fix articles 1516, mark gabrish conlan Los Angeles Indymedia : tag : mark gabrish conlan

mark gabrish conlan

Proposition 8, DoMA and the Supreme Court (tags)

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage passed by California voters in November 2008, and also the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) that defines marriage under federal law as only between one man and one woman. But the current Right-wing Court is likely to uphold Prop. 8 as constitutional and leave the battle for marriage equality to state-by-state political and social campaigns.

Queer Democrats Celebrate Election Victories at Freedom Awards (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality celebrated recent election victories in San Diego County at their annual Freedom Awards November 17 at 1202 Club in HIllcrest. They also honored retiring State Senator Christine Kehoe, the first open Queer ever elected to office in San Diego County, for her19 years in elective office.

“Killing by Remote Control”: Medea Benjamin Exposes Drones (tags)

Medea Benjamin, veteran peace activist and author of the new book "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control," spoke in San Diego October 20 and showed photos of victims of U.S. drone attacks because the mainstream media are deliberately keeping these from the American people. She called on the peace movement to put massive pressure on the Obama administration to stop the drone attacks.

A Pretty Good Election, but the Right Still Rules (tags)

The November 6, 2012 election turned out fairly well for progressives — from Barack Obama retaining the presidency to a true Left-wing Democrat like Bob Filner winning for Mayor of San Diego — but the Right is still strong. The issue agendas and terms of discussion continue to be dictated by an increasingly militant Right wing and America's pathetic, ill-organized remnant of a Left no longer has the power to put pressure on the political system for progressive reforms the way it did in the 1890's, 1930's and 1960's.

S.A.M.E. Hosts Victory Celebration for Marriage Equality Protesters (tags)

The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) held a victory celebration September 21 at the Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest after San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith dropped all charges against the Equality Nine, protesters who were arrested at the San Diego County Clerk's office August 19, 2010 for showing up to request marriage licenses or support others doing so, including same-sex couples who had appointments. The event featured five of the Equality Nine and also Queer-rights pioneers Leo Laurence and Pat Brown, who led militant Queer-liberation demonstrations in San Francisco months before the Stonewall riots.

Activist San Diego Shows “Genetic Roulette” Film (tags)

Activist San Diego screened “Genetic Roulette” Saturday, September 22 at the Joyce Beers Community Center. The film is directed by Jeffrey M. Smith and is based on his book of the same title, an exposé of the health risks of genetically modified organisms (GMO's) in the food supply. The showing was co-sponsored with the Yes on 37 campaign, which supports Proposition 37 on the November ballot, that would require genetically modified foods sold in California to be labeled as such.

Labor, Community Leaders Target Wal-Mart September 21 (tags)

Neighborhood activists and labor unions are organizing San Diego's biggest-ever anti-Wal-Mart demonstration Saturday, September 22 in the Golden Hill and Sherman Heights neighborhoods. Though the Wal-Mart in Sherman Heights hasn't even been built yet, it's already driving local businesses to close or cut back — and Wal-Mart has systematically refused to make any promises to the community to hire locally or mitigate the impacts of their store.

Labor Radicalism Alive & Well in U.S., Smith Says (tags)

Author and activist Sharon Smith came to San Diego to speak to Occupy San Diego's Labor Solidarity Committee, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and other community members September 1, but it was her unannounced co-speaker -- a teachers' union activist from Chicago identified only as Becca -- who galvanized the crowd. Smith used the Chicago teachers' union struggle as an example that radical labor activism in the U.S. is alive and well despite decades of repression from the ruling class.

Cindy Sheehan Speaks at Reception in San Diego (tags)

For four years, from her emergence as an anti-war activist following the death of her son Casey in combat in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan was a hero among liberals and Democrats for her attempts to hold then-President George W. Bush to account for starting the Iraq war and taking her son's life in vain. Then she ran for Congress against Democratic icon Nancy Pelosi and made it clear she held both major parties responsible for the war and the rest of America's ills. Now she's Roseanne Barr's running mate in the Peace and Freedom Party's Presidential campaign, running on a socialist platform that says education, housing and health care are human rights.

Queer Democrats Make Defeating Prop. 32 a Priority (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality voted August 23 to make defeating Proposition 32 a priority race in the November 6 election. Proposition 32 is an effort to destroy the ability of organized labor to raise money for political campaigns, and it's being sold deceptively as a campaign finance reform measure even though its principal sponsors are multi-million dollar donors to Republican candidates and super-PAC's. On the eve of Women's Equality Day, the club also heard from professors Dr. Sue Gonda and Carla Kirkwood on the history of women's struggles for equality and their links to the Queer rights movement.

Chris Hassett: Queer Activist, Teacher Tells Stories in Music (tags)

San Diego Queer folksinger Chris Hassett released his most recent CD, "This I Promise You," last May. It's a collection of 11 songs, mostly quiet and understated but with country, rock, pop and jazz influences reflecting Hassett's broad musical tastes. Zenger's Newsmagazine interviewed Hassett in late June and discussed the album, as well as gossiping about musicians ranging from Willard Robison to Lady Gaga.

What's Wrong with San Diego's City Finances? (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality heard a presentation July 26 from "Paradise Plundered" author Vladimir Kogan. The book, co-written with professors Steven P. Erie and Scott A. MacKenzie, argues that San Diegans have long wanted their city government to do far more in services than they're willing to pay for in taxes -- and recently they and the politicians seeking to lead the city, most notably Right-wing Queer Mayoral front-runner Carl DeMaio, have been scapegoating city workers and their unions for the city's pension crisis and other financial shortfalls.

Opponents of Corrupt "Trade" Agreement Stage March, Rally July 7 (tags)

About 200 opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the so-called "trade" agreement that has been negotiated in secret between government and corporate representatives, marched on the Bayfront Hilton Hotel in San Diego July 7 during the most recent round of TPP talks. The march and rally finished a week of events protesting the secret negotiations of a corporate-welfare treaty under the guise of "free trade."

Queer Democrats Host Love-Fest for Endorsed Candidates (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality turned their June 28 meeting into a love-fest for their candidates who survived the June 5 primary and moved on to the November 6 general election. In the first test of their new policy against endorsing or rating candidates who aren't 100 percent for marriage equality or reproductive choice, they also refused to consider an endorsement or a rating for socially conservative Democrat Juan Vargas for Congress in the 51st District.

Community Activist Join Labor Against Phony "Trade" Deal (tags)

Progressive San Diego's official opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a NAFTA-like agreement seeking to subject the U.S. and a wide range of other countries to corporate dictatorship — began July 2 with a rally outside the Bayfront Hilton Hotel, where the TPP's negotiators are meeting. Speakers from labor, environmental, women's and Queer organizations explained what the TPP means to them and why it should be stopped.

The Supremes and Health Care: Second "Switch in Time" (tags)

In April 1937 Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts switched sides, stopped voting that minimum-wage laws and the New Deal programs were unconstitutional and got on board with the Roosevelt administration's program to save the court from progressive political attacks. Likewise, current Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act largely to preserve the court's reputation and neutralize Democrats' attempts to make the court's Republican majority and partisan 5-4 decisions like Citizens United an issue in the 2012 campaign.

Yes, Virginia, There ARE Gay Men in Kansas! (tags)

Most Queer people, unless they actually came from Kansas, think of it as the place Dorothy Gale was lucky enough to be flown out of by a cyclone in "The Wizard of Oz." But San Diego's Diversionary Theatre is producing an original musical, "Harmony, Kansas," a touching comedy/drama about Gay men in Kansas who come together and form a singing group just to have one place where they can be who they are.

Queer Democrats Demand 100% on Marriage, Choice (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality passed a sweeping change to its rules for endorsing or rating candidates May 24. The new rules demand that candidates seeking an endorsement or favorable rating from the club support full marriage equality for Queer couples and an eight-point agenda for protecting women's access to abortion.

Will Johnson: Occupy Activist Says Movement's Alive & Well (tags)

According to Occupy San Diego activist Will Johnson, the movement is alive and well. It may no longer be running law-defying occupations in prominent public places, but it's still working out ways to challenge the vast and increasing inequality in the distribution of wealth and income in the U.S.

"Explosive" 9/11 Documentary Premieres in San Diego (tags)

One day before the film's "official" premiere in Beverly Hills, architect Richard Gage and other members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth showed their new film, "9/11: Explosive Evidence: Experts Speak Out" at the Joyce Beers Community Center in San Diego. Its thesis is that "controlled demolition," not fires caused by the impacts of the planes hitting the buildings, brought down the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.

Zenger's Newsmagazine Election Endorsements (tags)

Full endorsements for San Diego voters in the June 5 primary election. As in 2010, in virtually every race Zenger's is recommending every Democrat over every Republican, not because the Democrats (with a few exceptions) are that progressive but because the Republicans are so reactionary they want to abolish the social safety net, virtually eliminate civil rights, workers', consumers' and environmental protections, and transform the U.S.as radically as the Nazis transformed Germany in 1933.

San Diego Marriage Equality Trial Delayed (tags)

A funny thing happened to the six remaining defendants in the Equality Nine case — members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) who were arrested while demonstrating for marriage equality at the San Diego County Clerk’s office August 19, 2010 — on their way to a trial that was supposed to begin April 30. Judge Joan Weber, discovered that prosecutors had systematically excluded Queers from the jury pool, and she threw out the entire jury pool and decided that the case would have to start over September 18.

Singer Justin Utley: Gay Ex-Mormon Tells His Story in Music (tags)

Justin Utley grew up Mormon in a suburb of Salt Lake City. He was raised to believe he was one of the "Chosen People" — until he started realizing that his emotional, romantic and sexual interests lay with men and not women. On the advice of the church, he spent four years in so-called "reparative therapy" trying to "cure" himself of being Gay. Then he decided to be who he was created to be and not what his repressive church wanted him to be, and in two full-length CD's and his inspirational single "Stand for Something" he's set his struggle to powerful, intense music.

Queer Democrats Unanimously Oppose Pension "Reform" (tags)

The hottest issue on the June 5 ballot in San Diego is Proposition B, the public pension "reform" initiative sponsored by openly Queer Right-wing City Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio. It would freeze all city workers' pay for five years and abolish the city's pension system for new hires, replacing it with a 401(k)-style plan. The product of a decade-long propaganda campaign by the radical Right politicians and media, it's expected to pass easily — but the predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality, after hearing a debate on it, unanimously voted to oppose it at their April 26 meeting.

Ann Romney, Working Mom? (tags)

It's not that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life; it's that she's never HAD to work a day in her life. Ann Romney, like her husband Mitt, have been insulated from the day-to-day struggle to make a living most of us have to deal with. Like Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, they soar above the country they would lead, andin the era of the Occupy movement and the huge number of Americans who are shocked, shocked! to find that 1 percent of the population actually controls half the nation’s wealth and income, the Republicans have added insult to injury by anointing a candidate not only of the 1 percent but the 0.1 percent at the top of the top.

Thousands of San Diegans Lose Right to Vote (tags)

By centralizing the counting of ballots on election day, and tightening the criteria by which ballots are read, San Diego County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler is effectively — and illegally — disenfranchising many voters, particularly senior citizens, disabled people and voters whose primary language is not English.

John Brooks: Occupy Inspires Neophyte to Run for Congress (tags)

John Brooks was a retired agent for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife until he saw the Occupy San Diego protests on TV and was inspired to run for Congress as an alternative Democrat. Though he ran afoul of the San Diego Democrats for Equality's endorsement process, he's recently been endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America and his real views on Queer rights and women's choice are far more progressive than the Democrats for Equality's questionnaire made them sound.

Gustavo Arellano: How Mexican Food Conquered the U.S. (tags)

Gustavo Arellano, who in the last decade has risen from food editor at the O.C. Weekly in Orange County to investigative reporter at the paper and author of the popular syndicated column “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a witty send-up of anti-Mexican stereotypes published in at least 38 media outlets, came to San Diego April 11 to promote his latest book, "Taco U.S.A.: How Mexican Food Conquered America."

Health Care and the Supremes (tags)

When the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act in late March, the vicious hostility of their comments signaled their intent not only to rule so-called "Obamacare" unconstitutional but to fundamentally recast the Court's jurisprudence. It's clear from the health-care hearings and from previous decisions like Citizens United that the Court's five-member Right-wing majority wants to return to the days before and during the New Deal when the Court quite consciously saw its mission as protecting the 1 percent by ruling any meaningful attempt at regulating the economy unconstitutional.

San Diego Mayoral Candidates Address Queer Community (tags)

When this year's major candidates for Mayor of San Diego — City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher and Congressmember Bob Filner — addressed the Queer community March 28, the irony that gripped the room was that the two openly Queer candidates, DeMaio and Dumanis, were running to the right of the non-Queer Fletcher and Filner. DeMaio, who in other contexts has said he wants to be "the Scott Walker of San Diego," dominated the event with his anti-labor pension "reform" proposal and his refusal to acknowledge the leadership of San Diego's Queer community even though he is Queer himself.

Queer Democrats Endorse Teachers’ Union Leaders for School Boards (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality have become virtually an appendage of the local labor movements in making their 2012 election endorsements. In January they rejected progressive Congressional candidate Lori Saldaña and endorsed her moderate Democratic opponent, Scott Peters, largely on labor's say-so. In February they rated anti-marriage Catholic Juan Vargas and marriage equality defender Denise Moreno Ducheny equally "acceptable" for another Congressional seat. And in March they picked teachers' union leaders for their school board endorsements.

“Severely Conservative” (tags)

Mitt Romney's remark last February that he was a "severely conservative" governor of Massachusetts highlighted the love of discipline that holds the radical Right in general and the Republican Party in particular and reconciles their rejection of a role for government in the economy with their insistence that government aggressively enforce "traditional moral values."

Human Trafficking: The Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name (tags)

On March 14 the members of Canvass for a Cause, a San Diego-based organization formed to raise money and awareness for marriage equality, heard a chilling presentation by San Diego County Youth Services social worker Michelle Atkins on human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children and young women. She critiqued the myth that so-called "sex work" is ever a legitimate self-actualizing career path and described her own work helping young women who've been kidnapped or lured into selling their bodies for someone else's profit.

Katherine Stewart Exposes the "Good News Clubs" (tags)

They bill themselves as "nondenominational Bible study" groups for grade-schoolers, but according to investigative reporter Katherine Stewart, the Good News Clubs are just part of a broad-based campaign by the radical religious Right to turn public schools into arenas of religious conversion. They've already won virtually complete permission from the U.S. Supreme Court to run roughshod over the separation of church and state, and religious organizations — especially anti-woman, anti-Queer Fundamentalist ones — have become a 900-pound gorilla able to push themselves into any public school they want to crash.

"A Hell of a Way to Boil Water": (tags)

Veteran anti-nuclear activist Ace Hoffman came to San Diego from his home in north San Diego County February 20 to talk about the dangers of nuclear power plants in general and two nuclear power plants in particular: the Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactor which melted down after last year's tsunami and the ones at San Onofre in southern California. The event was held in part to promote a march and rally at the San Onofre site March 11, the first-year anniversary of the Fukushima tsunami.

Queer Democrats Split in 51st Congressional District Race (tags)

For the second month in a row, the San Diego Democrats for EqualIty refused to endorse a progressive Latina for Congress. This time they were unable to come to a consensus whether to support Denise Moreno Ducheny or Juan Vargas in the 51st Congressional District, currently represented by mayoral candidate Bob Filner, despite Vargas's opposition to marriage equality and his abandonment of previous support for single-payer health care.

Marriage Equality Activists Face Trial March 28 (tags)

The Equality 9 — nine members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) who sat in at the San Diego county clerk's office August 19, 2010 to protest the delay in implementing the federal court decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, are facing trial in San Diego County Superior Court March 28. They are asking for people to show up at 8 a.m. for a pre-trial march and rally and to contact San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to urge him to drop the charges.

Where's OUR Religious Liberty? (tags)

The recent controversy over whether institutions owned by the Roman Catholic Church should be required to include birth control coverage in the health insurance they offer employees, the attempt in Virginia to require women seeking abortions to submit to medical rape, and the radical Right's reaction to the 9th Circuit appeals court ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional raises the question: why does it seem as if only bigoted Right-wing churches have "religious liberty" in this country? Why are America's officially tolerated spiritual belief systems seemingly limited to those of the Roman Catholics, Mormons and Southern Baptist Convention?

Cynthia Nixon: Bi Heroine Tells It Like It Is (tags)

Actress Cynthia Nixon caused a brief furor last January and ruffled the feathers of the Queer Thought Police by daring to say publicly that as a Bisexual she believes she did have a choice in her sexual orientation, and she doesn't see why people should assume she's a Lesbian just because her current relationship partner is a woman.

Diversionary's "Next Fall": Fun and Thought-Provoking (tags)

"Next Fall," playing through March 25 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights, San Diego, is a sometimes funny, sometimes wrenching, sometimes thought-provoking play in which an auto accident involving one member of a Gay male couple provokes confrontations between his partner and his blood family and triggers a series of flashbacks highlighting the conflict of faith between the victim, a devout born-again Christian, and his non-believing lover.

San Diego Queer Democrats Reject Progressive, Endorse Moderate for Congress (tags)

The San Diego Democrats for Equality, a predominantly Queer Democratic party club, decisively rejected the Congressional candidacy of progressive former Assemblymember Lori Saldaña at its regular meeting January 26. Instead they endorsed moderate Scott Peters on the ground that he'd be a better "fit" for the district, could raise more money and would have a better shot at unseating Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray.

San Diegans Rally Against Citizens United Decision (tags)

Though the original location had to be changed when agents of the Department of Homeland Security blocked off the original one, San Diegans nonetheless held a rally January 20 against the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, which opened the floodgates for even more corporate influence over American politics and elections.

Democrats Are Not Evil (tags)

Whatever we think of the Democratic Party, like it or not, in the current political emergency, we are going to HAVE to align with them and vote for every Democrat on the ballot over every Republican — not because the Democrats are that progressive but because the Republicans plan a sweeping Right-wing revolution comparable to the changes Germany went through when Hitler took power in 1933, and the Democratic Party is one essential vehicle we will need to use to stop them.

Queer Liberation Started in San Francisco, Not Stonewall (tags)

The legend says America's — and the world's — Queer liberation movement began with the riot at the Stonewall Inn bar in New York City in June 1969. But three months before, militant Queer activists in San Francisco had launched the Committee for Homosexual Freedom (CHF) and mounted the first-ever picket against a private employer for discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Leo Laurence and Pat Brown, two veterans of that movement, brought their story to Activist San Diego June 16.

Occupy 2.0 (tags)

Photos of the Occupy San Diego three-month anniversary march January 7 downtown and an interview with Occupy activist and former hunger striker John Kenney on his ideas for the future of the movement.

