In an odd turn to the simmering struggle over renaming the San Francisco's airport for slain gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk, officials announced nominees Tuesday to a committee on defining rules for a name change.
Though the choice of renaming San Francisco International Airport would be left to voters if the proposal gets that far, SFO's governing body has decided to create naming policies.
Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said the move was prompted by the desire to create an orderly framework, which hasn't existed up to the present, to deal with a possible change.
"It's a way to add structure to the effort and to define a set policy," said Yakel. "The goal is not intended to halt or stop or render judge on the current proposal."
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos' office, which has spearheaded the idea, didn't respond to several requests for comment Tuesday.
The nine-member committee will be a mix of business, airport and city officials, and one nominee is drawn from a gay and lesbian affairs group. The nominees still have to be confirmed by SFO's overseeing body, the Airport Commission. A vote and public hearing is slated for April 16, Yakel said.
Since Campos introduced legislation in January to ask voters to designate SFO as Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport divergent opinions have emerged. Milk was San Francisco's first openly gay elected official. He and Mayor George Moscone were gunned down by former Supervisor Dan White in 1978.
Airport Commission President Larry Mazzola was quoted as saying airports should be "untouchable" when it comes to naming them after someone, while an online petition by Milk's nephew in support of the new name has drawn 20,000 signatures.
The committee nominees are: Mazzola, Airport Commission president; Linda Crayton, airport commissioner; Caryl Ito, former airport commissioner; Melinda Yee Franklin, United Airlines director of corporate and government affairs, Western Region; Rosanne Foust, San Mateo County Economic Development Association president and CEO; Lee Blitch, retired vice president of San Francisco State; Joanne Hayes White, San Francisco fire chief; Pamela H. David, Walter and Elise Haas Fund executive director and board member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Jon Ballesteros, San Francisco Travel Association vice president of public policy.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.