Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Victory Fund sends out 1st fundraising appeal for SF mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty

The national Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund sent out its first fundraising appeal today (Thursday, May 26) on behalf of Bevan Dufty in the San Francisco mayor’s race.

A former supervisor who represented the gay Castro district at City Hall, the openly gay Dufty is the only out candidate, so far, among the leading contenders in the mayoral campaign. Should he be elected, he would be San Francisco’s first gay mayor.

He earned the LGBT fund’s backing earlier this year when he ended a self-imposed restriction on accepting donations from non-residents.

And what is shaping up to be a common theme in this year’s fight for Room 200 at City Hall, Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe couched the appeal for donations in language connecting Dufty to the legacy of the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk. The city’s first out elected official – Milk won his race in 1977 – also represented the city’s then emerging gayborhood.

“Last Sunday was Harvey Milk Day. We celebrated not only a legendary leader’s birthday, but also his immense impact on the fight for LGBT equality. It was an opportunity to re-dedicate ourselves to the things Harvey stood for: honesty about ourselves always; service to others; and an unwavering commitment to speaking truth to power,” wrote Wolfe in the email to Victory Fund donors.

He added that “Harvey’s tenacity and commitment inspired Bevan Dufty to stand up and serve two terms on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representing the same district that Harvey did in the late 1970’s. Bevan has always been committed to carrying on Harvey’s work and taking it to new heights, and now he’s out to become the first openly LGBT mayor of San Francisco.”

A number of candidates and their supporters have been linking their mayoral pursuit to the legacy of Milk, whose stature as not only a gay rights hero but civil rights leader has continued to grow since his untimely murder in November of 1978. Be it in endorsements from people with ties to Milk or incorporating his famous lines in speeches, a connection to Milk’s memory has become a coveted commodity in the wide-open mayor’s race.

In his appeal on behalf of Dufty, Wolfe doesn’t mince words about tying the two gay politicians together.

“Harvey famously said ‘you’ve got to elect gay people,’ so that young LGBT people across America realize there’s hope for a life where they can live authentically and still succeed. ‘You’ve got to give ’em hope,’ he said,” wrote Wolfe. “That’s why we’re proud to endorse Bevan’s campaign, and that’s why we’re asking you to join us in supporting him.”

Wolfe goes on to write in the emailed appeal, “Keep Harvey’s legacy alive and help Bevan win.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 26, 2011 @ 2:11 pm PST
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Ex-SF police commissioner Jim Hammer won’t rule out political campaign

Former deputy district attorney James Hammer, who recently stepped down from San Francisco’s Police Commission, won’t rule out a run for public office this year.

In an interview with the Bay Area Reporter this week, the openly gay Hammer (seen at right) said he had yet to decide what his political future may hold.

“No, I have no announcements to make about any political plans,” said Hammer, whose work a decade ago on the city’s famous dog-mauling case led to a stint as a television legal commentator for Fox News.

Now in private practice, Hammer has been mulling a run to be district attorney. The current occupant, former police chief George Gascon, has found himself under attack for saying he would not rule out seeking the death penalty in certain cases.

The other two challengers in the race – David Onek, a senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, and Alameda County prosecutor Sharmin Bock, have attacked Gascon over the issue, which could prove decisive with city voters.

A former Jesuit Priest, Hammer also served on the Half Moon Bay police force when he was 18. He could opt to seek the city’s sheriff post, which is up for grabs now that Michael Hennessey is retiring this year.

In that race District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is seen as the leading candidate and has Hennessey’s endorsement. The filing deadline for both races isn’t until August.

For now Hammer said he is looking forward to having more free time. His term on the police oversight panel coincided with not only welcoming Gascon to the city but also finding his replacement after former Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed him D.A.

Of new Police Chief Greg Suhr, Hammer commended him for his picking three lesbians to be in his command staff.

“I am incredibly pleased. I think Greg Suhr really delivered in a way that makes me proud,” he said.

A backlog of discipline cases and an ongoing examination of what role patrol specials play in policing the city also consumed much of Hammer’s time since he was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the commission in November of 2009.

His term ended April 30 and he opted not to seek being reappointed.

“It is incredibly time consuming and I accomplished the stuff I set out to do,” said Hammer.

The board’s Rules Committee will take up the matter of his replacement at its meeting Thursday, June 2. Three people have applied, with gay attorneys Julius Turman and David Waggoner the leading candidates as the post is seen as the “LGBT seat” on the commission.

Hammer isn’t taking sides and would only say he wants to see an LGBT person be given his seat. He said the key is ensuring the nominee can work with the other six people on the commission.

“I know them both,” he said. “The trick is, the art is, the skill is if you are a board appointee to work with the other commissioners.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:47 pm PST
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LGBT fund seeks aid for tornado, flood survivors

In the wake of this week’s tornado in Joplin, Missouri that killed more than 100 people, and other recent deadly events, the LGBT-backed Rainbow World Fund has set up the U.S. Disaster fund.

An email blast last night (Wednesday, May 25) from the San Francisco-based agency noted that hundreds of people in Joplin are still missing. The message said the fund was established “at the request of our generous donors.”

