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

Trump says he’ll keep federal LGBT executive order

by Lisa Keen

In an unusual move, President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a statement saying he would not rescind an executive order signed in 2014 that prohibits discrimination by federal contractors against LGBT employees.

(President Donald Trump. Photo: Courtesy AP)

(President Donald Trump. Photo: Courtesy AP)

The one-paragraph statement released January 31 came just 24 hours after some rumors circulated that Trump was on the verge of rescinding the executive order.

The statement released by the White House says:

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

Trump’s frequent pledges to repeal many of President Barack Obama’s executive orders – along with his nominations to key administration posts of people with anti-LGBT records – had many LGBT people braced for the possibility he would reverse some or all of existing pro-LGBT executive orders and memos.

But Log Cabin Republicans national President Gregory Angelo said January 18 that the Trump transition team’s Office of National Engagement invited Log Cabin to draft and submit the white paper on the LGBT Non-Discrimination Executive Order. Angelo said he considered that a “strong signal” that Trump’s promise to be a “real friend” to the LGBT community was “genuine.”

Log Cabin urged “preserving the LGBT Non-Discrimination Executive Order. …” It said the paper it submitted presented the “common-sense conservative case for LGBT non-discrimination in federal contractors to the Trump transition team.” It also noted that the last Republican president, George W. Bush, left intact the original executive order prohibiting discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation.

— Cynthia Laird, January 31, 2017 @ 9:36 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Deal in fight over SF LGBT historic site expected to pave way for trans district

LGBT advocactes are fighting to preserve the properties at 950-964 Market Street that once housed several gay bars and other businesses with ties to the LGBT community. Photo: Kelly Sullivan

A deal is expected to allow for demolition of Market Street properties once home to several gay bars and other businesses with ties to the LGBT community. Photo: Kelly Sullivan

A deal in the fight over a San Francisco LGBT historic site is expected to be reached that will pave the way for the creation of a transgender historic district in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

As reported by the B.A.R. last week, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim had been working to broker an agreement between Group I and LGBT activists who had appealed the planning commission’s decision last year to allow the developer’s massive in-fill project at 950‐974 Market Street to move forward.

The buildings there were once home to several gay bars and a shoe store that helped facilitate gay and transgender prostitution and hustling in the area. The development fight garnered national attention in November when photos were circulated purporting to show underground spaces below the Market Street buildings some claimed where used by patrons of the former gay bars to elude police raids.

The Q Foundation, on behalf of a number of LGBT activists, filed an appeal calling for greater scrutiny of the proposed development’s environmental impacts, including if demolition of the existing structures would hinder forming a smaller transgender historical district in the area.

It would be named after Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, a 24-hour eatery that had operated nearby at 101 Taylor Street and was where transgender and queer patrons rioted against police harassment in the mid-1960s. City planners had argued saving the Market Street structures was not necessary for establishing a transgender historical district in the surrounding area.

Over the weekend the parties came to a deal, making the scheduled hearing by the Board of Supervisors at its meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, January 31) moot, Steven L. Vettel, an attorney for the developer, informed the B.A.R.

“I’m writing to confirm that the parties reached a final agreement last night that will allow the appeal to be withdrawn before the January 31 hearing,” Vettel wrote in an email Sunday.

In a phone interview this afternoon, Q Foundation founder and director Brian Basinger told the B.A.R. that an agreement was imminent.

“It looks like a deal is coming together,” said Basinger.

The Compton’s historic district promoters are set to announce the withdrawal of their appeal in front of City Hall at Noon Tuesday, said Basinger. At the press conference Kim is also expected to announce she will be formally introduce legislation to form the Compton’s Transgender Cultural District. Kim’s office has yet to respond to the B.A.R.’s request for comment.

“The big news is we are creating this first ever transgender cultural district,” said Basinger. “As we create these efforts to preserve the longest continually occupied TLGB neighborhood in the country, we are starting with the T first because these efforts are meant to invest in the transgender community first.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 30, 2017 @ 3:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Two Noe Valley homes burglarized

Two homes in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood were burglarized this week, police said.

Both incidents occurred in the 4000 block of 23rd Street, between Castro and Noe streets.

The first burglary occurred between 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 25 and 4 a.m. Thursday, January 26.

The suspect got into the house while the victim, a 58-year-old man, was home and took a laptop and cellphone. There were “no signs of forced entry,” according to a police summary.