FABIO A. ROJAS: Immigrant Musician, Producer, Activist in San Diego (tags)

Fabio A. Rojas has certainly packed a lot of living in his 20-something years. At present he’s the owner of Refugio Roots Music, a combination recording studio, performance space and art gallery at 906 21st Street in Golden Hill (it’s a corner building and the entrance is on “E” Street). He’s also recording progressive events for Activist San Diego’s under-construction radio station, KNSJ 89.5 FM in Descanso, and he recently returned from a tour with the popular, long-lived (17 years) Latino rock band the B-Side Players.

Arrested for Voter Registration (tags)

The recent arrest of former Congressional candidate Ray Lutz for attempting to register voters at Occupy San Diego is an indication of how far the class war in the U.S. has extended. It's part of a much more sophisticated series of actions on the part of the corporate Right to make sure that the "wrong" people — those that question the right of the 1 percent to run the country as they please — don't get a chance to vote.

Occupy Activist Recalls Police Brutality, Medical Neglect (tags)

At the annual holiday fundraiser of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) December 9, activist and police brutality victim Michelle "Jersey" Deutsch recalled not only being Maced by police but being the victim of prejudicial treatment at the hospital once the doctors and nurses treating her learned that she was an Occupy San Diego activist who had been attacked by police at the occupation site.

Sean Wherley: Activist Comedian Laughs Out Proud (tags)

Veteran activist and political staffer Sean Wherley found another outlet a year ago when he took up stand-up comedy and started the Laugh Out Proud shows the second Thursday of every month at Martinis Above Fourth in Hillcrest, San Diego. His monthly shows present Queer and Queer-friendly comedians from San Diego and L.A. — and they're funny!

Two Hard Cases, Two Bad Laws (tags)

The November 14 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of so-called "Obamacare" and the November 17 decision of the California Supreme Court that the proponents of Proposition 8 have legal standing to appeal it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court are both disasters for the progressive community. But they also highlight the conflict between general principles of justice progressives should support and tactical positions in specific cases that may work to our short-term advantage but cause us problems later on.

Greg Palast Presents "Vultures’ Picnic" in San Diego (tags)

Though Greg Palast presented the manuscript of his book "Vultures' Picnic" to his publisher well before the Occupy movement started, when he spoke in San Diego November 15 to promote the book he made the line, "This is why we occupy," the refrain of his speech. Palast framed his tales of corporate greed and government enabling into a brief of support for the Occupy movement and its challenge to the "1 percent."

The Way She Sees It: Jamala Rogers in San Diego (tags)

Jamala Rogers, columnist for the African-American weekly St. Louis American since 1994 and co-chair of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, spoke in San Diego November 15 to promote her book, "The Best of 'The Way I See It,'" a compilation of her columns. Among them are a ringing defense of Queer rights and a series denouncing the government response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath as anti-Black genocide.

America's Unequal Heritage (tags)

Though a lot of the Tea Party's pretensions to be representing the original intent of the authors of the U.S. Constitution are wrong and even silly, there's one issue on which the Tea Party is right. The authors of the U.S. Constitution really did intend this country to be a limited republic, governed by an elite representing the large landowners who were the 1 percent of their day. The Constitution's principal author, James Madison, called "an equal division of property" one of the "improper or wicked projects" the Constitution was designed to prevent.

Nico D'Amico-Barbour: Canvass for a Cause Organizer on Marriage Equality, Occupation-print (tags)

Nico D'Amico Barbour, regional director of Canvass for a Cause -- an organization founded in San Diego two years ago to advocate for marriage equality which has since expanded to Los Angeles -- shows an entrepreneurial spirit and an almost born-again commitment to activism that's more commonly associated with the Right than the Left these days.

Queer Democrats Endorse Occupy San Diego (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality (formerly the San Diego Democratic Club) held their first regular meeting since the name change October 27 and overwhelmingly endorsed Occupy San Diego. The strongly worded resolution, based on one passed by the San Diego County Democratic Party, not only supported Occupy's right to protest and camp out in the Civic Center Plaza downtown but also ringingly endorsed the group's challenge to corporate power. The club also endorsed progressive Congressmember Bob Filner for Mayor of San Diego in the 2012 election.

Labor Rallies in Support of Occupy San Diego Oct. 28 (tags)

Despite a pre-dawn police raid on both Occupy San Diego sites — the Civic Center Plaza near City Hall and the Children's Park across from the Convention Center — a rally sponsored by organized labor in support of the occupation went ahead as scheduled October 28. At this time, the occupiers are still there.

Democracy Now! Co-Host Gonzalez Speaks in San Diego (tags)

"Democracy Now!" co-host Juan Gonzalez spoke in San Diego October 24 as part of a whirlwind tour in support of his new book, "News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media." He made two main points in his talk: that there are three "strains" of American media — the corporate mainstream, the white alternative or "rebel" press, and media owned and controlled by people of color; and that since the 1840's the U.S. government has regulated every technological change in the media in a way that favors the interests of giant corporations over ordinary people.

The San Diego Mayoral Candidates That Didn't Bark (tags)

When A Better San Diego, a coalition made up largely of labor unions and their affiliates, sponsored a debate among the four leading candidates for Mayor of San Diego in next year's election, only two showed up. The no-shows were City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, whose whole campaign is based on targeting city workers as the source of San Diego's economic woes, and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, both Republicans. A third Republican, Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, and Democratic Congressmember Bob Filner attended and differed on city workers' pensions, outsourcing city jobs to private companies and many other issues.

Beyond the Occupation (tags)

Occupy Wall Street and its sister movements, including Occupy San Diego, have dramatically changed the terms of political and economic debate in the U.S. Before they arose, it looked like the only choices the American people would be given to understand the disaster that has befallen them in this nation's economic collapse was the mild pro-corporatism of the Democratic Party and the ardent, Ayn Randian pro-corporatism of the Republicans and the Tea Party. What's more, so far the Occupy protesters have shown an ability to learn from the Left's past mistakes, pattern their movement after the American Revolution (as the Tea Party did) and junk the hideously unworkable process of consensus decision-making.

Nico D'Amico-Barbour: Canvass for a Cause Organizer on Marriage Equality, Occupation (tags)

Nico D'Amico-Barbour, regional field director for the marriage equality organization Canvass for a Cause, discusses marriage rights, the Occupy movement and other progressive issues in this audio interview, scheduled for print publication in the December 2011 issue of Zenger's Newsmagazine.

Marriage Equality Protesters Have Day in Court Oct. 17 (tags)

The "Equality Nine," marriage equality protesters who were arrested in August 2010 for staging a sit-in at the San Diego County Clerk's office to protest the continuing denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, were back in court October 17. The city attorney, who has refused to drop the charges, has offered them a plea deal, but so far all but two have refused to take it.

“Paradise Plundered” Takes Aim at San Diego’s Political Culture (tags)

Once upon a time, San Diego had a reputation for being an efficiently governed city whose taxes were low -- and so was its level of services, especially to working-class and lower-income people. Today the level of services is even lower and the city is so wretchedly governed the New York Times called it "Enron by the Sea." What happened is explained in the new book "Paradise Plundered," whose co-author, Vladimir Kogan, came to the Hillcrest Town Council October 11 and talked about the city's infamous pension crisis.

CHRIS TINA BRUCE: Transgender Bodybuilder Competes in San Diego Oct. 29 (tags)

Transgender bodybuilder Chris Tina Bruce is scheduled to compete in her first contest in 20 years — and her first as a woman — this Saturday, October 29 at the Scottish Rite Events Center in San Diego. In this interview for Zenger's Newsmagazine, Bruce discusses her history, how she came out as Transgender and how her professional worlds have accepted her — or not.

Novelist Anne Enright Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Irish novelist Anne Enright came to the San Diego Public Library October 10 to present "The Forgotten Waltz," her first book since her previous novel "The Gathering" won the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2007. Enright talked about the pressures of sudden fame, how she combines writing with being a stay-at-home mom, and the roller-coaster ride of the Irish economy from boom in 2002 to bust in 2007. Though "The Forgotten Waltz" is not literally a political allegory, Enright says she meant it largely as a metaphoric portrayal of Ireland during its boom and bust years.

Occupy San Diego Draws Thousands Downtown Oct. 15 (tags)

Despite attacks by police wielding pepper spray and Mace, confiscation of their possession and a series of threats to evict them forcibly from the Civic Center Plaza, over 1,000 members and supporters of Occupy San Diego reclaimed their downtown space October 15. The day was busy, including three marches and two rallies as well as Occupy San Diego's usual open discussion about its goals.

What's in a Name? "San Diego Democrats for Equality" (tags)

The mountain labored at the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club September 22 and produced the club's new name: "San Diego Democrats for Equality." The push to change the club's name was sparked by several members who thought the original name, approved when the club started in 1974, was a relic of a more closeted age and the club needed a new name that more openly and proudly proclaimed its identity as a Queer-rights organization. Though the club voted overwhelmingly to change its name, there was considerable debate over what to change it to: out of the three proposed alternatives, the least openly Queer name, "San Diego Democrats for Equality," won a majority on the first ballot against "San Diego Stonewall Democrats" (after the event commonly, but inaccurately, thought to have started the U.S. Queer rights movement) and "San Diego LGBT Democrats."

Queer Democrats Host Incumbent City Councilmembers (tags)

Thanks to a member who asked that all so-called "friendly incumbent" endorsements be pulled for further discussion, the three incumbent San Diego City Councilmembers who attended the September 22 meeting of the predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality (formerly the San Diego Democratic Club) ? Todd Gloria, Marti Emerald and Sherri Lightner ? found themselves on the spot. Instead of just showing up to receive their endorsements and thank the club, they spoke to the group on such controversial issues like the city's budget and pension problems, historical preservation and the influence of wealthy people like Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs on plans for Balboa Park.

Keith Brown Interviews Mark Conlan on ?Big Brother? HIV Test Program (tags)

Two audio links to information about the viciously intrusive, Big Brother-ish "Lead the Way" HIV antibody testing program being pushed by Dr. Susan Little, head of the Antiviral Research Center at UC San Diego (whose previous HIV test program broke the confidentiality of ALL the people tested in it). One is Zenger's Newsmagazine editor/publisher Mark Gabrish Conlan reading his editorial "Big Brother Is Testing You," with cut-in quotes from Dr. Little herself; and the other is an interview with Mark Gabrish Conlan by Keith Brown of the "Gay Spirit" radio program in Hartford, Connecticut that also contains new information about "Lead the Way."

Five Minutes of Geography ? (tags)

The late Lenny Bruce once joked that the radical Right's fears about ? shock! ? sex education in the public schools were unfounded because schoolkids weren't going to come home and tell their parents, "Today at school we learned five minutes of geography and ten minutes of cocksucking." The modern-day radical Right's campaign to get rid of SB 48, a bill recently passed by the California legislature to require middle and high schools to teach the role and contributions of Queer Americans (along with Pacific Islanders and people with disabilities), is driven by a similar paranoia and a disbelief that there even are such things as Queer people ? and so far the Queer community's response to the attack on SB 48 is all too faithfully copied from the losing campaign against Proposition 8: a "coalition" made up mostly of straight people and a whiny argument about how we supposedly need "role models" to keep from drinking, drugging or suiciding.

Downtown Labor Day Rally Draws Over 200 (tags)

MoveOn.org's San Diego chapter and other local activists hosted a Labor Day rally outside Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego Monday, September 5, featuring speakers like Congressmembers Bob Filner and Susan Davis, San Diego-Imperial Counties Central Labor Council secretary-treasurer Lorena Gonzalez, State Senator Juan Vargas, State Assemblymember Lori Salda?a, former City Councilmember Floyd Morrow and Activist San Diego president Jeeni Criscenzo. Much of the action urged solidarity with the supermarket workers threatened by their employers' demands for a takeaway contract and the likelihood of a strike. While most of the speakers said, "Jobs, jobs, jobs," Criscenzo urged listeners to take another look at the whole concept of a "job" and question why the only way we should be allowed to make a living is to beg a rich person or corporation for the chance to make them richer.

Free the Equality Nine! Action Sept. 28 in Downtown San Diego (tags)

Over a year has passed since the ?Equality Nine? ? members and supporters of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) ? were arrested on August 19, 2010 at the San Diego County Administrative Center. Now the Equality Nine plan to present their petitions to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith at a rally Wednesday, September 28, 4 p.m. outside the City Attorney?s office, 1200 Third Avenue downtown. The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday, October 17 in the San Diego County Courthouse downtown.

Veterans for Peace Solicit Donations for Homeless on 9/11 Anniversary (tags)

Members of the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice and the San Diego Veterans for Peace (SDVFP) staged an alternative commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in Balboa Park, at which SDVFP solicited donations for their "Compassion Campaign." This involves asking people to donate $35 to buy a sleeping bag, poncho and carrying bag for a homeless person. They've already helped out 700 people, many of them veterans, and need your help to do more.

Activists Host "Radio Summer" in San Diego August 29 (tags)

Members of San Diego's activist community gathered together at the Media Arts Center in North Park on August 29 to hear about how low-power FM (LPFM) radio can create new opportunities for progressive media and break the Right-wing stranglehold on the local airwaves. The attendees heard a presentation via Skype from Philadelphia-based Ian Smith of the Prometheus Radio Project, which was instrumental in lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the LPFM opportunity in the first place, and also heard from representatives of the World Beat Center, Media Rights Coalition and Activist San Diego.

S. Brian Willson Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Because of what he was doing the day he lost his legs ? September 1, 1987, in Concord, California, when he was run over by a train he and his fellow activists were trying to stop before it could deliver arms to Right-wing governments and private armies in Central America ? and his involvement in the Veterans for Peace organization, most people who?ve heard of S. Brian Willson think of him as an anti-war activist. But he?s considerably more than that. At his most recent San Diego appearance September 4 to promote his book, a combination autobiography and work of political philosophy called Blood on the Tracks, Willson presented a far-reaching critique of so-called ?human civilization? and suggested it?s all been downhill since the Neolithic period, when economic scarcity forced humans to live in small communities and share equally with each other.

PATRICK McMAHON: Gay Adoptee Recalls His Search for His Birth Parents (tags)

Who am I? Who are my parents? Where did I come from? When, where and how was I born? Most of us take the answers to these questions for granted. But it?s not so easy if you were adopted. Then, as Patrick McMahon n? Shields found out in 1990, the authentic record of his birth was treated as if it were a state secret whose revelation would jeopardize national security. He details the story of his two-year search for his true origins in his new self-published book "Becoming Patrick," an extraordinarily well-written combination of self-discovery memoir, suspense thriller, soap opera and wrenching reunion story.

"Edward II": Diversionary Brings Marlowe's Queer Play to Life (tags)

SB 48 Referendum: THE Epic Struggle for Queer Rights in California (tags)

Roland Palencia, executive director of the Queer lobbying group Equality California (EQCA), calls the radical Right's attempt to get rid of the FAIR Education Act, also known as SB 48, "the greatest threat in years to LGBT [Queer] Californians." The Act adds Queer people, people with disabilities and Pacific Islanders to the list of communities whose "role and contributions" to American and Californian history and society must be acknowledged in lessons and textbooks used by the California public schools. Radical-Right activists, including some of the same people who successfully eliminated marriage equality in California via Proposition 8, plan to make it a referendum on the very existence and legitimacy of the Queer community and will likely wage an ugly campaign based on many negative stereotypes of Queer people. Palencia's group is fighting back by setting up a broad, mostly non-Queer coalition, and he, EQCA regional field director George Zander and openly Queer San Diego Unified School District board member Kevin Beiser spoke at the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club August 25 to mobilize its members to join the campaign and help organize the grand coalition.

Tea Party America and How to Fight It (tags)

The recent debate in Washington, D.C. over raising the debt ceiling has underscored just how totally the radical Right in general and the "Tea Party" in particular have taken over America's political debate and the economic and social consciousness of a majority of Americans. The remnant of a Left that still survives in America can only fight back if it first realizes, like a rehab patient, that we've "hit bottom" and then musters the kind of internal and external discipline it will take to mount an effective counter-attack. Instead of critiquing ourselves in public, we need to settle our differences behind closed doors, present an image of rock-solid unity to the outside world and get rid once and for all of the insanity of "consensus decision-making."

Activists Discuss Debt Debate, Wonder How We Let Right Control It (tags)

Congressmember Bob Filner, San Diego labor leader Lorena Gonzalez and three other speakers appeared as part of a panel convened by Activist San Diego for their regular meeting August 15. The ostensible purpose was to discuss the recent debate in Washington over raising the nation's debt ceiling, but it soon turned into a discussion of how the Right managed to take over the debate, frame it the way they wanted and get virtually everything they wanted -- including promises of large cuts in government spending that will only worsen the economy and risk not only a double-dip recession but an outright depression. Filner talked not only about President Obama's willingness to concede the domestic agenda to the Republicans but his and the Democrats' Congressional leaders utter unwillingness to end the unaffordable wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Media Arts Center Hosts "Radio Summer" August 29 (tags)

The Prometheus Radio Project, a nationwide organization working to broaden the range of community voices available on America's audio airwaves, scored a major victory in July when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally set up a licensing rule for thousands of new low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations, including some in urban areas previously ineligible for these grass-roots local stations. Now Prometheus is promoting a series of events called "Radio Summer" to organize people to obtain these licenses and get their stations on the air. The Media Arts Center of San Diego is hosting a "Radio Summer" event Monday, August 29, 6 to 8 p.m. at their office, 2921 El Cajon Boulevard (near 30th St.) in North Park, with a wide variety of other organizations in coalition. So if you're tired of the San Diego airwaves seeming to be the private preserve of the extreme Right, that's where you need to be next Monday!

Parker Jaques: Bisexual, Binary and Proud! (tags)

Parker Jaques isn't the usual sort of interviewee who gets featured in a Queer publication. That's why I wanted to interview him for the cover story in the September 2011 Zenger's Newsmagazine. He doesn't have a traumatic, breast-beating coming-out story to tell. He wasn't Queer-bashed in school because his mother encouraged him to fight back if anyone tried it. He's proud of his identity not only as a Bisexual but as a gender-identified male, and he has such withering contempt for people (like the August 2011 Zenger's cover person, Red) who call themselves "non-binary" -- neither male nor female -- that once we started discussing that subject it was hard to get him to talk about anything else. That's why I call him "Bisexual, Binary and Proud!"

The Long and Winding Road of Marriage Equality Litigation (tags)

Seeking social change through litigation is not for the faint-hearted ? or the impatient. At the July 28 meeting of the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club, attorney Jason Molnar of the Southern Poverty Law Center talked about the history of marriage equality litigation and brought two flow charts showing the twisted route it's already taken through the courts ? and it's likely to get even more twisted before the U.S. Supreme Court rules one way or the other.

The Debt Ceiling: Where Are the Grownups? (tags)

The fact that the ruling elites haven't stepped in and forced the President and Congress to raise the debt ceiling, the way they did in October 2008 to push through the TARP big-bank bailout, suggests either that the corporate ruling class likes the "shock treatment" agenda being pushed by the Tea Party -- force a default on U.S. debt so the President and Congress will have to eliminate the welfare state virtually overnight -- or that the Tea Party has become the ruling class's Frankenstein, a monster it can no longer control.

