Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Plaque purchased for Jane Warner Plaza


A heart of purple flowers mysteriously appeared in Jane Warner Plaza last week; the plaque honoring Warner will soon be installed. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)
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The plaque explaining the person Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro is named after has been purchased and will likely be installed by the end of the year.

The Castro parklet is named after the lesbian San Francisco Patrol Special Police officer whose beat included the city's gayborhood. Warner, who penned the Bay Area Reporter's crime column, died on May 8, 2010 at the age of 53 after a battle with ovarian cancer.

A year ago this month city officials dedicated the outdoor area on 17th Street at Castro and Market in honor of Warner. But a fundraising effort that former Supervisor Bevan Dufty had promised to lead failed to materialize after Dufty left office last December and his attention turned to his mayoral bid.

After the B.A.R. reported about the lackluster fundraising earlier this year, community leaders redoubled their efforts. Then a donation of $800 made on October 20 by the Triangle Martial Arts Association, Community Action Program and Community Patrol USA secured the final piece of funding needed to pay for the plaque.

"Jane was a strong supporter of my ideas surrounding Community On Patrol Service groups, and she supported and helped Castro Community On Patrol (CCOP) during her last years of service," wrote Ken Craig, chief of Community Patrol USA and grand master instructor and president of Triangle Martial Arts Association, in an email announcing the donation. "CP-USA works to further those ideas in San Francisco and beyond, so it's fitting I think that CP-USA is in a position to be able to come to the aid of Jane and hopefully get that memorial plaque into production and up in the plaza at last."

Last week Alan Bayard, president of the city's Patrol Special Police Officers Association, went to Bocci Memorials in Colma and ordered the approximately 30 inches by 26 inches bronze plaque. It cost roughly $5,000 and is expected to arrive within four to six weeks.

"Unfortunately, it has taken too long. I would have liked to seen it done a little bit earlier. But better late than never," Bayard told the B.A.R. Tuesday, October 25 prior to traveling to Colma to finalize the plaque purchase.

The plaque will be attached to the side of one of the plaza's concrete planters that faces south down Castro Street near the entrance to the Twin Peaks bar. Initially it was to be placed on top of the planter. But that position was nixed, as it would impose on people's views.

"After talking with people in the Planning Department and Castro business district, it was decided to put it on the side of the planter box," explained Bayard. "By putting it on the side of the concrete planter box it is not sticking up and not in anyone's way. Yet it is still large enough to be seen."

Warner's friends and co-workers had hoped to install the plaque before November 7, which would have been her 55th birthday. Now the plaque will arrive sometime in late November, at the earliest, and is expected to be installed by mid-December.

Bayard said he is hopeful it will not meet the same fate as that of a bronze plaque from Harvey Milk Plaza across the street. That marker honoring the late gay supervisor was stolen last month.

"The nice thing about Jane Warner Plaza is it is situated right on street level unlike the plaque stolen at Harvey Milk Plaza. With this being on street level, just about anybody coming by can see it," he said. "I am hoping with some really good glue and some really large bolts, it won't be able to be removed."

An unveiling ceremony for Warner's plaque will be planned once a date is determined. Until then, people are invited to gather at the plaza November 7 to remember Warner.

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