The second incident was reported at 5:45 a.m. Thursday after the victim, a 32-year-old man, awoke and found that a laptop and baby monitor were missing from the living room and the front door was open.

No suspect descriptions were available in either case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 27, 2017 @ 2:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Castro home burglarized

A home in San Francisco’s Castro district was burglarized Monday morning (January 23) as the resident slept, according to police.

The victim, a 39-year-old woman, went to sleep at about midnight in her home in the 400 block of Noe Street. When she woke up at 6:30 a.m., she found that “her front door had been forced open” and someone had taken a stroller, umbrellas, and a backpack, Officer Robert Rueca, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

No arrests have been reported, and no suspect description was available.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 26, 2017 @ 4:34 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Senior out CA Assembly members given committee chair positions

Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman

Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman

The two senior out California Assembly members have been given committee chair positions while their freshmen counterparts were overlooked.

It was a stark difference from the assignments in the state Senate, where freshman gay Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) was given a chairmanship, though freshman lesbian Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who had served as speaker of the Assembly, was snubbed a chair position.

Lesbian Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), the most senior of the quartet, having first been elected in 2012, will chair the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee. She will also serve on the powerful Appropriations Committee as well as the Business and Professions Committee and both the Natural Resources and Utilities and Energy committees.

She is just one of many women chairing Assembly committees this year, marking a doubling of female chairs at a time when the number of women serving in the state Legislature, at 29, is at its lowest in 19 years. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) also made sure women were serving on every committee.

“Today’s announcement of Assembly committee rosters is a very positive step forward by Speaker Rendon in empowering more women Assembly members through leadership positions and key committee assignments,” stated Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), named chair of the Natural Resources Committee and is chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “I look forward to continuing to work with our Speaker in order to ensure the Assembly keeps making the progress we need in order to achieve full parity in the Legislature and across California.”

The second most senior of the four out Assembly members, gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), first elected in 2014, will chair the Elections and Redistricting Committee. He is also chairing the eight-member California Legislative LGBT Caucus this year, having succeeded Eggman in the leadership position last week.

He was also given a seat on the Business and Professions, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Higher Education committees.

Freshman Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona), despite her ousting an incumbent Republican to help give Democrats a supermajority in the Assembly, was overlooked for a chair position but given a seat on the high profile Rules Committee.

She will also serve on the Banking and Finance Committee, Communications and Conveyance Committee, and the Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy Committee. She also was given a seat on the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee.

“I want to thank my friend, Speaker Rendon, for the honor of being appointed to these committees. Together, they represent the important issues that the people of the 60th Assembly District sent me to pursue tirelessly at our State Capitol,” stated Cervantes later in the afternoon Friday (January 20). “I am excited to continue to work to create jobs, grow our technology infrastructure, ensure access to institutes of higher education, and keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.”

As for freshman gay Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), he will serve on the Aging and Long-Term Care, Education, Governmental Organization, Veterans Affairs, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees.

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 20, 2017 @ 2:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Ex-Bay Area basketball coach accused of orally copulating boy facing hearing

A former Bay Area elementary school basketball coach accused of orally copulating a 14-year-old boy and victimizing others is facing a preliminary hearing Thursday (January 19).

Julio Edgardo Ortiz, 36, of Menlo Park, faces 35 charges, including continuous sexual abuse of a child, willful cruelty to a child likely to cause great bodily injury or death, misdemeanor drunk driving, and driving on a suspended license. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Ortiz, a former Redwood City elementary school basketball coach, was arrested after a California Highway Patrol officer spotted his parked car with the engine running at 11:15 p.m. September 18, 2015 at Vista Point #3 off Highway 280. When the officer checked the car, he allegedly saw Ortiz orally copulating the boy, whom Ortiz had met while coaching him two years earlier, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said in a summary of the case. Ortiz allegedly was under the influence at the time of his arrest.

Since initial reports in the case, at least three other victims have come forward. A jury trial had been set but after another victim came forward, the original case was dismissed.

At Thursday’s hearing, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Joseph Bergeron is expected to decide whether there’s enough evidence to hold Ortiz for trial.

Ortiz is currently in custody at Redwood City’s Maguire Correctional Facility on $4 million bail.

Monica Toole, Ortiz’s attorney, hasn’t responded to an interview request.

