Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Woman sought in Alviso death

San Jose police are seeking Jennifer Vanessa Bautista, 19 (pictured at left), in connection with the death of Norma Leticia Martinez, 20.

According to friends and family who spoke with the San Jose Mercury News, Martinez was a lesbian.

Officer Jermaine Thomas, spokesman for the San Jose Police Department, said that Martinez was found in the middle of Alviso’s Michigan Avenue early Monday morning, December 28. She died in a local hospital a few hours later, he said.

Alviso is north of San Jose and is patrolled by San Jose police.

Thomas said Bautista, of Sunnyvale, and Martinez were friends who’d had “some type of altercation.”

He said the death was not a hate crime but would not elaborate on how police knew that. He described Bautista only as a “person of interest” and said the homicide unit is investigating the case as a suspicious death.

Anyone with information can call the San Jose homicide unit at (408) 277-5283.

For more on this story, please see the Thursday, December 31 edition of the Bay Area Reporter.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 29, 2009 @ 12:09 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

D8 Supe Dufty goes public with new beau

District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty went public about his new beau during a Castro fundraiser last weekend for his 2011 mayoral bid.

For the last two months the single father has been dating Castro resident and Realtor Pat Patricelli (pictured at right). The two met the morning after Halloween.

“I was sweeping up broken glass outside Moby at 5:30 in the morning when he walked by with his dog, Luna,” Dufty told the Bay Area Reporter. “He said he was impressed at seeing his supervisor cleaning the streets. I told him I was also impressed.”

Patricelli is a “top producer” with Herth Real Estate in the Castro. According to his broker profile, his “background extends not only as a Real Estate Salesperson, but as a client as well. I have spent many years on both the buying and selling side of the business.”

It being a political romance, the relationship may cause some eyebrows to be raised. Last year Herth found itself entangled in a public spate with a gay couple who accused the agency’s owner, Larry Stebbins, of forcing them out of their home. The dispute led to protests outside Herth’s Castro Street offices, as reported in a B.A.R. story at the time.

More recently, Dufty has been accused of being in the pocket of landlords for voting against legislation that would boost protections for renters in non-rent-controlled apartments. The Bay Guardian said Dufty “lost the tenant vote” in the mayor’s race due to his stance.

His dating a real estate agent is sure to set tongues wagging even more among tenants’ rights advocates.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 23, 2009 @ 12:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Bi woman to head national LGBT labor group

Pride at Work, the national LGBT constituency group of organized labor, has selected a bisexual woman with a long history of activism in the LGBT and labor communities as their new executive director.

Shorey_headshotPeggy Shorey (pictured at right), an organizer and community leader in Connecticut for 17 years, succeeds Jeremy Bishop, who joined President Barack Obama’s administration earlier this year in the U.S. Department of Labor.

Shorey will start her new job at Pride at Work’s Washington, D.C., headquarters January 2. Her salary will be $74,000.

“This is a deeply challenging time for all working people …. The struggle to make a concrete difference in workers’ lives is needed more urgently than ever,” Shorey said in the statement. “When we build coalition across our communities, such as through Pride at Work, we can more effectively organize to win justice.”

Most recently, Shorey organized and mobilized Connecticut state employees providing health care services.

As co-president of Pride at Work’s Connecticut chapter, she led in organizing the state’s first-ever labor fundraisers in support of marriage equality, according to Pride at Work.

In 2008, she served as campaign manager for a successful campaign to defeat a coalition of anti-union and anti-gay organizations pushing for a constitutional convention, the labor group said in a statement.

The group’s media contact did not immediately respond to a request for Shorey’s age or salary information.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 18, 2009 @ 1:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Rwanda considering outlawing homosexuality

Rwandan lawmakers are considering making homosexuality illegal in their country, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Article 217 of the African country’s draft Penal Code Act currently says that anybody “who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relation or any sexual practice” could go to prison for five to 10 years and be fined from 200,000 to 1 million Rwanda francs (or $350 to $1,754), according to the rights commission.

