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

Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club readies for annual dinner Thursday, May 19

Marking its 35th year this month, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club will gather next Thursday, May 19 for its annual dinner fundraiser.

With the city in the midst of a free-for-all mayoral campaign, expect numerous contenders for City Hall’s Room 200 to be in attendance that night as they scour for progressive support among members of the city’s most liberal LGBT political club.

Three of the more than 30 people who have pulled papers to run for mayor – District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), and City Attorney Dennis Herrera – are among the main sponsors of this year’s dinner.

The club listed the three candidates in that order in a press release sent to the media this week, and while it in no way foretells whom Milk will support, it could be seen as a signal that Avalos is leading in the fight for the club’s endorsement. Prior to his entrance into the race, club leaders had told the Bay Area Reporter that there was no clear favorite among the mayoral contenders to trigger an early endorsement for mayor.

Avalos has been billed as the “true progressive” in the race and has been associating himself with Milk’s legacy, from using the late gay politician’s “I am here to recruit you” line to wearing Milk t-shirts in campaign videos.

Yee has formidable support among the club’s younger members – its male co-chair Nathan Albee had to resign shortly after being elected to the position due to his taking a paid position on Yee’s campaign – while Herrera is well liked among the club’s older members – its vice president for political affairs, Carol Stuart, works for him as a senior investigator.

In addition to the political rubbernecking, the dinner will also feature various awards and entertainment as well as speeches.

Civil rights advocate Clarence B. Jones (at left) will be this year’s keynote speaker. Jones is the current scholar-in-residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University and acted as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s lawyer and adviser from 1960 until King’s death in 1968.

“We are honored to welcome Mr. Jones … and very excited to have him bring his decades of work into conversation with the current state of the LGBT community’s struggle,” said Milk club President Stephany Ashley.

As the B.A.R. previously reported, Jones approached the Milk club to discuss how to build better bridges between the African American and LGBT communities.

“Today, a coalition alliance between the African-American and the LGBT community is essential to protect and advance the permanent interest of both communities,” stated Jones in the club’s release. “Consequently, it is in the spirit of fostering Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream and commitment to the ‘Beloved Community’ and encouraging a working political coalition with my LGBT sisters and brothers that I am pleased and honored to speak at this dinner honoring the Milk Club’s thirty-five years of activism.”

The dinner begins at 6 p.m. at the Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market Street. Tickets cost $60 and can be purchased online at

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 12, 2011 @ 3:57 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

For first time since attack, Yale singers come to SF for anti-bully concert

For the first time since a 2007 incident in which members of a Yale University singing group were allegedly attacked amid anti-gay slurs, another singing club from the school is coming to San Francisco for an anti-bullying concert.

The Yale Glee Club (pictured at left) will perform at a benefit for the nonprofit No Bully at Marines Memorial Theatre on Saturday, May 14.

Then-District Attorney Kamala Harris charged two men with felony assault and battery in connection with the January 2007 incident, in which two Baker’s Dozen members were beaten and allegedly called “fag” and “homo.” Members of the singing group said they were attacked outside of a house party.

Mickey Dobbs, co-president of Yale’s LGBT Alumni Network, a co-sponsor of the No Bully benefit, said in an interview last week, “We’re not really concerned at all” about safety.

The previous incident was “a fluke,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the norm in San Francisco.”

He said the singers wouldn’t have time to go to any parties while they’re in town.

“We’re only here for the performance,” said Dobbs.

No Bully Executive Director Nicholas Carlisle said he wasn’t aware of the previous attack.

The nonprofit works to implement “innovative and long-term solutions to school bullying” in schools, he said.

Tickets for the May 14, 8 p.m. concert, at 609 Sutter St., are $75-$250 (with 6:30 p.m. VIP reception). Call 771-6900 or go to

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:44 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Potential gay South Bay Assembly opponents to appear at Milk Day event

Two gay South Bay politicians who may face-off against one another for a San Jose-area state Assembly seat next year are expected to appear together at an event later this month to celebrate Harvey Milk Day.

The pair’s interactions at the Equality California fundraiser will likely be closely observed by attendees looking for signs of either comity or potential ill will between the two out rising stars of LGBT political circles.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, 58, (seen at left above) has been a political mentor to Campbell City Councilman Evan Low (seen at right), who at the age of 28 is the state’s youngest out elected official according to EQCA.

Low is is already running for the 24th Assembly District seat, which will be vacated due to term limits next year by Assemblyman Jim Beall (D-San Jose). Yeager is also eying a run for the seat and has set up an exploratory committee while he weighs his decision.

As the Bay Area Reporter wrote last month, there is a chance the two men may find themselves able to run for separate Assembly Districts in 2012. Due to the decennial redistricting process, the boundaries of the Assembly seats are in flux up and down the state.

Low’s hometown could find itself in a district comprised of its surrounding Silicon Valley towns, while Yeager, a resident of San Jose, could be looking at running for a seat that covers solely the South Bay’s largest city.