Wagstaffe hasn’t provided details about the additional victims, but he’s indicated that in addition to the September 2015 incident, Ortiz had also been involved with victims from January 2013 to March 2014.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 19, 2017 @ 3:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


San Jose groups plan Inauguration Day protest

President-elect Donald Trump. Photo: BGR.com

President-elect Donald Trump. Photo: BGR.com

A coalition of groups addressing homelessness, immigration, health care, and other issues is planning a “Rise Up for Inauguration Day” protest Friday, January 20 in San Jose as Republican Donald Trump prepares to be sworn is as the next U.S. president.

“The newly formed coalition is focused on unity, feeling that the common thread that unites them all is their opposition to the incoming administration’s platform of hate and fear,” organizers said in a news release.

Protestors will gather at 11 a.m. near the fountain at Cesar Chavez Park, 1 Paseo de San Antonio, and then march to the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building, 280 South First Street.

Image by Benny O'Hara

Image by Benny O’Hara

The event will end inside city council chambers at City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street, with a program including multicultural performances and an open mic.

“The goal of our event is to engage, educate and empower people who may have never been involved in this kind of movement before,” student organizer Ulises Reyes stated.

Organizer Shaunn Cartwright told the Bay Area Reporter that Benny O’Hara, a local trans man who made the Rise Up logo, has been invited to speak.

“We feel [trans people] are just as much under attack as women, Muslims, and immigrants,” Cartwright said.

The protest is also meant to keep participants educated about upcoming city council meetings and other events.

More information is available at www.facebook.com/groups/1788367461412602/. Participants may also use the Indivisible Guide www.indivisibleguide.com to further engage local officials.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 18, 2017 @ 6:08 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Mayors from 42 states launch coalition for LGBT protections

by Cynthia Laird

In advance of Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president, more than 175 mayors from cities large and small announced Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination, a broad-based, nonpartisan coalition made up of local officials who support equal protections and fair treatment for all LGBT people.

The news came January 18 as mayors were meeting in Washington, D.C. for the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

(San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, third from right, joined other mayors for the launch of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination. Photo: Courtesy SF Mayor's office)

(San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, third from right, joined other mayors for the launch of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination. Photo: Courtesy SF Mayor’s office)

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is founder and co-chair of the coalition, and praised the contributions of the LGBT community.

“San Francisco is a stronger city in part due to the invaluable members of our LGBT community,” Lee stated. “I’m proud of San Francisco’s long-standing commitment to advancing and protecting the rights of our LGBT community, and of the tremendous contributions we’ve made to LGBT culture, history, and advocacy in America.”

San Francisco next month will also institute a travel ban to several states with anti-LGBT laws.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, San Francisco officials are expected to ban non-essential travel to four states – North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kansas – and possibly others, when its local travel ban goes into effect February 14, Valentine’s Day. The city’s ordinance also bans departments and agencies from entering into new contracts with businesses headquartered in the banned states.

Gay Seattle Mayor Murray is also a coalition co-chair, as are D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

“During a time when LGBT rights are again under attack nationally, we must stand up against discrimination and fight for equal treatment of all people in every community, town, and city in America,” Murray said in the statement.

Bowser pointed to the District of Columbia’s work in passing an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. She said it was time for the entire country “to embrace LGBT non-discrimination protections so no one faces unfair treatment simply because of who they are.”

Kenney pointed out that full equality is not only “good for our community; it’s the right thing to do.”

“Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination will work to make fairness and inclusion a reality everywhere,” he said in the statement.

The mayors held a panel discussion Wednesday morning to talk about the coalition’s work. They also unveiled a new website.

According to the website, other Bay Area mayors who are part of the coalition are Jesse Arreguin of Berkeley, Libby Schaaf of Oakland, Pauline Cutter of San Leandro, Glenn Hendricks of Sunnyvale, Carol Durta-Vernaci of Union City, Glenn Sylvester of Daly City, Lisa Gillmore of Santa Clara, Alan Nagy of Newark, and Jill Techel of Napa.

Gay Mayor Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento is also part of the group.

Missing from the list is San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. The Bay Area Reporter reached out to his office and will update this post when we hear back.

[Updated, 1/19: A spokesman for Liccardo’s office said the mayor was in the process of joining the coalition Thursday.[end update.]