An official at the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, D.C., said that no one was available to verify or discuss the article.

The proposal comes amidst controversy over lawmakers in Rwanda’s neighbor Uganda also proposing to criminalize homosexuality.

Rwanda’s Chamber of Deputies – the lower house of Parliament – was to vote on the draft code yesterday [Wednesday, December 16].

However, in an e-mail, Hossein Alizadeh, the rights commission’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator wrote, “The vote on penal code in Rwanda did not take place yesterday as scheduled. We got unofficial reports about the possibility of the vote being taking place next week.”

If the deputies approve, the draft code will likely go before the Rwandan Senate in early 2010, according to the rights commission.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 17, 2009 @ 12:42 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Parker wins Houston mayor’s race

Breaking news release from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund:

Houston voters tonight have chosen an out lesbian as their next mayor, making the city the largest in the U.S. to elect an openly LGBT chief executive.


Annise Parker, who was endorsed by the Victory Fund, won her runoff election against Gene Locke, a former city attorney, after a yearlong campaign that drew national attention both because of the potential for a history-making outcome and because of coordinated anti-gay campaigns designed to prevent her victory.

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, said the win was significant not just for Houston, but for all LGBT Americans. ”This is a watershed moment in American politics. One of the largest cities in the country will be headed by an out lesbian, chosen by people who voted for her because of her experience and competence. Houston rejected the politics of division and the extremists failed,” Wolfe said. ”After a bittersweet political year for the LGBT community, it’s nice to be able to smile this wide.”

Parker thanked the Victory Fund: “I am so grateful to the Victory Fund and its supporters for believing in this campaign from the beginning. This race was about the future of Houston, and whether we will face that future proud to be an open, welcoming, and fair-minded city. Tonight Houstonians said yes to a future like that, and I am glad the Victory Fund helped make that happen.”

Wolfe also thanked the Houston’s GLBT Political Caucus, which was once headed by Parker. ”The GLBT Political Caucus put a lot of hard work into this election, and nobody wanted this win more than they did. It’s a great organization, and they deserve our thanks and appreciation,” Wolfe said.

— Cynthia Laird, December 12, 2009 @ 9:21 pm PST
Filed under: News

Gay man to lead Santa Clara Board of Supervisors

KNewsletter1Openly gay Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager disclosed today in an email to constituents that he is in line to become president of the Board of Supervisors in 2010.

Yeager, who lives with his longtime partner Michael Haberecht, turns 57 tomorrow (Saturday, December 12).

“I am excited to announce that I have been officially nominated by my fellow Supervisors to be next year’s Board President,” wrote Yeager in the email. “My term as President begins in January, whereupon I will take over the gavel from Supervisor Liz Kniss, who has led the Board this past year. Supervisor Dave Cortese will serve as the new Vice President.”

Yeager, a former San Jose City Councilman, won election to the county seat in June of 2006. He represents District 4, which includes sections of San José and the cities Santa Clara and Campbell, where out Councilman Evan Low recently became mayor. He is the highest-ranking out official in the South Bay.

The county board’s presidency rotates each year between the supervisors. The person who holds the post is in charge of running Board meetings, presiding over certain ceremonial events, and acting as a representative for the County, wrote Yeager.

Each year, the Board President also delivers a “State of the County” address  that reflects on recent accomplishments, outlines upcoming challenges, and charts new initiatives, stated Yeager. The State of the County is tentatively scheduled for the morning of January 26.

“I will keep you informed as details unfold,” wrote Yeager.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 11, 2009 @ 2:54 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Newsom hires gay communications director

Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today that an openly gay man will be his new communications director.

Tony Winnicker, who’s worked since 2004 as communications director for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, will start in his new job January 11. His salary will be $144,000.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to join the team and help communicate the Mayor’s agenda of reform, opportunity, and jobs” for San Francisco, he told the Bay Area Reporter in a phone interview today.

