Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Gay, lesbian speakers added to Dem convention

A gay man and a lesbian have been added to the lineup of speakers for next week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez,  the first openly gay person elected speaker of a state legislative body’s lower chamber in American history, will address his party’s confab, as will lesbian Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who is attempting to become the first LGBT person elected to the U.S. Senate this fall.

“It is truly an honor to speak to my fellow Democrats in Charlotte to help re-elect our President, Barack Obama,” Pérez, 42, stated in a press release. “Throughout his time in office, President Obama has made restoring opportunities for working families and middle class Americans his most important priority. President Obama understands that restoring prosperity for all means restoring opportunities for all, and I am deeply honored to be able to share that message with the Delegates who will be helping to secure the President’s reelection.”

Last week, Pérez was elected president of the National Speakers Conference, making him the first Californian and openly gay person to serve in the position.

Convention planners  have yet to unveil when exactly during the program Pérez and Baldwin will be speaking or for how long. The 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena Tuesday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 5.

Former San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, now California’s attorney general, had already been announced as part of the lineup. The outspoken LGBT ally (seen to the left of Pérez in the photo at right) is thought to be a contender for a prominent post in Obama’s administration during a second term.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the convention, is also slated to speak. Hollywood actress Eva Longoria, an Obama campaign co-chair, is also part of the lineup.

President Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President on Thursday, September 6 at Bank of America Stadium. The location is a repeat of sorts of his outdoor arena speech from 2008 in Denver.

Tuesday the Democratic Party is expected to adopt the most pro-gay party platform in the nation’s history. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), vice chair of the congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, will present the document to the delegates along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and retired Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, the first female to reach the rank of three-star general in the U.S. Army.

According to the National Stonewall Democrats, there are  at least 534 official LGBT participants, including a record 11 who identify as transgender. Four years ago there were a little more than 350 LGBT participants.

In terms of actual delegates, the Stonewall group has counted 486 or 8.15  percent of the total 5,963 delegates expected in Charlotte. There are another 43 LGBT alternates; 20 LGBT committee members: and 5 LGBT pages.

Three states are sending LGBT delegates for the first time: Mississippi, Arkansas and Alaska. For the first time, all 50 states set numerical goals for LGBT delegates and, in another first, there will be at least one LGBT delegate from every state.

“What an amazing and inspiring convention this will be,” stated Stonewall Executive Director Jerame Davis. “With over 530 LGBT participants identified for this year’s convention, we not only set a new record for LGBT participation in a national convention, we have sent the clearest message possible that the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion.”

The largest LGBT delegation is from California with 76 total LGBT participants. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will be among those attending.

The state’s delegation is the largest in the country and the statewide Democratic Party released a video today to introduce some of the delegates.

The three minute video can be seen here.

 

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, August 31, 2012 @ 4:37 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Proposed ban on anti-gay therapy goes to governor

Governor Jerry Brown (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

A bill that would ban therapists from trying to change children’s sexual orientation has made it to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

Senate Bill 1172, authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), was sent to Brown after the Senate voted 23-13 on Thursday, August 30 to approve an amended version. No vote was recorded for four senators. The Assembly passed the bill earlier this week.

Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto the bill, or allow its protections to take effect without his signature on January 1, 2013. If enacted, the measure would be the first of its kind in the nation. A spokeswoman for the governor has declined to comment on the likelihood of him signing the bill.

“Few things are more offensive than child abuse and, frankly, that’s what these types of psychological treatments are,” Lieu said in a news release. “These attempts are quackery, and this kind of psychological abuse of children must stop.”

Specifically, SB 1172 would prohibit children under 18 from undergoing sexual orientation-change efforts. In some cases, patients who’ve gone through the therapy have later committed suicide or suffered severe mental and physical anguish.

One of the measure’s sponsors is Equality California. In an email blast Thursday, August 29, EQCA board President Clarissa Filgioun urged people to call on Brown to support the bill.

“Tell the governor that LGBT youth do not need to be ‘cured,’ and that SB 1172 will stop quacks from abusing children,” Filgioun said. “Tell the governor that SB 1172 will save lives.”

According to a statement from EQCA and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, another supporter of the bill, Ryan Kendall, 29, told the California Legislature of his experiences with the therapy as a child.

