Online Extra: Political Notes: Sacto welcomes gay schoolboard member
by Matthew S. Bajko
Jay Hansen, the first out person to serve on the Sacramento City Unified School District, has hit the ground running in his new role.
Hansen replaced Ellyn Bell, who resigned her school board seat because of relocating for work. He will serve out the final two years of Bell's term and will face election in 2014.
The school trustees selected Hansen, 49, to fill the board vacancy at their meeting December 20. He immediately took his oath of office that evening, and last week, he took part in his first school board meeting Thursday, January 10.
"I am a strong believer in the value of public education and its historic use of being a great equalizer in our country. An education allows the best chance to be successful in life and to advance one's goals and aspirations," Hansen told the Bay Area Reporter in an emailed response to questions last month.
Hansen works for the California Medical Association as its chief strategy officer and lives with his partner of four years, Jesse Kaplan, a certified public accountant. The couple does not have children, though Hansen does have two godchildren and a nephew.
The men are active in the Sacramento Stonewall Democrats, which Hansen helped to launch. Kaplan is an elected officer of the LGBT political club, serving as its fundraising chair.
Hansen was one of three people whom the Stonewall club recommended for the school board seat. He said several people asked him to seek the position.
"I also am a big supporter of public service and when I was approached by some local community leaders to throw my hat in the ring it was time to practice what I've preached," wrote Hansen.
His focus will be on promoting career technical education, healthy lifestyles for students and staff, and bettering district relations among administrators and staff.
"I think those areas will lead to happier and healthier staff and students, better educational outcomes and increased graduation rates which I consider key indices of success," wrote Hansen.
Hansen's selection as the public school district's first openly gay board member came little more than a week after Steve Hansen , 33, was sworn in as the first out LGBT person on the Sacramento City Council. A senior regional manager at Genentech, Steve Hansen won a close contest for the council seat in November.
The two up-and-coming gay political leaders are sometimes mistaken for each other.
It is inevitable that there will be even more confusion between who is who, despite their age difference and different first names. The boundaries of their school board and city council districts overlap.
"I already get confused for Steve Hansen, we share the same dry cleaners and they have given me his shirts several times before," wrote Hansen. "I suppose it is inevitable that folks will confuse us, though he is younger and better looking than I."
They are not related but "are actually quite good friends," added Jay Hansen.
"I suppose somewhere in our shared Norwegian ancestry we are related, and we plan on working together on our shared interests," he wrote. "It is great to have an overlap of Steve's council district and my school board district. We are both quite a bit of fun too, it will be a great synergy."
Lesbian harbor commissioner to be sworn in
Moss Beach resident Sabrina Brennan , 43, is set to become the first out lesbian on the San Mateo County Harbor District this week. She will also be the only woman currently serving on the maritime commission.
Brennan, the second out person elected to the little known oversight panel, is expected to take part in the commission's first meeting of 2013 this Wednesday, January 16. Her public swearing in ceremony will then occur Saturday, January 19, with San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine officiating.
After making her second stab for a seat on the harbor district, which overseas two marinas on the Peninsula, Brennan ended up the top vote-getter in the November election. Out of six candidates vying for three seats, she placed first with 120,654 votes or 25.2 percent.
She unseated commissioner William Holsinger , who placed fourth. Brennan's official vote tally also had her besting the two other incumbents seeking re-election: Leo Padreddii, the commission's current vice president, and Pietro Parravano, its secretary.
Nonetheless, both men were re-elected with Padreddii placing second with 95,218 and Parravano in third with 88,887 votes.
Married to Aimee Luthringer, Brennan owns her own digital graphics company. She joins gay commissioner Robert Bernardo, who works for the Port of Oakland and won a harbor district seat in 2010.
In an invite to supporters, Brennan wrote, "I appreciate your continued support and look forward to working hard to bring the harbor district into the modern age."
Her swearing-in ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, 214 Princeton Avenue in Princeton-by-the-Sea, an unincorporated part of the San Mateo County coast.
Due to Monday, January 21 being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Political Notes column will not return until Monday, January 28.
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Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 861-5019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.