Haaland appointment to Board of Appeals sets LGBT milestone
By Elizabeth Pfeffer
July 7, 2006
Robert Haaland's appointment to the Board of Appeals by Board
of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin was met without opposition
at Thursday's Rules Committee meeting.
The seat he was selected to fill was that of Harvey Milk, the
first openly gay elected official in San Francisco.
Currently an organizer for the Service Employees International
Union Local 790, Haaland will be the first female-to-male transgender
commissioner to serve the City of San Francisco.
"I'm honored that Supervisor Peskin decided to appoint me
and also honored that Supervisor Mirkarimi and Supervisor Elsbernd
voted for me today to be on the Board of Appeals."
Haaland, whose appointment has delighted the lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender community, could not confirm rumors Board President
Aaron Peskin, who nominated Haaland for the position, will run
for mayor in 2007.
"Supervisor Peskin and I have known each other for very
many years and have a strong relationship. He has taken trust
in me and that's why he appointed me," Haaland responded
to Sentinel inquiry.
Several LGBT and democratic figures showered Haaland with praise
before the committee, remarking on his commitment to economic
and social justice, fair-mindedness and leadership,
"Robert, whatever movement he's involved in, whatever issues
he's trying to move, immediately jumps into a leadership position
but he doesn't take leadership to aggrandize himself or
simply to gain power. Robert has more integrity in his little
finger than most people have in their entire body," said
Scott Wiener, Co-Chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic
Club and Democratic County Central Committee member.
Haaland's supporters are, by and large, community stakeholders.
As a veteran progressive activist, he has lobbied for and united
labor, environmental, minority and tenant interests, once persuading
the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to move their
Media Awards ceremony away from The Westin St. Francis in support
of disgruntled hotel workers.
In spite of his position as a union official, he said no conflicts
should arise on the Board of Appeals.
"We look forward to having you be commissioner on the board
of appeals," Supervisor Mirkarimi told Haaland. "I think
it's a good day for San Francisco."