Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

SF Chronicle columnist “ins” Oakland councilwoman

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson, who covers the East Bay political scene in his twice weekly columns, turned his attention today to Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan. As the Bay Area Reporter reported last month, Kaplan is mulling a run for mayor of her hometown.

The praiseworthy piece – Johnson has long been impressed with the freshman councilwoman and had predicted in 2008 she would be a viable candidate for mayor – notes how Kaplan has bucked conventional wisdom on the council and has been the lone voice questioning several large-scale development projects like the Oakland Airport BART connector. Yet at the same time Kaplan has not ruffled the feathers of her colleagues, something almost unheard of on the Oakland City Council wrote Johnson.

And while he informs readers about Kaplan’s (seen in photo at left) Jewish faith and her academic credentials, Johnson failed to mention a key fact about Kaplan’s background. Not only is she an out lesbian who was able to win the council’s at-large seat, she is the only out elected official in Oakland.

In a paper that just went out of its way to out Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the federal trial questioning the constitutionality of California’s same-sex marriage ban Proposition 8, the omission in Johnson’s column of Kaplan’s sexual orientation was not only glaringly noticeable but curious.

In response to a question from the B.A.R., Johnson said he did not intend to “in” Kaplan. In a January column he wrote critical of LGBT opposition to the reappointment of an Oakland city board member who gave to the Prop 8 campaign Johnson did identify Kaplan as a lesbian.

As for this week’s column ignoring that fact, Johnson wrote in an email that, “It was an oversight. my bad D’oh!!”

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 12, 2010 @ 2:48 pm PST
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