Letters to the Editor
Some ideas for City College
As a graduate and student of City College of San Francisco I think it's time for some major changes. First, we should expand the board of trustees from seven to 11 (mirroring the supervisor district seats) with instant runoff voting. Have two seats for union representation, one for the administrative staff and one for the faculty, and three seats for the student body. We should do this through a ballot measure and put it before San Francisco voters in an upcoming election. Second, we should lower tuition to $15 per unit and expand the book loan program to all campuses. Third, we should expand the HIV and STD testing and counseling program and expand condom distribution to all campuses.
Then, we should add a leather history class to the LGBT Studies Department and offer the AIDS in America class every semester. Next, we should change the bathrooms to be unisex-friendly for transgender students or offer unisex bathrooms on every campus. Then, we should offer math, science, English as a second language, and English classes on every campus for those who can't make it to the Phelan campus. The student council should hold meetings and elections on every campus like the board of trustees does. We should expand the Student Union on the Phelan campus. Offer peer counseling services through the peer counseling program and offer students to gain practice and student employment as peer counselors. We should install needle drop boxes in the Health and Wellness Center. We should make all campuses a smoke free zone and offer healthier nutritious meals in the cafeteria instead of junk food.
Finally, we should expand yoga, dance, and exercise classes to more campuses. Those are some of the changes I'd ask for from the board of trustees and the candidates running for the CCSF Board of Trustees.
Pride board candidate seeks support
My Hurricane Katrina experience compels me to run for the San Francisco Pride Board.
I am John Weber, and I am running to serve on SF Pride's board of directors. This year's directors' election holds the promise of a significant shift for Pride, with up to seven new people joining the board.
As a board member, I will work to ensure that this annual celebration of community keeps faith with its purpose and never forgets the struggle of those who established this community. We can honor them by never ceasing to reach out to every edge of the rainbow, and lift up those whom good fortune has not favored.
San Francisco in her boom times is a sight to behold, and I hope we all find something positive the city's golden moment.
This past week we marked 10 years from a starkly different moment in time when, another great city – SF's distant sister – nearly drowned and fought to survive.
Seeing my birthplace, New Orleans, suffer as the result of inadequately constructed levees and an indifferent government changed me forever.
The aftermath of Katrina ignited in me a commitment to serve, to fight despair and to hear and help the marginalized, which continues to this day.
If these are San Francisco's boom times, and if we are truly the fortunate ones for this moment, then let us share this good fortune, and never sell short that which we should honor.
On the SF Pride board, I will:
Bring to bear my professional experience as an employment program site manager for two America's Job Centers of California located in Santa Clara County, the epicenter of Silicon Valley, and the front lines in the battle for an inclusive economy.
As a proud African American gay man, I will contribute perspective and diversity to the Pride board, along with my years of well-honed skills in fundraising, activism, governance, and community building.
Understanding Pride's desire to diversify funding and improve stability, I will champion a 10-year bond initiative to be put before the voters of the City and County of San Francisco. This will help SF Pride secure long-term funds to continue the tradition of an authentic, pioneering Pride parade and celebration for decades to come.
Active SF Pride members can vote for me on Saturday, September 12 at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, from 1 to 4 p.m. I appreciate your support.
Gay shooter is not news
The tragic story of the two journalists who were recently murdered is unsettling, of course. Violence in America seems to be the norm and it saddens me greatly. But, that's not my issue here. I don't remember which news station said this but they indicated that the killer was gay. This may or may not be true, however, why is it that I've never heard any newscaster indicate a criminal to be "straight" or "bisexual"? A person's sexual orientation has no bearing on his/her criminal activity and we all know that 99 percent of crime is committed by straights. It is prejudicial to assume or disclose, even if true, a person's sexuality when announcing a criminal behavior. If the news media is going to state a crime committed by a gay person, then they need to indicate when a non-gay person commits a crime. And I don't go for the argument of free speech or freedom of the press in this regard because the Federal Communications Commission doesn't allow certain profane words be spoken on network television so they can certainly regulate the bias of indicating a criminal is gay. I have written President Barack Obama, the FCC, and the American Civil Liberties Union to fix this problem. And if I hear of another news station defaming gay people in any way, they can expect 1,000 picketers in front of their entrance.
Just because we now have same-sex marriage doesn't mean we have to tolerate the continuing defamation of any group of people.
Redwood Estates, California
[Editor's note: A man claiming to be the Virginia shooter, Bryce Williams (legal name Vester Lee Flanagan III), faxed a 23-page document to ABC News after the murders of the reporter and cameraman stating that he was gay.]
Unnecessary China bashing
Roger Brigham's Jock Talk column [Visibility's double-edged sword, Aug 20] would be a better report had he not engaged in the unnecessary China bashing. The Chinese government is not anti-gay, it has not enacted law against gay people. The homophobia Chinese LGBTs experience is mainly from the Confucian culture and from the family structure. However, this social condition is improving, state and private media have been publishing gay parade photos and news for more than a decade now; there are numerous gay websites (one set up by a former policeman), some even have gotten married in cities and in villages dispite the fact Chinese marriage law is yet to include gay people, and having their wedding photos publicized in the mainstream media. I recently visited a gay couple who's been living together for seven years in Xinjiang western China, one of the partners is a gay Muslim, and they have two poodles; upstairs from their apartment is a lesbian couple living with one of the partner's mother. China is not the evil empire Mr. Brigham may think it is.