Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 51 / 18 December 2014
 

Folsom Street Fair director fails to gain support for entertainment seat

Folsom Street Events Executive Director Demetri Moshoyannis. (Photo: Rich Stadtmiller)

Folsom Street Events Executive Director Demetri Moshoyannis. (Photo: Rich Stadtmiller)

The executive director of the Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco’s yearly fetish event, failed to gain support for an entertainment commission seat at a City Hall hearing today.

Demetri Moshoyannis had sought appointment to the industry seat on the oversight panel for the city’s nightlife and entertainment sector. Yet the Board of Supervisors’ rules committee gave its support to reappointing nightclub owner Steven Lee to the seat.

It was the second time Lee had prevailed against an out gay applicant for the seat, as two years ago he faced competition for the appointment from Castro bar owner Tim Eicher. In that instance, Eicher had won backing from the rules committee but saw the full board vote 6-5 to instead appoint Lee.

At the hearing this afternoon (Thursday, July 10) rules committee members Norman Yee, Jane Kim, and David Campos all spoke highly of Moshoyannis’s credentials but saw no reason not to reappoint Lee to the entertainment commission.

“It is hard to think of a more impressive candidate than we have seen for this seat and this role in a while,” said Campos of Moshoyannis, adding that as a gay man he wants to see LGBT representation on city panels.

Nonetheless, Campos said that “when it comes to re-appointments, the question is always, Has the incumbent done what you expect him to do?” Seeing that the answer is “yes” in terms of Lee, Campos said, “I am happy to support him today.”

Yee also praised Moshoyannis’ credentials but said he saw no reason not to vote for Lee.

“Demetri, I found him to be a very qualified person and has very passion for wanting to be on the commission and a clear vision for what he wanted to do,” said Yee. “If it weren’t for the fact that this position is already filled by Steven, and he is coming to us to be reappointed, I would seriously consider Demetri.”

Moshoyannis was traveling in London to promote Folsom Street Events and could not attend the hearing. In a statement read on his behalf, he argued that his working to produce not only street fairs but dance club events affiliated with the outdoor festivals qualified him to serve on the commission.

“Given the importance of outdoor events to the city,” he argued that his being nominated was “important” to ensure street fair organizers have a voice at the table.

In his remarks to the supervisors, Lee argued he had served nightlife interests well in addition to working with neighborhood groups and police officials.

“Two and a half years wasn’t enough for me,” said Lee, noting he has only missed one meeting during that time due to it falling on his birthday.

To which Yee asked if he had instead gone clubbing. “Yes,” replied a smiling Lee.

It is likely that Lee’s reappointment will be upheld by the full board, though Supervisor Scott Wiener attended today’s hearing to speak in favor of seeing Moshoyannis be appointed to the seat.

Saying he has “a lot of respect” for Lee, Wiener went on to say that he attended the hearing in order “to express my long and very positive experience with Demetri. I think he would be a superb member of the entertainment commission.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 10, 2014 @ 3:34 pm PST
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