Since Newsom dropped out of the race to be California’s next governor in October, several staff members have left, including Nathan Ballard, whom Winnicker will be replacing.

Two gay Newsom staffers will leave soon. Both Alfredo Pedroza, Newsom’s liaison to Districts 9, 11 and the Latino Community, and Alex Randolph, the mayor’s liaison to District 7, 8 and the LGBT Community, will depart as of December 27 after three years working in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

Winnicker, who’ll turn 39 on December 12, said that he’s not nervous about joining a team that’s in the midst of so much transition.

He said he thinks Newsom is “totally focused on his next two years as Mayor, and it’s appropriate for him … to put the team in place to fulfill his agenda and his priorities.”

Winnicker added, “There’s a tremendous amount going on in any large city’s mayor’s office and transition is natural.”

Winnicker lives in the Upper Haight. He and his partner, Alan Weisleder, have been together for three years. They’re not married.

“As a gay man, it’s a real privilege to work for someone who’s shown such leadership on marriage equality and LGBT rights, among many other issues,” said Winnicker, who will report directly to Newsom’s openly gay Chief of Staff, Steve Kawa.

Joe Arellano, who’d taken over Ballard’s duties, will continue in his position of chief deputy communications director and spokesman for Latino media. He’ll report to Winnicker.

Winnicker said that his new salary will be less than his $164,000 salary at the PUC.

“We all understand the magnitude of the budget crisis,” said Winnicker. “We all have to tighten our belts.”

Winnicker declined to say whether he’d sought the job or he’d been approached to take it.

“I’m excited to be joining the team, and I’m not going to discuss specific conversations about that …,” he said, adding that while at the PUC he’s been working closely with the Mayor and his administration, and the Board of Supervisors “for years” and they have “a strong relationship and history.”

In a statement, Newsom said, “Tony Winnicker brings years of Bay Area and national experience in strategic communications, public information and media relations to our team. His knowledge of city government and his key role in promoting major economic and environmental projects will be invaluable assets as we continue our focus on innovation, reform and creating new jobs and opportunities for San Francisco.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:22 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

A year later, lesbian rape victim reflects on attack

Through her attorney, a lesbian who was allegedly gang raped in Richmond last December said today that she hasn’t been able to overcome her fear since the incident, but she’s happy to be alive.

In a phone conversation, Gloria Allred, the attorney for the woman who’s known to the public as Jane Doe, provided her client’s answers to questions the paper had e-mailed to Allred.

imagesAllred (pictured, left) said that she believes the B.A.R. is the first and only media outlet to have comments from the woman on the anniversary of the attack.

The first anniversary of the incident will be Sunday, December 13.

“I cannot overcome my fear,” Allred said on behalf of the woman, who’s 29. “I am especially afraid of the dark. Now with daylight savings time it gets darker early. I’m afraid that I’m going to run into someone bad.”

As the date approaches, the woman feels “afraid, emotional, sad.”

“I cry, but I am also happy to be alive, that the anniversary is not of my death,” the woman said through Allred. “My feelings are contradictory, happy and sad. Happy to be alive. Sad that this happened to me.”

The December 13, 2008 incident started around 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Visalia Avenue in Richmond’s Belding-Woods neighborhood. After getting out of her car, the woman was sexually assaulted and then forced back into her car after the suspects noticed someone approaching, according to police.

She was driven seven blocks to the 1300 block of Burbeck Avenue, where she was repeatedly sexually assaulted near an apartment complex, police reported.

During the assault, the attackers allegedly taunted the victim for being a lesbian. They also took her wallet before driving off in her car, which had a rainbow sticker on it, according to Richmond Police spokesman Lieutenant Mark Gagan, who also said that the victim was an out lesbian.

The woman, who was left naked, sought help from a nearby resident, who called police, according to media reports.