“I am lucky that I survived, but I will never be able to recover the years I lost to feeling worthless and suicidal because a state-licensed therapist convinced my family that being gay is a mental illness and that who I am is shameful and wrong,” Kendall said. “These practices are child abuse, pure and simple, and I look forward to seeing Governor Brown sign this bill into law.”

More information is available at EQCA’s website.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 4:16 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


State panel to discuss proposed penalties for anti-Prop 8 groups

Three campaign committees that failed to defeat California’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban in 2008 are facing thousands of dollars in fines from the state’s campaign finance panel.

The Fair Political Practices Commission announced today (Friday, August 31) that it will meet Thursday, September 13 to discuss fines for No on 8, Equality for All; Equality California Issues Political Action Committee, and Human Rights Campaign California Marriage PAC. All three cases stem from Franchise Tax Board audits.

No on 8, Equality for All and its treasurer, Steven Mele, failed to timely file late contribution reports, according to the FPPC. The related records include $5,000 online reports. The total proposed penalty is $42,500. Representatives of the No on 8, Equality for All executive committee couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Friday.

The EQCA Issues PAC and its treasurer, Timothy Hohmeier, failed to file preelection campaign statements for two reporting periods and failed to timely file late contributions reports, among other violations, the FPPC said in its agenda for the September meeting, which was distributed Friday. The state panel is proposing total fines of $31,500 in this case.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter Friday, EQCA spokesman Stephan Roth said, “The No on 8 campaign committee was advised by the treasurer and legal counsel at the start of the campaign that an FPPC fine was likely long after the campaign was over.  Such fines are imposed on virtually every campaign of this type, and given the unprecedented magnitude of small donations to the No on 8 campaign, it’s no surprise that the campaign was fined.  Campaign leadership acted responsibly to ensure that enough money was retained at the end of the campaign to cover any fine.” The B.A.R. reported on the possibility of fines in November 2011. (Roth emailed the paper about the fines without even being asked.)

The Human Rights Campaign PAC and its treasurer James Rinefierd also failed to timely disclose data regarding contributions received for three reporting periods, according to the state commission. The total proposed penalty is $6,000.

In response to an emailed request for comment, HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz said, “During the fast-paced six month campaign against Prop 8, HRC’s California ballot measure committee made a good faith effort to fully comply with the reporting requirements of California law, including hiring a professional treasurer to prepare our reports.  Following the election, on our own initiative, we conducted an internal review and discovered less than five percent of the total raised by the committee had not been reported properly. We then voluntarily amended our campaign filings to include these inadvertently omitted contributions and ensure full public disclosure.”

Earlier this month, the FPPC approved fines against backers of Prop 8.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


CA lawmakers back Harvey Milk stamp, ship

Attempts to posthumously honor gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk by naming a U.S. naval ship after him and getting the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp with his visage gained support from California lawmakers in recent days.

This week the Assembly adopted resolution HR 41 in support of seeing a Milk postage stamp be unveiled, an old mockup of which can be seen at right. Lesbian Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) spearheaded the push to get the Legislature’s lower chamber on board with the now decades-old idea.

“A postage stamp draws attention to important people who may not be familiar to all Americans,” stated Atkins. “Harvey Milk, who gave his life because he led the way for equality, is an ideal choice for this honor.”

In November of 1977 Milk became the first out person to be elected to public office in a major U.S. city. A year later disgruntled former Supervisor Dan White gunned him down in City Hall along with then-Mayor George Moscone.

A Milk stamp idea has been kicking around since the late 1980s, when San Francisco artist Jim Leff, a gay man who knew Milk, painted the above mock-up of what such a stamp could look like. In 2005 San Francisco’s 11-member Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling on the U.S. postmaster general to issue one for the gay rights leader.

Momentum for a Milk stamp has been building since the Bay Area Reporter ran a story in March 2009 about a renewed push for the honorarium launched by Ohio resident Daniel Drent. The effort has gained steamed ever since, with various groups, citizens and lawmakers – both LGBT and straight – from across the country backing the proposal.

Despite repeated rumors that a Milk stamp is close to being issued, perhaps as soon as 2013, neither the Postmaster General or the postal service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee have yet to publicly back doing so.

LGBT leaders in San Diego, where Milk was stationed while serving in the Navy as a diving instructor, have been some of the most vocal advocates for both a Milk stamp and seeing a naval ship be christened the U.S.S. Harvey Milk.

