Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Migden to join in electric discussion on community choice

Former state Senator Carole Migden (pictured below) and others are  expected to appear Tuesday, March 2 at San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center to talk about community choice aggregation, which enables cities and counties to work together to procure energy.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the investor-owned utility that supplies power to San Francisco, is sure to be a main topic at the forum.

The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club is hosting the community choice town hall, which starts at 6:45 p.m. The LGBT center is at 1800 Market Street.

Migden, an out lesbian who represented San Francisco as an assemblywoman before she became a senator, authored Assembly Bill 117 in 2002. That legislation facilitates the ability of communities to procure electricity directly from electricity suppliers.

According to the Milk Club, community choice aggregation – rebranded in San Francisco as “CleanpowerSF” – “is finally getting off the ground in San Francisco and PG&E wants to prevent this from happening anywhere in he State.”

According to a statement, the club wants people to be “prepaired [sic] to deal with false advertizing [sic] claims from PG&E and the monopoly’s sponsored ballot initiative, Prop. 16, this June.”

Among other things, Prop 16 would amend the state constitution to require local governments to get two-thirds of voters to approve providing electricity through a community choice program if any public funds or bonds are involved.

According to the Milk club, “PG&E will spend millions of dollars in the June election to take away local control and Community Choice regarding renewable energy.”

PG&E did not immediately provide comment.

Besides Migden, out gay Supervisor David Campos and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi are among those who are also expected to appear at the forum, which is free.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 26, 2010 @ 5:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Management paints anti-gay Capleton as victim

Capleton, the raggae singer who’s called for the killing of gays and lesbians, is striking back at critics.

A statement from his Kingston, Jamaica-based management said the gay community and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation “have once again used their strong arm tactics to intimidate concert promoters and venue owners putting misinformation in the public about the artiste to further their own agendas.”

Capleton’s (pictured at right) February 20 appearance in Oakland was cancelled days beforehand, despite little protest from the LGBT community there. Outcries from activists in other parts of the state had led to the singer’s shows being cancelled in other cities.

According to the Stop Murder Music campaign, Capleton’s lyrics have included lines that translate to “All queers and sodomites should be killed” and “All queers who come around here/This mama earth says none can survive.”Claudette Kemp, the singer’s manager, has denied Capleton’s called for gays and lesbians to be killed.

The statement said, “Capleton is very disappointed that his many fans (that cross all races and creeds) have not been able to see him at his scheduled shows in California … He has performed at the same venues and festivals over the past two years with no incident bringing a message of love for all through Reggae music.”

“Capleton will continue to spread a positive and spiritual message through music to the four corners of the Earth and continue to stand firm that universal love can unite all mankind,” the statement concluded.

The singer is scheduled to perform Saturday, February 27 in Miami at the annual Bob Marley Day/Caribbean Festival 2010 and will feature his new song “Haitians,” in tribute and support to earthquake victims.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 25, 2010 @ 5:00 pm PST
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Latest District 8 candidate kicks off campaign Sunday

Voters in District 8 curious to meet the latest candidate looking to represent them in City Hall can do so this weekend.

Bill Hemenger, who quit his job in January at Oracle to jump into the race, will have his official campaign kick-off event this Sunday, February 28 at Castro bar Blackbird on Market Street. The event takes place from 1 to 3 p.m.

The candidate had his public debut this week at a candidate’s forum Monday night. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in its coverage of the debate, Hemenger is one of three largely unknown male candidates vying for the District 8 seat against four well-known gay or lesbian Democratic Party activists.

Unlike perenial candidate Starchild, a bisexual sex worker whose platform heralds laissez faire government, and James Boeger, who seems to be more of a political jokester than serious candidate, Hemenger wants to bring his business acumen to bear on running San Francisco.

He could use his corporate ties to give the quartet of more established candidates in the race a serious challenge for the seat. His opponents are sure to be clamoring to see what sort of fundraising prowess Hemenger has when the next campaign finance reports are due later this year.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 4:23 pm PST
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Groups announce Milk Day events

Two LGBT rights groups have announced events they are planning to correspond with the inaugural Harvey Milk Day this May 22 in California.

Equality California, the statewide LGBT lobbying group, and Equality Across America, a national grassroots group spawned from last fall’s LGBT march on Washington D.C., are both organizing celebrations for the first Harvey Milk Day.

The spring Saturday is Milk’s birthday; he would have turned 80 this year. But the former San Francisco supervisor (pictured at right) was gunned down in November of 1978 along with then San Francisco Mayor George Moscone in City Hall by former board colleague Dan White. Only the year prior had Milk become the first out person elected to public office in a major American city by winning his supervisor seat.