She was taken to a hospital and treated for her injuries, which Gagan previously told the B.A.R. included a serious injury that resulted from being struck with a blunt object. The woman was examined using a rape kit. Her car was recovered the next day in Richmond, police said

Four suspects were arrested about two weeks after the incident. Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 32; Josue Gonzalez, 22; and Darrell Albert Hodges, 16, pleaded not guilty earlier this year to felony charges that include kidnapping; carjacking; forcible rape; and forcible oral copulation.

A fourth suspect, Robert James Ortiz, 16, is set to enter a plea on January 7 on similar charges, according to court documents.

Salvador has pleaded not guilty to additional enhancements of committing a hate crime and being armed with a firearm or deadly weapon, according to the charging documents.

All of the suspects are in custody.

The preliminary hearing, which is typically when a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial, is set for January 14 in Martinez. Allred told the B.A.R. in an e-mail that the woman would be at the hearing if she’s required to testify.

Through Allred, the woman asked that the public speak out when they witness a crime.

“I want the community to say something if they see anything. Do not stay quiet. You could be stopping something from happening or saving someone. Don’t be afraid to speak out. You don’t have to give your name when you make a report. … The incident with that young girl; I’m glad someone called.”

The comment referred to the October gang rape of a teenage girl outside a Richmond high school. According to media reports, several people witnessed the attack long before anyone reported it.

The woman and her partner are still together and have an 11-year-old daughter.

“I don’t know what I would have done without her,” the woman said of her partner, through Allred. “She has given me the strength to go on with my life.”

Allred said that she’s not disclosing the woman’s name or any details about her, such as where she lives.

Allred also said that the woman wouldn’t comment on what she hopes happens to the suspects, but the attorney provided her own response: “I hope that there is justice in this case.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 10, 2009 @ 4:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Updated: CA Dems choose gay man for next speaker

02_09_Perez_50_LRG As expected, the Democrats in the California Assembly have elected John Perez (pictured at left) to be the next speaker of the statehouse’s lower body. It is the first time an openly gay lawmaker has held the post.

The decision is expected to be finalized during a floor vote in the Assembly in January.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the Democratic Caucus unanimously voted for Perez during a closed-door meeting at the historic Stanford Mansion. Because the Dems hold a majority of seats in the Assembly, and do not need Republican votes, the caucus’ decision assures Perez will become the state’s 68th Speaker next year.

The Courage Campaign said it was “delighted” with the decision in a statement sent out shortly after the news broke.

“They’ve chosen a true progressive who will lead our state during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We’re proud that he’s the first openly gay leader of a legislature in U.S. history and we’re looking forward to working closely with Assemblymember Perez to help build a more progressive California,” stated Rick Jacobs, the group’s executive director.

Current speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) is termed out of office in 2010 and had backed the freshman lawmaker Perez, also of Los Angeles, as her replacement. Today’s decision caps two weeks of unusually public debate over the leadership position, which had pitted Perez against another Los Angeles Assemblyman, Kevin de Leon.

De Leon had been in line to be the next speaker, but after he failed to round up the necessary votes to secure the post, Perez entered the race and quickly seized enough backing from his colleagues to make way for today’s decision.

In a statement, Perez said he was humbled by the decision and pledged to unite his party following the divisive fight.

“It is a humbling privilege. I will work every day to justify that faith and to earn the enormous honor of having been drafted to serve as Speaker. The other candidates for Speaker, especially Assemblymember Kevin de León, have all shown great leadership for the Assembly and for this state and they have my great respect,” stated Perez. “As Speaker, I will look forward to working with a united Democratic caucus as we continue tackling our number one priority—helping the state recover from the recession and helping the California families who have been hit so hard by it.”

In a sign that Democratic leaders are trying to move beyond any animosity caused by the leadership fight, de Leon nominated Perez to be the next speaker and called him his “friend” in a release following the vote.

