with Robert Haaland
The greatest San Franciscan I have ever known
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
Time & Date: September 5, 2006, 6:30pm -8 pm
Location: Crash Night Club, 34 Mason Street (between Eddy and
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.
Haaland at firstname.lastname@example.org.