Online Extra: Political Notes: Takano event one of many LGBT fundraisers set for coming weeks
by Matthew S. Bajko
A major fundraiser being held by San Francisco leaders Thursday night for Mark Takano, the sole out congressional candidate running in California this fall, is just one in a series of political events lined up in coming days aimed at electing LGBT candidates in November.
The smorgasbord of fundraisers also features three LGBT-hosted events to raise money for President Barack Obama 's re-election campaign. Two slated for Wednesday, September 19 will feature Washington Governor Christine Gregoire (D) as a guest speaker.
Gregoire is involved in the ballot measure fight to secure marriage equality in her state. Jamie Citron, director of the LGBT Leadership Council and the Obama campaign's LGBT vote director, is also expected to attend.
The third Obama event will be Friday, September 21 and organizers have lined up straight marriage equality backer Zach Wahls . The son of two lesbian moms, he addressed the Democratic National Convention last week.
Other upcoming fundraisers seek to fill the coffers of gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and his out GOP opponent Jason Clark , a local attorney; lesbian Oakland at-large City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan; and Kevin Howley, a gay man seeking to become the county executive in Oakland County, Michigan.
The first push to get LGBTs, and straight allies, to open their wallets for the out candidates comes this week with the fundraisers for the Assembly candidates and Takano.
For Takano the Thursday, September 13 event is the first time he is coming to town to raise money for his congressional bid since he survived the June primary. The educator is seeking a House seat based in his hometown of Riverside and finds himself in a tough race against his GOP opponent, Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione .
An openly gay Japanese American, Takano would be the first LGBT person of color in Congress. He would also be the first out member of the Golden State's congressional delegation.
Takano will be feted by a who's who of San Francisco politicians and LGBT community leaders at the Noe Valley home of gay attorney Bob Michitarian. Mayor Ed Lee , gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and District 3 Supervisor David Chiu, who is the board president, are among the local dignitaries listed as supporting the event.
"As San Franciscans, we know it's important to elect smart, dedicated, experienced leaders. We want more supporters of equality in Congress, more people who understand our communities," wrote Michitarian in an email plugging the event. "Mark will be our ally from Riverside. That's why Mayor Ed Lee is hosting a party for San Francisco's leaders and all of us."
The fundraiser will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. and it is open to the public. The suggested donation is $100.
To buy a ticket and find out the location, visit http://bit.ly/TakanoSF.
That same night supporters of Ammiano are hosting a fundraiser at gay bar Rebel to benefit his re-election campaign to the 17th Assembly District seat. A $100 donation is also suggested for those wishing to attend.
The event takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The club is located at 1760 Market Street at Octavia. For more information call Esther Marks at (415) 665-5417.
The night before friends of Clark, vice president of the San Francisco Log Cabin Republicans chapter, are hosting an event to help raise money for his underdog campaign against Ammiano. Due to the heavy Democratic makeup of the city's voters, Clark has little chance of winning the seat.
But his backers remain undaunted in wanting to show their support. They are hosting a wine and appetizer event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 12 at the home of Norm Larson in the city's Haight-Ashbury district.
Attendees are asked to donate at least $50 and tickets can be purchased online at http://clark4assembly.eventbrite.com. The exact address will be provided once you have RSVP'd.
The following week friends of Kaplan will be gathering in Oakland Friday, September 21 to celebrate her 42nd birthday and raise some cash for her campaign. She is in a tough re-election race against Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.
With an eye toward running for mayor in two years, De La Fuente opted to seek the citywide council seat rather than run for re-election to his District 5 seat, which includes the Fruitvale and Glenview neighborhoods. Kaplan is also seen as a likely mayoral candidate after coming in second two years ago.
She has lined up considerable support from LGBT and straight leaders. Both Leno and Ammiano have endorsed her, as have gay California Democratic Party Vice Chair Eric Bauman and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco's former mayor.
Last week she picked up endorsements from SEIU Local 1021, IFTPE Local 21, and the Oakland Education Association. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is also backing her in the race.
"I'm incredibly honored to have the support of a wide range of organizations that represent nurses, teachers, environmentalists, local businesses, working families and Democratic leaders," stated Kaplan. "Oakland is on the rise, and I'm proud that our endorsements represent a wide cross-section of our city."
On Sunday, September 23 family and friends living in the Bay Area will host a fundraiser for Howley, who lives with his partner and two kids in Huntington Woods, Michigan. A onetime San Francisco resident, he is running to be the first Democrat to hold the county executive position in more than two decades.
The county seat is in Pontiac just north of Detroit and is where GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney grew up. Howley's opponent, L. Brooks Patterson , has held the job for 19 years and is seeking a sixth four-year term.
Patterson was injured in a car crash in which he was not wearing a seatbelt in August and has been in the hospital ever since.
Howley, a former businessman who now works as an interim executive director for struggling nonprofits, has the backing of the Victory Fund in his race. His cousin John S. Blackburn, a gay man who lives in San Francisco, is one of the co-hosts of the meet-and-greet with Howley.
"Finally Democrats in Oakland County have a candidate to challenge five terms of Republican control, and even better an LGBT candidate in a state where this is no LGBT representation in its legislature. Kevin would be perfect in this position," wrote Blackburn in an email announcing the event.
It takes place from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at fashion boutique Bacca Da Silva Couture, 590 Sutter Street. There is no cost to attend; email RSVPs to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LGBT Leadership Council is the lead host of the two events with Gregoire slated for the Wednesday night next week. The governor pushed through a same-sex marriage bill in her state legislature earlier this year, but it has been on hold as opponents placed Referendum 74 on the November ballot to try to overturn it.
Gregoire has been leading the fight to defeat 74, which would mark the first ballot-box victory for marriage equality. If the referendum is defeated at the polls, then same-sex couples could begin marrying on December 6.
Both of the San Francisco events with the governor will raise money, however, for the Obama Victory Fund and not the marriage fight. The fundraisers are being co-hosted by Los Altos resident Kathy Levinson , an out lesbian who is national co-chair of the council and co-chair of the national finance committee of Obama for America.
The first fundraiser is a private VIP reception scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at a private home where tickets start at $1,000-a-head. The second is a public reception beginning at 7 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center where tickets begin at $100 per person.
To purchase tickets to either of the receptions visit https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/o2012-September19LGBT.
The third event with Wahls will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, September 21 at the Castro home of Bay Area Reporter society columnist Donna Sachet. Co-hosts include out Democratic Party activists Rebecca Prozan , Bill Hemenger, and Geoffrey Murry.
Tickets start at $100 and the doors open at 6 p.m.
For more info visit the event's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/146837985456846/.
Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/politicalnotes.
Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 861-5019 or e-mail email@example.com.