The Chron continues its jihad against Harvey Milk Airport today, arguing that the price tag airport administrators came up with -- $4 million -- makes the plan too expensive. Not that $4 million is a trivial amount of money, but please: Compared to the tax breaks, upzonings, and other giveaways the the city routinely hands over to big corporations, this is birdseed. That's if we can trust the folks at SFO, who are opposed to the name change. And there's no reason all that money has to be spent at once, the first day; change the name, then implement all the signage changes over a couple of years or so. Not really a big deal.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano called this morning to remind us of a similar battle in 1994 over renaming Army Street after Cesar Chavez. The costs were wildly inflated. The Chron kept raising all sorts of problems. "It was like, 'oh we should honor him, but we can't change a name,' Amminano said. "The same tired bullshit we're hearing now."
And the truth is, changing Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street was an appropriate step, no big deal -- and in the end, everyone came around. Ten years from now, they'll feel the same way about Harvey Milk International Airport.
PS: The issue here isn't really renaming the airport against leaving it as SFO. I guarantee if this fails, at some point someone's going to try to name it after Dianne Feinstein or Willie Brown -- and the Chron probably won't have the same issues. If the question is whether to name an airport after Brown (terrible mayor) Feinstein (terrible mayor) or Milk (international civil-rights icon) ... well, that's a no-brainer.
PS2: The B.A.R. came out against the name change in an odd editorial that suggested the battle would be divisive and "turn our friends against us." That, as a sharp letter from Ammiano, Bevan Dufty, Carole Migden, Jose Cisneros, and Anne Kronenberg ponts out, is the same argument that the more conservative elements of the gay community used to try to talk Milk out of running for office.