Freedom for All Americans, a bipartisan campaign to secure full non-discrimination protections for LGBTs nationwide, is a supporter of the coalition.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 3:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF City College gets full accreditation

Students walk on the main City College of San Francisco campus. Photo: Kelly Sullivan

Students walk on the main City College of San Francisco campus. Photo: Kelly Sullivan

San Francisco’s beleaguered City College on Friday (January 13) received full accreditation, according to supporters. The school has struggled for years with financial problems and declining enrollment stemming from the clouds hanging over its status.

In a Facebook post, gay City College trustee Tom Temprano said, “City College’s accreditation has been re-affirmed for seven years! The long, hard fight is finally over. With the dark cloud cast over the college finally lifted I’m excited to get to work creating an even better City College for our students.”

Gay Trustee Alex Randolph said in a post that the decision is “Big wonderful news. I’m so proud of everyone at CCSF that worked hard and pushed back to get this done!”

In a letter to interim City College Chancellor Susan Lamb Friday, Interim Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges President Richard Winn said, “On behalf of the commission, I wish to express our appreciation for the significant scope and quality of the work that City College of San Francisco undertook to meet the requirements of accreditation, prepare for institutional self-evaluation, and support the work of the external evaluation team.

“The commission encourages the college’s continued work to ensure educational quality and to support student success,” Winn added. “Accreditation and peer review are most effective when institutions and the ACCJC work together to focus on student outcomes and continuous quality improvement in higher education. Thank you for sharing the values and goals of accreditation.”

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who successfully sued the ACCJC in court, issued a statement Friday.

“City College is part of the fabric of San Francisco. It provides hope, community, and opportunity to anyone who needs it,” Herrera said. “I’m happy we were able to do our part to help keep the school open, and I’m thrilled this vital institution will now be able to serve its students and our city for generations to come.”

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), a longtime supporter of City College, said Friday that the community’s “collective nightmare” is over.

“Our collective nightmare about the viability of City College is over. Tens of thousands of students in San Francisco can finally rejoice and enroll into City College classes with confidence,” Speier said. “It’s been a long and hard-fought battle by a large coalition of students, educators, and elected officials who recognize how essential City College is to a healthy San Francisco. The college has a sterling record of preparing students for good and well-paying jobs that it can now continue without the fear of having its doors slammed shut. This is a victory for the entire city.”

The college board is still facing a host of critical issues over the next six months, foremost of which is now encouraging more students to enroll and hiring a permanent chancellor.

Today’s news is a huge win for the campus as the ACCJC had threatened to revoke City College’s accreditation. Due to fierce backlash from lawmakers in California and Washington, D.C., the ACCJC placed City College on special restoration status to give it time to address its compliance issues that were first flagged five years ago.

City College received an early Christmas present when news broke that the ACCJC’s embattled president, Barbara Beno, had been placed on administrative leave and that the U.S. Department of Education was pushing back its decision to withdraw federal recognition of the ACCJC itself until next month.

Another focus will be selecting a new, permanent chancellor; the trustees are expected to make a decision by July 1 and have encouraged Lamb to apply.

Once City College is assured of its accreditation, Randolph told the Bay Area Reporter weeks before the accreditation decision, increasing enrollment would be another “huge focus for the board of trustees.”

Enrollment at City College has fallen precipitously, by 33-plus percent, since 2012 due to the ongoing fight over its accreditation, and its state funding is facing a $35 million cut this year as special stabilization money to help offset the enrollment declines is phased out.

During fall editorial board meetings with the B.A.R. Temprano and bisexual trustee Shanell Williams both flagged boosting enrollment as at the top of their agenda as it will positively impact the college’s finances going forward. They identified building stronger ties with the city’s public school system as well as local businesses as part of the strategy they would pursue to see an uptick in enrollment.

“We need a much stronger plan to increase the number of students,” said Temprano. “It can’t be we lost 30 percent of our students so we are cutting 30 percent of our classes.”

With the legalization of recreational marijuana use in California, Temprano pointed to the expected boom in the cannabis industry as an area that City College could focus on with new class offerings.

“We are the kind of city that should be thinking out of the box on that,” he said.

Williams suggested City College could do more to attract business professionals who want to advance their education as well as people looking to learn English by offering more courses on weekends and online as a way to bolster enrollment. She also echoed the calls made by other trustees to see City College once again be the go to place to educate city employees who require ongoing training.

