Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 42 / 16 October 2014
 

SF AIDS Foundation CEO being honored with park naming in Arizona

10003715_10153942876040603_990506569_oSan Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano is being honored with his very own public park.

The city of Tempe, Arizona, where Giuliano served as mayor from 1994 to 2004 and continues to own a home, is dedicating a lakeside open space in his honor on May 10.

The date coincides with the twentieth anniversary of his first election as mayor. As the poster announcing the dedication ceremony explains, Giuliano oversaw construction of the city’s Tempe Town Lake and its waterside amenities while mayor.

It adds that Neil G. Giuliano Park is a “vital link” in the park system that surrounds the lake. Prior to his stepping down as mayor, the city council had voted to christen the south side of Tempe Town Lake between Rural Road and Mill Avenue in honor of Giuliano, according to the East Valley Tribune.

“Humbled, honored, grateful. Hard to fathom it’s been twenty years since ‘Bridging to the Future,’” Giuliano wrote on his Facebook page. He added that, “I did nothing by myself and many people deserve thanks.”

He maintains close ties to his former hometown, where he not only owns property but is also registered to vote. In an interview with the Bay Area Reporter in 2012 to discuss his memoir, he explained that he saw no need for him to cast ballots in California elections.

“No one needs me to vote in northern California. My political influence is pretty nil there,” said Giuliano, who was a Republican while an elected official in Tempe but later switched to being a Democrat.

In 1974, after graduating high school in New Jersey, Giuliano moved west to attend Arizona State University. Later he ran for and won a seat on the Tempe city council in 1990 at the age of 33.

He came out of the closet as a gay man while serving as mayor. After leaving public office, Giuliano landed the job of president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in 2005, in which he served until 2009.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation hired him as its CEO in 2010. He is one of the city’s highest paid executive directors overseeing an LGBT-focused nonprofit; his total compensation was $319,933 in the 2012-13 fiscal year, as the B.A.R. disclosed this week.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 20, 2014 @ 2:46 pm PST
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