with Robert Haaland
Republished with permission
Diversions, Bigotry and Other Tactics
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
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.
Evening Of Politics and Conversation with Congresswoman Barbara
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.)
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
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 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