Marching with S.A.M.E. at the San Diego Pride Parade (tags)

A lot of progressive Queers and Queer-friendly allies have written off the annual Pride events as overly commercial, corporate and mainstream. But that's not what it felt like to me when I marched with the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) in San Diego's Pride Parade July 16. In a mixed contingent that also included members of the Bradley Manning Support Group and the International Socialist Organization, I felt like part of a movement, participating in an island of militant political awareness that asserted the values on which Pride was founded that have largely got lost in the overall celebration. With nine S.A.M.E. members facing criminal charges for seeking marriage licenses following the federal district court ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional, some of the signs the contingent carried linked their members -- and Bradley Manning -- to notorious American political prisoners of the past.

Photos of San Diego's Queer Pride Parade July 16 (tags)

Photos of San Diego's Queer (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Parade July 16 in Hillcrest and Balboa Park.

Rally Kicks Off San Diego Pride Events (tags)

San Diego's Queer (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride events kicked off Friday, July 15 at a rally on the pride festival site in Balboa Park. The featured speakers were New Age author and credentialed minister Marianne Williamson, who talked about marriage equality as a straight supporter who has performed same-sex weddings, and Daniel Hernandez, the young, openly Gay aide to Congressmember Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) who saved her life when she was shot at an outdoor rally in January. But the most powerful speaker was former San Diego Democratic Club president Larry Baza, who powerfully expressed the history of the Queer rights movement and the challenges it faces in the future.

The Marriage Vow(s) (tags)

The vote of the New York legislature to legally recognize same-sex marriage has produced a backlash of unexpected ferocity and scope. It comes from an Iowa-based organization called THE FAMiLY LEADER (that's the way it's printed on their logo) and it's called "The Marriage Vow." It's a far-reaching set of principles that goes beyond attacking same-sex marriage and supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment to ban it nationwide. It targets African-Americans in particular and says Black children born during the slave era were more likely to be raised by their mother and father than African-American infants born since Obama's election. It also calls for bans on adultery, "quickie" divorces, Sharia Islam and laws that don't conform to the Judeo-Christian agenda. The aim of its authors is to get all the current candidates for President to sign it ? and two Republicans, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty, already have.

RED: "Non-Binary" Person Rejects Male/Female Gender Duality (tags)

Red, who works at San Diego's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, identifies themselves as non-binary: that is, neither male nor female but somewhere in a "cloud" of genders that rejects the idea that there are only two human gender identities, male and female. They gave an interview for the August 2011 Zenger's Newsmagazine in which they (you refer to a non-binary person as "they," "them" or "theirs" even if you're only referencing one individual) explained these new, unfamiliar concepts of gender that are beyond the experience of most people, including most Transgender people. Red and Zenger's editor/publisher Mark Gabrish Conlan discussed how both gender identity and sexual orientation are far more complex and fluid than either the straight or the Queer mainstream is willing to acknowledge.

Dennis Wymbs: Retired Teacher Becomes Leather Artist (tags)

San Diego North County teacher turned leather artist Dennis Wymbs is showing his art through July 31 at Pleasures & Treasures, 2525 University Avenue in North Park. Wymbs creates stunning work in a wide variety of media, including leather sculptures, metal engraving, masks and painting. His work is sensual and reflects his background as a Gay man and a Leatherman, but without hurling his or its sexuality in our faces. The store where he's exhibiting can be reached at (619) 822-4280 or online at http://pleasuresandtreasures.biz

MOXIE?s Poster Boys at Diversionary: Funny ? and More (tags)

Poster Boys, now playing in a MOXIE/Diversionary Theatre co-production at 4545 Park Boulevard in University Heights, is typical MOXIE fare: a great script (having its U.S. premiere) that makes sly, insinuating comments on sexual orientation, religion, advertising and the (lack of) integrity associated with it, and the ways major corporations try to whitewash (or greenwash) their images and seem more progressive than they are to attract our business. It runs through July 31; see it.

Leather History Meeting Relives the Wounds of AIDS (tags)

Though it was billed as a panel on the history of San Diego's Leather community, the San Diego League of Gentlemen meeting July 1 turned into something else: an emotionally intense discussion and reminiscence of the effect AIDS had on the Queer community in general and the Leather community in particular. Themselves touched by the crisis directly ? all the panelists either had AIDS, took care of people who did or were active in the community's response ? they talked about the pain of losing so many friends but also how the community grew and its surviving members became more emotionally committed to each other.

Queer Democrats Warned About Threats to Reproductive Choice (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club heard two presentations at its June 23 meeting: a report on the likely strike by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) against southern California?s three largest grocery chains ? Ralph?s, Albertson?s and Vons ? and a warning about the potentially devastating effects of Republican and radical-Right policies against women?s rights to reproductive choice. Though the struggles of women to maintain safe and legal access to contraception and abortion may seem to have little in common with those of workers for decent pay, access to health care and other benefits, speakers on both issues noted how the radical Right has effectively linked them in the service of a paternalistic agenda that regards workers as mere cogs in a capitalist economy, and women as mere vessels for giving birth to the next generation.

UFCW Local 135 Union Stores Not Facing a Strike (tags)

Facing a strike at the three largest grocery chains in southern California ? Ralph's, Albertson's and Vons ? the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 prepared this list of stores in San Diego County which they represent and which will NOT be involved in the likely upcoming strike. Since at this time they have not posted this list on their own Web site, http://www.ufcw135.org, Mark Gabrish Conlan and Zenger's Newsmagazine are making it available as a public service. Please help support this action by reposting this list and spreading it far and wide on the Web, and hopefully this will give the union leadership the message that they need to join the 21st century and promote this list on their own Web site.

Over 500 Turn Out for San Diego Slut Walk (tags)

For those who thought the battle over whether women who dress in sexually provocative clothing are thereby giving men the ?right? to rape them was won in the 1970?s, it was a shock last January when a police representative in Toronto, Canada told a class he was lecturing to that ?women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.? His boorish, sexist remarks had one positive result: they rekindled the feminist movement via a series of ?Slut Walks,? mass demonstrations in which women deliberately dress in so-called ?slut wear? both to communicate a sex-positive message and to make the point that women should be free to dress any way they like and go about wherever they like without inviting men to rape them. The message of the ?Slut Walks?: don?t teach women how to avoid rape: TEACH MEN NOT TO RAPE!

Back to the Ballot - Queer Activists Debate Whether to Seek Repeal of Prop. 8 (tags)

With the court challenge to Proposition 8, California?s voter-approved ban on legal recognition of same-sex marriages, mired in potential legal wrangling that could take years to resolve, Equality California (EQCA) revived their plans to take the issue back to voters and seek an initiative to repeal Prop. 8. But the 70 or so activists at the EQCA town-hall meeting in San Diego June 3 split over whether that?s a good strategy ? or whether EQCA, primarily a lobbying organization, is the right group to run such a campaign.

Bisexual Forum Targets Invisibility and Bigotry (tags)

Bisexuals, the "B" in "LGBT," are actually the largest of the four groups represented by that unlovely acronym, but they're also among the most misunderstood people in the Queer community. They face bitter and often ferocious prejudice and bigotry not only from homophobic straight people but from Gays and Lesbians whose anti-Bi beliefs lead them to be threatened by the existence of Bi people. The Bisexual Forum of San Diego held a workshop at the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center May 12 to dispel some of the misunderstandings other Queers have towards Bisexuals and tell their stories, which often involve a dual coming-out process: first as Lesbian or Gay, then as Bi when they realize they can no longer deny either their same-sex or opposite-sex attractions.

Bin Laden: Justice or Revenge? (tags)

The recent killing of Osama bin Laden by a U.S. Navy SEAL team spells an end to a remarkably successful terror operation that, by mounting one effective attack on September 11, 2001, ratcheted up the level of terror and fear in the U.S.; provided public support for a long-standing radical-Right agenda to effectively eliminate the due-process rights of the U.S. Constitution and put Americans under continuous surveillance; gave the Bush administration the pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq (the Obama administration has upped the number of wars the U.S. is fighting against Muslim nations from two to three by participating in the so-called ?no-fly zone? in Libya); and in general undermined American security while also encouraging millions of people in the Muslim world to take up terrorism out of hatred against America. The climate of fear carefully created by the U.S. government and corporate media around bin Laden is too useful to the Right-wing corporate agenda for them to allow it to be dispelled simply because bin Laden is no more.

Oceanside, Hillcrest to Host Fundraisers May 20 for a North County LGBT Center (tags)

Max Disposti, founder of the North County LGBT Coalition, has a dream for a center to serve the Queer community in Oceanside the way the LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest serves the city of San Diego. His group is hosting a fundraiser Friday, May 20, 6 to 9 p.m. at the Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way in Oceanside to raise money for the Center ? and, as a gesture of community support, the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality is hosting one for the same cause the same day ? Friday, May 20 ? from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bamboo Lounge, 1475 University Ave. (between Herbert and Normal Streets) in Hillcrest.

San Diego Queers Split Over City Redistricting (tags)

San Diego?s Queer community has split over their response to the redrawing of district lines for the City Council. On one side are the members of the self-styled ?LGBT Redistricting Task Force,? who are pushing a major redesign of the city?s Queer-influenced District 3, pushing out the people of color and less affluent Queers in City Heights and adding more upscale neighborhoods like Mission Hills and Bankers? Hill to the Hillcrest/North Park core of the district. On the other side are Queer residents of the City Heights community of Azalea Park, who bought there because gentrification had priced them out of Hillcrest and North Park and now find themselves threatened that they will no longer be represented by a Queer Councilmember. The current District 3 is San Diego?s most ethnically diverse; the district proposed by the LGBT Redistricting Task Force and the Hillcrest Town Council will be 70 percent white.

San Diego Hosts Three May Day Rallies (tags)

San Diego hosted no fewer than three rallies on Sunday, May 1 — one between the Centro Cultural de la Raza and World Beat Center in Balboa Park, followed by a march to the Federal Building downtown where the second rally was held, and a third at the San Diego Community Concourse that united the participants with another set of marchers, who had assembled earlier in the morning in Chicano Park, also for a walk downtown. The rally speakers focused on a wide variety of progressive issues — workers’ rights, education cutbacks, health care, immigrants’ rights, war and peace, Queer liberation — and attempted to draw connections between them and psych the participants for the long struggle ahead to preserve and extend those rights in the face of a relentless assault on them by the radical Right.

San Diegans March in Support of Chrissy Lee Polis, Transgender Rights (tags)

The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) and All Out at City, the Queer student group at San Diego City College, drew about 70 people to a march and rally they staged outside the McDonald’s in Hillcrest April 30 in support of Transgender rights. The rally was in support of Chrissy Lee Polis,the 24-year-old Transgender woman who was beaten up by two teenage girls in a women’s restroom at a McDonald’s in Baltimore April 18, while McDonald’s staff and customers looked on and only one person actually tried to stop the attack. One McDonald’s employee filmed the incident on a video-equipped cell phone and posted the clip to the Internet, where it “went viral” and shocked the conscience of many people who saw it. S.A.M.E., All Out at City and various individuals, many of them Transgender, seized the teachable moment to hold an event that held Transgender rights central to the overall struggle for Queer equality.

Labor Representatives Under Attack, Seek Queer Democrats’ Help (tags)

Three San Diego union leaders — Central Labor Council CEO/secretary-treasurer Lorena Gonzalez, Municipal Employees’ Association general manager Michael Zucchet, and SEIU Local 221 head Eric Banks — spoke to the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club April 28 on the state of the local labor movement. They focused on the attacks on public workers by the Republican party and the radical Right, which is aimed not only at driving public-sector wages and benefits below those offered by the private sector but also denying the one source of substantial campaign funding available to Democrats and thereby winning elections by eliminating effective competition. They also talked about the Right-wing bias of San Diego’s media and their success in demonizing public workers’ pensions as the source of San Diego’s financial ills.

Republicans Win Without a Shutdown (tags)

The first fight over the federal budget in 2011 is over, and the Republicans have won. For at least the past 30 years Republican ideas — that government is bad, that the private sector is always more efficient than the public sector, that wages and benefits need to be cut to make America's workers "competitive" with the rest of the world, and government spending needs to be cut even if it risks turning the current recession into a full-fledged depression — have ruled. Progressives need to understand the depth of the Republicans’ triumph in order to begin the task of reversing it.

KURT WENDELBORG: Not Your Typical Mr. San Diego Leather (tags)

Kurt Wendelborg may look like a typical Leather community titleholder — he’s tall, thin, in excellent shape physically and commandingly butch in his overall appearance and demeanor — but he really isn’t. Most of the Mr. San Diego Leather winners have been people who’ve lived in San Diego and been involved in community activities for years; Kurt had lived in San Diego less than a year when he ran for the title and won. Most of the title winners have been “tops,” playing the dominant role in scenes; Kurt not only is a “bottom” but proudly boasted about it from the stage at Rich’s during the March 19 contest. Offstage, Kurt is personable and easygoing but also passionate and dedicated about serving his community and his fellow human beings. He eagerly agreed to a Zenger’s interview and talked about the role of the title contests in the Leather community, his ambitions as a community leader and how he hopes being Mr. San Diego Leather 2011 will help him grow both personally and as a member of the Leather community.

San Diego Hammers Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Despite Public Support (tags)

Despite overwhelming public input asking for a looser ordinance that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to locate in commercial areas throughout San Diego and remain open while they pursued permits, the San Diego City Council voted 5-2 on Monday, March 26 for an ordinance that will close down all dispensaries for at least a year and force them to locate only in industrial zones — inconveniently far from the patients they serve. Even most of the Councilmembers who voted for the ordinance, which was tweaked at the last minute to make it slightly less restrictive, made it clear that they regard medical marijuana patients and the institutions that serve them as a detriment, not an asset, to the city.

S.A.M.E. Rallies Against Hate Crimes, Bullying (tags)

Drawn by several recent hate assaults on Queer people in the Hillcrest and North Park areas, members and supporters of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) rallied at the North Park Community Park Saturday afternoon, March 26. The rally featured speeches by openly Queer elected officials like Assemblymember Toni Atkins and School Board member Kevin Beiser, as well as ministers and others in support of Queer equality, but the most moving statements came from people who’d been on the receiving end of anti-Queer violence or bullying themselves: S.A.M.E. member René Torres, high school student Maya Conti and North Park resident Jacob Harshbarger, who wasn’t at the rally but sent a statement describing not only the attack against him but the lax response of local police and prosecutors. “I felt that the system that was supposed to be there to protect me was treating me as though it was my fault,” Harshbarger said.

Queer Democrats Oppose Initiative to Add Non-Elected Members to School Board (tags)

Two multimillionaires, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and hedge-fund CEO Rod Dammeyer, are sponsoring an initiative called “San Diegans 4 Great Schools” to add four non-elected members to the board of the San Diego Unified School District. The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club debated this initiative March 24 and passed a motion urging voters not to sign to put it on the ballot. Among their concerns were the potential dilution of voter input on the school board, the presence of the president of Roman Catholic Church-owned University of San Diego on the panel of nine people making the appointments, and the ways paid signature gatherers routinely lie about what initiatives will do in order to get people to sign them. The club heard from Scott Himmelmeyer, USD employee and spokesperson for the initiative, as well as current school board president Richard Barrera speaking for and against it, respectively.

March 19 Anti-War Protesters Target Obama (tags)

The annual anti-war demonstration sponsored by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice (SDCPJ) in mid-March had a markedly different tone this year from the actions in 2009 and 2010. Then the protesters and rally speakers had soft-pedaled criticism of President Obama, still holding out hope that he would fulfill his campaign promise to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and would come to realize that the war in Afghanistan — already America’s longest-lasting combat — was unwinnable and would withdraw there, too. Instead, Obama chose the eighth anniversary of former President George W. Bush’s attack on Iraq to launch U.S. air raids on Libya, thereby getting us involved in a third war against a Muslim country — and one young man at the rally summed up the attitude of most of the 300 people there by wearing a T-shirt with the famous Shepard Fairey image of Obama, and under it the words “War Criminal.”

Public Workers’ Struggle Is Our Struggle (tags)

Though it ended in a setback when the Republican majority in the Wisconsin state legislature used legally dubious tactics to ram the bill through anyway, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip his state’s public workers of the right to form unions and bargain collectively has engendered nationwide resistance from America’s increasingly embattled working class. Tens of thousands of people from Wisconsin and elsewhere flooded Madison, the state capital, and occupied the capitol building to protest Walker’s policies, and the Democrats in the Wisconsin State Senate left the state for three weeks to deny Walker and the Republicans the votes they needed to eviscerate the state’s union movement. America’s working and middle classes need to stand strong and fight back in the face of these efforts by the corporate and radical Right to deny the non-rich any voice whatsoever in America’s politics.

Connor Maddocks Teaches "Trans 101" to Queer Marriage Group (tags)

The Queer community is increasingly referred to by the awkward acronym "LGBT" ? which stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender" ? but few Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals really understand the needs, struggles and the rights of Transgender people. To bridge that gap, the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) invited Connor Maddocks, facilities manager at the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center and a female-to-male Transgender person, to make a presentation at their March 8 meeting. Maddocks' talk spanned a number of issues, from the physical aspects of a gender transition to the ways Transgender people are discriminated against and the hostility they sometimes face not only from heterosexuals but other Queers.

Michael Sol: Queer Leatherman Explores Intimacy and Sadism (tags)

Michael Sol, Leatherman extraordinaire and candidate for Mr. Los Angeles Leather this weekend (March 26-27), is giving a demonstration of the Japanese rope bondage art, shibari, at the Joyce Beers Community Center, Vermont Street between Terra and Aladdin Restaurants in Hillcrest, Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. at an event sponsored by the San Diego League of Gentlemen. In this interview, published in the April 2011 issue of Zenger's Newsmagazine, Sol talks extensively about his interests in Leather and so-called "edge play," and the distinction he draws between romantic intimacy and power exchanges. He also discusses the thin line between exercise and martial art, and between consensual S/M and the kinds of torture practiced on unwilling victims in places like Abu Ghraib.

Lawyers’ Guild Forum on Nonviolent Resistance: Participant, Attorney & Observer (tags)

The National Lawyers’ Guild hosted a forum on nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in downtown San Diego February 23, and discussed the issue from three points of view: attorney Alex Landon, protest participant Zakiya Khabir and legal observer Rachel Scoma.

Assemblymember Atkins Warns Queer Democrats on State Budget Cuts (tags)

California State Assemblymember Toni Atkins spoke to the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club February 24 and warned of two approaching deadlines coming up in the state legislature's budget deliberations: March 6, the ending of the special budget session called by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; and March 10, the last day the legislature can vote to call a special election to extend the current state sales tax rates and vehicle licensing fees so that current Governor Jerry Brown's budget, which calls for $12.5 billion in spending cuts, can be enacted. Without that — and so far the Republican minority in the legislature has held firm to block any vote on the tax issue, which requires support from 2/3 of both houses of the legislature even to make it to the ballot — Brown and the Democratic majority will have to make $12.5 billion more in spending cuts, which will virtually end California state spending on health and welfare and eviscerate the state's already underfunded education system.

