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

Man robbed at gunpoint in Duboce Triangle

A man was robbed at gunpoint in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle neighborhood last night (Thursday, January 15), police said.

The 9:44 p.m. incident, which occurred in the 700 block of 14th Street, started when two men approached the 36-year-old victim from behind. One of the suspects pulled out a black handgun and took the man’s wallet, cellphone, and two gym bags, Officer Grace Gatpandan, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary. The suspects, described only as two black males in their 20s, fled on foot.

The robbery occurred near the Safeway at Church and Market streets. The neighborhood has seen increased concern around similar crimes.

Anyone with information related to the incidents may call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text a tip to 847411 and type SFPD, then the message. The incident number is 150046491.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 16, 2015 @ 11:07 am PST
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SF Pride releases belated statement on men killed by police

LGBT and other activists blocked the Highway 101 Octavia Boulevard exit to Market Street in San Francisco December 24 during a queer march and rally in support of #BlackLivesMatter and against police brutality. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

LGBT and other activists blocked the Highway 101 Octavia Boulevard exit to Market Street in San Francisco December 24 during a queer march and rally in support of #BlackLivesMatter and against police brutality. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has released a statement on the fatal police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, black men who died last year.

Pride’s comments, released Thursday, January 14, come more than a month after grand juries declined to indict the officers who killed Brown and Garner. The decisions sparked weeks of protest across the country. Brown, 18, was shot to death by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri and Garner, 43, died after police in Staten Island, New York, put him in a chokehold.

In its statement, the Pride committee said it “stands in solidarity with the family members of these two men in their calls for justice and trials for the police who killed their children. … SF Pride asks for nothing less than accountability on issues of racial profiling of all communities of color and the excessive use of force, and for an objective review of allegations of police misconduct. As San Franciscans, we also share the concerns of the Latino/a community in its distress over the profiling of men in the Mission neighborhood.”

The LGBT community itself has experienced police harassment, the statement notes, such as the August 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria riot in the Tenderloin, and New York City’s Stonewall riots in June 1969.

“The culture of police departments, in which instant judgments can result in a violent response, exists despite their best efforts to recruit officers from communities of color and from the LGBT community,” the Pride committee stated. “Acknowledging this is the first level of responsibility for law enforcement. SF Pride relies on a productive and collegial relationship with police; we also believe that silence on these deaths is not possible. We join with many other human rights and LGBT organizations in decrying the apparent disregard for black lives shown in Brown’s and Garner’s deaths. Black lives matter. All lives matter.”

The Pride committee said it supports “nonviolent protests that seek change in how police are vetted, trained, and how the justice system handles cases where a police officer is suspected of using excessive force. We also support police and police organizations who are actively seeking to examine themselves and to implement changes to eliminate such occurrences in the future.”

The statement concludes, “Justice for Michael Brown! Justice for Eric Garner!”

In an email, Pride board President Gary Virginia responded to a question about why it took the committee so long to come out with its statement.

“The timing of the SF Pride Statement on the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown was based on the initial suggestion at our SF Pride member meeting on December 9, 2014, by an SF Pride board member,” Virginia said. “The membership voted to create a statement, with one of our members taking the lead on drafting the statement. She then solicited input and feedback from our members, staff and board. There was a lot of healthy dialogue and input so the statement had several revisions. Our membership meets on the second Tuesday monthly so January 13 was the next meeting for the Members to vote to approve the statement. Thus it was released on January 14. SF Pride is a membership based nonprofit with a 13-member elected board of directors.”

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 15, 2015 @ 3:09 pm PST
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Memorial walk in SF to recall deaths of 2014

A memorial walk planned for Saturday, January 17 will recognize at least one gay man whose death in 2014 has been connected to violence.

Bryan Higgins in an undated photo. Photo: Courtesy Bryan Higgins's Facebook page

Bryan Higgins in an undated photo. (Photo: Courtesy Bryan Higgins’s Facebook page)

The August death of Bryan Higgins, a 31-year-old gay man, will be one of the losses the Ministry for Victims and Families of Violent Crime of the Archdiocese of San Francisco acknowledges during its Prayer Walk for Peace, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at 24th and Mission streets.

