Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:


with Robert Haaland

Republished with permission

Diversions, Bigotry and Other Tactics

By Robert Haaland

April 17, 2006

Commissioner Debra Walker. Wouldn't you rather be on her side?
Photo by Robert Haaland

When I first got a poem from Joe O'D, I realized I had truly arrived. People I honor and respect like DBI Department Head Amy Lee, Supervisor Tom Ammiano during the Mayor's race, Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Commissioner Debra Walker get attacked by him all the time and every time Joe gay-baits the Mayor for his role in advancing same-sex marriage, he helps the Mayor on the left. Joe's favorite tactic is to rely on prejudice and stereotypes to demean and belittle his opponents, a tried and true tactic that bigots have used for centuries and a particularly effective strategy during political campaigns, especially if you are losing. And Joe is definitely losing.

The knockout blow in the last election
Photo by Luke Thomas

The Prop D campaign will be a humiliating defeat for him, and his political strength will be considerably diminished. That's why he is attacking me and that's why he is trying to create diversions. Prop D is a poorly drafted measure that purports to save Laguna Honda. It was placed on the ballot by signature, an effort largely paid for by the Residential Builders Association, a group run by Joe O'D. Curiously, Prop D will allow private developers to build for-profit facilities on public land in hundreds of parcels designated as "public use districts" under the Planning Code. If you vote for Prop D, you may be giving up control over city land in your neighborhood and handing it to private developers for their projects. Even worse, Prop. D puts a Planning Department official in charge of making health care and admissions decisions at Laguna Honda Hospital. It places hospital admissions decisions for those living with AIDS and other ailments under the jurisdiction of the Zoning Administrator. And even if you think the Zoning Administrator should be making admission decisions, which I don't, Protection and Advocacy, Inc., one of California's most prominent patients' rights groups, has determined that Prop D violates 9 federal and state housing and anti-discrimination laws. That's why all the progressive supervisors and the Mayor all oppose Prop D. More importantly though, advocacy groups for the disabled, like Protection and Advocacy, Inc., and unions, like SEIU Local 790 and United Healthcare Workers are united in opposition to Proposition D, groups that have not always been united when it comes to Laguna Honda.

And when Senior Action Network came out in opposition last week, I knew Proposition D was in serious, serious trouble. All the credible groups and credible community leaders are coming out in opposition and some leaders and groups that initially supported it are reconsidering now that they know more. And as Prop D started to crumble, Joe lashed out, personally attacking me and referencing my transgender status in an attempt to demean, belittle and intimidate me. Kind of a smart move. Well, no. It wasn't. Instead of intimidating me, I am inspired to work harder to defeat this harmful measure, inspired by the love and support that I have gotten from my friends and colleagues.

I have been incredibly moved by the depth of support I have received from those in the LGBT Community that I respect and honor. They got it right away and condemned it immediately without hesitation. I was also moved by how many "straight" folks got it right away and expressed support, across the political spectrum and from many different communities. To those of you who reached out, thank you. People like you make San Francisco the place that we all love, a place of hope, dignity and respect for all.

Prop D is unraveling and will continue to come undone. The backers of Proposition D had hoped to have strong West side support, but as the land use provisions become more widely known, support is falling away. The backers thought by developing strong support on the west side, they would make the Mayor politically weaker on the west side of town. Unfortunately for them, land use advocates, healthcare workers and advocates for Laguna Honda are seeing the measure for what it is: a developer's land use grab that hurts patient care at Laguna Honda.

Laura Spanjian, Scott Wiener and Rafael Mandelman
Photo by Robert Haaland

Democratic County Central Committee Race

I won't presume that you are considering voting for me for DCCC, but if you are, thank you. I am realizing as the race for DCCC progresses that most organizations are endorsing the incumbents. It makes sense. Incumbents have a huge advantage and usually have name identification, so unless you really hate the incumbent, chances are you don't want to anger the incumbent by leaving them off your slate. In the 13th Assembly, there are 11 incumbents running for re-election so most of the challengers are scrambling for one seat. It is like musical chairs or something.

I'm supporting a lot of people for the DCCC, but I really, really hope that Rafael Mandelman gets elected. He ran two years ago and barely lost. In the interim, he didn't take his ball and go home. He became a proxy and threw himself in to the task of building the party by creating the permanent precinct captain operation for the Democratic Party. He is smart, principled, very progressive, committed to building the party, trustworthy and well, he is actually a decent human being. I know, I know. You are thinking why is he running for the DCCC? Good question. But nonetheless, I encourage you to vote for Rafael.

An Evening Of Politics and Conversation with Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Scott Seligman & Steve Adams with the Bay Area LGBT Community invite you to an Evening of Politics and Conversation with Congresswoman Barbara Lee on Thursday, April 2Oth from 6-8 PM, at the Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery Street, 40th Floor (Enter through the visitors lobby at the corner of Montgomery & Washington.)

Birthday Bash story

There was a nice story in the SF Bay Times this week on the birthday bash/fundraiser for the Housing Rights Committee and the Compton's Cafeteria Riots Commemoration. Dennis McMillan did the story and Rink took the photo.

And if you haven't heard of the Compton's Cafeteria Riots, check out Susan Stryker's video called Screaming Queens that interviews and documents this important part of our history when some trans women, mostly women of color, fought back against police brutality in 1966, years before Stonewall. The 40th Anniversary Committee is planning a commemoration of the riots to remind us of our history and to recognize the courage of our community forty years ago and today.

And all of you know the amazing work that the Housing Rights Committee does. Folks like Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Sara Shortt, Rebecca Logue-Bovee, Stephanie Brandon, and Hing Chee-Chan rock the world and do their best to ensure that everyone has a roof over his or her head.

Words are pretty hard to come by to describe how grateful I am for the people in my life. I want to say thank you for having my back the last few months, the last few years, and I also want to say thanks for all that you have all taught me. I'm a pretty lucky guy. Thank you for your support this year and for supporting these two great organizations.

Robert Haaland publishes leftinsf.com.
Email Robert Haaland at robert_haaland@hotmail.com.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa