In Race Against Openly Gay Challenger, Cupertino Mayor Takes Flak Over Rainbow Signs

The colorful world of politics got a little more prismatic this week in Cupertino as the city’s mayor, Steven Scharf, faced criticism over his new rainbow yard signs.

Critics of the placards say Scharf misappropriated LGBTQ imagery in a jab at J.R. Fruen, whose recently announced council bid makes him the city’s only openly gay candidate. Fruen said some residents have donated to his campaign just to protest Sharf’s seeming attempt to co-opt the rainbow.

Fly emailed Scharf to find out what inspired his chosen sign palate and he updated his website with an explanation. In a letter posted online Tuesday, Scharf said he commissioned the pride flag-themed signs to rebut a “political attack” in which some accused him of opposing a new rainbow crosswalk in the city.

The signs, he said, are a show of “support for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Drew Lloyd, president of LGBTQ political action group BAYMEC, told Fly he likes seeing allies display the rainbow flag—but an ostensibly straight man using it as a foil against an out-and-proud challenger “raises serious questions.”

“I am anxious to hear about the connection he has to LGBTQ people that is strong enough to attach his name to the rainbow flag in a race against a candidate who openly identifies as LGBTQ,” Lloyd offered diplomatically.

Scharf also raised eyebrows with his slogan choice, which critics took as another dig at Fruen. “A Better Cupertino For All,” which combines the names of dueling factions in the city: slow-growth group Better Cupertino, of which he’s a member, and pro-growth Cupertino For All, which Fruen co-founded.

Maybe it’s a coincidence. Or maybe Fruen’s living rent-free in Scharf’s head.

Either way, Fruen said: “It means he's paying attention to the fact that I'm in the race, and that he thinks that I'm a threat to his candidacy.”

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  1. It is unfortunate. It is in the style of the intolerant politics that Jamie McLeod faced in Santa Clara where the longtime balloon on the signs guy would recruit silly people to run against her and claim his fishing buddy was an outstanding campaign manager. Despite the attacks on Jamie, she won hands down. When your opponents pose as Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble at a campaign event, you usually lose.

  2. Steven Scharf is the exact sort of politician perpetuating the Bay Area’s housing crisis and forcing young people born here to move away.

  3. Note to kulak, this was in Cupetino. The mayor in Santa Clara did take the high road with her opponent, a gay candidate. She treated him with respect. One blogger who has racist and homophobic issues did not.

  4. Mayor Scharf and City Council just passed a large Senior affordable housing project with memory care units for seniors and some market rate for sale units.

    This sign issue is childish.

  5. Promise

    I have spanned the years when they really did dump all over LGBTQ, through the do what you want years, to the people putting a flag out in front of my in July even though their straight. Alls cool as long as no is telling anyone what they have to do and the mob isnt cancelling anyone. But now this has gone too far, this is a joke.

    And I was too lazy to type SC County, because this nonsense is everywhere.

  6. Thanks to Bob I now know what is meant by “memory care unit.” Thanks to Democrats, I now fear the White House will soon become one.

  7. That will be an improvement over the current loony bin. If you support trump you really are showing the profound depth of your stupidity.


    I truly pity the state of public education. So voting for Trump would demonstrate a profound depth of stupidity. It is an assumption that would imply you think it is a good idea to vote for Biden. Another assumption I will make is that you think the police need to be defunded and the mass incarceration of black and brown bodies need to be undone. I will proceed under those assumptions.

    Let me take you on a journey, back to 1989. Joe Biden essentially told Poppa Bush to hold my beer and tripled down on the war on drugs.

    Hear the words for yourself:

    Some important points to highlight

    “The presidents plan is not tough enough, not bold enough, not imaginative enough”
    “We need another D-Day”
    “Hold every drug users accountable, if there were no drug users there would be no appetite for drugs”
    “The number of people using drugs is down, but the violence associated with drugs is spewing out all over America”
    “Not enough police officers to catch the violent thugs, not enough prosecutors to convict, not enough judges to sentence them, and not enough prison cells to put them away for a long time.”
    “Triple to commitment for police, prosecutors, and judges.”

    Oh, but you’ll say Joe is a placeholder, Kamala Harris is the real nominee. Well, I think your high school “herstory” class may be leaving out a few details on her.

    Tulsi does it best, and note Joe Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill and 1989 rebuttal are the source from which all this flows.

    more highlights:

    1500 people in jail for marijuana violations (smoking it?)
    block exculpatory evidence that would have freed a man from death row
    keep prisoners beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor
    fought to keep cash bail in place

    Of course Trump is not innocent, but you see he didn’t spend his adult life abusing government power. Now since he is President we can point to how he has used Joe Biden’s drug laws to crack down on black and brown bodies, because he is a hard core racist. Well, this is history:

    See Van Jones agrees with you, Trump is historically racist and continues the legacy from his evil.

  9. We have come full circle. From rainbows as a natural wonder to rainbows as a banner of inclusion to rainbows are for me and mine and not for you.

    We’re in a sad place when so-called adults—adults seeking elected office—fight over who gets to use which crayons in the crayon box.

    And San José Inside chooses to confuse so much nothing with news.

  10. One of the great things about local politics is how non-partisan it can be. The LGBTQ+ agenda is highly subversive to family life and religious institutions (which will soon lose all their Tax Exemptions/Non-profit status). But I voted for Jamie McCleod and thought she did a great job on the Santa Clara City Council.

  11. > Or maybe Fruen’s living rent-free in Scharf’s head.

    Actually, I heard he’s living rent-free… in his parents’ duplex rental unit.

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