The walk, now in its third year, grew from the prayer services the Restorative Justice Ministry helps organize to remember homicide victims. During a service, a priest and other faith leaders lead community members to visit the site of each killing to pray and support the victim’s family.

Suspect in Bryan Higgins' death (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

Suspect in Bryan Higgins’ death (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

Higgins, who was a member of the Radical Faerie community and also known as Feather Lynn, was hit by another man August 10 near Church and Duboce streets, according to police and a witness to the incident. He died three days later in San Francisco General Hospital after his family had him taken off life support. The medical examiner’s office hasn’t publicly released the cause and manner of Higgins’ death. Police have released photos of a suspect in the attack, but no arrests have been made.

Other deaths

Stachaun Tyking Jackson, 19, who died March 20, will also be remembered Saturday. It’s not clear whether Jackson was gay, but he had reportedly been in a relationship with Eric Wayne Gillespie, who lived in the North Bay resort town of Dillon Beach.

Homicide victim Stachaun Tyking Jackson (Photo: Steven Underhill via Stachaun Jackson's Facebook page)

Homicide victim Stachaun Jackson in an undated photo. (Photo: Steven Underhill via Stachaun Jackson’s Facebook page)

Jackson was allegedly killed by Ken Patrick Neville, who’d lived with Gillespie for several years. Prosecutors have charged Neville with voluntary manslaughter, according to the Marin Independent Journal. Assistant District Attorney Barry Borden, a spokesman for the Marin DA’s office, said jury selection in Neville’s trial started this week.

San Francisco resident Gary Mulhearn, 63, was found dead November 24 in his apartment at 25 Essex Street. Antonio Dupree, 36, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he murdered Mulhearn with a belt and tried to kill another man.

It’s not clear whether Mulhearn identified as gay. Scott Nassans, a gay man who was Mulhearn’s neighbor, said, “He would bring up these young guys to his apartment, but I have no idea what that was about.” Nassans said that the other men appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s.

After a hearing in the case last week, Deputy Public Defender Seth Meisels said that Dupree and Mulhearn “knew each other, but I can’t really say more than that.” Meisels said he doesn’t know “for sure” whether Mulhearn was gay, and he didn’t feel like he could discuss Dupree’s sexual orientation.

He added it would be “irresponsible” of him to say more “before we have all the information from police and prosecutors.”

Dupree’s next court date is January 20, when prosecutors are expected to finish providing evidence to his defense team.

Saturday’s peace walk will conclude at noon with an interfaith memorial service at Mission Dolores Church, 3321 16th Street.

Michael Pappas, a gay member of the city’s Human Rights Commission who also represents Grace Cathedral on the San Francisco Interfaith Council-Grace Cathedral, will be at the service, as will Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

For more information, contact Julio Escobar at escobarj@sfarchdiocese.org or (415) 614-5572.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:00 pm PST
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[Updated] SF police investigate robberies, beatings

San Francisco police are investigating several incidents from yesterday (Wednesday, January 14) and today (Thursday, January 15) including a hold-up in the Castro and robberies and beatings near Dolores Park and in the Tenderloin. No arrests have been made in any of the incidents.

A man entered a business in the 400 block of Castro Street, approached a kiosk, and handed the a note “demanding money,” Officer Grace Gatpandan said in a summary of the incident. The victim, 24, complied. The suspect is described as a white male, 25-45, who’s 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. He fled on foot northbound on Castro.

No injuries were reported. Gatpandan said money was taken, but she didn’t say how much. She indicated no weapons were used.

An employee of US Bank, 443 Castro Street, indicated that his branch was the one involved, but he said bank employees are prohibited from discussing the incident. He referred questions to someone in the bank’s administration, who didn’t immediately return a phone message.

Gatpandan said the incident occurred at 8:45 p.m., which is outside the bank’s hours of operation.

[Update, Thursday, January 15]: Gatpandan said in an email Thursday afternoon that “the bank is not the victim” in the incident. “I cannot disclose the name of the business,” she said. [End update]

At 2:13 a.m. today, a 46-year-old man was approached by two men at 20th and Church streets, near Dolores Park. The suspects struck the victim with a stick “and took his cellphone, backpack, and sketchbook” before fleeing, Gatpandan said. She said one of the suspects is a black male, 20-25, who’s 5 feet 10 inches tall.