In addition to the Missouri twister, there have also been tornados in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas, and dramatic flooding in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other states. According to Rainbow World Fund, the disasters have caused more than 440 deaths and $260 billion in property damage.

Donations to help survivors can be made at http://www.rainbowfund.org/donate/. Specify “U.S. Disaster” when donating.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:26 am PST
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Brown, Pelosi honor Milk

California Governor Jerry Brown (D) and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) both issued statements today (Friday, May 20) in honor of Harvey Milk Day, which is Sunday, May 22.

Photo: Dan Nicoletta

In 1977, Milk (seen at left) became the fifth openly gay man in the country to be elected to public office when he won a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. He was the first elected out gay man in California.

Through a proclamation, Brown said Milk had given hope “to millions of gays and lesbians across the country that a day would come when they could live their lives openly and honestly without fear of discrimination.”

Brown, who was also governor when Milk was assassinated in 1978 and is serving his third term in the post, hailed Milk’s achievements. Those include helping to pass San Francisco’s Gay Rights Ordinance.

The measure “extended employment protections to gays and lesbians in San Francisco, and it became a model for anti-discrimination legislation throughout California and the nation,” Brown says in the proclamation.

“Harvey’s life was cut short far too soon, but his legacy of hope, tolerance, and equality lives on,” he says, calling on everyone in the state to observe what would have been 81st birthday with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Some events are planned for San Francisco.

Pelosi stated the day honors Milk’s dedication to “the fundamental American value of equality” and celebrates a victory for LGBTs, working families, poor people, and others, “the men and women Harvey Milk fought for.”

“In San Francisco – the birthplace of Harvey Milk’s campaign for LGBT rights – we know that this holiday is about more than the heroic life and tragic death of a great man; it is about living up to his cause – the right of LGBT Americans to participate in our society as equals; the responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect,” she said.

Pelosi, who was House Speaker until John Boehner (R-Ohio) unseated her in last November’s election, continued that the Democratic Congress “led the charge” for ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military, a fully-inclusive hate crimes law, and greater funding for HIV/AIDS care.

She doesn’t mention the failure to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has been in limbo for years. That law would protect people from being fired from their jobs just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill has been introduced in the House and Senate again this year.

Finally, Equality California, which sponsored the bill by state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and signed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that led to the creation of Harvey Milk Day, also issued a statement.

“Harvey knew that the only way to change hearts and minds was for LGBT people and their allies to come out, and to share our stories,” stated Jim Carroll, EQCA’s interim executive director.

“Equality California worked hard with Senator Leno to pass the Harvey Milk Day bill so that a new generation of Californians could be inspired by Harvey’s life and work,” he continued. “This year, we teamed up again with Senator Leno to pass the [Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful] Education Act, which would include the historical contributions of LGBT leaders like Harvey Milk in the classroom. We believe the FAIR Education Act embodies Harvey’s legacy of living our lives truthfully in order to foster acceptance.” That bill passed the Senate April 14.

(This is updated from the original post, which incorrectly stated Milk was the first gay elected to office in the U.S.)

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 20, 2011 @ 3:11 pm PST
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AIDS ribbon planned for Twin Peaks

A giant red ribbon will be installed on Twin Peaks this weekend to mark the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS. This will be the first time such a ribbon has been placed at Twin Peaks.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano, Supervisor Scott Weiner, volunteers, and others will gather Sunday, May 22 at Twin Peaks Viewpoint. Installation begins at 8 a.m. The dedication ceremony will be at 11 a.m.

The ceremony “will be a chance to reflect on the last 30 years of the epidemic, and look forward to a future when HIV/AIDS is a thing of the past,” the foundation said in a statement today (Thursday, May 19).

The ribbon will be visible across the Bay Area and will remain at the site May 22 to June 19.

The vista is also home to a huge pink triangle every June for the city’s LGBT Pride celebration. The triangle typically goes up on Pride weekend. This year’s festivities are June 25 and 26.

For more information about how to get involved with the red ribbon, contact Megan Canon at San Francisco AIDS Foundation: mcanon@sfaf.org or (415) 487-3085.



— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 19, 2011 @ 4:49 pm PST
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Win an all-expenses-paid trip to Montreal

Think you have what it takes to be named Queer of the Year? Then Tourism Montreal in Canada is looking for you.

The visitor promotion arm of the French-speaking city is looking for applicants to enter its annual contest. Open to “boys, girls and everyone in between,” the competition is open to people from around the world.

The ideal candidates are “queers with personality, talent, a healthy lifestyle, community spirit and sex appeal.”

The event will run from August 7 through August 15. The five applicants selected to compete will be flown to Montreal for an all-expenses paid week.

To enter you must first click the LIKE button on the contest’s Facebook page and then answer a few questions. The second step is an interview process.

After the interview round, five finalists will be selected and asked to create a video about themselves. Those videos will then be used to promote the contestants as they compete for the “Queer of the Year” title.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:02 pm PST
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Debbie Gibson to host SF party to kick off Pride month

Former pop teen sensation Debbie Gibson (seen at right) will host a party to kick off Pride month in San Francisco next month.

