.  City hall in Anaheim.  Do you see a Rainbow Gay Pride flag anywhere?  I don’t.

In June 2016, in the wake of the shooting massacre at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, the Anaheim City Council unanimously (a 4-0 vote) moved to fly the Pride Flag in front of City hall below the official city flag between Harvey Milk Day and the end of the Pride Month in June.

That flag should be flying now and it is not.

According to the motion adopted last year, the flag should be hoisted on Monday morning, 5/22. The just been published in the agenda for 5/23, staff is saying that is it not authorized fly it on the official flagpole in front of city hall due to some municipal code section prohibiting it.

When the council approved the annual flying of the gay pride flag in June 2016, this concern was brought forward by staff and council overruled them unanimously.  Greg Garcia, the deputy city manager, assured the council — which included the author of the motion, then-Councilmember Jordan Brandman, the only LGBTQ member of the council — that this code section would be resolved by January 2017.

This didn’t happen.

Now, city staff is recommending to provide “recognition mitigation.” Garcia says he learned this upon further review. This is a lie.  There’s a recorded meeting where this issue was discussed and he was the presenter. It’s hard to cover your ass when it’s exposed on video.  Revisionist history?

The screw up — on Harvey Milk Day — to not fly the Gay Pride flag with the flag of our nation, state and the city in an official place of reverence should be offensive beyond measure to everyone in Anaheim and Orange County.   Is this really what the “City of Kindess” — as Mayor Tait like to claim — wants to demonstrate?

My sources tell me that Tait just got back from Denmark (an international conference — with Greg Garcia! — the author of the staff report). This needs to be fixed now.  Mr. Garcia needs to apologize for his error before it’s too late. Time to make a phone call Mayor Tait.  How about it other members of the City Council?

Let’s get that flag flying.

Here’s a letter from the Progressive Interfaith Alliance of Orange County:

On June 21, 2016, in the wake of the murder of 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL., LGBTQ and ally community members of the City of Anaheim came and laid their pain and suffering before you. We lined the walkways up to and on the walls of the Anaheim City Hall Council Chamber with the faces of the slain.

We, members of the Anaheim community, made a simple request of the the council: See our faces!

We asked the Council to look into the faces of dead and to also see our faces. We asked you to not only recognize the dead in Orlando but also the dead that exist here in Anaheim and across this nation.

We asked to you see the faces of the dead and look into the eyes of our LGBTQ youth, who believe they have no other alternative than to take their own lives as well as those who have their lives taken from them.

We asked the Council to look into the faces the dead from Orlando and to not only memorialize those lost lives with a symbolic tribute but also saying that Anaheim will not forget to remember the lives lost here in our City.

We asked the City Council to raise the LGBTQ Pride flag in Friendship Plaza alongside the flags of this great city, state, and nation and by doing so to remind our community that Anaheim in all its actions aims to be a City of kindness, hope, and love.

We were honored and granted our request. On June 21 by a 4-0 vote the Council moved and approved to have the LGBTQ Pride flag raised on the city flag poles in Friendship Plaza annually from May 22 to June 30 in honor of Harvey Milk Day through June, national LGBTQ Pride month.

I will remind the Council that today is May 22, 2017, a day when the LGBTQ members of our community across California and this nation remember the birth of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected public official who was assassinated on November 27, 1978. It was heartbreaking to see that Pride flag is not flying in Friendship Plaza at Anaheim City Hall today as promised.

I understand that concerns have been raised that flying the Pride flag on the flagpoles in Friendship Plaza may not be in alignment with the Anaheim municipal code (11.08.040). This issue was raised the night the motion passed during and exchange between staff and the Council. Per the Council meeting minutes for June 21, 2016, proactively Councilperson Murray specifically “suggested that a followup protocol could be considered to address the precedent setting aspect of this action.”

I understand that Councilperson Brandman brought it again to the attention of the staff in late 2016. I understand that the city staff agreed to have a code “fix” in place by January 2017. I understand that Council has not acted to reconcile the actions of the Council and municipal code nor has neither, the staff or the council reached to the LGBTQ leadership who specifically led the initiative and requested the motion on June 21, 2016 to inform us that the LGBTQ Pride flag would not be flown in Friendship Plaza as promised.