Over 1,000 Turn Out in San Diego to Support Wisconsin Workers (tags)

Over 1,000 people turned out for a rally outside the San Diego County Administrative Center February 26 at noon to support Wisconsin's unionized public workers against the threat by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican majority in the state legislature to pass a bill essentially eliminating the right of the state's public employees to unionize and bargain collectively. A wide range of speakers, including union activists, community leaders and elected officials, said that if Walker's bill and similar ones in other states pass, it will essentially mark the end of the American middle class. The rally was part of a nationwide mobilization, and many of those who braved the cold and the rain to attend mentioned that the protesters in Wisconsin itself are sleeping out in the cold and snow in weather far worse than that in San Diego.

It’s Secularists That Are Poisoning Discourse, USD Professor Says (tags)

According to University of San Diego professor Steven D. Smith, the coarsening of our public discourse shouldn't be blamed on religious people arguing issues on the basis of moral values. Instead, it's secular people who consider themselves "rational" and "scientific" who have intimidated religious people from expressing their views openly and forced them to "smuggle" in their perspectives in ostensibly secular terms.

States of Disunion (tags)

The following is an editorial written for the March 2011 issue of Zenger’s Newsmagazine before the uproar in Wisconsin over the bill introduced by that state’s governor, Scott Walker, which would essentially destroy public-sector unionism in that state and therefore likely be the final nail in the coffin of America’s labor movement as a whole. People — not just union workers directly affected by the proposal but others as well — have turned out in the streets and blockaded the state capitol, while “Tea Party” counter-protesters have been mobilized nationwide by talk radio and Fox News to come and support the governor. The Wisconsin protests have been compared to those that recently brought down Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak — though America’s corporate media have carefully avoided that analogy — but despite the uproar over Walker’s bill, America’s white working class has so far remained largely opposed to the progressive agenda and supportive of radical-Right attempts to destroy what’s left of America’s social safety net.

Right-Wing Queer Councilmember DeMaio Dominates San Diego Economic Debate (tags)

Openly Queer Right-wing San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio dominated a forum on the city’s budget woes sponsored by the Hillcrest Town Council February 5. Three other panelists spoke ¬— former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who stunned his supporters in the progressive community by joining DeMaio in campaigning against a proposed city sales tax increase last fall; former City Councilmember Michael Zucchet, a lobbyist for the city workers’ main union; and economics professor Alan Gin — but DeMaio and his proposed “Roadmap for Recovery,” a plan to balance the city’s budget by privatizing city jobs, slashing pensions and reducing supposedly “nonessential” city services, was the basis for the discussion and provided the context to which the other three panelists responded.

Curtis Dixon: The Art of the Leather Bootblack (tags)

The Leather community has a lot of folkways non-Leather people are often baffled by, and one of them is the importance of the bootblack. Curtis Dixon has been bootblacking for almost a quarter of a century and has won several major honors in the craft. In this interview, celebrating the upcoming San Diego Leather Pride events in March as well as the California Leather SIR/boy contest in San Diego in May, Curtis talks about what bootblacking means to the Leather community as a whole and its importance to him personally

Gioffre & Rader: Real-Life Gay Couple Do Video Together (tags)

Though the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008 put a damper on their original business plan to market themselves as specialist in wedding videos for Gay and Lesbian couples, videographers and real-life husband and husband Gary Rader and Anthony Gioffre are going ahead with their company, Golden Lodestar Productions, and even marketing themselves as specialists in commitment ceremonies. They also do other kinds of video production and are frequently seen with their gear at local pro-Queer demonstrations and other political events they’re documenting for historical purposes.

Lê’s “Gangster” Not Just Another Immigration Memoir (tags)

Lê Thi Diem Thúy was brought to this country from Viet Nam by her father in 1978, when she was six, but her book “The Gangster We Are All Looking For,” honored this year by the San Diego Public Library and PBS as the 2011 “One Book, One San Diego,” isn’t your ordinary immigrant’s memoir. Presented as a novel — which allows Lê to tap her childhood for material without having to be bound by literal truth — “Gangster” is written in an almost poetic prose style, rich in nature imagery, characteristic of many Asian writers who learned English as a second language. Introducing, reading from and commenting on the book at the Public Library downtown on February 2, Lê gave a presentation touching on a lot of the issues raised in her book, including culture clashes, the role of the imagination and language as a force that can tear people apart as much as it can bring them together.

Redistricting, Open Primaries and the Challenges for Democrats (tags)

At the January 27 meeting of the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club, Jess Durfee, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party and former president of the club, explained the challenges the party faces as the citizens’ redistricting commission begins work on redrawing legislative lines for the 2012 election and beyond. He also talked about California’s new open primary law, which also goes into effect in 2012 and allows members of any political party, or of no party at all, to vote in primary races, with the two top finishers from the primary running against each other in the general election even if they’re from the same political party. California’s Democratic leadership opposed both these changes, but Durfee’s presentation focused on making them work and protecting the party’s interests in this new electoral environment.

Chicano Arts Pioneer Takes On Globalization and War (tags)

Pioneering Chicano artist Malaquias Montoya was present at the creation of the Chicano rights movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, being one of the organizers of the Mexican American Liberation Arts Front (MALAF) who helped create the images of that movement. But he’s also involved with current social and political controversies. In his show “Globalization and War: The Aftermath,” through March 4 at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park, he takes on Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, the U.S. government’s rationalization of torture (“softening them up for interrogation”), the growing gap between rich and poor in the U.S. and throughout the world, and other progressive themes in a bold, assertive and often brutal style derived from 20th century New York artist Ben Shahn and the Mexican muralists Orozco and Siquieros.

A Meanness in This World (tags)

The January 8 shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and murder of federal judge John Roll and five other people in Tucson, Arizona has been blamed on a lone nut, and both wings of the corporate media — center-Right and far-Right — have fallen over each other to absolve the ultra-Rightists of talk radio, Fox News and the Tea Party of blame for the alleged shooter’s actions. Nonsense. Not only did Sarah Palin’s Web page specifically “target” Congressmember Giffords for defeat last April — a piece of hysterical rhetoric Giffords called Palin out on at the time — but the radical Right’s incessant propaganda on talk radio and Fox News, with its ceaseless calls not only to defeat but “eliminate” its “enemies,” created a national climate that ensured that the killer’s madness took the form it did and his delusions led him to attack two individuals that had already been the targets of radical-Right bullying and harassment.

Marriage Activists Discuss “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal (tags)

Members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) discussed the bill Congress passed last December aimed at repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy excluding open Queers from serving in the U.S. military. The discussion, at their regular meeting January 11, revealed mixed feelings; S.A.M.E. members supported “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as a civil rights issue, but many of them are also anti-war and want Queers to have the right to be in the military — and the good sense not to join.

City Heights Human Rights Fest Draws 500 (tags)

The first annual City Heights Human Rights Festival drew over 500 people to the streets of San Diego’s most ethnically diverse neighborhood Saturday, December 11 for a march down El Cajon Boulevard and a fair in the parking lot of Hoover High School at El Cajon and 44th Street. Besides speeches by local elected officials who represent the area, including City Councilmember Todd Gloria and his former employer, Congressmember Susan Davis, the event also included musical performers, readings and a showing of a short film by the Media Arts Center, I Want My Parents … Back, dealing with immigrant rights and how border enforcement is breaking up families. The event was organized not only to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed by the United Nations in 1948, but to call attention to rights abuses all over the world and especially in Viet Nam. The impetus for organizing the event came from local representatives of the Viet Nam Reform Party, which exists clandestinely in Viet Nam and openly among Viet Namese immigrants in countries like ours that guarantee political freedoms. Among their demands is an end to one-party Communist rule in Viet Nam and an end to its ban on independent media.

Mera Szendro Bok’s New Media Rights Hosts Drumbeat-San Diego Feb. 5 (tags)

Drumbeat San Diego, part of a nationwide mobilization of independent media activists for skills-building, networking and activism, will be held Saturday, February 5, 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Queen Bee’s Arts and Cultural Center, 3925 Ohio Street in North Park. Zenger’s Newsmagazine recently interviewed Mera Szendro Bok, director of New Media Rights, whose organization is one of the key players building the local event. She talked about Drumbeat, about the media rights landscape in general, and how individuals can fight to keep the Internet free and open and prevent it from becoming yet another transmission belt communicating only the anti-progressive, anti-human “free market” message of all other corporate media.

Joshua Napier: Singer, Songwriter, Queer Activist Brings Passion to His Music (tags)

The first thing you’ll notice when you hear Joshua Napier sing is the sheer emotion and passion he projects with his music. Napier sings with an edgy intensity that makes you identify with him and his songs. What’s more, though he’s a political activist and writes topical songs, he has the knack of the best activist songwriters of combining the personal with the political and creating pieces that reflect his beliefs instead of hitting you over the head with them. Napier is equally passionate off-stage. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised by a single mother, he was out as Gay in high school. One of the reasons he came to San Diego was to find an activist community with which he could work. Active as the membership chair of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.), he recently left that group’s board to join the board of Activist San Diego (ASD) because he wanted to work with a group that isn’t just focused on Queer issues. Catch him wherever you can — at fundraisers, coffeehouse gigs or the “Redfest” event of politically aware music he’s planning for this summer.

Three-Judge Appeals Court Panel Hears Prop. 8 Challenge (tags)

A quick overview of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, based exclusively on what I saw and heard during the C-SPAN telecast of the hearing and written without reference to any legal “experts” or political pundits.

Darnelle Williams: San Diego Urban Pride Reaches Beyond African-American Queers (tags)

A Zenger’s Newsmagazine interview with Darnelle Williams, activities chair for San Diego Urban Pride. Originally called Ebony Pride and aimed particularly at African-American Queer men and women, the group recently relaunched with a new name and a broader mission including social events and raising money for health and other community issues.

Miriam Raftery of East County Magazine: Taking It to the Web (tags)

When San Diego East County journalist Miriam Raftery found the local community weeklies unwilling or unable to publish the kinds of journalism she wanted to do — from exposés of corporations like Blackwater to up-to-the-minute wildfire alerts — she turned to the Internet and started the online East County Magazine. Now over two years old, East County Magazine has won 32 independent journalism awards and broken several major stories.

Over 100 San Diegans Demonstrate for Marriage Equality on Eve of Court Hearing (tags)

Over 100 San Diego supporters of marriage equality took to the streets in Hillcrest Saturday, December 4 as part of a statewide mobilization, "Unite to Make It Right," two days before the scheduled Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the legal challenge to Proposition 8, which banned legal recognition of same-sex marriage in California. The event consisted of two rallies and a march in between, and speakers called for more militant activism and more aggressive challenges aimed at President Obama and other elected officials who have talked the talk of Queer equality but have done little or nothing to bring it about.

The Fox News Election (tags)

The November 2 midterm elections were not only a decisive rejection not only of the Obama administration but a full-scale endorsement of free-market economic policies and lassiez-faire capitalism — albeit by a much smaller segment of the American electorate than voted Obama and the Democrats into power in 2008. Millions of Americans voted against the party under whose watch unemployment has risen from 6.2 to 9.5 percent, and bought into the Republicans' critique that the reason for Obama's failure is he's been too much of a progressive, unduly burdening the private sector with regulation and taxation. Thanks to talk radio and Fox News, millions of Americans profoundly believe that Obama and the Democrats are far more radical than they are — and as long as they remain on the air and have their current level of influence, U.S. politics will continue to move even further Right.

“Know Your Rights,” Progressive Attorneys Tell Activist San Diego (tags)

Though guest of honor Ted Burke, one of 11 Midwest peace and social justice activists recently detained and harassed by the FBI, wasn't able to make Activist San Diego's November 15 meeting on law enforcement and political activism, the discussion was still compelling. Local attorneys and activists Kate Yavenditti, Frank Gormlie and Alex Landon reviewed the history of anti-Left and anti-progressive repression in San Diego and discussed what rights you have when you're stopped by law enforcement or when police officers come to your home.

Veteran Activist Tom Hayden Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Veteran activist and former California State Senator Tom Hayden came to the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Hillcrest November 4 to talk about the "Long War," a doctrine used by America's military that suggests the U.S. will be at war against militant Islam for 60 to 80 years and Afghanistan and Iraq are merely "theatres" in this war. He also talked about the recent midterm elections and the frustration of white voters, especially white men, at the failure of either the Republicans or the Democrats to improve their lives.

Get Out the Vote for Stephen Whitburn! (tags)

Openly Gay County Supervisor candidate Stephen Whitburn made an impassioned plea for help in the last five days before the election at the October 28 meeting of the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club, of which he used to be president. Whitburn talked about the barrage of nasty hit-mail pieces Republican campaign groups are sending out against him at the last minute but also said that's an indication that they don't have a grass-roots campaign. Whitburn is seeking to become the first Democrat to serve on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 16 years.

Bullying: America’s National Pastime; Queer Youth Victims of a Homo-Hating Culture (tags)

A recent spate of suicides by Queer youth and assaults against Queers have once again made Queer-bashing and bullying in general hot topics in the corporate media and mainstream political discourse. But in a hypercompetitive society that punishes “weakness” — and perceives same-sex affection and sexuality as a sign of “weakness” — and makes stars of reality-TV show winners and bullying talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, the bullies who target Queer people feel encouraged, supported and motivated to keep doing it.

San Diego Activists Turn Out to Support Bradley Manning (tags)

San Diego’s progressive community turned out for a downtown rally September 19 in support of Bradley Manning, alleged leaker of the 90,000 pages of documents about the war in Afghanistan and the so-called “Collateral Murder” video of a U.S. attack on civilians in Iraq in 2007, who’s currently being held awaiting trial in an Army brig. Law professor Marjorie Cohn, anti-war veteran Chuck Wynette and other speakers called for Manning to be set free whether he leaked the papers or not.

Church Program Honors Southern Poverty Law Center (tags)

Though the guest of honor, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) director Morris Dees, didn't show up — his mother-in-law was terminally ill and he canceled with less than a day’s notice — the September 22 program honoring the Center went on anyway, with the group’s president, Richard Cohen, the main attraction. Cohen and other SPLC staff members discussed the group’s history, its spectacular lawsuits holding the Ku Klux Klan and other white-supremacist organizations responsible for the deaths of people of color, and the links between the ultra-radical Right and the supposedly “respectable” Tea Party.

Democrats or Alternative Parties? SUF Debates the Question (tags)

Work within the Democratic Party or start alternative parties of our own? It’s a debate American progressives have been having since the 1890’s (though until the 1930’s there was the option of working within the Republican Party as well) and the progressive disappointment with the Obama administration was pervasive when San Diego’s Socialist Unity Forum (SUF) met to discuss the question Sept. 19. But so was fear of the “Tea Party” movement — ostensibly independent but supporting and invigorating the Right wing of the Republican Party — and concern that abandoning the Democrats now is unnecessarily divisive and harmful.

Over 200 Turn Out for Matthew Shepard Memorial in San Diego (tags)

Over 200 San Diegans marched in Hillcrest October 12, 2010 to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, target of an especially brutal Queer-bashing attack in Wyoming, and to honor the lives lost to Queer-bashing, bullying and teen suicide. The event featured two marches, a preliminary rally outside Obelisk Bookstore (site of a memorial plaque to John Robert Wear, 17-year-old killed in a Queer-related assault in 1991) and a program at San Diego’s LGBT Center that featured speakers including Terry Summers, a personal acquaintance of Matthew Shepard.

Foundation for Change Honors Local “Changemakers” Sept. 26 (tags)

The San Diego Foundation for Change held its annual “Changemaker Celebration” Sunday, September 26 on the Prado patio in Balboa Park. Part outdoor picnic, part bazaar of social-change organizations, part fundraiser and part short commemoration, the event honored longtime local activists Larry Baza of the San Diego Democratic Club, Victor Clark-Alfaro of Tijuana’s Bi-National Center for Human Rights, and the Environmental Health Coalition and its longtime director, Diane Takvorian.

Aguirre, Frye Debate San Diego's Prop. D at Queer Democratic Club (tags)

The campaign over Proposition D — an attempt to raise the sales tax in San Diego one-half cent to avoid draconian cuts in police, fire and other city services — has made strange bedfellows. Former city attorney Mike Aguirre, an otherwise progressive Democrat, has made common cause with Right-wing talk radio hosts and anti-tax zealots in opposing the measure. He and progressive City Councilmember Donna Frye debated Prop. D at the September 23 meeting of the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club — which overwhelmingly voted to endorse the measure.

Sarah Davis: Midwife, Alternative Health Advocate, Activist (tags)

Sarah Davis got into midwifery as a career when she was writing a college paper on midwives in the African-American community — and was startled that midwifery wasn't just an historical relic but a living cultural and health-care tradition. She practices out of a birth center in Chula Vista and finds being a midwife by profession fits in with also being an alternative health advocate and a Left political activist convinced that Western medicine in general, and its treatment of pregnancy in particular, systematically disempowers women.

Two Openly Gay Councilmembers Debate Sales-Tax Increase (tags)

Rival City Councilmembers Todd Gloria and Carl DeMaio — the first two openly Gay men elected to the San Diego City Council — spoke at the Hillcrest Town Council September 14 and debated Proposition D on the November 2 ballot. This would allow the city to raise its sales tax one-half cent for five years to plug the $72 billion hole in its current budget — but only after the city implements 10 “reforms” reducing its pension obligations to workers and making it easier to privatize city jobs. But even in Gloria’s relatively liberal district, the polite but hostile response from the audience made it clear the measure will be a tough sell to city voters.

Destroy Talk Radio and Fox News! (tags)

In order to reverse the seemingly inexorable march of American political and popular opinion to the Right, progressives and the Left in general MUST confront the power of talk radio and Fox News as Right-wing propaganda outlets that are brainwashing millions of Americans. This article, published as the editorial in the September 2010 Zenger's Newsmagazine, calls for a worldwide boycott of advertisers on talk radio and Fox News until the shareholders and managers of these corporations realize that their subsidy of Right-wing nutcase politics is going to hurt their bottom lines.

“Equality Nine” Marriage Rights Demonstrators to be Arraigned Sept. 30 (tags)

The “Equality Nine” — Michael Anderson, Brian Baumgardner, Sean Bohac, Felicity Bradley, Kelsey Hoffman, Mike Kennedy, Zakiya Khabir, Chuck Stemke, and Cecile Veillard — are activists with the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) who were arrested at a sit-in outside the San Diego County Clerk's office August 19. They're scheduled for arraignment at the San Diego County Courthouse, 220 West Broadway downtown, Thursday, September 30, and they want supporters to come to the plaza outside the courthouse at noon that day to show support.