The victim suffered non-life threatening lacerations to his head and finger and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

Robberies in the city’s streets appear to have increased in recent days, based on the number of incidents police have released summaries of.

At 3:15 a.m. a man was sleeping on the ground in the first block of Larkin Street when four men punched him in the stomach and face, then “stole his backpack and fled,” Gatpandan said. The incident occurred in the Tenderloin district, which is home to many LGBTs. Police didn’t indicate the victim is gay.

The victim, 37, was left with a bloody nose and neck and rib pain. The loss was reported as his backpack, clothing, and toiletries were taken. He was taken to a local hospital for his non-life threatening injuries.

Anyone with information related to the incidents may call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text a tip to 847411 and type SFPD, then the message.

The incident numbers are 150 042 085 for the bank robbery, 150 043 572 for the robbery near Dolores Park, and 150 043 629 for the robbery in the Tenderloin.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:12 am PST
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[Updated] Castro man beaten in his home

At least one person beat a man in San Francisco’s gay Castro neighborhood in his home early this morning (Wednesday, January 14), according to police.

Officers responded to the 500 block of Sanchez Street at 3 a.m. “to a call of a subject screaming,” Officer Grace Gatpandan, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary.

They found the man, 40, “bleeding from the head,” Gatpandan said. He told police he’d been sleeping when an unknown number of suspects attacked him and hit him “an unknown amount of times with an unknown object.”

The man, who was left with a head laceration, refused medical assistance. Nothing was reported stolen in the incident.

[Update Thursday, January 15]: In an email, Gatpandan said there were “no signs of forced entry.”

Officers “responded regarding a loud verbal altercation,” she said. “At the time of the report, the victim was uncooperative in the investigation and declined to tell police the circumstances surrounding the suspects’ presence in his residence.”

Gatpandan said she didn’t have more information “at this point, but investigators are still checking out the situation, as the case is listed ‘Open and Active’ as opposed to ‘Uncooperative Victim.’ Sometimes people change their mind and want to talk to us later on.”[End update]

Anyone with information related to the case may call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text a tip to 847411 and type SFPD, then the message. The incident number is 150 040 108.

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 14, 2015 @ 12:43 pm PST
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SF supervisors elect London Breed as board president

SF Supervisor London Breed

SF Supervisor London Breed

At their inaugural meeting of 2015 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors welcomed a new District 3 supervisor and elected London Breed, who represents District 5, as its new president.

Breed is the first African American to lead the board since 1991, when former Supervisor Doris Ward resigned to become the city’s assessor/recorder. By an 8-3 vote she easily beat back gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos, who was the only other member of the board nominated for the president’s position.

“I am so truly honored, excited, and humbled,” said Breed, who in 2012 defeated bisexual former Supervisor Christina Olague, who had been appointed to fill a vacancy, for the seat representing the Haight and Western Addition at City Hall.

Wednesday afternoon San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee appointed North Beach neighborhood activist and businesswoman Julie Christensen to the vacant District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors. Lee made the announcement at the new North Beach Library, which Christensen helped champion.

Christensen will be sworn into office Thursday, January 8 in time to help elect the board’s president for the new term. District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang has been serving as the interim board president since December due to former president David Chiu’s resignation from the D3 seat following his election to the city’s 17th Assembly District seat.

The meeting began with the swearing in of Christensen as well as those supervisors in even-numbered districts who were re-elected in November: Tang, gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, and District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen.

After the five incumbents were sworn into their new four-year terms, and Christensen into her interim term – she will be on the ballot this November to stand for election to fill out the remaining two years of the term – the board immediately turned its attention to electing a new board president.

Cohen put forward Breed’s name, while District 11 Supervisor John Avalos nominated Campos. As soon as the nominations were closed, it was clear that Breed had lined up the necessary support to become president.

Those voting with Breed to see her take over the gavel in the board’s chambers in Room 250 at City Hall were Cohen, Farrell, Wiener, Tang, Eric Mar (D1), and Norman Yee (D7).

