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San Diego to become first U.S. city to have street named after Harvey Milk

By Ben Cartwright
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SAN DIEGO — San Diego will become the first city in the nation to honor legendary LGBT civil rights icon Harvey Milk with a street naming. On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve a proposal which will rename Blaine Avenue in Hillcrest as Harvey Milk Street.

City Council member Todd Gloria, who represents the district in which the street is located, said he is pleased with the vote.

“I believe this is an appropriate way to honor Harvey Milk’s tremendous contributions,” Gloria said. “This is the culmination of years of work by many San Diegans and will ensure the civil rights leader is never forgotten in our city.”

Milk had ties to San Diego during his time served in the Navy, and was a diving instructor. In 1978, Milk became one of the first openly gay officials to be elected to public office when he was voted into office on the San Francisco City Board of Supervisors. Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated on Nov. 27, 1979, by Dan White, a supervisor who had resigned and wanted his position back.

A group of community members have been working with San Diego Pride to make the idea a reality. Pride staff, volunteers and community members have been visiting various community groups over the last few months to receive their endorsements and support.

Numerous community groups signed on to support the project, including the Hillcrest Town Council and Uptown Planners. The City of San Diego Planning Commission gave its thumbs up for the project at a meeting on April 12. The commission’s recommendation was forwarded to the City Council for review today.

Speakers at the planning commission’s meeting last month included Stuart Milk, nephew of the slain LGBT civil rights hero.

At today’s city council meeting, only one community member spoke in opposition to the proposal.

James Hartline, who says he lives in San Diego’s new 9th city council district, and frequently speaks in opposition to items that favor the LGBT community, read a letter to the council that Harvey Milk wrote to President Jimmy Carter in 1978, attempting to point out Milk’s ties to “Rev. Jim Jones of the People’s Temple,” who he said has ties to the KKK.

“If you want to name a street after this man, the voters are watching,” Hartline said.

Hartline’s anti-gay rant was nearly 10 minutes long, as two other citizens ceded their time to him.

One resident said she supports naming a street after Milk, but believes that the chosen street is not sufficient. Her wish is that a large thoroughfare, such as University Avenue, be named in Milk’s honor.

Several community members attended today’s meeting to express their support of the proposal, many of them dressed in “white for Milk,” including GSDBA executive director Tom Luhnow, San Diego Pride executive director Dwayne Crenshaw and community activist Susan Jester.

Numerous slips in favor of the project were also submitted for the record.

Jester said that she worked with the City Council 26 years ago to organize the first AIDS Walk in San Diego and encouraged the council to have that same kind of courage today.

Crenshaw said he is grateful with the outcome of today’s vote, which was the culmination of over a year’s work.

“A year ago, a group of community leaders came together around the notion the time had come to honor an LGBT civil rights leader in San Diego the same way we have given honor to other civil rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr.,” Crenshaw said. “Today marks a symbolic and significant moment in the movement forward towards the American value of equality.”

Council President Tony Young encouraged the LGBT community to recognize what an important part of the city they are, expressing his support for the project.

The item was motioned for approval by Gloria, a Democrat, and seconded by Councilmember Carl DeMaio, a Republican. Both councilmembers are openly gay. DeMaio is running for mayor, and Gloria is up for re-election to the council.

The project will include changing the street signs along Blaine Avenue to read Harvey Milk Street. The entire project is being privately funded, and donations are being sought.

Pride officials hope to have the signs changed out in time for an unveiling celebration from 5 to 6 pm Tuesday, May 22, the date of Harvey Milk’s birthday.

© San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
An LGBTQ Nation media partner.

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Filed under: California

21 more reader comments:

    judge not that ye not be judge…so why the hell are WE always being judged…(let a man examine himself)…str8 from the holy book…So if they will examine themselves–their would be no time to pre-judge or judge others because they would be 24-7 (examining their own faults, sins and deeds)..NORTH CAROLINA IS NOT MY ALPHA AND OMEGA, NOR MY BEGINNING OR END…*Now MEDITATE BOTH DAY & NIGHT ON THAT…..**from a lesbian soul**

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:29am
  2. Love!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:29am
  3. BRAVO

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:30am
  4. yes, about time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:31am
  5. Praise God for all he did for us!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:33am
  6. He deserves way more than a street named after him. He deserves a memorial in DC.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:33am
  7. Every gay men and women should stand up for this great injustice deeply seeded in the hearts of many for selfish and selfless reasons………….YES the Bible says it is a sin………The BIBLE also says……DO NOT JUDGE………LOVE YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS………..HOW MANY ARE LIVING IN SIN ON A DAILY BASIS……….Committing sins much brutal and harsher than homosexual activities……….It is a shame civilization has come this far only to go backwards.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:36am
  8. I am so thrilled that Harvey Milk is honored this way! It may not be a major highway, but that’s not the point. I first learned about Mr. Milk and what he has done for the GLBT community when I came across a movie about him. I am so glad that I felt lead to stop at that channel that day.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:47am
  9. I would like to know where exactly in the bible does it state specifically “Homosexuality (or any word of the same meaning) is a ‘sin’ ”
    Or is that just the universally accepted interpretation of a passage stating that a man laying with another man, as he would a woman, is deemed an abomination?

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:48am
  10. Congrats to Mr. Milk but I’m surprised San Francisco didn’t present a street name in his honor.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:51am
  11. That is wonderful since San Diego is the most conservative area of California.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 10:22am
  12. Hopefully the first of many!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 11:33am
  13. it’s about time!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 11:54am
  14. That’s how we do it in Diego!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 12:27pm
  15. Good job

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 12:38pm
  16. Sean Penn played a great part in the movie. I was too young to appreciate the real Harvey Milk in his time. San Diego Rules!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 1:11pm
  17. Now to work on the rest!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 1:36pm
  18. signed it

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 2:19pm
  19. What??? not even San Francisco ??? what’s up with that :-)

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:53pm
  20. Now for the next stage in the evolution of Universal acceptance!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:13pm
  21. Change.Org has a petition to get him on a stamp. Type CHANGE.ORG in FB’s search. Click “gay rights petitions” U find this & many others!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 6:44pm