Go to www.calitics.com for a weekend fundraising challenge for No on 8! Brian Devine will match all contributions up to $1,000.
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin emerged the victor tonight (Wednesday, July 23) in his battle to oust Scott Wiener, the openly gay chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.
Peskin will now oversee the Democratic County Central Committee, a little noticed panel that exerts control over which candidates receive the local party’s endorsements.
By a vote of 18-16 a majority of DCCC members voted at their meeting to replace Wiener with Peskin, who is termed off the board this year. Peskin won with help from gays on the committee. Susan Leal, former Public Utilities Commission general manager, served as proxy for Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and voted for Peskin. Supervisor Tom Ammiano also voted for him.
Elected to the DCCC in the June primary, Peskin surged to victory with the help of a progressive majority he helped elect to the local Dem panel. He needed 17 votes to claim the chairmanship.
Supervisor Chris Daly, who also won a seat on the body last month, had threatened to campaign against any members of what was known as the “Hope slate” who did not vote for Peskin in future races.
With control of the board up for grabs this fall, progressives had made the race for DCCC chair a priority, as who the Dem panel endorses usually goes on to win their races. The supervisor races could also be key in who replaces Peskin as board chair next year, and in 2011, who opts to run to replace Mayor Gavin Newsom.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Donna Hitchens has joined the ranks of “Woman of the Year” honorees from the 13th Assembly District. Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) nominated Hitchens for the award in recognition of her groundbreaking work to improve the accessibility of the legal system for low-income families and children.
In a statement Monday, March 10, Leno pointed to Hitchens’s help establishing coordinated youth services and a mandatory training program for juvenile court attorneys as well as her work in helping to establish the court’s Family Law Self-Help Center. He also praised Hitchens for working closely with the Child Trauma Research Project and the University of California, San Francisco forensic psychiatry program to see that such things as neutral custody evaluations are available to families with limited means.
Curiously, the openly gay Leno failed to mention in his release that he had chosen an out lesbian for the award, or that in 1977 â€“ fresh out of Boalt Hall School of Law â€“ Hitchens helped co-found the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The statement does point to Hitchens working “tirelessly to improve low and moderate income people’s access to the courts and to improve services for at risk youth exposed to violence at home and in the community.”
Leno called Hitchens “one of those extraordinary individuals we rarely come across in our lifetimes,” and added that, “She has put her time and talents to use for those that need them most â€“ foster youth, young people exposed to violence and low-income families. She has touched the lives of so many throughout the Bay Area, I was proud to honor her today.”
Since being elected to the Superior Court in 1990, Hitchens has served as presiding judge, a trial judge in the civil and criminal divisions, and as supervising judge of the Unified Family Court. She is a former member of the Judicial Council and the Advisory Committee on Access and Fairness in the Courts and currently chairs the Science & the Law Education Committee.
For the past seven years, she has chaired the San Francisco Safe Start Initiative, aimed at improving services to young children exposed to violence in the home and in the community. She received the 2001 Benjamin Aranda Access to Justice Award for her efforts to improve access to the courts for low and moderate income people and the 2002 Judicial Officer of the Year Award from the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California.
Hitchens’s partner is San Francisco Superior Court Judge Nancy Davis.
The California Association of Nutrition and Activity Programs has awarded Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager its inaugural California Advocate for Nutrition Award for his work in fighting obesity.
When Yeager served on the San Jose City Council, he convinced his colleagues to pass a measure that required the city to offer more healthy food options in its city-operated vending machines. Under the policy, vending machines in city libraries are only stocked with snacks and beverages that don’t contain trans fats and that are low in sugar, saturated fat and sodium.
Half of the food and drink choices in all other city-operated vending machines must also be healthy options.
“People regularly underestimate the number of calories they consume on a daily basis,” Yeager said in a release last week announcing he had won the award.
“Having more healthy options in vending machines helps our residents make better choices and prevent obesity, heart disease and diabetes.”
Since being elected to the county board in June 2006, Yeager has continued to battle against the bulge for his constituents. He recently ensured that the county would consider healthy eating options when drawing up new contracts for the vendors operating the county’s several cafeterias.
The cafeterias, which serve thousands of county employees, jurors from the Hall of Justice, and residents each week, are currently in the process of revising their menus.
A transgender woman lost her re-election bid to a city council seat in Georgia Tuesday, December 4, a day after a judge tossed a lawsuit filed by her opponents that claimed she had misled voters by running as a woman.