Is It a Gallery or a Garage? Larry Caveney’s Is Both (tags)

Every month, artist Larry Caveney throws open the door of his garage and reveals … an art gallery displaying a carefully curated theme show. In this interview from the September 2010 Zenger's Newsmagazine, he talks about his history of exploring non-traditional art spaces and the way The Garage helps him and the other artists he shows reach an audience in a comfortable non-commercial venue.

“House of Numbers” Exposes the Faillings of the“HIV/AIDS” Myth (tags)

Brent Leung’s 2009 AIDS documentary, “House of Numbers," shows both sides of the controversy over whether the so-called Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) actually causes AIDS. Leung got interviews with scientists, journalists and other experts on both sides, and showed that even within the HIV/AIDS mainstream the scientists are not anywhere as unified on key questions about AIDS as they pretend to be when they present themselves to the public. The film is available in two versions from Leung’s Web site, http://www.houseofnumbers.com: the basic theatrical version and a deluxe edition containing two discs' worth of additional material, some of which will be shown at the next meeting of H.E.A.L.-San Diego, Wednesday, October 6, 7 p.m. at the Activist Center, 4246 Wightman Street in City Heights. Please call (619) 688-1886 for more information.

Zenger’s Newsmagazine Editorial on Proposition 8 Decision (tags)

Written before the most recent development in the federal case challenging Proposition 8 — the good-news, bad-news decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to delay same-sex marriages in California until at least December, but also to consider the all-important issue of whether the supporters of Proposition 8 even have legal standing to appeal — this editorial from the summer 2010 print edition of Zenger's Newsmagazine shows what a roller-coaster this issue has been and how the Queer community needs to be militant and ready for a long-term battle for full equality before the law, including marriage rights.

Marriage Victory Celebration Draws 3,000 to Hillcrest Streets (tags)

Account of the marriage equality celebration that occurred on the streets of Hillcrest, the San Diego neighborhood famous for its large Queer population, on August 4, 2010 — the day Judge Vaughn R. Walker announced his decision in the federal lawsuit challenging Proposition 8. Though Queer activists and allies have since been frustrated by the court-ordered delays in enforcing Walker's decision, they can be proud that a judge ruled that there is absolutely no rational basis for a ban on marriage between two partners of the same gender.

“A Sea Change”: Film Shows What CO2 Is Doing to the Oceans (tags)

Barbara Ettinger’s film “A Sea Change,” shown at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego August 5, shows the other side of the climate change issue: what all that carbon dioxide is doing to the oceans, which absorb much of it after fossil-fuel burning and other human activities release it into the atmosphere. It turns into carbonic acid, which alters the pH of the sea and threatens plankton, coral and other small marine life crucially important to the life cycles of fish and marine mammals. “Imagine a world without fish,” says the publicity material for the film, which was followed at this screening by a discussion with two graduate students from Scripps Institute of Oceanography who expressed their frustration at the political opposition to taking climate change seriously.

Pride Rally Reveals Queer Community’s Divisions Over Obama (tags)

The July 16 San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender pride rally, which opened the city's weekend of Pride events, revealed the deep-seated divisions within the Queer community over President Obama and the proper way of organizing. Stuart Milk, nephew of Queer martyr Harvey Milk, said he'd attended a meeting at the White House at which Obama endorsed virtually the entire agenda of the Queer rights movement — but Fresno-based activist Robin McGehee said that doesn't matter. McGehee and San Diego Transgender activist Autumn Sandeen, who joined together for a direct-action campaign against the White House over Obama's failure to seek repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that keeps openly Queer people from serving in the U.S. military, said that the Queer community should use nonviolent civil disobedience to confront Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and other Democratic politicians who aren't delivering on their promises to the Queer community.

Queer Democrats Back State Party on Redistricting (tags)

Choosing the interests of party over voters, the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club overwhelmingly voted at their July 22 meeting to support the state Democratic Party's attempt to destroy the legislative redistricting commission before it even has a chance to meet, and return to the old, corrupt system under which legislators get to draw their own district lines, thereby preserving incumbents and eliminating any real competition for legislative seats.

“Earth Is for People, Not for Corporations” (tags)

Election fraud expert Steven Freeman headlined “Earth Is for People, Not for Corporations” at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood July 1. The event featured a wide variety of anti-corporate presentations and showed the role of corporations in promoting and profiting from every current social evil, from war to the exploitation of immigrants and denial of the reality of climate change. It also exposed the role of corporate media and discussed ways people can challenge it.

‘8: The Mormon Proposition”: Two Movies in One (tags)

Director Reed Cowan’s film “8: The Mormon Proposition” is really two movies in one. It’s an exposé of the Mormon church’s role in passing California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, at the polls in November 2008 and also a stunning tale of how a church that has institutionalized anti-Queer bigotry wreaks its vengeance against hapless Queer youth from Mormon families who, as part of their belief system, feel duty-bound to drive out their Queer kids and abandon them to homelessness, drug use, prostitution or suicide.

San Diego’s Queer Democrats Discuss Election Aftermath (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club heard from three local experts — San Diego County Democratic Party chair Jess Durfee, San Diego CityBeat editor David Rolland and political consultant Jennifer Tierney — on the aftermath of the June 8 primary election at their regular meeting June 24. The discussion centered mainly on how Democratic candidates like state gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown and local City Council candidate Howard Wayne can overcome the vast advantage of Republican money — and, in Brown's case, the multi-billion dollar personal fortune of his opponent, Meg Whitman. The club also took a position against SB 1070, the controversial anti-immigrant law recently passed by the Arizona state legislature.

Homeless Veteran Activist Shares Horror Stories at First U-U Church (tags)

Anti-war homeless veteran and activist Maurice Martin delivered a chilling but moving presentation Friday, June 11 at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Hillcrest. He talked about war crimes he witnessed or was involved in during his 18-month combat tour in El Salvador in 1974-75 and how his experiences there have haunted his life ever since. Martin also discussed the growing numbers of homeless veterans on our streets and what he and others are doing to help them.

“Innocents Abroad” Trek from San Diego to Gaza (tags)

When Larry Hampshire, Faith Attaguile and Hany El-Saldany signed on with an international convoy bringing supplies and vehicles to the people of the occupied Palestinian province of Gaza, they had so little insight into what they were getting into that they called their program “Innocents Abroad” when they reported on their experience to the Peace and Democracy Action Group of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Hillcrest May 6. They faced opposition mostly from the government of Egypt — including a police riot, the confiscation of their passports and the arrest of seven members — but they also had strong support from the people in the countries they went through, especially in the Middle East (Turkey, Syria, Jordan). Their presentation sparked a wide-ranging discussion about the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace and whether the so-called “two-state solution” (a separate Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza next to Israel) is still practical or desirable.

Queer Democrats Oppose Strong-Mayor Proposition (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club overwhelmingly opposed continuing San Diego's experiment with strong-mayor government. At their April 22 meeting they voted to oppose Proposition D on the June 8 ballot, which would make strong-mayor permanent, add a ninth seat to the City Councll and raise the threshold to override a mayoral veto of a Council action from a simple majority to two-thirds. City Councilmember Donna Frye led the debate against strong-mayor; having served under both strong-mayor and San Diego's previous city-manager system, she said it's been harder for her as a Councilmember to hold the mayor accountable and get information she needs to make responsible decisions, to the point where she's had to sue the city, or threaten to, to get needed data from the mayor's office.

Over 50 Attend Whitburn Fundraiser in Hillcrest March 28 (tags)

Stephen Whitburn, openly Gay candidate for the Fourth Supervisorial District in San Diego County, held a fundraiser for his campaign Sunday, March 28 at the Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest. Despite vicious attacks from supposedly “progressive” media outlets in both the straight and Queer communities, the event was a success, drawing more than 50 people who roared their support for Whitburn's opposition to the proposed Merriam Mountains development — a plan to blast off the tops of mountains to build houses on them — and the practice of Supervisors to accept gifts from individuals, organizations and corporations who directly benefit from the Board's decisions.

“Rethink Afghanistan” Screens in San Diego (tags)

The Peace and Democracy Action Group of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Hillcrest recently screened Robert Greenwald’s hard-hitting 2009 documentary “Rethink Afghanistan,” which meticulously lists all the reasons given for the U.S.’s continuing and escalating military involvement in Afghanistan — from the alleged need to deny al-Qaeda “sanctuary” in the country to the supposed “liberation” of Afghan women — and demolishes them all. The March 18 screening was followed by a talk-back session with three members of the San Diego chapter of Veterans for Peace, who talked about their own experiences in Korea and Viet Nam and the similarities between how those wars were justified and sold to the American people and the current campaign to legitimize our Afghan campaign.

Queer Democrats’ Surprising Lieutenant Governor Endorsement (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club made a surprising choice in the June 8 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom became a nationwide hero to the Queer community in February 2004 when he unilaterally ordered city officials to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but the club rejected him in favor of Los Angeles City Councilmember Janice Hahn. Members’ concerns about Newsom included his less than progressive stands on economic issues, his notoriously messy personal life, his potentially rocky relationship with presumed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown, and the risks of going into a statewide election with two white men at the top of the ticket against likely Republican nominees Meg Whitman for governor and Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor.

There Is No God — and He Can Prove It (tags)

There is no God, says 85-year-old author and ex-Roman Catholic Horacio Hanson — and he can prove it. That’s the claim he makes in his self-published book There Is No Creator: Religion Is a Fraud: What Now? — a title he readily admits is a deliberate in-your-face challenge to believers — and repeated when he spoke about it to the San Diego Humanist Association at the San Diego Public Library downtown on March 13. After noting that the worst insult in the Arabic language is, “May God deprive you of your religion,” Hanson launched into an hour-long presentation that made it clear that depriving his listeners — and the rest of humanity — of religion is precisely his intention.

Queer Democrats Split on Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, School Board (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club strongly supported Hector de la Torre for insurance commissioner, Tom Torklason for state superintendent of education and Mona Rios for National City city council — but they were unable to reach consensus on lieutenant governor and attorney general. Faced with two weak Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor — a Los Angeles city councilmember and a state legislator with a long voting record against marriage equality — the club held off in hopes San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will run.

Queer Pride Town-Hall Draws Small Crowd (tags)

In sharp contrast to the earlier meeting in January, a town-hall called by San Diego LGBT Pride February 22 drew only about 50 people and lasted just 45 minutes. Instead of a bitch-fest aimed at getting rid of the Pride board — whose members resigned and were replaced with respected community veterans who'd served on previous Prides — the February 22 meeting offered constructive discussion about the fate of the annual Pride parade and festival, including concerns from politically oriented Queer activists that by abolishing the annual pre-Pride rally, the former board had betrayed the true meaning of Pride.

Witness to Police Misconduct Speaks to ACLU (tags)

Chris Carlino spoke at the annual meeting of the San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) February 18 and relived her experience being pepper-sprayed by an abusive sheriff's deputy at a fundraiser for Congressional candidate Francine Busby eight months earlier. Her attorney, Mike Marrinan, and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse director Beth Givens also spoke at the meeting, and San Diego ACLU staff attorney David Blair-Loy laid out the group's local legal agenda.

Humanists Memorialize Giordano Bruno (tags)

The San Diego Humanist Fellowship commemorated the 410th anniversary of the execution of Giordano Bruno at their February 14 meeting. Bruno, a 16th century philosopher, monk and scientific scholar, was killed by the Holy Inquisition for denying the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the virginity of Mary and the dogma that the earth was the center of the universe.

San Diego Common Cause Debates Strong-Mayor Government (tags)

On June 8 voters in San Diego will decide whether to make the city's experiment in a strong-mayor form of government permanent. The ballot measure will also increase the size of the City Council from eight to nine (at a cost of $1 to $1.5 million per year) and increase the threshold for sustaining a mayor's veto of a Council action from five votes to six. San Diego's branch of Common Cause debated the issue February 13 and questioned whether the strong mayor has made local government more or less accountable, and whether the real purpose of strong-mayor is to increase the already massive influence of business and developers over local government.

Humanists Memorialize Giordano Bruno (tags)

The San Diego Humanist Fellowship held a program on February 14 to commemorate the life and death of Giordano Bruno, the 16th century Italian philosopher and scientific theorist who was burned at the stake by the Holy Inquisition in 1600 for (among other things) arguing that the earth orbited the sun and there was an infinite universe.

Queer Democrats Split on 79th Assembly District Race (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club revealed itself dramatically split in the Democratic primary race for the 79th Assembly District. City Council president Ben Hueso is running a classic “insider” campaign, relying on major endorsements and fundraising clout. His principal challenger, Sweetwater Union High School District board member Pearl Quiñones, is seeking the office in a progressive grass-roots campaign in the tradition of Assemblymember Lori Saldaña (who endorses her) and City Councilmember Donna Frye. The club was unable to reach the 60 percent threshold needed for an endorsement, and ultimately voted to rate both candidates “acceptable.”

Fernando Lopez: Marriage Equality Activist Looks to the Future (tags)

San Diego marriage equality activist Fernando Lopez discusses his own relationship history, his involvement with Marriage Equality USA, the heartbreak of the Proposition 8 defeat and his own critique of the No on 8 strategy, the current Perry v. Schwarzenegger case and his outlook for the future of same-sex marriage in the U.S. A longer version of the interview published in the February-March 2010 issue of Zenger's Newsmagazine.

Frances Moore Lappé, Matthew Fox Speak in San Diego (tags)

Frances Moore Lappé and Matthew Fox, two powerful long-time activists who started in the 1970’s and both live in Oakland, came to San Diego to address the opening session of the Justice for Women and Children conference January 18 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego. Lappé wrote the book “Diet for a Small Planet” and founded Food First to work on projects helping people in Third World countries to feed themselves in ways that respected their environment and heritage of biodiversity. Fox was a Roman Catholic priest who was thrown out by the current Pope for championing the spiritual power of women; he's now a priest in the Episcopal Church and works on education projects with so-called “at-risk” youth to channel their creativity in non-mainstream ways.

Town-Hall Meeting Bitterly Critical of Pride Board (tags)

San Diego's annual Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Pride celebrations have been jeopardized by a community controversy over a $5,000 payment authorized by the board to its chair, Dr. Philip Princetta. The board fired Pride's executive director, Ron deHarte, on January 5, one day after he wrote a letter calling the payment "self-dealing" and questioning its legality. Two other Pride staff members resigned in support, and on Sunday, January 10 members of San Diego's Queer and Queer-allied communities had a chance to weigh in on the controversy. With none of the current board members there to hear the community speakers or express their own version of the events, the meeting turned into a series of condemnations of the board members and a vote to ask that deHarte be reinstated — but many people there were frustrated that the structure of the board doesn't give the community any recourse that doesn't also hurt the Pride events themselves.

Pride Goeth Before a Fall (tags)

The current controversy over San Diego LGBT Pride is not only jeopardizing the future of the Pride events and potentially pitting board members against community volunteers in a potentially ruinous conflict, it's also opening doors for a real reconsideration of how Pride should be run and what its purpose should be. The author argues for an end to the self-perpetuating board of directors that currently runs Pride, a membership organization made up of volunteers and contributors, and a rethinking of the Pride events to emphasize community outreach and a celebration of Pride's liberationist origins as well as moneymaking and entertainment.

Dump the Health Insurance Bill (tags)

With the death of the “public option,” the Medicare buy-in and everything else in the proposed health insurance “reform” bill that might actually serve the public good, the bill is now nothing more than a giant, $1 trillion-plus corporate welfare program for the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Its meager promises of reform in the way the health insurance industry does business — no total caps on coverage or exclusion of “pre-existing conditions” — are likely to be flouted in practice. The progressive community made a serious mistake by not staging their own protests and disrupting Congressional town-hall meetings to demand single-payer and other progressive reforms — and as a result it will be the Republican Party and the Right in general which will reap the benefit of the putrid piece of corporate welfare the Democrats are trying to palm off on the American people as “health reform.”

Sherry Wolf: Lesbian Socialist Activist Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Lesbian socialist Sherry Wolf came to San Diego December 3 to promote her new book, “Sexuality and Socialism.” Wolf offered a provocative critique of much of the Queer community’s orthodoxy, most notably the Queer mainstream’s embrace of the notion that people’s sexual orientation is inbred and genetically determined. She also mused on how and why the Queer movement morphed from a liberation struggle demanding sexual freedom to an elaborate commercial mechanism to promote Queer-owned businesses. Her final conclusion: there can be no true sexual liberation as long as capitalism survives and forces most people to spend their time working at jobs they hate and taking care of families on their own.

Foundation for Change Focuses Grants on Immigration, Border Issues (tags)

The San Diego Foundation for Change held its holiday party December 20 and introduced a number of grant recipients as well as an overall theme to their activities this year. They’re focusing on issues relating to immigration and/or the border, doing outreach to immigrants on human rights, health care, personal autonomy (especially for women) and sexual health. They're also working on media outreach projects to improve local coverage of immigrants and teach the immigrants themselves that they shouldn't believe everything they read in the corporate media.

Michelle Jackson: Sign-Language Interpreter, First Female San Diego Leatherboys President (tags)

Michelle Jackson knew she was going to be interested in languages from the age of five,when her father took her across the border from San Diego to Tijuana and she heard Spanish for the first time. In college she studied American Sign Language (ASL) and ultimately made her living as an interpreter for the deaf community. It was a job she took to interpret at a San Diego Leatherfest that led her to the Leather/kink/BDSM community — and she's become an energetic activist in it, serving as Ms. San Diego Leather 2005 and recently being elected the first female president of the San Diego Leatherboys.

Walter G. Meyer: Queer Youth Novel “Rounding Third” Is About More than Baseball (tags)

Queer author Walter G.Meyer has written a remarkable first novel, “Rounding Third.” At base it's a story of two middle American Gay teens who meet each other on the high-school baseball team in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. But it’s also an intensely moving, often heart-rending tale of the terror under which Queer youth still grow up as well as the often surprising sources of support they find as they struggle with their identities. And, lest readers think this is a problem that we’ve grown beyond as a society, Meyer inserts modern communications technology — the Internet, cell phones, texting and iPods — to make sure readers know these are live issues in 2010 and not dimly remembered horrors of the 1950’s or 1970’s.

Two Anniversaries: Berlin and Seattle (tags)

November 2009 was not only the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall — an historical milestone reported to death by the corporate media — it was also the anniversary of an event the corporate media chose to ignore: the 10th anniversary of the mass protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle in November and December 1999. The challenge for radicals and progressives today is not only to revitalize the spirit of Seattle but to take back the initiative in an era in which the biggest and most confrontational mass actions are being staged by the "teabag" Right.

Dahr Jamail Celebrates U.S. Military’s “Will to Resist” in Iraq, Afghanistan (tags)

Dahr Jamail, the independent journalist who broke the monopoly on Iraq war coverage by “embedded reporters” and reported honestly on the war for his own blog, has tackled a subject equally taboo in the corporate media: the growing number of U.S. servicemembers who are resisting the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resistance takes many forms, from so-called “search and avoid” missions in the war zones to absences without leave (AWOL), conscientious objector filings and outright refusals to obey orders to deploy. While the movement hasn't reached the heights it did during the Viet Nam war — mainly because there isn't as large a mass civilian anti-war movement as there was then — it's significant for the courage and heroism of the resisters and as an index of the toll two long, grueling wars have taken on the U.S. military.

