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with Robert Haaland

Robert Haaland
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The greatest San Franciscan I have ever known

By Robert Haaland

September 6, 2006

Like many, I went to Sue Bierman's memorial yesterday. The memorial itself was amazing. Everyone from Tommi Avicolli Mecca and Bill Sorro to former Mayor Willie Brown came to show their respect and honor the loss that we all feel.

While I was driving over to Delancey Street, I thought of the very first time I spoke to Sue. It was the mid 90s and she had just run for Board President against Barbara Kaufman. She had lost, but as always, it didn't bother her. We went for a drink at a bar near where the Democratic County Central Committee meets. She was on her way there afterwards. As all know, she drank a bourbon whiskey. She told me confidentially that she always had one before going to a DCCC meeting. Now that I have gone to DCCC meetings for the last five years, I can understand why.

There are a lot of amazing people in the city and to say that Sue was the greatest is not meant to diminish anyone. I think that she had a way of combining politics and activism that I respect and try to do myself. She wasn't in politics just for the glory at all. She was in politics to move issues, issues that are near and dear to my heart as well. And she was loyal to her people, something that I believe in as well. Her people had her back and she had theirs.

She was my hero. Her activism, her deep involvement in politics, her decency and kindness, and her brand of loyalty, are all qualities that I want to cultivate in myself. And she wasn't afraid of tilting at windmills. She didn't mind being the one vote against six at the Planning Commission. But she also knew when to cut the deal to move an issue. I watched her at the Board of Sups and more recently at the DCCC for the last five years. She was much more calculating than people knew. Some said Sue was getting senile, but they were wrong. I remember towards the end we had a drink after some meeting and we were hanging out at Martuni's Bar on Market and Valencia. I won't say who she was talking about, but she had seen through someone and read her as an opportunist who could care less about the issues. She was, of course, right.

Sue was a San Francisco kind of Democrat, the kind I want to be. Sue, Ajar Jaicks, and Jane Morrision make me proud to say that I am a Democrat, not something I say lightly. And I am proud and honored to have known Sue. Thank you Sue for all that you have done for San Francisco. I miss you. We all miss you.

Transgender Law Center turns four years old

This summer we commemorated the Compton Cafeteria riots, a turning point in the history of the Trans community in San Francisco. Forty years ago, the transgender community stood up to police harassment. On Tuesday night, September 5th, a few blocks away from the corner, the Transgender Law Center (TLC) is bringing together community members, clients, and allies to the Tenderloin on September 5th to celebrate our own four years of creating social change for transgender civil rights.

Come and meet the awardees, transgender leaders who have been unrecognized until now for their steadfast work on behalf of the transgender community. The Transgender Law Center will also be recognizing our allies, people who are actively fighting for our rights.

Time & Date: September 5, 2006, 6:30pm -8 pm
Location: Crash Night Club, 34 Mason Street (between Eddy and Market)
Tickets: $50, $100, $150

There will be complimentary wine and light hors d'oeuvres.

You know me, and you know Cecilia Chung, and Theresa Sparks. But there are a ton of folks that you should meet, unsung heroes that will be honored. Come have a drink. I'll be there. And let's toast Sue Bierman, because she would probably have come. She was that kind of woman.

Robert Haaland is a member of the San Francisco Board of Appeals and publishes leftinsf.com.

Email Robert Haaland at robert_haaland@hotmail.com.




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