This understanding does not erase the pain I felt this morning when I passed City Hall and saw the flag was not there.

Yes, tomorrow May 23, 2017, the Council is entertaining the request of the staff, “to display” not “to fly” the flag at the City Hall and yes, the Council will be entertaining the idea of lighting up the ARTIC with “multicolored lights” (a common practice at the ARTIC) without any reference to it being done in the symbolic traditional LGBTQ pride colors format or scheme.

None of this makes up for the disregard that our municipal and elected officials once again show for the plight and pain of the LGBTQ members of the Anaheim community. Members of the LGBTQ community are continually pushed to the margins and back into the closet by society at large.

We cannot be pushed to the sidelines by broken promises by our local government officials any longer.

It was a proud day when the LGBTQ Pride flag flew over Friendship Plaza. It was a day that symbolically stated the City of Anaheim sees me and will hold me as a member of our community as my authentic self. That flag stated to me and the millions of others who saw that flag flying in Friendship Plaza whether it be in person, in the news or on social media, “You are not alone” and you will no longer be forced you into the closet Anaheim is your city Anaheim is a City of kindness and compassion.

Everyday in this country LGBTQ people who are also people of color, Muslims (and other religious minorities), immigrants, elderly, poor, and disabled suffer the indignity of having their rights suppressed, their voices silenced, and their lives marginalized. As members of the Anaheim community and the Anaheim family we cannot either by intentional action or negligence allow members of our Anaheim community be pressed to the margins. The actions (or inaction) of the Council and staff over the last year have betrayed the LGBTQ and by extension all minority groups in Anaheim. By not taking action to ensure that the LGBTQ Pride flag is flown or to address it in a timely manner speaks to the fact that maybe I was duped. I have to ask the question: “Does this City of Kindness see me?”

Councilmembers, you hold in your hands as a public trust not only to care for and protect the citizenry of the people of Anaheim but also heart of this community. When we, the members of this community select you to represent us, we bestow upon you a right and responsibility to represent us with your hearts as well as your words. We bestow upon you the ability to make change and in the words of Unitarian minister Theodore Parker to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

 

 

  20 comments for “Updated: It’s Harvey Milk Day; No Pride in Anaheim

  1. THankBrandman
    May 23, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Facebook posts suggest Jose Moreno will come to the rescue here. Truth is he could have made a call yesterday. This effort was all due to Jordan Brandman. If Josectruescto claim credit for righting a wrong, he’s being a disengenous douche

  2. Anaheim Avenger
    May 24, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Last night’s council mtg was a travesty. I am ashamed that our Mayor kept falling back on such tried and true excuses (because let’s face it that’s all they were):

    It’s against the law
    Its A Slippery Slope
    What if Everyone Wanted a Flag
    Alternatives are just as good
    Our hands are tied, we can’t break the law.

    For every disenfranchised group who has had to break thru a barrier – I think we can all agree it started with “breaking the law” which criminialized or marginalized who they are. It takes brave leaders to break those barriers.

    I also think we can all agree that Tait’s slip is showing on this one. Kindness campaigns and bromances with the Dali Lama were all photos ops. When push comes to shove he doesn’t stand by his word to defend those who need our support.

    This is how you get killed by kindness.

  3. Daniel Lamb
    May 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I am a proud gay man, always will be. But I don’t think it is appropriate to fly the rainbow flag alongside the American flag. Obviously, I don’t say that to disparage the LGBT community, it just strikes me as inappropriate. I’m not sure why and maybe I should think about it more, but the flag display is about unity not particularity. Just an off the cuffs thought…

  4. Cynthia Ward
    June 14, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    When the council approved the annual flying of the gay pride flag in June 2016, this concern was brought forward by staff and council overruled them unanimously. Greg Garcia, the deputy city manager, assured the council — which included the author of the motion, then-Councilmember Jordan Brandman, the only LGBTQ member of the council — that this code section would be resolved by January 2017.

