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Harvey Milk Terminal at SFO moves toward reality

San Francisco is on its way toward renaming Terminal One at San Francisco International Airport after the first openly gay elected official in a major city, Harvey Milk.

On Thursday, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Sub-Committee approved to rename the terminal after the former supervisor and LGBTQ civil rights leader. The full board will take a vote on the naming of the terminal on April 3.

Former Supervisor Dan White Milk killed Milk along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978.

Former Supervisor David Campos had spearheaded in 2013 the idea to rename the entire airport after Milk but the Airport Commission opposed the idea along with some of the public.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, then a legislative aide to Campos, said once the idea to rename the entire airport after Milk was introduced, the office began receiving death threats and foul comments about Milk from around the country and even from the Bay Area.

An advisory panel was formed called the Airport Facilities Naming Advisory Committee by the Board of Supervisors, which voted last year to rename the terminal after Milk. The committee can also make recommendations to the board and the mayor on renaming other terminals at SFO, towers and boarding areas.

Campos said at the committee meeting on Thursday:

“I don’t think that you are going to find someone, including mayors of The City, that have had a greater impact, not only on San Francisco but in the country and world than Harvey Milk.”

Campos added that not only will visitors see his name at the airport, but they will also learn about his life:

“Harvey has meant a great deal not just for LGBTQ community but to any community that is struggling and fighting for equality and freedom anywhere in the world.”

Ronen amended the legislation to give The City’s Art Commission some leverage over what pieces of artwork would go inside the terminal to honor Milk.

Ronen said now was the time to honor the former supervisor and gay rights activist:

“This is about doing our part to create a welcoming city for queer and trans people. One where we do not tolerate violence, where we work every day to ensure our community is able to thrive.”

The estimated cost to rename Terminal One is $357,000, which includes $22,000 to replace signage and $335,000 to put up a new sign for the terminal, according the budget and legislative analyst report.

Currently, Terminal 1 is undergoing $2.4 billion worth of renovations, and the cost of the renaming the terminal can be funded through the renovation budget.

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