Weekend Open Thread: Anaheim Raises its Rainbow Pride Flag High!




Quietly, yesterday morning, this went up on City Hall’s reflective front wall:

And this placement of the flag, first suggested by Mark Daniels and Councilman Faessel, is what most of us thought was the best solution, the closest Council could come to keeping their promise of last year to the gay community without breaking the municipal code that forbids flying non-governmental flags on the three poles out front.  A few activists complained that it just doesn’t have the gravitas it would have waving in the wind from a pole, but look how much more visible, and higher it is!

It was interesting to see how this issue splits the council in a completely different way from usual, with Kris Murray, José Moreno and Steve Faessel seeing the urgency of raising the flag high and not reneging on last year’s promise, but constantly shut down by Mayor Tait, Lucille Kring and Denise Barnes on 3-3 votes (Vanderbilt out being military.)  Spoiler alert – an exasperated City Manager Paul Emery finally became the de facto tie-breaker, ending the hourlong stalemate with (I paraphrase) “Just vote to give me discretion and I’ll hang it from the damn building!” to which all six gave in.

Kris spoke eloquently of the problem of gay youth being bullied, to which José added the fact of 40% of homeless youth being LGBT and the epidemic of gay youth suicide.  The mayor’s side didn’t seem to see the same urgency, content to keep the flag in its low-profile courtyard location, invisible from the street.  Tom again fretted endlessly over all the many many groups who would now demand their flags be flown as well and how can the Council now say no?  (Actually a good answer would have been why hasn’t that groundswell already happened, in the year since the flag was first raised?)  Denise recited a strange prepared speech that seemed to counsel healthy self-reliance and called the flag “social engineering.”

But at least the rumor that defeated Councilman Jordan Brandman had been passing around wasn’t true, that Tom’s and Denise’s staffers were out riling up conservative “evangelical churches” to fight against the flag.  Jeez, Jordan’s hatred of Tom and Mishal is deep and abiding, and his truthfulness still at Trump levels.

Lucille was worst of all, and how could we have expected otherwise?  She at first seemed to try to vote against displaying the flag at all.  As she always does, she claimed to have received countless e-mails in opposition to the dozens of public speakers there (all but a couple of whom supported the flag.)  Again as she always does, she discounted all of us as one-issue “activists,” and pointed out that many of us were from out-of-town, and “Why don’t you go do this in your own towns?”

And she really chewed out Jeff LeTourneau for HIS chewing out of old anti-immigrant firebrand Anita Hynds (whom I hadn’t seen since a 2010 Westminster meeting where she’d shown up with Barbara Coe’s hate group to try to get that council to pass a resolution in support of Arizona’s papers-please laws.)  “That lady made some very good points,” protested Lucille.  Hmm, what were these “good points” Anita made that gave Jeff such a violent reaction?  Let’s run the tape…

“Gays are dangerous to society, especially children.  Most of them are child molestors… I fought for Proposition 8, which is the law.  It is illegal for a man to be married to a man… Nobody was born gay.  They disgrace their lives.   They cause problems not just to themselves but everybody… Their corrupted behavior…  They are evil.”

Nice, Anita.  Nice, Lucille.  Well at least we have our Flag up now, too bad it was like pulling teeth.

This is your late weekend open thread, go for it.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.