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Poem alleging transgender embitterment draws LGBT condemnation

By Pat Murphy

April 15, 2006

A poem publicly circulated Friday which ascribed bitterness sprung from transgender status to a political opponent yesterday was condemned by two local LGBT Democratic Clubs.

Emailed to San Francisco elected and community leaders, the poem entitled 'Our Transfigured Robert' was penned by Residential Builders Association (RBA) President Joe O'Donoghue.

It attacked SEIU 790 organizer Robert Haaland whose union is opposing the Yes on D Laguna Honda Hospital ballot measure backed by the RBA.

Haaland is a transgendered man, tenants advocate, and past president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Club. O'Donoghue is a former labor organizer who lends RBA financial and organizational assistance to political campaigns.

Full text of the O'Donoghue prologue and poem is republished followed by full response from leaders of the Milk Club and the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club. Both clubs will submit a joint condemnation resolution to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, republished below.


The attachments are an opening salvo directed at a despicable human being, a parasite who typifies the Left Wing Fascist mentality of this city.

For over a decade at least, Robert Haaland has with impunity vilified the R.B.A. and yours truly.

We chose to ignore she then, now he.

Recently Haaland decided to make the elderly, the frail and the disabled residents at Laguna Honda the targets of his vitriolic lies. Why he chose to oppose the reform measure we don't know. But given his twisted mentality any rationale could suffice.

Extending his arrogance, Haaland also decided to push the envelope and enter into what Sue Hestor stated was the RBA "pig pen" with his confrontational politics of lies and deceit.

We have now for the first time accepted his arrogant challenge. And since this fight is for the soul of the city, we see it as lasting for a long, long time - - let the fight begin.

April 11, 2006


As I previously mentioned to you - I want to reciprocate for all the niceties you've stated of me. It is therefore only proper, that the world should know of your charitable greatness and your unselfish contributions - "Mirabele dictu".

And since you've given new meaning to the aphorism "to give is to take" and its inverse, "to take is to give", we shall be pressing most vigorously, additional windfalls from the General fund for you, Robbi .

Toward this end, I will be writing a creative narrative, "R. Haaland, Thief or Good Samaritan?" follow up.

And Robbi, was it $130,000 settlement you got?

Please advise if otherwise, as this is the amount I will be using.- As to the versification attached, looking forward to any corrections you may have in mind …

My regards to Josie; hope she's not chagrined that you are being headlined …

Tweet, tweet…

Joe O' Donoghue

Who is Robert Haaland?

A consummate petty player in the inner incestuous circle of S.F politics, he is a persona who exerts on persons who abound in deficiencies like himself, an influence, that far exceeds his delivery output.

Additionally, his widely accepted super malignant ego, a heavy load at any time, like that of a dead cockroach lays wasted, poisoned, while companioned to an intellect so undersized, that it completely lacks the necessary sparks that would compel or sustain any kind of lift-off.

There, frustrated and angry, Haaland , as is typical of him, finds fault not in himself but in others, for the failures of his unfulfilled ambitions - - a lost election, an academic failure, a legal embarrassment.

Shrieking at these furtive shadows, some of which emerge as real, Haaland undergoes more suffering as chokes he on the torment of his failures.

What remains of his shattered life is tossed and swished in the fury of his now many, many hatreds, vendettas and ever frequent de jour ejaculations.


When Eve was sent to test his grace
She brought to him a cherub face
A Jason personality
Of sweet and sour banality,
But angry at that form given
Haaland to vengeance was envy driven,
Dastardly acts was all he saw
As life a doomed synecdoche,
Searching for the what that's not
A solution lost in the Gordian knot,
With spirituality gone from sight
He seeks relief in power and might,
But since his id an abject trail
Expect from him puke rant and rail,
Now he plots, now he lies
Despite the failures, the harder he tries,
And as he opposes eliminating wrongs
The drug thugs sing this daily song,

"Beat the elderly and the frail
In the hospital that's worse than jail,
Local 790 their principles sold out
For greater power and greater clout,
Douse the ward with gasoline fire
The bureaucrats they with us conspire,
Hit a patient with a chair
Why the hell would 790 care,
Hit the patients in the head
Live they now in fear and dread,
Send us now another bum
This for us is so much fun,
Garbage in, seniors out,
Hail our transfigured political clout".