Last week the California Senate became the latest group to endorse the idea. Lesbian state Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) led the effort by introducing a resolution urging the Navy’s secretary to name a ship after Milk.

“It’s more than appropriate to my constituents and to all of us that Harvey Milk be remembered for his service in the U.S. military,” Kehoe was quoted as saying in a Los Angeles Times report on the Senate vote.

Senate Resolution 36 was approved on a 25-8 vote, with no Republicans voting in favor, according to the Times.

 

 

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, August 30, 2012 @ 2:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


School board candidate lands big endorsements

Richard Fuentes, an openly gay Oakland resident who’s running for a seat on the city’s school board, this week announced three big endorsements for his campaign.

At a fundraising brunch Sunday, August 26, at La Borinquene Mexican Delicatessen, Fuentes told the crowd that he has been endorsed by Oakland Teachers Association. He also introduced the president of the Oakland Police Officers Association, Barry Donelan, who said that his group has endorsed Fuentes.

Candidate Richard Fuentes (Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

On his Facebook page today, Fuentes posted that he received the endorsement of the East Bay Young Democrats.

Fuentes, 30, works as a legislative aide for Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who was at the event and praised him as the type of leader the financially strapped school district needs.

“He’s committed to education, in this case obviously, schoolchildren,” De La Fuente said. “I’m 100 percent behind Richard.”

He added that Fuentes, who was 26 when he interviewed for the council staff job four years ago, has grown while working at City Hall and that the school district faces many challenges with which Fuentes can help.

“He’s running to move them forward,” the councilman added.

For his part, Fuentes told the audience that as the president of the Hoover Elementary School Site Council and a leader in the school’s PTA group, he has worked to transform the school. Wanting to get students off the street and into classrooms, Hoover now has a truancy center, Fuentes said. He also has a science and technology initiative and is “very focused on teacher retention.”

“We laid off no teachers” at Hoover, he said, referencing the school board’s decision earlier this year to close five campuses.

During his remarks, Donelan said that the police officers union does not usually get involved in school board races.

“What we’re looking for here is leadership. The OPOA unequivocally endorses Richard for school board,” Donelan said.

Fuentes is challenging incumbent Jumoke Hinton-Hodge in District 3, which includes the West Oakland neighborhood. His platform includes reducing the drop-out rate and increasing classroom funding.

Fuentes’s boyfriend is Sean Sullivan, who is running for the District 3 City Council seat. De La Fuente is locked in a race for the council’s at-large seat against lesbian incumbent Rebecca Kaplan.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:58 am PST
Filed under: News,Politics


UPDATED: Former SF mayors wade into fall SF supe races in odd-numbered districts

Two former San Francisco mayors waded into the races for odd-numbered supervisor seats today.

In the match-up in District 1, where the incumbent, Supervisor Eric Mar, is facing tough competition for his Richmond district seat, his challenger David E. Lee announced today (Wednesday, August 29) that Dianne Feinstein, now a U.S. Senator, had endorsed him.

The former mayor (seen in the photo at right) and Lee, executive director of the Chinese American Voter Education Committee, are scheduled to appear together at a lunch event tomorrow at  Empress of China Restaurant in Chinatown.

“David Lee is a talented and dedicated public servant,” stated Feinstein in a release sent to reporters by Lee’s campaign. “I believe he has the character and the disposition to bring people together to get things done both in his district and in the city as a whole.”

In the nearby District 7 race for the open seat representing the neighborhoods west of Twin Peaks, Port Commissioner Francis “FX” Crowley announced that he had secured the sole backing of former mayor and former police chief Frank Jordan.

“I’ve known F.X. Crowley for many years. He is a leader in his community and a leader citywide,” stated Jordan in a release issued by Crowley’s camp. “He has created thousands of middle-class jobs in one of the most vital sectors of our local economy: tourism, convention and entertainment. I admire that F.X. cares about the neighborhood where he grew up and wants to serve residents as their supervisor.”

Based on the endorsement lists posted to the websites of the leading candidates looking to succeed Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who is termed out of office, Jordan appears to be the first former or sitting mayor to weigh in on the race. His mayoral counterparts are not listed among the endorsers for Norman Yee, president of the city’s school board, or Board of Appeals President Mike Garcia.

