Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan likely to pick LGBT port commissioner this summer

In a brief interview with the Bay Area Reporter Sunday at San Francisco City Hall, while attending Mayor Ed Lee’s swearing in ceremony, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan expressed support for seeing an LGBT person be named to her city’s powerful Port Commission.

But Quan (pictured below) hinted that an out commissioner likely would not be appointed until later this summer.

The B.A.R. broke the news last week that Michael Lighty, a gay man who was the first out person to be named a port commissioner, had resigned because his work schedule had prevented him from attending meetings. Lighty is the director of public policy for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

He tendered his resignation Tuesday, January 3. The next day gay Planning Commissioner Michael Colbruno informed Quan’s office that he was interested in being named Lighty’s replacement.

While supportive of seeing another LGBT person serve on the oversight body, Quan said her key criteria for selecting an appointee to Lighty’s seat is that the person has maritime experience, something that is lacking on the resumes of the current commissioners.

“I am looking for a person with more maritime experience. Right now there is no one on the port commission who has a maritime background,” said Quan. “I would love it if I could have a twofer,” meaning an LGBT person with strong maritime credentials.

She quickly added that she will have a chance to nominate two more people to the port commission this summer and is committed to seeing diverse appointees be named. It is expected Colbruno will be named to one of the seats with terms that expire this July 11.

A political consultant whose past clients included port tenants, such as Clear Channel Outdoors and the airport, Colbruno gained some experience dealing with maritime issues in the late 1990s when he served as the legislative director in Sacramento for lesbian former Assemblywoman Carole Migden, who served on the Assembly Select Committee on Ports.

But that likely doesn’t meet the selection criteria Quan has set. She said Sunday that she “hasn’t had a lot of time” to think about the vacancy.

Oakland’s LGBT community is expected to keep up the pressure on Quan to indeed name an out port appointee, as it fought hard to get Lighty named to the oversight body in 2010. Lesbian At-Large City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan has already endorsed seeing Colbruno be appointed, as has Lighty.

Over the weekend he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he has asked the mayor “to consider a gay-lesbian appointment because that was really the impetus for mine, and I’m just hoping that continues.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 9, 2012 @ 5:03 pm PST
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