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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Hillcrest Rainbow Flag Approved Unanimously By City Council

A plan to install a 65-foot pole that will fly a rainbow flag over Hillcrest -- home to San Diego's vibrant gay and lesbian community -- was unanimously approved today by the City Council.

The pole should be ready for the 12-by-18-foot flag this summer, in time for the annual Pride Weekend, said Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association. It will be in the median of the intersection of Normal Street and University Avenue.

"The thing about the rainbow flag and the LGBT community is they reflect all of us. Every race, every culture, every religion is represented in the LGBT community and that flag stands for every race, every culture, every religion, and it speaks to equality and the promise of America for liberty and justice for all,'' said Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego Pride.

The Planning Commission recommended three weeks ago that permits to install the pole be denied because of height and safety objections.

Speakers who opposed the flag at the City Council meeting said the pole was an unconstitutional private use of public land that favored one group of people. Nicholls responded that murals on public property in Little Italy and Chicano Park did the same thing without causing objections.

The pole and flag are being paid for with private donations.

"This monument is a physical manifestation of what Hillcrest means to thousands of San Diegans,'' said Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents the neighborhood. "It is a welcoming, safe, diverse and inclusive community -- and I happen to believe that statement is true whether you are gay or whether you are straight.''

Gloria is one of two openly gay members of the council. Carl DeMaio, the mayoral candidate who seconded a motion to approve the project, is the other.

The vote was 7-0, with Councilwoman Lorie Zapf absent.

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