    This didn’t happen.

    Now, city staff is recommending to provide “recognition mitigation.” Garcia says he learned this upon further review. This is a lie. There’s a recorded meeting where this issue was discussed and he was the presenter. It’s hard to cover your ass when it’s exposed on video. Revisionist history?

    So Dan, where did yo get this info? Not from attending the meeting or even watching it online. Because during the June 21, 2016 meeting, Greg Garcia was at the desk to give the usual staff report, BUT Jordan cut him off, and gave a speech, which was followed by comments by Council members and a vote. Staff NEVER SPOKE A WORD during that meeting. So how did a “recorded meeting” capture staff promising to fix something that WAS NOT BROUGHT UP? Murray’s request for a follow up was linked to the Mayor’s concern that other groups would demand equal treatment. Brandman was very specific in his statement that the rainbow flag must be on not just any flag pole, but the same one the City seal flies from, and NOT ONE PERSON said a word about it being illegal. Not during the meeting. So who is playing revisionist history here? You clearly get your info from Brandman, so Brandman must have known it was against the law, did staff tell him behind the scenes? Is that why Brandman cut off staff and didn’t let them give a staff report? Your statements (and your throwing staff under the bus) indicate Brandman knew, yet you blame staff for not following up. Staff takes orders from Council, Brandman left this as a ticking time bomb to go off in the faces of the new Council, and shame on him for using what is supposed to be a symbol of unity as a political bludgeon.

    • June 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Cynthia — Mr. Brandman is not in office. I get my information from Anaheim from a number of sources who do not think Tom Tait walks on water. I think the decision and votes to deny the LGBTQ community the ability to fly the flag shows Tait’s conservative leanings and is evidence that his idea of Anaheim as a city of kindness is a sham.

      It’s not hard to shell out about $10K and build a new flagpole to fly all manner of flags. It’s what Santa Ana did.

  5. CorgiGirl
    June 15, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Tait is a freaking anti-gay bigot Ward. So is his aide Montgomery. Stop licking his boots and think for yourself. Unless you think gays need to be in the closet.

  6. New South Wales
    June 15, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Jeff LeTourneau at his best.

    In Jeff’s world, you aren’t part of the LGBTQ community because you are born that way. You are only part of the LGBTQ community if you support his political stance.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F3phODl0g4

  7. OCDEM
    June 16, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Wow. Thats one ANGRY man, that Jeff Letourneu. Like most OCDEM’s I always believed “Crazy Greg” to be the unstable one in that family. Clearly, I was mistaken, Jeff appears uncapable of controlling himself. These people HAVE NO BUSINESS representing Democrats.

  8. New South Wales
    June 16, 2017 at 8:10 am

    It is bad enough that many LGBTQ citizens face ostracism from their own families because they simply want to be themselves.

    Now, Jeff LeTourneau threatens to kick them out of their own community because they disagree with the idea of raising gasoline taxes and vehicle license fees?

    The Democratic Party of California put itself before the working class people by pushing this additional gas tax and vehicle license fee. This highly regressive tax will cost most families between $200 and $400 a year.

    One of my family members happens to be gay. He works hard, makes what should normally be considered a decent wage and is still struggling to make ends meet. He can’t afford this additional financial hit.

    Does Jeff Letourneau think my relative should be kicked out of the LGBTQ community, too?

    • People Person
      June 16, 2017 at 9:27 am
    • June 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

      I don’t speak for Jeff. But please know that recalling Josh Newman will have zero impact on repealing a gas tax and vehicle license fee. The people gathering the petitions promising this are liars

  9. People Person
    June 16, 2017 at 9:26 am
  10. New South Wales
    June 16, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Each time I’ve encountered the signature collectors, they explained that they are gathering signatures to recall State Senator Josh Newman because he voted in favor of the gas tax and vehicle license fee increase.

    The working class voters didn’t elect Newman so he can allow passage of this tax. They voted for him thinking he would look out for their concerns.