[UPDATED: During an editorial board meeting today (Friday, August 31) with the Bay Area Reporter, Crowley disclosed that he had secured a sole endorsement from Feinstein in the race. He plans to make a more public announcement about it next week after the Labor Day holiday.]

The current holder of Room 200 at City Hall, Mayor Ed Lee, isn’t listed among the endorsers of any of the candidates in the D7 race. Nor is Gavin Newsom, now the state’s lieutenant governor.

In the D1 contest, Lee is also missing so far among the listed endorsers of either Mar or David E. Lee. Former Mayor Art Agnos is listed as backing Mar.

Mayor Lee has endorsed the bisexual woman he appointed to the District 5 seat earlier this year, Supervisor Christina Olague. She is in a tough battle to win election to a full term to the seat covering the Haight and Western Addition.

Former Mayor Willie Brown is said to be also supporting Olague in the race, though he is not listed as official endorser on her website. Speculation has surfaced that Brown is also surreptitiously backing London Breed, executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex.

It does not appear any of Olague’s main opponents – Breed; Julian Davis, president of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center; or City College Board of Trustees President John Rizzo – have lined up backing yet from a former mayor.

Board President David Chiu, who has several underdog opponents trying to unseat him from his District 3 seat, also does not list any mayoral endorsers on his website.

In the remaining two races, both gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos and District 11 Supervisor John Avalos are running for re-election unopposed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, August 29, 2012 @ 1:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Lease signed on SF Eagle

A lease has apparently once again been signed for the former San Francisco Eagle Tavern.

One of the men signing an agreement on the space at 398 12th Street is reportedly a gay man named Alex Montiel. Reached by phone today (Tuesday, August 28) he confirmed that he’d signed a lease but declined to discuss details because he was in a meeting.

A website for the bar says, “Your new hosts, Mike [Leon] and Alex, will reopen the bar 
as the S.F. Eagle.

“It will take a couple of months to do the much-needed repairs and upgrades that the property requires, but some upcoming events are already in the works prior to the opening of the bar,” the site says.

It also says, “We will continue to host fundraisers for all the organizations from the past, as well as welcoming new ones to make the S.F. Eagle the pride of our community once again.”

A chain of prospective operators have attempted to reopen the space since it shut down in April 2011. The most recent team backed out earlier this month after a disagreement with landlord John Nikitopoulos. Nikitopoulos couldn’t be reached for comment.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 28, 2012 @ 5:40 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Breaking: Kors joins NCLR

Former Equality California executive director Geoff Kors is stepping back into the LGBT rights arena as he is joining the National Center for Lesbian Rights as its new senior legislative and policy strategist.

Kors starts his job today, will be at the state and local level to advance LGBT laws and rights, mainly outside of California.

In a conference call Monday with NCLR legal director Shannon Minter, Kors said that he’s looking to replicate successful strategies that other state and local LGBT organizations can use in conjunction with passing and implementing legislation.

“Oftentimes state groups replicate things that are done elsewhere,” Kors said, adding that NCLR has regularly assisted with such work in the past. Kors said he hopes to develop sample emails and action alerts and “put together a standard campaign” for state and local organizations, “to hand them this package.”

Geoff Kors (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Minter explained that NCLR currently has two full-time employees doing work with state and local groups: Connie Utada who is based in San Francisco, and Maya Rupert who is based in Washington, D.C. and focuses on federal policy.

“But we’ve not been able to provide, until now, real hands-on support to implement and enact policies,” Minter said. “That’s where Geoff adds a new dimension.”

He will also be identifying coalition partners and where votes are for legislative matters.

Kors, 51, who moved to Palm Springs with his partner James Williamson after he stepped down from EQCA in March 2011, said he will remain in southern California.

Most of Kors’s work will be outside of California, he and Minter said. One of his first projects likely will be working with Equality Florida, which has requested assistance, Minter said.

“NCLR was EQCA’s closest partner in legislative drafting and that will continue,” Kors said.

Minter and Kors explained that most LGBT state and local organizations have few resources – financial and staff – and the extra help from NCLR would be welcome.

“There’s a gap between places that are amazingly successful and places that are struggling and really stark,” Minter said.
“Our thinking was, how can we expand and what do groups really need?”

Since leaving EQCA, Kors has spent time traveling. Once back, he and NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell started talking about strategy and “kicking around ideas,” he said.

