Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Alice club set to endorse Sparks in D6 supes race

The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club is set to give an an early endorsement to Theresa Sparks in the race to replace District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Sparks, a transgender woman who led the powerful police commission prior to being named executive director of the city’s Human Rights Commission, is one of 22 people who have declared their intent to seek Daly’s seat in the fall election.

The more progressive Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club has already endorsed its former president Debra Walker, an out lesbian artist and member of the Building Inspection Commission, in the D6 race.

Other out candidates running to replace the termed out Daly, who represents the South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods, include Entertainment Commissioner Jim Meko; drag queen Anna Conda, aka Glendon Hyde; AIDS activist Jeff Gustavson, who is HIV positive; and gay activists James Keys and Gary Converse.

Alice club members will vote at their meeting Monday, March 8 on whether to suspend the club’s by-laws to give an early endorsement to Sparks, its former co-chair. The vote is largely a formality as the moderate group’s political action committee already voted last month to give Sparks the nod. The club rarely rejects the decision of its PAC when it comes to endorsements.

Also expected to receive Alice’s endorsement are District Attorney Kamala Harris for her June primary bid to be the Democratic nominee for California attorney general and Supervisor Carmen Chu for her re-election campaign in District 4 this November.

The endorsements will become final when the club votes again on the early nods at its April 5th general meeting. The Alice Club meets from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 5, 2010 @ 3:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Leaders of 2010 Prop 8 repeal effort assail Assembly speaker’s comments the measure is DOA

Today the backers of the effort to repeal California’s ban against same-sex marriage this November assailed comments made earlier this week by newly appointed state Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), who told LGBT news outlets Tuesday, March 2 that the Restore Equality 2010 campaign was essentially a bust.

Signature gatherer Eric Ross, right, holds a clipboard as David Lubensky, left, signs a petition to repeal Proposition 8 in 2010 last fall in the Castro. Photo by Jane Philomen Cleland

The openly gay state lawmaker said because of the group’s lack of money and problems collecting enough valid signatures from state voters, so far, to meet an April deadline, “there is no practical way to get it on the ballot in 2010. That window has already closed.”

Asked to respond to Perez’s assertions, neither John Henning, the executive director of Love Honor Cherish, the group overseeing the 2010 repeal effort, nor Eugene Hedlund, the campaign manager for Restore Equality 2010, responded to the Bay Area Reporter ‘s requests for comment by press time Wednesday.

But early this morning (Friday, March 5) Restore Equality leaders issued a statement in which they called Perez’s assessment of the campaign “greatly exaggerated.” And they called on Perez to wait until April 13 for a final assessment of their effort to win back marriage equality this fall.

“With apologies to Paul McCartney, rumors of Restore Equality 2010’s death have been greatly exaggerated,” stated Sean Bohac, chair of Restore Equality 2010’s state advisory panel. “Our deadline is still more than five weeks away, and the support for our campaign continues to grow.”

Bohac argues in the release that there is plenty of time to collect the nearly 700,000 signatures needed to qualify a Prop 8 repeal measure on the ballot. And the group pointed out that, while the majority of LGBT rights groups are backing repeal in 2012, plenty of other groups support moving forward this year.

Among them are the Fresno County Democratic Party, the Southbay Democratic Club, Green Party chapters, and various LGBT and civil rights organizations, stated the release. On Wednesday, the San Diego chapter of Democracy for America announced its endorsement of the 2010 repeal effort.

“We urge Assemblyman Perez to allow California voters time to be heard,” stated Bohac. “If the Speaker wants to wait until 2012 to fight for marriage equality, certainly he can wait until April 13, 2010 to let all California voters have their say.”

Supporters of the 2010 repeal effort in San Francisco can attend a drag show fundraiser tonight (Friday, March 5) from 6 to 9 p.m. at Castro club Trigger, 2348 Market Street.  There is a suggested donation of $10 to attend.

The Bay Area representatives for Restore Equality 2010 will give an update at the event on where they are in their campaign efforts.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF City Attorney Herrera backs SF Superior Court judge running against 2 gay lawyers for his seat

Already facing complaints from LGBT activists and rights groups over his handling of an immigration issue, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera added more grist for his detractors to chew on today by backing a San Francisco Superior Court judge facing two gay lawyers who want his seat in the June primary.

Herrera (pictured at left) has endorsed Judge Richard Ulmer to be retained to his seat on the state court. In a release issued Thursday (March 4) announcing the endorsement, which did not quote Herrera, Ulmer thanked the city attorney for his support in the race.