Michelle Bruce received 223 votes in Tuesday’s runoff election for the Riverdale City Council, but the top vote-getter, Wayne Hall, finished with 308 votes, according to unofficial returns. Bruce told the Associated Press that the lawsuit had served its intended purpose, which was “aimed at getting me out” of office.
Bruce, 46, ran unopposed and won her city council seat four years ago as an openly transgender woman.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama brought his “Countdown to Change” rally to San Francisco Wednesday night (Nov. 14), and mentioned “gays and lesbians” during his speech before about 6,500 people at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
“Gays and lesbians will have somebody to fight for equal rights,” Obama told a mostly young crowd. He said that he would “make sure gays and lesbians are not discriminated against.”
“I want everyone to feel part of America, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of race, regardless of station,” the Illinois senator said.
Assemblyman Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) gender-neutral marriage bill cleared its first vote in the state Senate Tuesday, July 10, when the judiciary committee approved it on a 3-1 vote.
The bill previously passed in the Assembly. It now goes to another Senate committee before heading to the Senate floor. Its passage is expected, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has already gone on record saying he will veto it.
Similar to Leno’s 2005 legislation, which the governor vetoed, AB43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, would give same-sex couples the ability to marry. Religious institutions would be able to choose whether they would solemnize marriages between same-sex couples.
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris Tuesday filed criminal charges against Disrtrict 4 Supervisor Ed Jew, alleging that the rookie lawmaker lied under oath and falsified documents regarding his residency in order to obtain a seat on the Board of Supervisors.
According to a statement from the DA’s office, Jew has been charged with four felony counts of perjury, one count of filing a false document, and four counts of violating the Elections Code. A warrant has been issued for Jew’s arrest, and his attorney Steve Gruel has been contacted. Jew has been given the opportunity to self-surrender. Bail is set at $135,000.
[Jew turned himself in to the Burlingame police Tuesday night, posted bail, and was released.]
The charges against Jew stem from an FBI raid last month on the supervisor’s City Hall office, a home at 28th Avenue in the Sunset District, another home in Burlingame, and a flower shop Jew owns in Chinatown. Neighbors of the Sunset District home have told media outlets that it had been vacant for several years.
The FBI investigation centers around $40,000 in cash Jew acknowledged receiving from the owners of tapioca drink shops. The San Francisco Chronicle reported this week that sources said the money Jew received was marked and provided by the FBI as part of its investigation.
Calls to Gruel and Jew seeking comment were not immediately returned.
The state Assembly on Tuesday, June 5 approved for the second time legislation that would extend marriage to same-sex couples. The bill, AB 43, passed on a 42-34 vote.
It now goes to the Senate, were it is expected to easily win approval. Yet the bill will likely not become law, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has already pledged to veto it. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill in 2005.
The bill passed on a party-line vote, with 42 Assembly Democrats voting in favor, up by one vote from 2005 when the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, introduced by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), first passed out of the Assembly.
This year, two Democrats joined 34 Republicans in opposing the bill, down from four Democrats two years ago.
“The momentum to afford all citizens their fundamental right to marry the person they love grows stronger with today’s pioneering vote,” said Leno. “For the second time in our nation’s history, elected officials of the most populous state in America have embraced the basic human right of all people to marry and raise families as first class citizens under the law.”
The bill is nearly identical to AB 849 of 2005, which was the first proactive marriage equality legislation in the history of the United States to pass both houses of a state legislature. AB 43 would amend Section 300 of the Family Code to define marriage as a civil contract between two persons instead of a civil contract between a man and a woman. The measure, according to Leno, respects one’s religious choice by reaffirming that no religious institution would ever be required to solemnize marriages contrary to its fundamental beliefs.
“The California Assembly has once again affirmed that every Californian deserves the opportunity to marry the person he or she loves,” said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors, whose group is a lead sponsor of the bill. “Today’s vote shows that support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is growing. The people of California, through their elected representatives, are speaking on this issue and they are coming down on the side of fairness.”
State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) caused a minor three-vehicle accident late this morning (Friday, May 18) in Fairfield that left one person injured, the California Highway Patrol reported.
According to a report on Sacramento station KCRA’s Web site, the crash occurred at 10:45 a.m. along Highway 12 close to Beck Avenue. The NBC affiliate reported that the vehicle Migden was driving rear-ended another vehicle, which in turn rear-ended another car.
Migden walked away from the accident unscathed, though authorities said a passenger in the first vehicle that was struck complained of pain and was taken to a local hospital.