Billed as the “first unofficial” event of the LGBT community’s high holy month, the party is being sponsored by Svedka Vodka and will benefit the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation.

The theme to the party is celebrating the unique bond between gay men and their best girlfriends, i.e. fag hags.

Gibson, who turns 41 this August, recently starred in the campy science-fiction film Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, where she wrestled with another former pop idol, Tiffany. Back in the late 80s Gibson shot to fame with her hit singles Only in My Dreams and Shake your Love.

Joining her as hostess of the San Francisco party June 2 at the new restaurant Chambers inside the Civic Center area Phoenix Hotel will be local drag queens Pollo del Mar and Bebe Sweetbriar.

Others making appearances will be cast members of the Sundance Channel series Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and Joel Derfner, the author of Swish.

The party takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Chambers at the Phoenix Hotel is located at 601 Eddy Street in San Francisco.

According to organizers entrance to the event “is a best guy or gal pal.”

RSVP to Claire Bentley at Claire@afandco.com to ensure a spot as space is limited.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:46 pm PST
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SF Pride offers $300 party, club passes

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee is selling $300 passes that will offer access to prime parade viewing areas and free or discounted admittance to some nightclubs, parties, and restaurants. The VIP Pride Pass will be good around the weekend of this year’s Pride parade and celebration, June 25-26.

Passes can be purchased here. One hundred  are available.

Events held by the popular dance night Club Papi are an example of what’s available with the passes.

June 23, passholders will get into the Pan Dulce party at The Café, 2369 Market Street, for free. June 25, pass holders will get into Club Papi at Space 550, 550 Barneveld Street, at no cost, according to Club Papi’s Jamie Awad.

Despite the $300 price, Pride board member Joshua Smith said, “We’re fully confident” that the passes will sell. Board member Lord Martine said proceeds will go to Pride’s community partners.

Pride still owes thousands of dollars to nonprofits from last year’s event. Several of the groups waiting for money had volunteered selling drinks in exchange for a cut of the proceeds.

Smith said Pride still aims to pay the agencies back.

“Our beverage partners are always front and center,” he said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:48 pm PST
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Mosaic to honor LGBTs in SF’s Sunset

Hoping to recognize the LGBT residents of San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood, an effort is underway to add a “fairy lantern” tiled mosaic to some city steps.

A short video explains the effort. Artists have designed a “hidden garden” mosaic for steps on 16th Avenue between Kirkham and Lawton. LGBTs in the Sunset neighborhood have pledged 68 percent of the money needed for one element of the mosaic: The fairy lantern flower.

They’re looking for more donors to contribute by May 23. For more information, visit http://kck.st/ihIeI1

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 18, 2011 @ 5:14 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


City analyst’s office questions loaning funds to Lyon-Martin; merger discussed

A proposal to loan $150,000 to Lyon-Martin Health Services, which has been struggling for survival since January, is facing trouble as the clinic looks at merging with another agency.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee had been set to discuss the loan, proposed by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, and possibly vote on it yesterday (Wednesday, May 11). However, committee members postponed the item. Another date hasn’t yet been set

The office of Harvey Rose, the board’s budget and legislative analyst, issued a report last Thursday questioning the wisdom of the loan.

Lyon-Martin's Eric Fimbres

Lyon-Martin, which serves women and transgender people, has faced closure since late January, when the clinic’s board made the surprise announcement that the agency was more than $500,000 in debt and would have to shut down in days. They made the announcement despite not having made plans for where the clinic’s 2,500 patients would go.

As proposed, the loan from the city would be made free of interest. The report notes that the city itself faces a deficit of more than $300 million, and says the analyst’s office “questions whether Lyon-Martin would be able to repay a $150,000 loan, even without interest,” given that the clinic is $1.1 million in debt.

Lyon-Martin is projecting a total budgetary shortfall of $500,000 and needs $200,000 of that by July 31 in order to stay open, the report says.

According to the report, Lyon-Martin interim Executive Director Eric Fimbres has identified four options to address a shortfall that’s estimated at about $150,000. (That figure comes after taking into account “undisclosed grants and private individual donations.”)

The options Fimbres put forward include merging with another organization or  closing Lyon-Martin, among other possibilities.

The Bay Area Reporter obtained a copy of a financial recovery plan summary that Fimbres had prepared. The document talks about the possibility of the clinic merging with Asian American Recovery Services.

Fimbres wasn’t available for an interview this afternoon. Messages left with AARS weren’t immediately returned.

The analyst’s report, which doesn’t name AARS, says Fimbres has estimated that a merger could take up to one to two years to complete.

However, the report says, Lyon-Martin is considering making a deal with the merger partner by the first week of June to provide management services.

“According to Mr. Fimbres, such an arrangement would provide needed budget relief by allowing Lyon-Martin to shift some of its staff from administrative functions to the provision of direct clinical services which would allow the clinic to see more patients and increase operating revenue,” the report says.

The report also says the analyst’s office had requested Lyon-Martin provide their draft financial recovery plan, but the clinic wouldn’t do it and Rose’s staff had to get the plan from the Department of Public Health.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 12, 2011 @ 4:39 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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