“The business community enrollment dropped off because of the accreditation issue. We have to pick it back up,” said Williams, who attended City College and served in the student trustee position on the board.

The college’s finances will also continue to be front and center for the board this year. News broke last month that the college district owes the state $39 million because there are no records verifying instructors taught all of the students they claim to have in online classes from 2011 to 2014. College leaders had flagged the issue with state education officials several years ago, noted Randolph, and the local board has been given 10 years to pay back the money.

“We are negotiating with the state on what our options are,” said Randolph, who added that, “in the past the state did not penalize colleges that are self-reporting problems.”

Also a top priority will be working with City Hall to implement free City College for San Francisco residents, which voters adopted as policy in the fall election. The mayor and the Board of Supervisors, facing their own budget deficit this year, are fighting over how much money will be allocated to turn the policy into reality. The supervisors have called for $9 million to cover the fall semester, with Lee indicating he prefers spending $500,000 this fiscal year and $4.25 million annually going forward.

At their inaugural 2017 board meeting this week, the supervisors reaffirmed their support for making City College free for San Francisco residents enrolled full time starting this fall semester.

“The whole free City College is going to capture a lot of working adults,” Williams had told the B.A.R.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 13, 2017 @ 1:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


156 LGBT electeds call on Trump to advance equality

by Cynthia Laird

More than 150 LGBT elected officials on Friday released an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump, expressing grave concerns about his Cabinet appointees and imploring him to “be a president for all Americans.”

(Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

(Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

The 156 signatories include several from the Bay Area, such as state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, and Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell).

City College of San Francisco Trustees Rafael Mandelman, Tom Temprano, and Alex Randolph also signed the letter, as did Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles.

Others from across the country include Congressmen Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin).

About 40 LGBT elected officials began work on the letter during a closed-door strategy session at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s recent Victory Institute LGBT Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., according to the Victory Institute, which sent out the letter.

“We believe in an America that values and accepts everyone, and a country that strives to improve quality of life for all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. These principles are what distinguish America in an often-troubled world – they are what make America great,” the letter reads in part. “And it is the elected leadership of our nation that determines whether our government embodies or undermines those ideals. It is elected leaders like ourselves – from the U.S. president to city councilmembers – that either appeal to the better angels of our fellow Americans, or use fear and rancor to spur unproductive discord.

“While we hope you appeal to those better angels and support inclusive and fair-minded policies, we have grave concerns given the individuals appointed to your administration thus far. Nearly all hold anti-LGBT views aimed at denying our community acceptance and inclusion in American society,” the letter continues. “Many proudly tout legislative records opposing basic rights for LGBT Americans, and others express disdain for our lives and relationships. Intended or not, these appointments signal a Trump administration preparing to rollback recent advances for LGBT people, and an administration opposed to LGBT people living open and free.”

The letter adds that the country will be “weaker” if LGBT military personnel are prevented from serving openly and equally, and will be worse off “if discrimination for LGBT government employees or students are revoked.”

Specifically, the letter states that “The entire country will suffer if there is a national attempt to implement ‘religious exemptions’ that allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers.”

“And the world will be a darker place without America speaking against anti-LGBT violence and injustices abroad,” the letter adds.

The LGBT elected officials noted that “Americans of every political party, ideology, race, ethnicity, and religion support LGBT equality – it does not need to be a partisan issue.”

The letter closes by the leaders sincerely hoping Trump aims to “be a president for all Americans – including LGBT Americans of every race, ethnicity, gender, and religion.” It also puts Trump on notice that the LGBT elected officials “will hold your administration accountable for actions that infringe upon our rights and opportunities, and will oppose presidential appointees who denigrate or harm our community.”

“But we much prefer to work with you to continue the incredible progress toward LGBT equality – to have you stand with us on the right side of history,” the letter states. “We hope you voice your support for existing rights and protections for LGBT Americans, and commit to furthering LGBT equality during your presidency. We promise to be a strong and persistent voice for equality either way.”

Click here to read the full letter.

In related news, the Log Cabin Republicans announced this week they have been invited by the Trump transition team to present a briefing outlining why maintaining the standing executive order preventing federal contractors from discriminating against the LGBT community is important and right for America.

LCR President Gregory T. Angelo said in an email Thursday that the group is soliciting the names of people who support the executive order and oppose discrimination.

To add your name to the petition, click here.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 11:14 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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