Joe O'Donoghue
April 11, 2006
Copyright @ 2006

Joint Statement of the Alice B. Toklas and Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Clubs Regarding Transphobic Statement by Joe O'Donoghue

This week, Joe O'Donoghue, the president of the Residential Builders Association, issued a poem entitled "Our Transfigured Robert." The poem was an attack on Robert Haaland, and his employer SEIU 790, for their opposition to Proposition D on the June 6 ballot. Proposition D would bar certain patients from residing at Laguna Honda Hospital and is so poorly written that it may have the effect of forcing the removal of Alzheimer's patients and patients with AIDS dementia.

Unfortunately, Mr. O'Donoghue did not limit his attack to the merits of the proposition. Instead, he explained Haaland's advocacy as "angry" and the result of "vengeance" and "envy," all stemming from Haaland's status as a transgender man unhappy with the "form" given to him.

The Alice B. Toklas and Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Clubs condemn Joe O'Donoghue's blatantly transphobic political attack on Robert Haaland. While Mr. O'Donoghue has the right to disagree with Haaland's position on any particular issue, that does not justify attacking or belittling Haaland for his transgender status. Mr. O'Donoghue's attack on Haaland is the most offensive form of political speech: speech designed to reduce an opponent's credibility based on the opponent's status, be it race, national origin, disability, gender, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other status.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Mr. O'Donoghue has ridiculed the LGBT community to achieve his political goals. Last year, he mocked Mayor Gavin Newsom on the ground that the Mayor was allegedly gay in light of his support for the LGBT community. The Board of Supervisors rightly condemned him for that homophobic statement.

Mr. O'Donoghue also has a long track record of harassing and attempting to intimidate Debra Walker, an out lesbian, past president of the Harvey Milk Club, and president of the Department of Building Inspections Commission.

There are many barriers preventing the transgender community from fully engaging in the political, social, and economic life of this City and the country generally. Unemployment in the transgender community is more than 60%. Almost no transgender people hold public office in the United States. There are only three transgender public officials in San Francisco: Haaland (an elected member of the Democratic County Central Committee), Cecilia Chung (a Human Rights Commissioner), and Theresa Sparks (a Police Commissioner).

We, as a city, must encourage transgender people to be full participants in our civic life. Yet, attacks like Mr. O'Donoghue's are designed to achieve precisely the opposite: to make clear that successful, effective transgender people who dare to oppose him will be promptly "put in their place" through humiliation and intimidation. We must oppose and speak out against this tactic.

Scott Wiener, co-chair, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

Rebecca Prozan, co-chair, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

Greg Shaw, president, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

Kelly Dugan

Howard Wallace

Richard Allman

Luke Klipp

Dean Goodwin

Commissioner Theresa Sparks

Rafael Mandelman

Michael Costa

Nora Dye

Jeff Anderson

Julius Turman

Martha Knutzen

Fran Kipnis

Don Romesburg

Daniel Frattin

Derek Turner

Paul Mooney

Jim Maloney

Michelle Ortiz

Dan Bernal

Andy Wong

Tom Runge

Jerry Fuller

Anna Damiani

Tia Martinez

Joan Roughgarden

Paul Hogan

Bentrish Satarzadeh

Nathan Purkiss

Susan Christian

Resolution of the San Francisco Democratic Party

WHEREAS the Democratic Party has been a champion of civil rights for all people, including transgender people, and has taken a strong stand against hate speech based on gender identity and other forms of human diversity; and

WHEREAS the Democratic Party has sought to promote a political environment in which people are treated with respect and dignity, even in the heat of campaigns; and

WHEREAS Joe O'Donoghue recently issued a poem attacking Robert Haaland for his opposition to Proposition D and based part of that attack on Haaland's transgender status;

BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Democratic Party condemns Joe O'Donoghue for using anti-transgender hate speech in order to advance a political agenda and to intimidate his opponents;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Democratic Party urges all members of the San Francisco political community to refrain from using hate speech to advance political agendas and further urges Governor Schwarzenegger to sign Assemblyman Leland Yee's legislation to ban candidates from attacking lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender candidates based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Submitted by Scott Wiener, Connie O'Connor, Catherine Dodd, Susan Hall, Leslie Katz, Gerry Crowley, Michael Goldstein, David Campos.




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