Siding with Campos were Avalos and Kim, who tried to then rescind her vote but was unable to do so before the final vote tally was registered.

Later in the meeting, after comments from all of the supervisors, Kim moved to rescind the initial vote in order to provide a unanimous vote to elect Breed as president. With Campos’ support, and no objections from the other supervisors, the board voted 11-0 to back Breed as their new leader.

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 8, 2015 @ 2:03 pm PST
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Schaaf hits Oakland chamber breakfast

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf took her civic boosterism to the city’s business leaders Thursday morning, addressing the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, where she took questions and reiterated messages from her inaugural remarks about the importance of safety, education outcomes, and equity.

Those three things, she said, are “actually part of economic development in Oakland.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at her inauguration Jan. 5. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

(Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at her inauguration Jan. 5. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

Schaaf also said that she has two meetings set up with Google executives and quipped that they “must have heard” her comments at her January 5 swearing in, when she said that the tech company “wouldn’t need all those buses if you just opened an office here.”

But the mayor said that, in addition to attracting new companies, the city needs to work with businesses that already call Oakland home.

“I recognize that for us to grow the economy we need to make sure the businesses already here are happy,” Schaaf said. “That the city reflects your values and that the city has your back.”

In response to a question from an audience member, Schaaf said that the city’s personnel has “shrunk by 25 percent, and yet the work has not gone away.”

That means, she explained, that the city cannot afford to hire an innovation director, something Schaaf had hoped to do. But instead, she plans to form an innovation council that can work with business.

She also fielded a question about public safety, and drew praise for spending her first full day on the job – Tuesday – at Oakland police headquarters.

“I spent 18 hours with the Oakland Police Department,” Schaaf said, from the 6:30 a.m. line up to the 10:30 p.m. line up and went on a ride along. She talked with command staff, officers, civilian employees, and every person in the current police academy class and came away impressed with their dedication.

“They really needed to hear that the city has their back,” Schaaf said. “And it was a little bit heartbreaking that they were stunned to hear that.”

She noted that the police department has a large number of people who are eligible for retirement this year but hopes that some of them stay on a while longer.

Regarding the upcoming city budget, Schaaf acknowledged that it’s going to be a tough budget year, due in part to the police overtime costs associated with recent protests against police brutality. Those protests have been in response to grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York that declined to indict white police officers who killed unarmed black men. Schaaf said people have the right to protest and the message is important, but decried the vandalism that has taken place during some of the protests by a small number of demonstrators.

“Let’s be clear, it’s been a financial burden for us,” she said of the overtime costs.

Schaaf then said that she was on her way to Sacramento, for a day of meetings and “looking for resources.”

— Cynthia Laird, @ 1:15 pm PST
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Boxer won’t seek re-election in 2016

California Senator Barbara Boxer announced Thursday morning that although she is not retiring, she will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2016.

(Senator Barbara Boxer. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

(Senator Barbara Boxer. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

While not unexpected – there had been rumors Boxer would not seek re-election and she had not been raising money for a campaign – the decision by the 74-year-old Democrat is likely to send political shockwaves throughout the Golden State, as a Senate opening is rare. Boxer has been in the Senate since 1993; her colleague, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), has served since 1992. (Boxer previously served in the House of Representatives for a decade.) The 2016 election to replace her will be competitive.

In a message posted to YouTube January 8, Boxer talked with her oldest grandchild, Zach Rodham, who played the part of a reporter asking her questions.

“So, are you retiring?” Rodham asked.

“Zach, I am never going to retire,” Boxer said. “But I will not be running for Senate in 2016.”

Boxer has long been one of the country’s most progressive senators, but she didn’t fully embrace marriage equality until 2010. In 1996, she was one of 14 senators to vote against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and she voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006. But in 2004, when then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Boxer said that she supported California’s domestic partner law. She opposed Proposition 8, California’s former same-sex marriage ban, two months before the 2008 election.

Six years later, during her 2010 re-election campaign, she came out for marriage equality.

Boxer co-sponsored the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which president Barack Obama signed into law in 2009. That law expanded the federal definition of hate crimes to include crimes based on the victim’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

Praise for Boxer from LGBT community leaders was swift.

