SAN FRANCISCO—One Bay Area radio host is lobbying to change the San Francisco city flag, claiming that it is “ugly” and out-of-date.

Roman Mars, host of the “99% Invisible” podcast on KALW, argues that it is time for the city to adopt a new flag that would be better representative of modern San Francisco.

The host first brought attention to the need for a design update during a TED talk back in March. During his discussion, Mars compared San Francisco’s flag to other “bad flags” from fellow California cities such as Anaheim and even Los Angeles.

Those flags featured some form of writing. According to Mars, San Francisco’s new flag should not feature any writing, as people from the reverse side would be reading the inscription backward.

Roman Mars gave a TED Talk back on March to discuss the need for a flag design revolution for cities he deemed using an unsightly flag.
Roman Mars gave a TED Talk back on March to discuss the need for a flag design.

The current gold-bordered flag features a Phoenix rising from flames over a banner where the motto, “Oro en paz y fierro en guerra” or “Gold in Peace and Iron in War,” is displayed. The title ‘San Francisco’ is located near the bottom.

The design was chosen back in 1900 by Mayor James Duval Phelan suggested the city adopt a flag. The winning design from John M. Gamble was selected out of 100 entries. It was not officially adopted by the city until December 1940.

The flag is flown in front of several municipal buildings and landmarks of the city, including City Hall and the Ferry Building.

Though the move to update the flag design has not yet been determined by local officials, Mars ended his TED talk by affirming that people in the community hold the real power to proceed with a design change.

“The best part about municipal flags is that we own them. They are an open-source, publicly owned design language of the community,” Mars said.