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Hillcrest Street To Be Renamed After Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk

A two-block street in Hillcrest will be renamed in honor of slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk, following a unanimous vote today by the San Diego City Council.

City officials believe Blaine Avenue, which contains a handful of houses and apartment complexes, will become the first Harvey Milk Street in the country when new signs are unveiled on May 22, which would have been his 82nd birthday.

While Milk mainly is associated with San Francisco, where he was a county supervisor, he was stationed in San Diego when he was in the Navy.

"Harvey first fell in love with California when stationed in San Diego as a U.S. Navy diving instructor,'' said Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents Hillcrest and is one of the council's two openly gay members. "As we all know, he later relocated to California from New York and helped to advance the (gay) civil rights movement.''

One woman argued the road was too small and hidden to be appropriate for honoring Milk, but Gloria and others noted that Blaine Avenue leads to the LGBT Center and serves as the starting point for the annual Pride Parade.

Milk was one of the first openly gay politicians to hold public office when elected to the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco in 1977. He pushed through a gay rights law before he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot to death in late November 1978 by former Supervisor Dan White.

The only opposition to the street renaming was expressed by James Hartline, who said Milk was connected to the Rev. Jim Jones, the leader of a San Francisco-based cult that was later involved in the slaying of a congressman and mass suicides of its followers in Guyana.

The city's costs from the name change will be covered by donations, according to Gloria. He said members of Milk's family are expected to attend the unveiling.

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