“I had heard rumors … so no, I wasn’t surprised,” said Zoe Dunning, co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. “But I’m disappointed.”

Dunning praised Boxer’s work on protecting a women’s right to choose, environmental issues, LGBT matters, and her work “in D.C. for California.”

“The times I’ve heard her speak have been very inspiring,” Dunning added.

District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who was set to be sworn in to a second term just hours after Boxer’s announcement was released, also praised the senator.

“Barbara Boxer’s retirement [from the Senate] leaves a huge void in the Senate and in California politics,” Wiener said in a text message to the Bay Area Reporter. “She’s been a key voice on so many progressive priorities, particularly the environment and civil rights. We will miss her leadership.”

Asked if he was considering running for the seat, Wiener indicated he would not be among the candidates.

“Fortunately, we have a wonderful bench of statewide elected Democrats who would be terrific in the U.S. Senate,” Wiener said. “I look forward to supporting one of them.”

The Human Rights Campaign, which has consistently scored Boxer at or near the top of its legislative scorecard, also had praise for Boxer.

“Senator Boxer has been a trailblazing champion of equality for LGBT people since her earliest days in public office,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “She was a leader against DOMA and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ when many of her colleagues either championed or quietly voted for the discriminatory legislation.”

DADT, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, was repealed in 2010 and was an issue that Dunning, a retired naval commander, worked on.

Griffin went on to thank Boxer “for her exceptional years of service and look forward to continuing to work with her throughout the remainder of her term.”

Dunning said it would be “very interesting” to see who runs for Boxer’s seat.

“I have no insight on that,” she laughed.

But she suggested that the state Democratic Party “would be wise” to try and limit the field, so that the primary winner goes into the general election in a strong position against whoever the Republican nominee is.

In her message, Boxer said that she will continue working for causes she believes in, using her PAC for Change, and she wants to make sure the Senate seat remains progressive.

“I want to come home to the state that I love so much,” Boxer said.

[Updated: Gay Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside) issued a statement saying that Boxer “showed herself to be a strong supporter of women’s rights, working families, the middle class, and most of all, our troops.”

“Although it could never do justice in showing the depth of our gratitude, thank you. You certainly did give a damn.”]

[Updated 1/9/15: Gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), told the B.A.R. that he does not have plans to run for Boxer’s seat.

Leno praised Boxer’s work on reproductive rights, the environment, and climate change, saying the senator has been “our moral compass” on those issues.

“unfortunately, she was a bit late to the dance on marriage equality,” Leno added, “but when she got there she kicked up her heels. Senator Boxer is a legendary humanitarian.”]

— Cynthia Laird, @ 12:10 pm PST
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Man pleads not guilty in stabbing of trans woman in SF

The San Francisco man accused of trying to fatally stab a transgender woman on a Muni bus last weekend pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges and denied hate crime allegations today (Wednesday, January 7) in San Francisco Superior Court.

Brodes Wayne Joynes, 54, entered the court room today rubbing his head and looking slightly dazed. Retired lesbian Superior Court Judge Donna Hitchens granted Assistant District Attorney Maggie Buitrago’s motion that Joynes’ bail be increased from $250,000 to $2,000,000. Joynes remains in custody.

The next court date is Friday, January 9 for a status update and to assign a public defender. The bail may be negotiated at that time.

Stabbing victim Samantha Hulsey

Stabbing victim Samantha Hulsey

The stabbing victim, Samantha Hulsey, 24, didn’t appear in court today, but her partner, Rae Raucci, 52, did.

In an interview before the hearing, Raucci, who wasn’t injured during the Saturday, January 3 incident, said Hulsey, who was stabbed twice in the chest, is “rattled. She’s been afraid to leave the apartment without having somebody go with her.”

Raucci said the incident started “immediately” after the couple, who’d boarded the 49 bus in the Mission, sat down. She said Joynes started calling them “faggots.”

He said, “I’m going to come get you,” and said the women were “defrauding people like him pretending to be women,” Raucci said.

The driver stopped the bus, she said, and she and Hulsey “got up to get off.” That’s when Joynes allegedly pulled a steak knife out of his jacket. Raucci said everybody on the bus moved toward the back as Joynes held up the knife.