The guessing game over the Assembly District lines won’t end until August when the state’s Citizens Redistricting Commission wraps up its work. Until then, the likelihood of a Low-Yeager political duel should make for great cocktail chatter at EQCA’s event.

EQCA is partnering with Microsoft at its Mountain View campus for the  Thursday, May 24 meet-and-greet fundraiser. Tickets for the 6 to 8 p.m. event cost $40 a person; for more information visit

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

Gay Berkeley councilman to accept FairVote award

Openly gay Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington (seen at right) will be one of several East Bay politicians accepting awards on behalf of their cities for implementing ranked choice voting during last fall’s elections.

Worthington was one of several Berkeley council members who ran for re-election last year and fended off opponents seeking to oust them from office. It was the first time that the liberal city had used ranked choice voting to determine the outcome of the races.

Under the system, if none of the candidates receive a majority of the votes in the first round, then the person with the least votes is eliminated and their voters’ second and third choice picks are added to the vote totals of the remaining candidates. The process repeats itself until a winner emerges.

In Worthington’s case, he fell just short of the 50 percent plus one vote threshold on election night to clinch a fifth term. It took until the third round of tabulations, announced three days post Election Day, before his first-place showing became official.

The liberal bastion of East Bay politics is slated to represent his city next Friday, May 20 at the Champions of Democracy 2011 awards ceremony hosted by FairVote, an organization that promotes the adoption of ranked choice voting.

Also on hand will be Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. The city’s first female and Chinese-American mayor successfully used the voting system to vanquish former state Senator Don Perata (D-Oakland), who had been viewed early on as the one to beat in the race.

But Quan and lesbian Oakland City Councilwoman At-Large Rebecca Kaplan adroitly took advantage of the peculiarities of ranked-choice voting, where candidates who team up as each other’s second-choice can influence the outcome. While Perata emerged as the top vote-getter election night, he was below the 50 percent mark, and Quan later was declared the winner after 10 rounds due to her securing more second and third place votes. Kaplan was knocked out in round nine.

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy will also be on hand to accept an award on his city’s behalf, as will Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald, whose office oversaw the vote counts in all three East Bay cities.

The event will take place from 5 to 7 P.M. in Niles Hall at Preservation Park, 668 13th Street in Oakland. For more information, contact Toby Rowe at or call 301-270-4616.

Tickets cost $20 and can be bought online at

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:47 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Game on: Gay SF v. gay Minneapolis

It’s looking like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart segment featuring the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will air tonight. Of course, last minute scheduling changes could happen, but chorus Executive Director Teddy Witherington said he was “99 percent” sure the feature would air Monday.

In early March, Daily Show funnyman Jason Jones came to San Francisco with camera crew in tow and taped a rehearsal of the famed gay chorus. The footage is to appear in a segment that evaluates the relative gayness of different cities. Monday, Witherington said that San Francisco’s “competition” would be Minneapolis.

The segment is also expected to feature Timothy Seelig (pictured at right with Jones), the new conductor of the chorus who recently moved to the city from Dallas.

See the Bay Area Reporter’s previous coverage at

— Cynthia Laird, May 9, 2011 @ 2:44 pm PST
Filed under: News

Pride’s ex-board prez still upset with B.A.R.

In a story in the latest SF Weekly that reviews San Francisco Pride’s problems, former board president Mikayla Connell appeared to take responsibility for what had gone wrong more directly than she ever has previously.

“I could put some blame on the economy,” Connell, who resigned form the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee’s board in October, told the Weekly recently. “But, no doubt about it, I fucked up. That’s my legacy.”

But before the depth of Pride’s woes had emerged, Connell had frequently appeared defensive when talking to the Bay Area Reporter. She’d questioned the tone of the B.A.R.‘s coverage of her group’s troubles and had once said the paper was trying to “micromanage” Pride’s finances.

It appears she’s still upset with the paper.

In a phone interview today (Thursday, May 5), Connell told the B.A.R., “I’ve always taken responsibility.” She added, “Not everything that happened was my fault, but it was all my responsibility.”

However, she said, “You have framed it differently. … You said we blamed this person or that person. That wasn’t true.”

“I don’t trust you,” Connell told the B.A.R. ” … You’ve misreported things and made stuff up.”

Asked to explain what she was referring to, Connell pointed to the paper reporting in September that she’d attributed the accounting error behind the beverage partner payment fiasco to ex-Deputy Executive Director Brendan Behan. (Several of Pride’s partners had complained they were shortchanged by thousands of dollars after last year’s event).

Connell hadn’t previously disputed that story’s accuracy.

And shortly after the story ran, Connell emailed an apology to Behan, now Pride’s interim executive director; the B.A.R.; and several others.

“The reason I have included former employee Brendan Behan on this message is so that we can apologize to him,” she wrote. “Brendan, we are sorry that you were blamed for this problem – it was not and is not your fault.  It is our fault.  And we will make it right, this I promise.”

Connell didn’t have such kind words for the B.A.R. today.

“At this point, I’m going to hang up,” she told the paper. “Have a nice life.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 5, 2011 @ 3:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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