“I want to thank the City Attorney for his endorsement and confidence in my ability to continue to serve as a San Francisco Superior Court Judge,” stated Ulmer.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Ulmer to his judicial seat last summer. He now must go before the voters this June to retain his seat on the bench.

He faces two openly gay attorneys, however, who say the court lacks LGBT members and hope to win outright this summer or end up in a runoff election in the fall should none of the three candidates receive 50 percent plus one of the vote in June.

Both Michael Nava and Dan Dean are considered formidable candidates in the race against Ulmer, who was a registered Republican when he was appointed and moved back to San Francisco with his family once he was sworn onto the bench.

While Dean has promised to eschew attacking his opponents in the campaign, Nava has made Ulmer’s political affiliation and residency an issue, despite the fact he lives in Daly City outside the court’s boundary. [Judicial candidates are not required to live in the court district in which they are seeking a seat on the bench.]

In his press release Ulmer (pictured at right) addressed both points. He noted that not only does he reside in San Francisco but that his daughter attends St. Ignatius High School. Ulmer also mentioned that he is a founding member of the San Francisco Road Runners.

In terms of his GOP ties, Ulmer stated that he litigated pro bono in a suit brought by the Prison Law Office and Disability Rights Advocates that was aimed at changing the “horrendous conditions” in the California Youth Authority and juvenile halls.

The release stated that Ulmer was “unafraid to sue Governor Schwarzanegger” [sic] and “spent thousands of hours fighting for the rights of the voiceless and vulnerable.”  He was named “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” in 2006 for his work, noted the release.

In addition to Herrera, Ulmer has the backing of  48 San Francisco Superior Court judges; Don Specter, executive director of the Prison Law Office; and Supervisor Sean Elsbernd.

Ulmer’s campaign Web site at is still under construction.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 4, 2010 @ 2:17 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Speaker Perez says Maldonado short of votes needed to be lt. gov

In his first press call with LGBT news outlets since becoming the state’s first openly gay Assembly Speaker, John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) said that he has not yet decided if he will oppose the governor’s choice to fill the vacant lieutenant governor post.

But Perez said he does know for certain that, as of now, nominee state Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) has yet to secure the 41 votes he needs for the Assembly to confirm him.

Not only does Maldonado’s fate hang in the balance, but so does former openly gay state Assemblyman John Laird. The Santa Cruz Democrat has been preparing to jump into the race for Maldonado’s central coast Senate seat as soon as it becomes vacant.

Asked by the Bay Area Reporter during the Tuesday, March 2 call with gay media outlets on where he currently stood in regard to Maldonado, Perez said he was still mulling over whether to vote to confirm or reject the nomination. Last month Perez was among the majority of Assembly members who voted against Maldonado being given the position, which had been held by Democrat John Garamendi until he resigned after winning a special election for a U.S. House seat in the East Bay.

“I have not made up my mind. But I do not think he has the 41 votes,” said Perez, seen at right during his swearing in ceremony Monday, March 1. “I have given him some new advice to help him get those 41 votes. It is up to him to get those votes and it is up to him to convince me why he is deserving of my vote.

“He has made some progress on those lines,” added Perez.

The state Senate did vote last month to confirm Maldonado as lieutenant governor, but the Assembly twice voted the same day to reject him.

Perez’s comments this week are a significant softening his position from when he last spoke with the B.A.R. several weeks ago at an Oakland event February 11 only hours after the Assembly rejected the nomination. Then he said that Maldonado’s “nomination reflects the worst of what happens in government. We shouldn’t reward that kind of behavior by ratifying the worst back room dealing.”

Perez said he had warned Maldonado beforehand that he would not be confirmed by the Assembly.

“I told him he didn’t have 41 votes. He didn’t believe me and he put himself up for a vote,” said Perez. “He was turned down.”

After first threatening to swear in Maldonado anyway, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger instead opted to renominate him to the post.

The Legislature now has until May 17 to either confirm or reject the nomination, otherwise Maldonado will automatically be given the seat.

As for what advice Perez gave the nominee on how to secure his confirmation, Perez did not say. According to a blog post on the Sacramento Bee‘s Web site, Maldonado said Pérez’s advice, which he agreed with, was to “let cooler minds cool down.”

“I really believe that as cooler minds cool down a little bit, I think we’ll have a vote soon and I hope we’ll have one that’s hopefully positive in my way, and a bipartisan one,” Maldonado told the paper.

He added that the only agreement between the two lawmakers  is that fixing the state’s budget problems “is more important than my confirmation.”

Maldonado predicted that once lawmakers wrap up work on the mid-year budget cuts then the Assembly would take up his confirmation vote. It could come as early as next week.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 3, 2010 @ 2:54 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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