    He voted yes on a painfully regressive tax within the first six months in office. When we needed him to stand for us and protect what little money we have left, he joined in on the mugging.

    I’m sure there are a number of signature collectors that are being paid and may not be honest with the purpose of the recall.

    However, the nature of referendum and propositions in California is that you have to pay for signature collectors if you want to get your item on the ballot.

    The Newman Recall effort hired many the same signature gatherers that are hired by the Democratic Party and Unions to get their propositions on the ballot. These signature gatherers are just following the playbook written by the Democrats and Unions.

    Case in point – Proposition 47 – “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act.” It was pushed by the signature gatherers as a way to reduce crime.

    The proposition, in fact, reduced many felonies to misdemeanors and got rid of the incentive for a drug abuser to seek treatment in order to reduce their drug crimes to simple misdemeanors.

    Since 2014, we’ve now seen a 54% increase in homelessness. Heroin addiction is running rampant in those camps and the addicts are supporting their habits with property theft from surrounding neighborhoods.

    I find it ironic when I see Democratic Party leadership cry fowl about inaccurate petition claims and the paying of signature gatherers when they commit the same offenses all the time.

  11. New South Wales
    June 16, 2017 at 10:45 am

    But… Back on Jeff LeTourneau…

    This LeTourneau guy and his followers are constantly at the Anaheim City Council meetings brow beating its residents and officials about how they aren’t acting as a ‘City of Kindness’.

    If you don’t act on his and his personality cult’s wishes, then your accused of being unkind, inhumane and even a murderer.

    Meanwhile, he’s showing his true self in that video.

    He’s a hypocrite with a capital ‘F’ and ‘U’.

  12. BillC
    June 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Which relative is more deranged. jeff or Greg?

    • OCDEM
      June 16, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      After watching the video, I’d say its a toss up.

      We’ve all (especially those involved with the DPOC) witnessed Greg’s dellusions, antics and embarassing behavior. It is unrealistic to believe he is on an even plane.

      He chooses to surround himself by apologists and dirtbags like his co-blogger, who for lack of a better description belongs to a anti-police terror cell. His wifes son was a criminal gang member, who SHOT AT POLICE. Somehow, someway, Greg thinks this is admirable. He is crazy as sh!thouse mouse. These are deliberate self destructive moves by a mentally ill, narccisitic loon.

      Now, Jeff just seems like an angry bitter gay man, who is uncomfortable with who he is. And EVERYBODY IS GOING TO KNOW IT.

      Look up drama queen in Websters and you’ll see Jeffs photo.

  13. Spector
    June 17, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    The party won’t do a thing to punish JEFF. He’ll skate

  14. David Vasquez
    June 17, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Jeff has repeatedly been willing to use VIOLENCE to make his point.

    Remember the time he put the FB post up that featured a Young Muscled Gay Man (who he apparently wished was himself???) wearing a TEE SHIRT and holding a TIRE IRON. The caption read:

    “HE CALLED ME A FAGGOT, I CALLED HIM AN AMBULANCE”

    When confronted, Letourneu first claimed that it was him, the backed off and finally disavowed any violent reaction.

    Jeff, like Greg is a paper tiger, a keyboard warrior, whatever you want to call it. Jeff is a COWARD, eager for fame and attention.
    I would feel a lot better for if Jeff grabbed a bat or a tire iron himself, but like Jose Moreno, they are pretty boys who talk a BIG game, but are really, to paraphrase the right: “SNOWFLAKES”.

    Let’s get to the business of defending Josh Newman, Moving California and California’s party forward. Let’s start by taking out the trash.

  15. AnonymousForAReason
    June 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    No statement from DPOC? WTF? Imagine a straight guy saying the things Jeff said? He has a resolution for Robert Hammond using the term “soddomite” in an email. This video is a black mark against DPOC. Keep protecting this bully

  16. Dan Chmielewski
    June 19, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    The party issued no statement and a Jeff delivered a heartfelt apology for his comments in the video. His was especially apologetic to the DPOC staff that took considerable heat from anonymous phone callers

Comments are closed.