“It was like a horror movie,” she said.

Joynes allegedly stabbed Hulsey once as she went down the bus’s steps. She then fled inside the McDonald’s at Van Ness and Golden Gate, where the bus had stopped.

She eventually came back out, and Joynes “cornered her” and stabbed her again, Raucci said. At one point, blood came out over Hulsey’s hand as she held it over the wound in her chest.

Raucci said nobody tried to intervene during the attack, but people came to their assistance after the stabbing. Raucci had left her phone at home and Hulsey’s phone wasn’t working.

As the couple waited about 10 minutes for police to arrive, Joynes remained, Raucci said.

“He wouldn’t leave the area,” she said, adding, “he was ranting and raving and insisting he was the one being attacked.”

Shortly after she was stabbed, Hulsey “felt like she was going to hit the floor and never wake up,” Raucci said. Hulsey received stitches for the cuts, at least one of which as about an inch to an inch and a half deep, Raucci said.

The couple, who’ve been together for about one and a half years, live in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Hitchens, who was accompanied Wednesday by newly-elected Superior Court Judge Daniel Flores, issued a stay away order of 150 yards.

Court records indicate Joynes was previously charged in a 1999 assault case and a 2011 battery case. Both were misdemeanors. It wasn’t immediately clear if he was convicted in either case.

After today’s hearing, Deputy Public Defender Christopher Hite said he knows “very little to absolutely nothing” about Joynes and the case, in which he’d just received records. However, he acknowledged the charges were “very serious.”

He said his office had “no information on the client to present to the court to attempt to lower the bail,” but that may change in time for Friday’s hearing.

In a brief press conference in his office, District Attorney George Gascon said hate crimes such as the one alleged in this case “are not just an assault on the individual, they are an assault on the entire community.”

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 7, 2015 @ 5:06 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


CA Legislative LGBT Caucus elects new chair, keeps membership to only out lawmakers

Lesbian Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton poses with the World Series trophies won by the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

Lesbian Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton poses with the World Series trophies won by the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

At its first meeting of the new legislative session this morning, the California Legislative LGBT Caucus elected lesbian Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) as its new chair.

The seven-member affinity group also decided to maintain its rule of restricting membership to the caucus to only LGBT lawmakers. The issue of allowing straight legislators to join came up due to a request from freshman Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to become a member.

Chiu’s election in November to the city’s 17th Assembly District seat, which had been held by gay former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, marked the first time in nearly two decades that San Francisco was not represented by an out lawmaker in the Assembly. During his campaign for the seat against gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos, Chiu had pledged to seek membership in the LGBT caucus should he be elected.

But in a statement issued to the Bay Area Reporter this afternoon (Wednesday, January 7), the LGBT caucus’s former chair, gay Assemblyman Richard S. Gordon (D-Menlo Park), revealed that the caucus members elected to stick with their current membership criteria.

“Legislative accomplishments on behalf of LGBT rights and equality could not and cannot be achieved without straight allies,” stated Gordon, who served three terms as caucus chair. “However, we also recognize the importance of LGBT representation and the caucus’ unique position in reflecting the state’s LGBT constituency. The LGBT Caucus remains committed to working with anyone who shares our values and our commitment to full equality for all Californians.”

Chiu could not immediately be reached for comment. Last month he had told the B.A.R. that no matter what the caucus members decided, he planned to be “as supportive as” he could of its mission and legislative priorities.

In a separate statement, Eggman said she is “honored” to serve as the new chair of the LGBT caucus. She was re-elected in November to her second two-year term in the Assembly, and under the state’s term limit rules, is eligible to remain in her seat through 2024.

“We have done a lot of great work recently, and there is more still to do,” stated Eggman, a former Stockton City Council member. “We will continue working with our colleagues and community partners to ensure that members of the LGBT community have the freedom to marry whom they choose, are safe at work and in our schools and that our most vulnerable members, including homeless youth and transgender individuals, are not left behind. We have laid a strong foundation and I am excited to continue working on behalf of all Californians.”

In addition to Eggman and Gordon, the current members of the LGBT caucus are lesbian Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego); gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco); lesbian Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton); gay Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens); and gay freshman Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell).

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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