Queer Democrats Endorse Saldaña, Take No Position on County Term Limits (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club endorsed Assemblymember Lori Saldaña for County Supervisor but failed to take a position on whether to impose term limits on the Board of Supervisors. Supporters of the term-limit initiative, being sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said the five Republican incumbents on the board are so entrenched only limiting their future terms will get them out. Opponents said that Democrats have historically opposed term limits and if they supported them for the Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors, they'd be perceived as hypocrites the next time they try to ease-them for the Democratic-controlled state legislature.

Roman (Polanski) Circus (tags)

What Roman Polanski did to a 13-year-old girl one afternoon 32 years ago was disgusting, but the amen chorus of hypocrites calling for his punishment is equally disgusting. Polanski is a victim of a long-standing vendetta against him by Los Angeles County law enforcement that began when they suspected him of the murder of his wife Sharon Tate and their friends, and his arrest in Switzerland and the calls for his punishment now have far more to do with vengeance than justice. It's time to stop the hypocrisy of so-called “feminists” and “child advocates” who claim to be standing up for the “victim” in the case — while the actual victim wants Polanski forgiven and the case forgotten. She’s right and the people howling for Polanski’s head are wrong.

Fred Phelps Brings Road Show of Hate to San Diego; 500 Protest Against Him (tags)

Fred Phelps, founder and pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas and a man so far on the fringes of the radical religious Right even the late Rev. Jerry Falwell called him “a certified nut,” brought his nationwide road show of hate to San Diego the weekend of October 16-18. Along with a number of synagogues and Jewish community groups, one of his picketing targets was San Diego High School for its alleged tolerance and acceptance of Queer students. A counter-protest drew 500 people as opposed to the 10 or so Westboro Baptist Church members on the opposite side of Park Boulevard from the school.

Dr. Helen Caldicott Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Dr. Helen Caldicott, a powerful international activist against nuclear weapons and nuclear power for over a quarter-century, spoke at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego October 23 and painted a picture of global warming as an imminent apocalypse that requires immediate action to develop alternative energy sources and stop using fossil fuels. She also denounced the public-relations campaigns aimed at convincing people that global warming isn't a threat, and said climate-change deniers like Rush Limbaugh directly threaten the survival of the earth and therefore should not be allowed to broadcast.

Queer Democrats Endorse Alvarez, Wayne for City Council (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club took two different tacks in its endorsements in City Council races at its regular meeting October 22. In District 6 they endorsed veteran politician Howard Wayne over Steve Hadley, chief of staff to incumbent Councilmember Donna Frye. In District 8 they endorsed the grass-roots Latino candidate, David Alvarez, over two better connected candidates from established local Latino political families: Felipe Hueso, older brother of incumbent Councilmember Ben Hueso; and Nick Inzunza, uncle of former Councilmember Ralph Inzunza.

Béla Dornon: Queer Photographer Seeks to Document California’s Same-Sex Marriages (tags)

Photographer Béla Dornon calls them the “142 Days” — from June 15, 2008, when the California Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriages to be legally recognized took effect, to November 4, 2008, when the passage of Proposition 8 took that right away again. He’s responded to his anger by starting a project to document every same-sex marriage that took place in California during that time, exhibit as many images of happy same-sex couples as he legally can, and thereby counter the Right-wing hate propaganda used to pass measures like Proposition 8.

“Nommogeneity” Explores African-American Poetry and Culture (tags)

It took two years to make and it's only 32 minutes long, but Terrence Stubbs’ film “Nommogeneity” is a powerful portrayal of cutting-edge African-American poetry and culture that's well worth seeing. Stubbs, a former stand-up comedian turned film student and TV producer, landed the legendary Amiri Baraka (shown reading his provocative 9/11 poem) as well as many younger African-American poets strongly influenced by him. The film — whose title comes from the twin gods in African mythology who brought humanity the gifts of language and writing — shows young poets working in a politically and socially conscious vein instead of writing “love jones” poems or odes to gangsterism and conspicuous consumption.

“Voices of Honor” Tour Challenges “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (tags)

O.K., so maybe you're a hard-core peacenik who wouldn't dream of joining the military or of supporting anyone who would. You should still care about the continued exclusion of open Queer people from the U.S. military under the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Not only is the policy unjust and discriminatory on its face, it's also disproportionately enforced against women and people of color — so in practice it's racist and sexist as well as homophobic. “Voices of Honor” was a national tour which wrapped up in San Diego September 30 that featured five military veterans talking about the personal strains of living under “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Queer Democrats Can’t Agree on Marriage Strategy (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club discussed whether to seek the repeal of Proposition 8 in 2010 or 2012 at its regular meeting September 24 — and turned out to be as divided on that topic as the rest of California’s Queer community. The two major statewide Queer organizations, Equality California and the Courage Campaign, have taken totally different tacks on the issue. The Courage Campaign not only favors 2010 but is already organizing for the earlier date, while Equality California’s leaders are convinced that 2010 is premature. Both the club’s invited panelists and its own members differed widely on whether to go in 2010 or 2012, and both proposals for the club to take action on the issue were voted down by wide margins.

Marriage Equality Follies (tags)

The split between California's two leading statewide Queer equality groups, the Courage Campaign and Equality California, over whether to seek the repeal of the anti-marriage Proposition 8 in 2010 or 2012 is criminally stupid and a disaster for the Queer community. The Courage Campaign is energetically moving to create “facts on the ground” to force the rest of the community to join it in a premature push for a 2010 ballot initiative that will almost certainly lose. A later initiative would give the community more time to organize and build support — but a unified effort for 2010 would be better than a continued division that might produce not one, but two, losing initiative campaigns.

A Radical Proposal: Open the U.S.-Mexico Border (tags)

That's what immigrant rights activist David Schmidt called for at a September 21 meeting of Activist San Diego. Originally called to discuss the closure of Friendship Park along the U.S.-Mexico border, the meeting expanded into a consideration of border issues in general. Schmidt and his better-known co-speaker, Enrique Morones of Border Angels and Marcha Migrante, both questioned why under NAFTA and similar “free trade” agreements, capital, commerce and corporations are allowed to move freely across national boundaries — while workers are trapped inside their home countries and routinely exploited for the greater profits of capital. If business is free to locate wherever it wants, workers should be too, they said.

“Future Without War” Author Discusses Women Nobel Laureates (tags)

Of the 789 people who have won the Nobel Prize, just 35 of them have been women. But among them are individuals with truly remarkable stories, Dr. Judith Hand told the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego at a program September 20 at the San Diego Public Library. They range from pioneering scientists Marie Curie and Barbara McClintock to writers Pearl S. Buck, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison and Doris Lessing and peace activists Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan, Aung San Suu Kyi, Rigoberta Menchú, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi and Wangari Matthai. Dr. Hand shared some of these women's stories in the context of her own belief that more involvement of women in the public affairs of the world can lead to a future without war.

Law School Discusses Medical Marijuana in Wake of County Raids (tags)

One week after San Diego police officers, sheriff’s deputies and federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents raided 14 medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego County, the National Lawyers’ Guild chapters of California Western and Thomas Jefferson Schools of Law held a forum on the medical marijuana issue at Cal Western. Among the speakers were Gerald Singleton, attorney representing many of the people arrested in these and previous raids against medical marijuana providers; Dion Markgraaf, local activist who's been prosecuted four times for helping medical users obtain marijuana; and Alex Kreit, attorney and law professor who's been involved in medical marijuana issues. They particularly discussed the hard line against medical marijuana taken by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and attorney general Bonnie Dumanis.

Author Darrel Ray Lectures on “God Virus” (tags)

It’s not every atheist author who begins a lecture to promote his book with a bit of a fire-breathing Fundamentalist Christian sermon on the nature and ubiquity of human sin and the need to appeal to the Holy Spirit to be cleansed of it. But that’s what Darrel W. Ray did at the San Diego Public Library September 19 in an appearance sponsored by the Humanist Association of San Diego (HASD). A former believer, Ray discussed the total lack of logic in religious appeals and the way religions mimic the behavior of germs in spreading from person to person, use classic hypnotic techniques in their services, and inculcate guilt in their believers — especially about sex. Ray also mentioned ways rationalists can talk to belivers without immediately putting them on the defensive, and offered help for those who are — in his words — “recovering from religion.”

Fletcher Rallies Progressive Crowd to Fight the Right (tags)

The leaflet advertising author and former labor educator Bill Fletcher's talk September 13 in Balboa Park promised a considerably more optimistic speech than the one he actually gave. Stunned by the mass demonstration in Washington, D.C. by radical-Right opponents of President Obama's supposedly "socialist" agenda, Fletcher gave a strongly worded warning to his Leftist audience that unless the American Left organizes now, not only to fight the Right but to appeal to the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans, the movement he called "Right-wing populism" — talk radio, Fox news, the "teabag" protests and the thug-like disruption of Congressmembers' town-hall meetings on health reform — will sweep the country and consign all progressive movements and any part of distributive justice and a social-welfare state to oblivion.

Blase Bonpane Denounces U.S. Support of Honduran Coup (tags)

Blase Bonpane, who's been fighing the good fight against U.S. militarism and imperialism for over 40 years, spoke at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego September 8 and said the recent coup in Honduras couldn't have happened without the approval of the U.S. government and corporations. He reviewed America's long history of direct intervention in Latin America in general and Honduras in particular, and said the U.S. backed the Honduran coup now as an attack on the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), organized by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez as a network of Latin American countries with Leftist governments who want to be out from under the thumb of oligarchs, corporate elites, international bankers and local militaries trained at the infamous School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.

R.I.P. Ted Kennedy: The Senate’s Last Liberal (tags)

The mainstream media’s eulogies for the late Senator Ted Kennedy predictably focused on his success as a deal-maker, pushing a liberal agenda but in ways that compromised and often won the support of Republicans and conservatives. But Kennedy’s deals were based on the existence of a Republican party that, despite its different priorities from the Democrats, still believed in government as a force for the public good. Today’s nihilistic, Right-wing dominated Republican Party no longer believes in government as anything but a repressive instrument for benefiting the rich and enforcing the discipline of “the Market” on working people both domestically and abroad who dare to challenge the imperatives of lassiez-faire capitalism. What the times call for are tough, no-nonsense progressive resistance to the bipartisan Market agenda, not support of capitalist politicians promoted as “pragmatists” in the corporate media.

Queer Democrats Celebrate Women’s Equality Day (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club celebrated Women’s Equality Day August 27 with a program featuring the club’s women’s caucus chair Kate Lyon, California NOW president Patty Bellasalma, Congressional candidate Francine Busby and Assemblymember Lori Saldaña discussing the history of feminist activism in the U.S. and the continuing difficulty of electing women to public office. The club members also considered an initiative to impose term limits on the members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, but decided to delay taking a position on that for a month.

Triumph of the Right? (tags)

Sep 2nd, 2009 9:09 PM Despite the sweeping Democratic victories in the elections of 2006 and 2008, the Republican party in general and the radical Right in particular have reasserted themselves with a vengeance, especially regarding the health insurance reform proposals of the Obama administration and Congress. They’ve been able to tap into the same reflexive anti-government sentiment that has powered American politics at least since Ronald Reagan’s election (and arguably earlier) to block the reform proposals and set the stage for a Republican return to power that will render Obama as irrelevant historically as Carter and Clinton -- and without a mass progressive movement to push Obama and the Democrats back to the Left, the Right will succeed and triumph.

Former Obama Adviser Attacks Him at Freedom Awards (tags)

Steve Hildebrand has been described as Barack Obama's closest Gay friend and the person he listens to on Gay issues, but at the August 22 Freedom Awards, the main fundraiser for the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club, he bluntly said, “The problem is Obama isn’t listening enough.” At the event, Hildebrand delivered a slashing attack on Obama and the Democrats in Congress -- both the so-called “Blue Dogs” in the House and the “moderates” in the Senate, as well as leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid who are letting them get away with hijacking Obama’s agenda and pushing him to the Right. Hildebrand predicted that the Democrats will lose their Congressional majority if they continue to tack Rightward and fail to do the things they were elected to do.

Behind the Scenes at San Diego’s Gay Fraternity (tags)

KEVIN KAO, EZRA EVANGELISTA and ARTHUR HUANG probably wouldn’t have joined any other fraternity, but Delta Lambda Phi was different. Not only was it founded 22 years ago specifically for Gay, Bisexual and “Progressive” (Queer-friendly) men, but its members get along and have fun with each other without drinking or hazing.

David Crowe, part 2: The Politics of Belief in “HIV/AIDS” (tags)

A second portion of the extended interview with Canadian alternative AIDS activist David Crowe, published in the August and September 2009 issues of Zenger’s Newsmagazine. In the first part, Crowe discussed the reasons neither HIV nor any other single microorganism can be the cause of the 30 previously known diseases lumped together under the “AIDS” label, and why the so-called “AIDS tests” (actually tests for antibody reactions to the nine proteins presumed to make up HIV) are useless in determining one’s present or future health. In this installment, Crowe discusses the politics behind the belief in “HIV/AIDS” and why this fundamentally silly pseudo-scientific theory continues to command belief throughout the world.

Congressmember Davis Speaks at Orderly Town-Hall Meeting (tags)

Elsewhere in the country Democratic Congressmembers are being heckled and sometimes driven off the stage when they try to hold town-hall meetings to explain the health-care reform bill the House is currently debating. Not in San Diego August 11, where Congressmember Susan Davis was able to hold a meeting in peace and discuss the issue in a polite, civil manner. This was largely due to the strategy of the sponsoring organization, the Hillcrest Town Council, which admitted their own members and Hillcrest residents first -- thereby assuring Davis a mostly liberal audience that wouldn't try to disrupt her meeting.

Does California Need a Constitutional Convention? (tags)

Does California need a constitutional convention? The question is being raised by a number of organizations, including the Bay Area Council — a group of business leaders based in the San Francisco Bay Area — and the California chapters of the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and the Mexican-American Political Association, all of whom sent representatives to an August 1 meeting that attracted an overflow crowd to the Mission Valley library. The push for a convention is driven largely by the state's inability to govern itself effectively, hamstrung by the current constitution's 2/3 vote requirement to pass a budget or raise taxes, Proposition 13, legislative term limits, legislative "safe seats" and initiatives that have put all but 7 percent of the budget outside the control of the political process.

Queer Democrats Endorse Susan Davis for Re-Election to Congress (tags)

Ignoring Congressmember Susan Davis’s often surprisingly conservative record on issues like the war (she voted against the authorization to attack Iraq but has faithfully voted for every supplemental appropriation to fund the U.S.’s wanton aggressions in Iraq and Afghanistan), global trade and health care, the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club endorsed her for re-election seven months before the filing deadline and thereby foreclosed the possibility of considering a progressive primary challenger should one run, as Mike Copass of Progressive Democrats of America did in 2008.

David Crowe: Canadian Activist Organizes Alternative AIDS Conference (tags)

David Crowe, head of Rethinking AIDS and the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society in Canada, has been active for over a decade in the alternative AIDS movement, which challenges conventional wisdom and its claim that the cause of AIDS is a single virus and highly toxic antiviral medications are the only legitimate way to treat it. In the first part of a two-part interview, he discusses why HIV antibody test results are ambiguous, HIV has never been proven to exist as a virus and the dangers of the meds. He's organizing an international conference in Oakland in early November where scientists and activists will discuss these ideas and their implications.

Death of an AIDS Dissident (tags)

A meditation on the recent death of H.E.A.L. [Health, Education, AIDS Liaison]-San Diego board member Jerry Colinard and the insistence that, as David Crowe of Rethinking AIDS and the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society put it in a recent interview for Zenger's Newsmagazine, “If you’re an HIV-positive dissident, you’re not allowed to die of anything else other than AIDS.” Originally published as an editorial in the August 2009 issue of Zenger's Newsmagazine.

Fernando Suárez del Solár Speaks at “Senseless Death” Screening (tags)

In 2003 Jesús Suárez del Solár became one of the first U.S. victims of the current war in Iraq -- and his father, Fernando, expressed his anger and sadness at the loss of his son by joining the San Diego anti-war movement and becoming one of its most powerful activists. On July 8 the San Diego Public Library showed “A Senseless Death,” a 2006 documentary by a French-Canadian filmmaker that told the story of Jesús and other so-called “green-card soldiers,” immigrants (both documented and undocumented) lured into the U.S. military and promised citizenship in return for becoming cannon fodder for U.S. imperalism.

Queer Democrats Endorse Busby for Congress — Barely (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club narrowly endorsed Francine Busby in her fourth attempt to unseat an incumbent Republican Congressmember in San Diego North County's 50th Congressional District. Her supporters promoted her as the most electable candidate because she's built up a large following of volunteers and contributors in the district; her opponents said she'd fudged the question of same-sex marriage equality on the club's questionnaire while her primary opponent, Tracy Emblem, had answered it forthrightly.

SAME Meeting Challenges Queer Establishment, Democratic Party (tags)

The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) hosted a meeting at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center June 23 that was billed as a response to Proposition 8 and a discussion of the future of marriage equality in California — but it also turned into a radical response to the Queer establishment in general and the Courage Campaign in particular. Lesbian activist Robin Tyler, who was one of the lead plaintiffs in the suit that briefly won marriage rights for same-sex couples in California, criticized the strategies and tactics of the Courage Campaign and denounced the Democratic party as having screwed over Queer people for 35 to 40 years, She called for the Queer community to cut ties with the Democrats once and for all.

Don’t Rush Back to the Ballot on Marriage (tags)

The Queer community in California is asking itself the wrong question in the current debate over whether to try to repeal Proposition 8 at the ballot box in 2010 or 2012. Either date is too early, Mark Gabrish Conlan argues in this editorial from the July 2009 Zenger’s Newsmagazine. Rather than launch a premature initiative drive we will likely lose, organizing around this issue needs to occur outside the electoral process and take the form of nonviolent direct action and public education efforts to convince a majority of Californians that denying legal marriage to same-sex couples is an intolerable form of discrimination.

Mike Little, San Diego Leatherman, on IML, Community Service (tags)

San Diego Leatherman Mike Little ran for the 2009 International Mr. Leather title in Chicago in May and describes it as one of the most emotionally exhilarating experiences of his life. In this issue for the July 2009 Zenger's Newsmagazine, Little talks about his IML experience, his ideals and goals, and his extensive community service. He also stresses that Leather isn’t just about kink or sex; it’s a 24/7 commitment to goals of trust, honor, service and respect.