Last year Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill pushed by openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) creating the first known state holiday for an LGBT person after initially vetoing the legislation the year before.

As the Bay Area Reporter earlier this month reported, the newly formed Harvey Milk Foundation is working with San Francisco officials to mount a weekend’s worth of events in honor of the slain gay rights leader, including an awards ceremony, street fair and diversity breakfast. Milk’s gay nephew, Stuart Milk, has been a driving force behind the plans.

Stuart Milk has now also signed on to appear at an EQCA event that Saturday afternoon at the Osbourne family estate in Hidden Hills for its inaugural Harvey Milk Day celebration. Matriarch Sharon Osbourne, the wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, will host a sunset cocktail party and reception to raise funds for EQCA from 3 to 6 p.m. that day.

In San Francisco that evening EQCA will host a 1970s themed party at Castro bar The Lookout. Attendees are being asked to wear bell bottoms and miniskirts for the 21 and older event.

The political group also is hosting a ladies party in Los Angeles the night of Friday, May 21 and a brunch at an undisclosed private home in Palm Springs Sunday, May 23 with Stuart Milk and EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors.

“This May, let’s celebrate together and honor Harvey Milk’s legacy with actions that make a difference,” wrote Kors in an email sent to EQCA members Wednesday, February 24.

As for Equality Across America, it is calling for a week of local actions beginning May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia that would culminate on Milk Day. The group says it is organizing a series of regional conferences where “activists from Seattle to Gainesville will debate out political questions, discuss strategy and tactics of our movement and begin the process of developing a broad new leadership.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 24, 2010 @ 5:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Supe Bevan Dufty and Mayor Newsom switch aides

A bit of musical chairs is being played out at City Hall as out District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Mayor Gavin Newsom are swapping aides with one another.

The mayor has rehired former staffer Nicolas King, who is straight, to be his policy adviser on criminal justice. King had worked as a policy associate in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice prior to joining Dufty’s staff as one of two aides to the supervisor in 2008.

“It’s a great move, I’m happy for him and feel he’s rounded out his city experience working with me,” wrote Dufty in an email to the Bay Area Reporter, “and he will be a great asset for” the mayor and Police Chief George Gascon.

Replacing King in Dufty’s office will be Alex Randolph, (pictured at right) who was Dufty’s campaign manager during his re-election bid four years ago. Following that stint Randolph, a gay man, went to work for Newsom as his liaison to both District 8 and the LGBT community.

Newsom fired Randolph along with several other staffers in December as part of a cost-cutting move. Randolph’s first day working for Dufty will be March 1.

“I am extremely pleased that Alex will be with me as I finish my term and it’s been great knowing how loved Alex is by D8 and LGBT Community members who have enjoyed working with him in the Mayor’s office for the past two years,” wrote Dufty.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 22, 2010 @ 10:59 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Bill aims to help LGBTs through gathering data

Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) has introduced a bill that would enable the state to gather data about LGBTs.

According to the LGBT advocacy group Equality California, the bill’s sponsor, it’s the first bill in the nation to include gender Identity and sexual orientation in state government forms

AB 1878, introduced Tuesday, February 16, would require the state to add questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and domestic partnership status in the voluntary demographic section of California’s government forms, enabling the state to gather “vital” data about the LGBT community’s use of public services, an EQCA statement said.

“This bill will improve the state’s ability to measure the community’s needs for such crucial public services as job training, and it will ultimately enable California to ensure that LGBT Californians, especially those living in poverty, receive the services they need to take care of their families and to lead healthy lives,” Geoff Kors, EQCA’s executive director, said in the statement.

The UCLA Williams Institute has found that California’s same-sex couples are raising children with significantly less economic resources than married parents.

“AB 1878 will help ensure that the needs of the LGBT community will not be excluded so that state services can be appropriately targeted,” Lieu, who’s running for state attorney general, said in the EQCA statement. “This bill is also about dignity and the recognition of the diversity of California.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 18, 2010 @ 1:49 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

New Hampshire reps reject anti-marriage equality proposals

New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted today to reject two anti-same sex marriage bills.

HR 1590-FN, which was defeated by a vote of  210-109, would repeal the freedom to marry and CACR 28, which went down 201-135, called for amending the state constitution to restrict marriage.

In a statement, Evan Wolfson, executive director of the national Freedom to Marry, called the moves “a clear signal” of lawmakers’ continued support for the freedom to marry.

The New Hampshire votes followed a similar stand by legislators in Iowa last week, Wolfson noted.

Besides those two states, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut also allow same-sex marriage.