“Kate asked if I’d be interested,” he said. Many of the groups he’s worked with before and he knows many state leaders and executive directors. In May, Kors joined the board of Freedom to Marry, a national marriage equality organization. In that capacity he has been doing fundraising and chairs the board’s development committee.

Not marriage-focused
Kors did say that in his new position with NCLR he would probably not be involved with the marriage campaigns this fall in Washington state, Minnesota, Maine, and Maryland.

It was after the passage of Proposition 8 in California four years ago that Kors came under intense criticism from many in the LGBT community. People blamed the No on 8 committee, of which he and Kendell were executive members, for running a campaign light on LGBT voices and heavy on consultants. Both sides stayed even in the money race, raising about $80 million combined. Last year Kors called the No on 8 campaign “a 24/7 effort, and having the voters take away our rights was a painful experience, I think, for the whole community.”

Kors joined EQCA in 2002 and quickly set about rebranding the group, raising money, and hiring staff. EQCA had a track record of successes under his leadership, including the first legislative passage of a marriage bill in California (vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger). It also developed a standard for its political action committee to endorse candidates, insisting on them being 100 percent for full equality, including marriage and transgender issues. EQCA had a string of legislative victories, including advances in equal rights fro LGBT youth, transgender people, and domestic partners.

Since Kors has left EQCA, that organization has struggled. First with a significant drop in fundraising, and then the board hired an executive director who resigned after just a few months on the job. Current interim Executive Director Laurie Hasencamp maintains a low public profile, although Kors saw her last weekend at the Equality Awards in San Diego.

“I’m in contact with them,” Kors said of EQCA staff and board members. He praised Alice Kessler, who was recruited back to EQCA and works on legislative matters in Sacramento. “Alice being there is really critical,” he said.

He said that he thinks EQCA is stabilizing.

“I was at the San Diego Equality Awards Saturday – there were close to 300 people there and elected officials,” Kors said.

“They have really good people in place. From what I understand the board is engaged in finding an executive director and will undoubtedly take the time to find the right fit.”

Excited with new role
Kors said that he is looking forward to his new job.

“The reality is that there is so much work to do with partners at the state and local level,” he said. “So many states have one or two staff people. There’s room for lots more.”

NCLR is a 501(c)3 organization that also has a (c)4 component. But Kors said that under the (c)3 H designation, the nonprofit would be allowed to spend a percentage of its budget on legislative work. Groups that have a 501(c) 3 status without that designation are not supposed to engage in political work such as endorsements or donations. Nonprofits with a 501(c)4 designation can engage in political work.

NCLR’s annual budget is just over $4 million; it has 32 staff (full- and part-time). Minter declined to answer a question about Kors’s salary, saying the organization only releases that information for its executive director.

On the agency’s 2011 990 tax form, Kendell’s salary is listed at $231,372; two other staffers are also listed as they make more than $100,000 per year.

NCLR spokesman Erik Olvera said Monday that Kors’s salary would not fall under the threshold for reporting requirements, and that his hours would vary depending on the scope of his work.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:11 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Castro hit-and-run victim’s injuries remain life-threatening

A pedestrian who was struck by a hit-and-run driver in San Francisco’s Castro district last week remains in life-threatening condition, Officer Gordon Shyy, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department, said today (Friday, August 24).

The man, 39, was struck at about 1 a.m. Wednesday, August 15 as he was crossing Market Street near Sanchez Street. A dark-colored sedan hit him, leaving him with head injuries, according to Shyy.

The driver fled northbound on Sanchez. The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Shyy said Friday he didn’t have more details about the driver or vehicle.

Anyone with information on the incident may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or the Hit and Run Investigations Unit at (415) 553-1641. The case number is 120 646 996.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 24, 2012 @ 5:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF Pride seeking theme for 2013

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee is seeking submissions for the 2013 festival’s theme.

Theme ideas may be submitted to theme_at_sfpride.org. The deadline is Friday, August 31.

Committee members will select a theme at their annual general planning meeting, which is scheduled for 2 – 5 p.m., Sunday, September 16. Non-members are welcome to attend the meeting and share feedback during the public comment section.

A venue hasn’t been selected but will be posted on Pride’s website once it is.

The theme for this year’s Pride festivities was “Global Equality.”

The 43rd annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade and celebration takes place June 29 – 30, 2013.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:33 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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