If You Eat, You Need to See “Food, Inc.” (tags)

If you eat, you need to see “Food, Inc.,” Robert Kenner's incisive documentary about the corporate food industry and its wanton disregard for workers’, farmers’ and consumers’ rights, the environment, freedom of speech and press and even the health of its customers. Kenner’s film shows how the industrial model of food production was pioneered by McDonald’s and other pioneering fast-food companies, and the awesome power of the corporate foodocracy in suppressing any debate about the health of its products and any regulation to stop corporate food from killing people.

UN Official Says Only a Worldwide Mass Movement Will Stop Israel's Oppression of Palestine (tags)

UC Santa Barbara professor Richard Falk, elected by the UN Human Relations Commission as special rapporteur on Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories, spoke in San Diego June 5 and said only a worldwide mass movement, comparable to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, can end Israel's oppression against the Palestinians and enable a truly just solution. He called on his listeners to take on the pro-Israel monopoly of opinion in American politics and the mainstream media, and help make Americans more aware of the depths of the suffering Palestinians experience under U.S.-funded Israeli arms.

Over 250 San Diegans Memorialize Dr. George Tiller (tags)

Over 250 San Diegans turned out to the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Hillcrest Thursday, June 4 to memorialize Dr. George Tiller, family-planning doctor and abortion provider, who was murdered in his church on May 31. The event was a combination church service, pro-choice rally and candlelight vigil, in which attendees and speakers renewed their commitment to be active in protecting a woman's right to reproductive choice against the terrorist tactics many so-called "pro-life" abortion foes use to eliminate American women's access to safe, legal abortions.

PBS Documentary on “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” Airs June 16 (tags)

The PBS documentary “Ask Not,” dealing with the human cost of the “don't ask, don't tell” policy that excludes open Queers from the U.S. military, will be shown nationwide on June 16 and in San Diego June 21 as part of the “Independent Lens” series. The show depicts individuals thrown out of the military under “don't ask, don't tell” and the Queer community's fight-back against the discriminatory policy. In a May 3 preview screening at the San Diego Public Library, activists working against “don't ask, don't tell” discussed why even progressive people who generally oppose America’s wars should be concerned about this issue.

One and One-Half Class Citizen (tags)

The California Supreme Court decision on May 26 upholding the validity of Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage voters approved in last November’s election, but also ruling that the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages in California between June 15 and November 4, 2008 were still legal, left the same-sex couples who got married in time (including this author) in an anomalous position. We can’t really call ourselves second-class citizens because our marriages are still in force, but we can’t call ourselves first-class citizens either because other couples with love and mutual commitment equal to our own can no longer follow suit. In a sense, the voters and the courts have granted us “special rights” we neither wanted nor expected.

Queer Democrats Debate Proposition 8 Response (tags)

The wounds were still raw from the California Supreme Court decision upholding Proposition 8, the state’s voter-approved ban on marriage for same-sex couples, when the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club met May 28 and debated how the club should respond. The members heard from attorney Charlie Pratt, who had been at the sit-in at the County Administrative Center's marriage license bureau the day before and had been singled out for special harassment by police, and also discussed whether and when the Queer community should mount its own ballot initiative campaign to repeal Proposition 8.

Bisexual Forum of San Diego Hosts “Bisexuality Across Cultures” (tags)

The Bisexual Forum of San Diego County hosted an event on “Bisexuality Across Cultures” May 27. Though somewhat overshadowed by the anti-Proposition 8 protests that week, it was a compelling meeting which discussed the greater rigidity with which Americans define sexual orientations and roles than Europeans or Latin Americans. One speaker was a Bisexual living with blindness, who described a “hierarchy of discrimination” with people of color relatively more privileged than Queers, while people with disabilities are at the very bottom and often the subject of out-and-out devaluation of their lives (“I’d rather be dead than be … ”).

Over 70 Activists Stage Marriage Equality Sit-in at S.D. County Clerk’s Office (tags)

Over 70 marriage equality activists occupied the office of the San Diego County Clerk Wednesday, May 27 as a protest against the California Supreme Court’s ruling that Proposition 8, which restricts marriage in California to one man and one woman, is constitutional. Michael Anderson and Brian Baumgardner led the action by demanding a marriage license, and other Queer couples followed suit. The event ended peacefully, with no arrests, when the crowd dispersed an hour after the official closing time of the building.

Over 4,000 Rally in San Diego Against Prop. 8 Decision (tags)

Over 4,000 people attended a march and rally in San Diego on May 26 denouncing the California Supreme Court's decision upholding Proposition 8, the initiative banning same-sex marriage in California, while simultaneously keeping in force the estimated 18.000 marriages between same-sex couples during the 4 1/2 months the court's previous ruling allowing them was in effect. The mood of the action was a combination of sorrow, hope and determination to put the issue before California voters again and campaign at the ballot box for the repeal of Proposition 8.

California Apocalypse (tags)

Though a lot of so-called “progressives” voted no on the ballot measures on California’s May 19 special election ballot, the overwhelming defeat of these legislative compromises aimed at a short-term solution to California's budget problems has been a boon for the radical Right. For 43 years, ever since they elected Ronald Reagan as governor in 1966 and passed Proposition 13 in 1978, a cadre of radical-Right Republicans have been seeking to destroy the financial basis of California's government and thereby force the elimination of virtually all social welfare programs as well as scorched-earth cuts in education and health care. Now they’ve got their wish: after the budget dust settles, California will now no longer be in the business of helping working-class and lower-income people, and will instead be a low-tax,corporate-privilege Libertarian haven.

“Outrage”: Exposing Hypocrisy or Perpetrating It? (tags)

“Outrage,” Kirby Dick’s new documentary on the practice of “outing” closeted Queer politicians who take positions in opposition to the mainstream Queer community’s political agenda, is an old-fashioned morality play in which the heroes are the activists and journalists who “out” such people and the villains are the politicians themselves and the mainstream corporate media which refuse to cover the issue. But the “outers” can also be seen as political enforcers of a liberal-Left orthodoxy that ignores both the political and the sexual diversity of the Queer community.

Health Advocate McGuire Speaks Out for Single-Payer (tags)

Andrew McGuire, who's been active in grass-roots health campaigns for over 35 years, came to San Diego May 7 to speak at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church as part of his campaign to get a single-payer health care system enacted and operating in California. McGuire was eloquent about the "immoral, demeaning and lethal" health care system the U.S. has now, and the political pressures making reform impossible at the federal level,but even some progressives in his audience were concerned about details in the plan he was promoting.

Yes on 1A Through 1F May 19 (tags)

California's latest state budget deal requires passage of Propositions 1A through 1F on the May 19 special-election ballot. Though the measures have flaws, progressives need to unite behind them because their defeat will be a tremendous political victory for the anti-government, anti-human radical Right and will require even more desperate cutbacks in state education, health care and social service funding than their passage.

Darrel Wood, Jr.: Queer Little Rock ’n’ Roller (tags)

Darrel Wood, Jr. is a 17-year-old high school senior in the conservative San Diego suburb of Santee, but the openly Queer rock musician has already been on two CD's with a former band and is about to release a new one by his current group, The Elephant Project. He's also headlining at the North Park Arts Festival in San Diego Sunday, May 17. In this interview, to which his mother accompanied him and also participated, he discusses his musical influences and the role of his sexuality in his life.

Obama's Medical Marijuana Rhetoric Better Than His Actions (tags)

Despite the much-ballyhooed announcements from the Obama administration that they're going to stop prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers as long as they abide by the laws of their states, little has changed, attorney Gerald Singleton and activist Dion Markgraaf told Activist San Diego at a meeting April 20. Patients and providers are still being raided, and the Justice Department disappointed medical marijuana advocates by recommending a five-year prison sentence for former Morro Bay dispensary operator Charles Lynch despite the request by the judge in the case for some legal ground to be more lenient.

Local San Diego Activists Defend Friendship Park (tags)

Since 1971, the Monument Mesa at Friendship Park on the U.S.-Mexico border has been an informal gathering place where people kept from physically coming together by the border fence could nonetheless reach out and pass each other greetings, kisses, presents and food. No longer: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, seemingly determined to wipe out any sign that the people of the U.S. and Mexico should actually regard each other with anything other than wary hostility, have put the mesa straight in the cross-hairs of the triple border fence. Local activists Christian Ramirez and John Fanestil addressed a San Diego audience April 17 to tell what they're doing to try to save Friendship Park.

Queer Democrats Hear from Labor on Employee Free Choice Act (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club heard from Carlos Marquez, chair of the local chapter of Pride @ Work, at its regular meeting April 23. He presented a campaign called http://www.SharedAgenda.org, aimed at building grassroots support for two proposed pieces of federal legislation: the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which will make it easier for workers to form unions; and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which will ban discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Low-Wage Capitalism" Author Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Fred Goldstein, contributing editor of the Workers' World newspaper and author of the new book "Low-Wage Capitalism," spoke at the Malcolm X Library April 18 and described the current economic collapse as a classic "crisis of overproduction" in the Marxist sense. Though Wall Street greed and the bursting of the housing bubble played a part, he said, the real cause was the capitalist class's success in driving working people's wages down, not only in the U.S. but worldwide, to the point where workers can no longer afford to consume the products they produce. He called for a mass progressive movement to make explicit economic demands, especially jobs.

San Diego Hosts Meeting on Same-Sex Marriage Equality (tags)

The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center hosted a town-hall meeting April 2 to discuss the future of marriage equality in the wake of the upcoming California Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in the state. Speakers included Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, other professionals and grass-roots activists like Fernando Lopez, whose group is organizing people to go talk to individuals one-on-one to make them aware of how Queer people suffer from not having access to civil marriage.

Assemblymember Marty Block Defends Prop. 8 Stance to Queer Democrats (tags)

Assemblymember Marty Block appeared before the San Diego Democratic Club March 26 to explain why he voted against a legislative resolution instructing the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8, the initiative passed by voters last November to restrict marriage in California to opposite-sex couples. Block said that, as a former judge, he didn't think it was appropriate for the legislature to tell a court what to do about a pending case, whether it's the Right telling judges to uphold restrictions on abortion or progressives telling the court to preserve same-sex marriage equality.

Queer Democrats Oppose Flagship Budget Compromise Proposition (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club voted overwhelmingly on March 26 to oppose Proposition 1A, centerpiece of the budget reform compromise adopted by the California legislature last January. Though 1A would extend the state's temporary tax increases from two years to four, club members decided that the price -- notably vastly increased veto powers for the governor, new corporate tax breaks and a "rainy-day fund" that could lead to cutbacks in major state programs -- wasn't worth it. The club also opposed Proposition 1D, suppported 1B, 1E and 1F, and took no position on 1C.

Kamala Devi: "Bliss Coach" Lives and Teaches the Love of More than One (tags)

What if you can't love just one person? What if you can only be completely expressive of your romantic and sexual potential, and fulfill your own and your partners' needs, with more than one relationship partner? San Diego-based "bliss coach" Kamala Devi not only lives in "polyamory" -- a multiple-partner romantic and sexual lifestyle -- but she works with other people who want to adopt a polyamorous lifestyle and handle the problems it can raise.

Canadian MP Speaks Out for U.S. War Resister (tags)

Activist San Diego put together an impressive list of speakers for its March 16 meeting on the fate of U.S. war resister Robin Long — including Olivia Chow, a member of the Canadian Parliament who helped lead an unsuccessful struggle to persuade her country’s government to grant Long political asylum instead of returning him to the U.S. — but the most powerful voice of all came from someone who wasn’t there: Robin Long himself, via a letter from jail read aloud at the meeting.

Commentary: State Supreme Court Hears Prop. 8 Cases (tags)

Not everything that is unjust is therefore unconstitutional. That's the lesson the progressive community should learn from the California Supreme Court's oral hearings on Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage recently approved by a narrow majority of California voters. Instead of relying on the courts to secure our rights, we should be doing education, direct action and other tactics to win majority support for equality.

Over 500 Turn Out for Marriage Equality Demonstration (tags)

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and his Lesbian daughter Lisa (pictured) led off the San Diego installment of "March Forth on March Fourth," a series of rallies and demonstrations held statewide on the eve of the California Supreme Court's oral hearings on the legal challenges to Proposition 8. Mayor Sanders endorsed same-sex marriage equality last year after deciding he couldn't tell his daughter that her relationship was less important than his.

Let's Start a Bank! (tags)

Instead of borrowing trillions and sticking future generations of taxpayers with the cost of bailing out a corrupt and ineffective financial system, the federal government should use the bailout money and charter a bank of its own,one that could offer loans directly to individuals and businesses and thereby stimulate the economy by providing capital to people who can't get it now from the private banks.

Robert Jensen Challenges Patriotism, Industrialism (tags)

University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen spoke in San Diego February 21. His talk was billed as a challenge to the idea of patriotism, but he also said flatly that the industrial mode of production and the way of life it has allowed are no longer sustainable and the world's population will have to live in small, self-sufficient local communities. His speech also attacked "the coarsening of the culture" represented by the easy availability of pornography.

Medical Marijuana Caregiver Convicted of Drug Dealing (tags)

Until May 28, 2008 John Ottombrino was just another yoga and massage teacher, giving lessons and alternative health information from his home in Kearny Mesa. Then police broke in his door and arrested him for cultivation of marijuana and possession with intent to sell. Though he was growing it for three medical marijuana patients and had letters from their doctors proving it, the cops ignored that evidence — and so did the judge at his trial, who wouldn't let him introduce evidence that he was providing caregiving services for his clients.

San Diego Activists Show Pro-Palestinian Film "Occupation 101" (tags)

Activist San Diego showed the movie "Occupation 101," a documentary denouncing the Israeli occupation of Palestine, February 16. Leading a discussion after the film, Edgar Hopida, public relations director for the San Diego chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and filmmaker and public-access cable show producer Ed Sweed mostly talked about the American corporate media's near-total pro-Israel bias and ways to use nontraditional media to get alternative perspectives to the American people.

San Diego ACLU Addresses Repressive Ballot Initiatives (tags)

The San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) held its annual membership meeting February 13 and gave over the program to Delores Jacobs of the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center and Vince Hall of Planned Parenthood to discuss the long-term implications of Propositions 4 and 8 on last year's ballot. The measures attacked women's reproductive choice and Queer rights, respectively, and Jacobs and Hall noted that the radical Right uses proposals like these not only to gain membership and contributions but to drain the coffers of progressive organizations so they have less money to provide services to women and Queers.

S.D. Cracks Down on Medical Pot as Feds Loosen Up (tags)

Don Duncan, California statewide director of the national medical-marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), came to San Diego February 10 to tell local members that the outlook for medical marijuana is good. He pointed to a policy statement from a spokesperson for President Obama that said the federal government will stop using its police power to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. But that was cold comfort to many of the people in the room, especially those targeted by a flurry of raids in San Diego in the first week of February.

Audience Packs Library for Medical Marijuana Film (tags)

For many of the 300 people who packed the San Diego Public Library screening of "Waiting to Inhale," Jed Riffe's film on the medical marijuana issue, it's not just a movie but something they're living. The film begins with a raid on a medical marijuana growers' collective, and at least two members of the audience talked about having gone through similar raids from San Diego County law enforcement just days earlier. The audience was highly partisan but the film itself was surprisingly fair-minded and even-handed in its approach to the issue.

Journalist Snow Offers Alternative View of Africa (tags)

Independent journalist Keith Harmon Snow began his February 5 presentation at San Diego's World Beat Center with a promise to "piss you off" — and he succeeded. He took on innumerable progressive sacred cows, including the United Nations, the Peace Corps, the Nation magazine, Jane Goodall and Ben Affleck, and he presented an alternative view of recent African history focused on the role of Uganda, Rwanda and the U.S. in the continued war and exploitation in the Congo.

My Friend, Christine Maggiore (tags)

The death of alternative AIDS activist Christine Maggiore came as a shock to me, not only because for 17 years she'd offered herself as living proof that a so-called "HIV-positive" diagnosis was not necessarily fatal but, more importantly, because she'd been a close personal friend for 15 years. Her death does not change any of the scientific facts that make the idea that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS not only wrong, but ridiculous; though supporters of the mainstream view of AIDS are exploiting it for propaganda, what it really underscores is the need for more basic research to document whether "HIV-positive" people who take the highly toxic AIDS medications actually live longer, healthier lives than those who don't.

SDSU Hosts Teach-In on Israel, Gaza (tags)

The political science department of San Diego State University (SDSU) fully intended their "teach-in" on the conflict between Israel and Gaza to be as objective as possible. The speakers were all professors — two Jewish, one Arab — but they agreed more than they disagreed, particularly that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes. Nonetheless, when the audience had a chance to ask questions, many of them proved to be militant supporters of one side or the other — and the supporters of Israel got to the public microphone first and gave the impression of having "packed" the meeting.

Liberal Prof Confronts Socialist Audience (tags)

Grossmont College economics professor Shahrokh Shahrokhi was invited to speak at the January 12 meeting of Activist San Diego, but though he attacked "market fundamentalism" and called for more government regulation of the economy,,public equity purchases iin the major financial firms and an extensive stimulus plan, many in the audience didn't think his proposals went far enough. They also bristled at his contention that homebuyers who took out mortgages beyond their means were partly responsible for the current economic crisis.

Pat Boone and Proposition 8 (tags)

1950's wimp-rocker Pat Boone recently published an article on the Right-wing Web site World News Daily comparing demonstrators protesting the passage of Proposition 8, which elimnated the right of same-sex couples to marry, with the terrorists who attacked hotels and religious centers in Mumbai, India. To this author, it's appropriate that Pat Boone should be expressing such bigotry and prejudice because he began his career taking advantage of bigotry and prejudice by ripping off great rock songs by African-American artists and having bigger hits with them than their creators did.

Dana Rea: A Transgender Odyssey (tags)

Once upon a time, DANA REA was an apparently successful young male stockbroker — but inside that body was the soul of a woman. Her journey to wholeness took her through seven marriages, depression and panic attacks, victimization by Mexican scam artists, homelessness in San Diego, recovery and plans to start a Trans-oriented magazine.

“No on 8” Actions, Discussions Continue (tags)

The fight against the anti-marriage Proposition 8 has lasted quite a bit longer than the election, in which the same-sex marriage ban passed by a five-point margin. Queer and allied activists are still holding demonstrations against the initiative and meeting to discuss where the fight will go next. But their discussions are stronger on building communications strategies than actually plotting a course to reverse the ballot measure.

Obama and the Economy (tags)

The economy elected Barack Obama President, and it will make or break his administration. Right now it seems likely to break it, as Obama's announced appointees to staff his government come almost exclusively from the moderate administration of Bill Clinton, thereby assuring the ruling class that "change you can believe in" means "change the rich and powerful won't have to worry about." Without a mass Left movement on the order of the socialists and communists who in the 1930's pushed Franklin Roosevelt to the Left, Obama's Presidency is likely to be yet another suck-up to corporate America and its anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-worker "free trade" agenda.

San Diego’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (tags)

San Diego hosted its seventh Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20. The event, begun in San Francisco in 1998, honors the people murdered throughout the year because of their actual or perceived Transgender status. A wide range of Queer community activists participated in the march and program. (Program duration: 27 min.)