“As same-sex couples continue to marry and the sky doesn’t fall in the nation’s two first presidential-primary states,” Wolfson said in the statement, “Americans will have more chances to think anew about the importance of treating others as we all would want to be treated, and to ask our elected officials whether they, too, support equal justice under the law.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 17, 2010 @ 4:11 pm PST
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Supe Dufty wants to improve Castro historical marker for Harvey Milk

Last July local gay blogger Michael Petrelis did a walking tour of the Castro and photographed various LGBT historical markers in the city’s gayborhood. Among his collection that he posted to his blog was the the bronze marker the city placed in front of the building where slain gay rights leader Supervisor Harvey Milk had his camera shop and campaign headquarters on Castro Street.

The plaque (seen in above photo) is “almost-impossible to read,” wrote Petrelis.  “One has to really be looking to notice it.”

That could soon change if out Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who holds the seat Milk once served in at City Hall, achieves his goal of laying in the ground a far larger – and more noticeable to passersby – historical marker this spring.

As part of the city’s celebrations of the state’s first official Harvey Milk Day on May 22 – timed to coincide with Milk’s birthday – Dufty would like to unveil a new sidewalk plaque in front of the store at 575 Castro Street, now home to gift shop Given.

“Since the film so many people come looking for Harvey’s camera store. The current sidewalk plaque is the size of a piece of paper,” said Dufty, referring to the Oscar-winning film Milk, which was released in the fall of 2008 and shot on location in the Castro. “A lot of people miss it. I thought what a great opportunity to make the plaque more visible and to use the plaque to draw attention to the mural on the second floor.”

The painting depicts Harvey Milk, who lived above his shop, looking out the window. Milk won election to his supervisor seat in November of 1977, becoming the first out person elected to public office in a major American city.

A year later he was assassinated along with then-Mayor George Moscone inside City Hall by former board colleague  Dan White, a former firefighter upset at not being given back his supervisor seat after he had resigned from it.

Last year gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who also once served in Milk’s supervisor seat, pushed through the bill creating the world’s first state holiday in honor of an openly gay LGBT person. As the inaugural Harvey Milk Day approaches, plans to mark the occassion are being made throughout the state.

The laying of the new historical marker in the Castro would occur Saturday, May 22 following a diversity breakfast that is planned in San Francisco that day to honor Milk. Dufty said he is in talks with both the city’s Arts Commission and Department of Public Works about what approvals are needed to switch out the smaller bronze plaque now in the sidewalk.

He said the Castro’s Community Benefit District has agreed to pay for the new marker but that he did not yet have an estimate of what it would cost.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 12, 2010 @ 3:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Updated: Assembly reject’s Maldonado, gov renominates his Lt. Gov pick

He has two weeks to go before being sworn-in as the state’s first openly gay Assembly Speaker, but already John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) finds himself and his Democratic brood in the Legislature’s lower house under attack by newspaper editorialists and in a constitutional battle with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The hornet’s nest Perez (pictured at left) and his Democratic colleagues find themselves mired in stems from their rejection Thursday of state Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) as GOP Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pick for the vacant lieutenant governor position.

Although the Senate confirmed Maldonado to the post yesterday, the Assembly twice voted on the nomination Thursday and both times it failed to receive the necessary 41 votes needed for confirmation.

The vote brings to an end, for now, former gay Assemblyman John Laird’s  (D-Santa Cruz) plans to run for Maldonado’s Senate seat in a bid to return to the Capitol.

[Update: After this was posted to the blog, the governor withdrew his threats to confirm Maldonado despite the Assembly’s rejection yesterday. Instead, he renominated the Central Coast senator to the post, giving state lawmakers another 90 days to act on the nomination or allow it to automatically move forward.]

The Assembly Democrats’ decision to block Maldonado from being given the state’s mainly nominal second-in-command political position was met by near unanimous derision from the state’s major newspaper editorial boards. The Sacramento Bee labeled its editorial in today’s paper “Assembly heaps shame on itself” and wrote that:

“Legislators had a simple task – to confirm a moderate Republican senator for the largely meaningless job of lieutenant governor.

It should have been a quick vote. Once it was done, they could have moved on to truly important tasks, such as finding budget solutions and crafting a bipartisan approach to creating jobs.

But not this Assembly. 

Partisan and infantile, this Assembly demonstrated Thursday that it was void of leadership even before Speaker Karen Bass passed the torch to incoming Speaker John A. Pérez. Both joined colleagues in abstaining from the first vote on Maldonado.”

Writing on the Orange County Register’s Orange Punch Blog, Brian Calle wrote, “The politics being played in Sacramento on this are juvenile at best and disgraceful at worst.”

While the San Francisco Chronicle called it “another example of the petty partisanship that pervades Sacramento.”