“I did so deeply thankful for the strong support and encouragement I have received from members of our caucus, and also mindful of the example of one of the great inspirations of my life and many others–Rosa Parks.  Mrs. Parks showed us you didn’t have to have a particular office or title to effect great change,” stated de Leon. “I am proud to be a member of the California State Assembly and I will continue working hard, with my colleagues and with Speaker Pérez, to bring about real change for the people of my district and all the people of California.”

As he still has five  years left in the Assembly before term limits will require him to seek another public office, Perez and his backers had argued he would bring stability and some longevity to the speakership.

It is also the second time Assembly Dems have made an historic pick to lead the Statehouse’s lower body. When they elected Bass speaker last year, she became the first African American woman to hold the post. Bass issued a statement today saying she once again is “proud” of her legislative colleagues.

“First by the high caliber of the Speaker candidates we had, especially the final two, John Pérez and Kevin de León, and second by the strength our caucus has shown in coming together and uniting behind one of those candidates, the next Speaker of the Assembly, John Pérez,” stated Bass.  “Under his leadership and the continued leadership of Assemblymember De León and his supporters I look forward to another year of being made proud by my colleagues as we work to improve the quality of life for the people of California.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:11 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Congress approves SF to get $5 million in HIV/AIDS funds

Congress has passed a bill that includes prevention of drastic cuts to federal HIV/AIDS care and treatment funding for San Francisco and some other nearby areas. The infusion of $5 million to SF AIDS programs comes as advocates raise alarms about a loss in state funding.

pelosiThe bill also contains a lift of the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange initiatives, which have been shown to reduce new HIV infections without increasing the use of illegal drugs.

The fiscal year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act passed the House today by a vote of 221 to 202.

The bill will restore more than $5 million for HIV/AIDS funding in the Bay Area.

In a statement, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco and pictured, above), said, “The Ryan White Act has always focused on establishing and maintaining effective systems of health care. This means avoiding drastic cuts that destabilize existing resources people living with HIV/AIDS rely upon for care and medications.”

Pelosi stated that many are “disappointed” that Republican senators blocked at attempt during the recent Ryan White reauthorization “to permanently correct flaws in the Bush Administration’s implementation of the 2006 reauthorization, which caused severe cuts for San Francisco and several other jurisdictions.”

That’s why the issue had to be addressed through the appropriations process again, as it has the past two years, she said in the statement.

“AIDS continues to be the City’s third leading cause of premature death for men, and more San Franciscans are currently living with HIV/AIDS than at any point in the history of the epidemic,” stated Pelosi, who’s long fought to maintain funding for people with HIV/AIDS in the city. “… Restoration of these funds was critical for our system of care.”

Due to what is known as a “hold harmless” clause in the Ryan White bill Pelosi annually seeks to make sure the city is not hit with drastic cuts in AIDS funding.

Bill Blum, San Francisco’s interim director for HIV health services, said that if San Francisco gets the additional money, the city would be able to preserve its current level of Ryan White Part A and B-funded services.

“That would really be wonderful,” said Blum. “I think we were anticipating there would be a hit.”

Part A funding goes directly to local health jurisdictions or eligible metropolitan areas. Part B money goes to the state, which then distributes the funding. The current total for San Francisco is about $28 million.

Blum said that the city’s in the process of applying for next year’s funding.

Other areas helped by the bill include Marin and San Mateo counties.

Needle exchange

In terms of the lifting of the needle exchange ban, Pelosi called it “sound science.”

“The language lifting the ban on the use of federal funds for syringe exchange appropriately allows local public health and law enforcement officials to determine where exchanges should operate in their communities,” Pelosi said in a statement

Lifting the ban still needs Senate approval, but it has been negotiated in House-Senate conference. Senate approval is considered likely.

Dr. Grant Colfax, the city’s HIV prevention director, previously told the Bay Area Reporter, “If the federal ban is lifted it gives jurisdictions much more flexibility in terms of how to spend federal dollars.”

However, he said, “Ultimately, the best thing would be for the federal government to really invest” in syringe exchange intervention “which we know is effective and saves lives.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:45 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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