It was January of 2013 when then-Supervisor David Campos proposed that San Francisco name its airport after slain gay icon and SF Supe Harvey Milk. After that plan was met with no small scorn, the proposal was scaled back to the renaming of just a terminal...and there it's remained, just a proposal until this week, when a newly-formed panel is expected to rule on the idea.
You can catch up on the whole backstory here: Campos' initial idea for a ballot measure allowing SF voters to agree to rename the airport after Milk, the subsequent poll in which 61 percent of respondents said they didn't like the idea, and the compromise worked out between Campos and Mayor Ed Lee for a name change to one of SFO's terminals.
In the compromise, reported on by the Bay Area Reporter in May of 2013, "a committee would be appointed to recommend which of the airport's terminals should be named after Milk" with the Board of Supes choosing four panel members, and with Lee naming the other five.
The panel "would be given three months to present its recommendation to the board and could also recommend names for all of the airport's terminals, as well as boarding areas and control towers," the BAR reported nearly four years ago. And this Thursday, the Airport Facilities Naming Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting. Yes, four years later.
According to the BAR, the delay was due to "Mayor Ed Lee’s snails pace in naming his five appointees to the nine-member panel. As of Monday afternoon (April 17), the mayor’s office had yet to publicly disclose whom Lee had appointed to the body."
Nevertheless, the BAR persisted, and wrenched out Room 200's panelist picks:
- Joe Goldman, the public affairs and civic engagement manager at the Jewish Community Relations Council.
- Alfredo Pedroza, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo and the bank’s West Region director of local government relations.
- Jim Lazarus, the senior vice president for public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
- Theresa Lee, formerly the deputy airport director for administration
- Renel Brooks Moon, the public address announcer for the San Francisco Giants.
They join the Supe picks, all of whom were named in early 2014:
- Jon Ballesteros, vice president of public policy at San Francisco Travel
- Maggie Weiland, deputy director of the Entertainment Commission and, the BAR reports, "a volunteer with the Harvey Milk Foundation, co-founded by her mother, Anne Kronenberg, who was a campaign consultant and legislative aide for Milk"
- Alex Walker, who works for state Assemblyman Phil Ting
- John L. Martin, SFO's former director, who is replacing Nick Smith, then a reporter for ABC 7 who has since moved out of state
This motley crew will hold their first meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday in City Hall's room 421 to mull the renaming proposal.
“Clearly, the charge to name something for Harvey Milk is there, and if there will be other recommendations I couldn’t say,” Martin told the BAR. “I wouldn’t want to be ahead of the other committee members.”
According to Martin, the decision should be fairly swift, requiring only three or four meetings. “I expect it won’t take long,” he told the BAR. But given how long it's taken us to get this far, I wouldn't hold my breath.