Needless to say, an infuriated Schwarzenegger not only lashed out at Assembly members for their refusal to seat his nominee, he pledged to swear Maldonado in to the post anyway.

“Based on the votes taken today, Senator Abel Maldonado will be sworn in as the next Lieutenant Governor. Senator Maldonado is a terrific leader who has put the interests of Californians ahead of his own and works in a bipartisan manner to improve the lives of all Californians. This is great news for California and it is time now to focus on creating jobs and solving our budget crisis,” stated the governor, whose press office emailed reporters snippets of the scathing editorials.

Because the Assembly vote did not meet the 41 vote majority either for or against the confirmation – it was 37 in favor and 35 opposed, with 8 members not voting – Schwarzenegger’s legal counsel is arguing that the Assembly failed to meet its constitutional duty in acting on the confirmation and that the governor can ignore its decision.

“The California Constitution is clear: if the legislature does not act to refuse to confirm the Governor’s nominee, his appointment moves forward. The Constitution only speaks to ‘refusal’ of confirmation … Based on the Assembly vote, Senator Maldonado will be sworn in as Lieutenant Governor,” stated Legal Secretary Andrea Lynn Hoch.

Perez lashed out at the governor for playing legal tricks with the constitution while at an event in Oakland Thursday night. In an interview with the Bay Area Reporter, he said he opposed seating Maldonado as lieutenant governor because it would mean giving approval to “a backroom deal.”

“His nomination reflects the worst of what happens in government,” said Perez. “We shouldn’t reward that kind of behavior by ratifying the worst back room dealing.”

He added that he didn’t believe it was appropriate to give the seat to a Republican when it had been held by a Democrat; John Garamendi resigned from the post after he won election to Congress.

Perez said the governor has the right to nominate another person and could even re-nominate Maldonado if he wanted.

“The governor’s response is to move froward and swear him in anyway regardless of the constitution,” Perez said at the event. “It doesn’t give him that power.”

The matter will likely end up in the courts should the governor swear Maldonado into the office.

As for Perez’s desire to see Laird return to public office, he said it can’t overrule his concerns about the appointment of Maldonado.

“I love John Laird. He is one of the best legislators to have served Californians in generations,” said Perez. “But that can’t trump the underlying issues of how Maldonado gets nominated.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:56 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Mayor Newsom marks same-sex marriage anniversary

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today (Friday, February 12) marked the 6th anniversary of his decision to order city staff to marry same-sex couples by issuing a statement to the media in which he reflected back on that historic day.

Newsom (pictured at right at the September 6, 2008 kick-off of the No on Prop 8 campaign) has increasingly spoken out about same-sex marriage in recent months. It is a marked change from two years ago when he was blamed by some LGBT leaders and newspaper pundits for the bungled effort to defeat the voter-approved ban against same-sex marriage that fall.

The backers of Prop 8 used Newsom and his quote “whether you like it or not” to great effect in their TV ads pushing a yes vote on the anti-gay measure. Following that verbal blunder – which came from the day the state Supreme Court in May of 2008 ruled that there was no reason to deny marriage rights to LGBT people – Newsom receded from the picture for a period of time. He did so fearful he had become an unwitting pawn for the promoters of keeping traditional marriage.

And he tried to shy away from being tagged a one-issue candidate during his, now aborted, gubernatorial run last year by downplaying his involvement in the fight for marriage equality by talking about his backing of green technology and the city’s universal healthcare program.

But unshackled from the rigors of running for state office, Newsom has once again become a vocal champion this year for full marriage rights for same-sex couples. He took a swing at President Barack Obama’s lack of support for same-sex marriage in New York Times’ columnist Maureen O’Dowd’s Jan 19 column.

In his statement today, Newsom pledged to continue fighting until same-sex couples gain the right to wed throughout America. Here is his statement in full:

“From the moment we issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples six years ago today, I knew we were beginning a long-term battle that would ultimately be taken up one day in courtrooms in California and Washington, DC. The federal trial in San Francisco is the latest and important chapter in the battle that has unfolded since we wed more than 4,000 same-sex couples in 2004.

But victory in the fight for marriage equality is as much about changing people’s hearts and minds as about changing the law. That’s why we first married Phyllis Lyon and the late Del Martin, together more than 50 years, to give a much-needed human face to the struggle for marriage equality. The fight for marriage equality is about them – the men and women whose loving, committed relationships are still treated as unequal in the eyes of the law.

I have never been prouder of our decision in 2004 to defy California’s unjust marriage laws and do our part to carry the banner for civil rights. We at once guessed at, but could never have fully imagined, that which we unleashed. We must never step back from our commitment to marriage equality until justice prevails in California and in our nation’s capital.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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