Former Prof Speaks on Religion/Science/Democracy Conflicts (tags)

Former UCSD professor Lew Perry spoke to the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego November 16 on the conflicts between religion, science and democracy. He said that conflicts are inevitable because when religion makes statements about the physical world -- like the Bible's claim that the earth is fixed in space -- scientists can and must challenge the religious understanding of physical reality.

Prop. 8 and the Triumph of Theocracy (tags)

The passage of Proposition 8 proves that many American voters are committed to a basically theocratic view of government in which THEIR moral values and commitments should rule over others. It also means the Queer community needs to do some soul-searching over why people of color and others we considered natural allies voted for 8 in greater percentages than whites did, and whether "marriage" as a term carries too much religious baggage ever to win majority support for its legal extension to same-sex couples.

Anti-Proposition 8 Protests in San Diego (tags)

The statewide wave of protests against the passage of anti-Queer, anti-marriage, anti-family Proposition 8 hit San Diego November 7 and 8 with a nighttime rally in Balboa Park November 7 and a march from Hillcrest to North Park, through San Diego's most Queer neighborhoods, the next day.

Elections Expert Speaks at Activist San Diego (tags)

Elections expert Sal Magallanez spoke to Activist San Diego Monday, October 13 as part of a presentation that also included a documentary film, "Hacking Democracy," about Seattle activist Bev Harris and her exposés of the ease with which computer-counted elections can be rigged. Magallanez, an official elections observer for the Democratic Party, noted how the San Diego County Registrar of Voters — hired by an all-Republican County Board of Supervisors — has made suspicious policy decisions that may help Republicans in this year's and future elections.

Let's Have a New President November 5 (tags)

With the U.S. economy in free fall, this country doesn't have the luxury of waiting until January 20, 2009 to swear in the winner of this year's presidential election, This post presents a modest proposal for installing the election winner in the White House immediately, so he can get to work on fixing the economy right away.

Marriage: Some Good News, More Bad News (tags)

The October 10 Connecticut Supreme Court decision endorsing marriage equality for same-sex couples was good news, but it was far overshadowed by the devastating new poll results on Proposition 8, which seeks to overturn the similar ruling last May by the California Supreme Court. Not only has Yes on 8 taken the lead, but they've done so by organizing younger voters — whom marriage equality supporters had assumed would be a bulwark of their coalitiion.

MOXIE Stages Topical Play “Bleeding Kansas” (tags)

MOXIE, San Diego's women-run feminist theatre, is presenting Kathryn Walat's "Bleeding Kansas," a dramatization of one of the bloodiest political conflicts in American history: the fight in 1855-56 over whether Kansas would become a free or slave state. This dress rehearsal for the Civil War wrenched the country apart and, in MOXIE's hands, becomes powerful, vivid, well-acted drama. "Bleeding Kansas" plays through Sunday, November 2 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Boulevard in University Heights, San Diego.

The U.S. Economy on FIRE (tags)

The current U.S. economic crisis didn't start a few years ago when banks and financial institutions started selling "subprime" real estate loans to high-risk borrowers and then repackaging them as "mortgage-backed securities." It began in the early 1970's as a result of a long-term plan by America's major corporations and business leaders to drive down workers' wages and extract more surplus value — and the workers' response, which was to take on more debt. Any real solution that benefits working people cannot be instituted until the power of the corporate rich over the political system is broken.

San Diego Queer Democrats Endorse Beach Booze Ban (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club voted September 25 to endorse Proposition 4 on the November 4 ballot in the city of San Diego, which would make the temporary ban on alcohol consumption at city beaches permanent. Opponents have argued that the ban is an attack on individual freedom, but the club rejected that argument and instead supported beach-area residents who say the ban has improved their quality of life.

Ona Russell Publishes Evolution-Themed Mystery (tags)

Mystery writer Ona Russell's latest book, "The Natural Selection," takes her female detective Sarah Kaufman to Dayton, Tennessee in 1925 for a murder mystery set against the backdrop of the Scopes trial, the attempt by the radical Right of the day to ban the teaching of evolution in schools. The book deals not only with the progressive implications of the theory of evolution but also its racist and classist outgrowths, social Darwinism and the eugenics movement, and the way the Ku Klux Klan made common cause with evolution advocates to advance their racist agenda.

Stephen Whitburn: Progressive San Diego City Council Candidate (tags)

Zenger’s-endorsed District 3 City Council candidate STEPHEN WHITBURN is the real deal: an experienced journalist and progressive who’s seen more of the world than San Diego and knows from government in other cities what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be fooled by an opponent who offers nothing but charm, geography and experience at taking orders.

Progressive San Diego Council Candidate Takes On Developer (tags)

Progressive San Diego City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn held a press conference September 7 to protest a new development proposal for the Hillcrest area that would erect two high-rise towers in a small-scale, intimate neighborhood, adding to traffic congestion and destroying the community's atmosphere. Developer Bruce Lightenberger, also interviewed, said he couldn't care less; he claims that as long as it meets existing zoning, he has an absolute right to build his project and neither the city nor the community can stop him.

San Diego City Council Candidates Debate (tags)

San Diego City Council candidates Stephen Whitburn and Todd Gloria debated at the Hillcrest Town Council September 9. Both are openly Gay men and the debate was held in the center of San Diego's Queer community, but the candidates are otherwise quite different. Gloria emphasized his roots in San Diego and his extensive experience working as a staff member for elected officials, while Whitburn criticized Gloria's support from developers and said his own experience in journalism and the nonprofit sector would make him a better Councilmember.

It’s More than Nuclear Issues, Native Americans Tell Activists (tags)

The event at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego August 29 was billed as a program about Native American activists fighting against nuclear testing and waste disposal in Nevada, but it turned out to be considerably broader than that. Speakers Ian Zabarte, secretary of state of the Shoshone nation, and professor Steven T. Newcomb gave their audience a history lesson about the U.S. government's cavalier attitude towards its treaties with Indian nations and the Christian-supremacist ideology that underlies it.

San Diego's Compass Theatre Presents "Q Plays" (tags)

On Sunday, September 7, Compass Theatre (formerly 6th @ Penn) at 3704 Sixth Avenue in Hillcrest is formally launching its new season of “off-night” productions — performed Sunday evening through Wednesday instead of the “on-nights” of Thursday through Sunday afternoon — called Q Plays. These are five widely varied scripts that have one thing in common: all revolve around Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and/or Transgender characters. Hairdresser on Fire runs from September 7 through October 8. Performances are 7 p.m. Sundays and 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To order tickets, or for more information, call (619) 688-9210 or visit www.compasstheatre.com

Chris Bricker: Organizing for Prop. 7 (tags)

San Diego activist Chris Bricker organizes for Proposition 7, on the ballot this November 4, to force utilities to purchase 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. He talks about the reasons he signed on the campaign — and why utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are pumping millions of dollars into phony "grass-roots" campaigns to defeat it.

Thoughts on Pride (tags)

Thoughts on the recent Queer [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] Pride events in San Diego.

Doctors' Group Gives Awards to AIDS "Dissidents" (tags)

San Diego alternative AIDS activist Michael Geiger reported on his visit to Washington, D.C. in May to watch researcher Peter Duesberg and journalist Celia Farber win Semmelweis Awards for their courage in challenging the conventional wisdom about AIDS. The awards arenamed for 19th century doctor Ignaz Semmelweis, who was driven out of medicine and put in an asylum for demanding that doctors wash their hands between patients.

HRC Head Does Damage Control on Transgender Rights (tags)

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign — America's largest Queer-rights organization — came to San Diego July 24 to organize support for his group's campaign against Proposition 8, which would reverse the California Supreme Court's decision allowing same-sex couples to marry. But most of his 10-minute speech was damage control to repair HRC's relations with the Transgender community, strained by the group's decision last October to support a federal Queer-rights bill that doesn't protect Transgender people.

Veteran Journalist Robert Scheer Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Veteran progressive journalist Robert Scheer spoke in San Diego July 26 and 28 to promote his new book "The Pornography of Power," an exposé of the military-industrial complex and its continuing power to shape American economic and foreign policy and saddle us not only with weapons we don't need but also the irresistible temptation to use them.

Chris Hedges Exposes U.S. War Crimes in Iraq (tags)

Chris Hedges, author of "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" and co-author of the new book "Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians," spoke in San Diego June 25 and expressed his disillusion with the American political system in general and the Democratic party in particular. He said he's not going to vote for either Barack Obama or John McCain because neither will completely withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.

Queer Democrats Endorse Aguirre for San Diego City Attorney (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club, which had endorsed moderate Democrat Scott Peters over progressive incumbent Mike Aguirre for city attorney in the primary campaign, reversed itself and voted to endorse Aguirre over Republican Jan Goldsmith at its June 26 meeting — but not before an intense debate in which the club president threatened to eject two members to keep the meeting orderly.

Obama, at Last! (tags)

With Barack Obama having won the Democratic Presidential nomination, he'll face a well-established Republican attack machine and propaganda apparatus within the corporate media. This editorial in the July 2008 Zenger's Newsmagazine also argues that progressives should support Obama, but keep the pressure on him by street activism to make sure he doesn't cop out and govern as the moderate, pro-corporate Democrat Bill Clinton was.

Tony and Ashley Weeks: Transgender Couple Relate Their Experiences (tags)

Male-to-female Transgender person ASHLEY WEEKS and her female-to-male husband TONY talk about their struggles with gender identity and the love they’ve found in being themselves.

San Diego Bisexuals Host Sexuality Conference (tags)

The Bisexual Forum of San Diego hosted a conference on sexuality May 27 centered around whether, as society has grown more accepting of alternative sexualities, young Queer people today are less obsessed with coming out and being "visible" as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender than their predecessors. The conference opened with a brief videotape filmed especially for it by author/activist Gore Vidal.

“Happy Songs About the War” at Compass (tags)

Don't be put off by the title of JD Boucharde's one-man show, "Happy Songs About the War," through June 4 at the Compass Theatre in San Diego. It's a bitterly satirical yet oddly warm look at the U.S. debacle in Iraq that at the end triumphantly reaffirms pacifist ideals.

Susan Davis, Mike Copass Debate in Hillcrest (tags)

Incumbent San Diego Congressmember Susan Davis finally descended from the mountaintop and deigned to meet her Democratic primary challenger Mike Copass in a one-hour debate Sunday, May 25, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause. The biggest difference between the candidates came at the end, when Copass criticized Davis for consistently voting to fund the war in Iraq and Davis said that, though she'd opposed the original war resolution, she felt a need to vote for the funding to "support the troops."

Anti-War San Diego Congressional Candidate Hosts Forum (tags)

Anti-war progressive Mike Copass, challenging incumbent Democratic Congressmember Susan Davis from San Diego in the June 3 primary, held a town-hall meeting on Mother's Day, May 11, not only to promote his own candidacy but also to build opposition to continuing the Iraq occupation.

Eric Bidwell: "Revolutionary" Mayor for the Rest of Us (tags)

Zenger's Newsmagazine is proud to endorse 25-year-old "revolutionary" candidate Eric Bidwell for Mayor of San Diego.

Zenger's Newsmagazine Election Endorsements (tags)

Zenger's Newsmagazine endorses in local, state and federal offices in the June 3 primary, including "revolutionary" candidate Eric Bidwell for Mayor and incumbent Mike Aguirre for City Attorney.

San Diego Queer Democrats Endorse Morrow for Mayor (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club endorsed former City Councilmember Floyd Morrow for Mayor at thier April 24 meeting — but Morrow was upstaged by City Councilmember and former mayoral candidate Donna Frye, who brought a volunteer in a fox costume to dramatize her contention that Proposition "C," a ballot proposal to allow the mayor to appoint the city's auditor, is "putting the fox in charge of the henhouse."

San Diego Earth Day Hosts Local Candidates (tags)

Though poorly attended, the candidates' debates at San Diego's Earth Day in Balboa Park April 20 offered useful insights into how the aspirants for mayor, third district city councilmember and city attorney might use their jobs to help protect the city's environment — or not.

Sandy Lareau: Informing and Entertaining the Modern Witch (tags)

This May 1 — Beltane in the Pagan holiday calendar — will see the debut of Modern Witch, a quarterly magazine aimed at witches, wiccans and Pagans. In this interview from the May 2008 Zenger's Newsmagazine, publisher Sandy Lareau tells her Wiccan coming-out story and talks about her plans for the magazine and the commitment her community has for protecting the environment.

"Shrimper" Environmental Activist Speaks in San Diego (tags)

diane Wilson, who went from being a painfully shy Texas shrimp fisher to a nationally known environmental activist, presented her story in San Diego at a meeting sponsored by the Peace and Democracy Action Group of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church. Her inspiring story is also available in her book, "An Unreasonable Woman."

“¡Aguirre Si, Labor No!” (tags)

Zenger's Newsmagazine announces its endorsement of progressive Democrat Mike Aguirre for re-election as San Diego city attorney, despite the opposition of reactionary city employee unions more concerned with preserving the pensions of current city workers than protecting the salaries and benefits of future ones.

San Diego Queer Democrats Reject Progressive City Attorney (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club supported the city's corrupt political establishment and its handmaidens in organized labor and refused to support progressive Democrat Mike Aguirre for re-election as city attorney. Instead they endorsed moderate Democrat City Councilemmber Scott Peters even though Peters voted to renew the Boy Scouts of America's sweetheart lease on city land in 2001 and refused to commit to backing Aguirre in a general election against a Republican.

“Those People’ (tags)

The controversy surrounding Barack Obama and his long-time minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the speed with which New York governor Elliot Spitzer was forced out of office after he was revealed to be using prostitutes, just shows how screwed-up Americans are about race and sex. Even within the Queer community, bigotry exists, as shown when a board member of a San Diego nonprofit questioned whether her agency should accept donations from the Leather community and referred to Leatherpeople as "those people."

Mike Copass: Progressive Democrat Takes On Pro-War Incumbent (tags)

Though San Diego Congressmember Susan Davis voted against the original authorization for the war in Iraq, since then she's been a faithful supporter of funding the war and last year crossed party lines to vote for the open-ended, three-year commitment to the occupation pushed by the Bush administration. Mike Copass, scientist and legal consultant, is mounting a grass-roots primary campaign against her with the support of Progressive Democrats of America, who helped Donna Edwards mount a similar challenge in Maryland to a pro-war Democrat.

Gore Vidal Headlines San Diego Anti-War Rally (tags)

Author Gore Vidal headlined the San Diego anti-war rally March 15 in the working-class City heights district and declared he'd be happy if either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush as President. Other speakers including Nadia Keilani of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, were less optimistic about the political process and faulted both Democrats and Republicans for failing to confront U.S. imperialism.

"Father of Gay Leather" Makes Rare Public Appearance (tags)

Larry Townsend, author of "The Leatherman's Handbook" and many other pioneering works about Gay Leather sexuality, made a rare public appearance March 13 in San Diego to honor outgoing Mr. San Diego Leather, Lee Butler. He talked about the ways the Leather community has evolved in his nearly five decades in it, and particularly the responsibility of older Leathermen to steer young people away from drugs and STD's.

Queer Democrats Hold Love-Fest for School Board Candidates (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club overwhelmingly endorsed three candidates in local school board races in a love-fest meeting February 28 that contrasted dramatically with their previous one on January, a knock-down, drag-out debate between incumbent city attorney Mike Aguirre and two of his challengers (one of whom has since left the race). They also rated openly Gay Republican Carl DeMaio "unacceptable" as a candidate for the San Diego City Council.

Queer Marriage Advocates Launch "Decline to Sign" Drive (tags)

Faced with a well-funded campaign to permanently ban same-sex marriage in the California constitution, Queer and Queer-friendly Californians are joining forces to mount a volunteer campaign to keep marraige equality opponents from getting the signatures they need to get their initiative on the ballot at all.

Over 50 Attend Progressive Community Summit (tags)

Over 50 people attended a progressive community "Mega Summit" in San Diego February 17. Organized by the San Diego County Community Coalition and San Diegans for 9/11 Truth, the event brought together representatives from various local groups ranging from anti-war and anti-drug war groups to insurgent candidates for elective office and urban landscape activists.

We Are Our Biochemistry, Says George Riddle (tags)

George Riddle gave a lecture to the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego containing some provocative — and frightening — ideas about the human genome and the possibility of manipulating it. Drawing on the research of his uncle Oscar Riddle, a pioneering genetic scientist who made the cover of Time magazine in 1939 and died in 1952, as well as other, more recent scientists, George painted a picture of a brave new world in which diseases like cancer and diabetes have ceased to exist — and largely ignored the racist and classist applilcations of the knowledge he described so enthusiastically.

"Gay Marine Porn Star" Returns to L.A. Area (tags)

Rich Merritt, whose book "Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star" caused a stir whe it was published in 2005, will be returning to the Los Angeles area Tuesday, February 12. 7:30 p.m., when he appears at A Different Light Bookstore, 8853 Santa Monica Blv’d., to promote his new novel, "Code of Conduct." Set in the early 1990's, the book is about what happened to Gays in the U.S. military when President Bill Clinton promised to end the ban on Queers in the U.S. military — and then reneged in the face of massive political pressure and agreed to the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Zenger's Endorses Obama for President (tags)

With the strongest progressive choices for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards, out of the race, Barack Obama is the only candidate left who offers a fresh vision instead of either a continuation of the Bush administration or a return to the trivial, gridlocked politics of the 1990's. On international affairs and the so-called "war on terror," Bill Clinton's policies were little better than Bush's.

Veterans for Peace President on Activism and IIraq (tags)

Gil Fried, president of the San Diego chapter of Veterans for Peace, explains the purposes of his organization and the national group of which it's a part; how he drifted away from activism after Viet Nam until Bush's antics in Iraq brought him back; and the "Enough!" vigils he and others in conservative San Diego County suburbs are holding every week against the war.

Heath Ledger and “Legal” Drugs (tags)

The late Heath Ledger has been compared tto James Dean, but the real prematurely deceased celebrities he should be listed with are Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Elvis Presley — all heavy prescription drug abusers who thought that, because their drugs came from doctors and drug companies instead of street pushers, they somehow woudln't be as dangerous as illegal "recreational" drugs. Hopefully Ledger's death will awaken people to the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs and the drug-company strategies that get people hooked on them.

San Diego's Controversial City Attorney 'Speaks (tags)

To his supporters, San Diego city attorney Mike Aguirre is an activist and truth-teller who'sone of the few local elected officials dealing seriously with the city's budget crises. To his opponents, ranging from the Right-wing San Diego Union-Tribune to the city employee unions, he's a loud-mouthed obstructionist who's dividing the city and costing it money. The controversy was on display January 24, when Aguirre and two of his election oppoennts debated at the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club.

San Diego Hosts Alternative King Day Event (tags)

Though only 30 people attended San Diego's alternative Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative cvelebration January 21, it represented an important challenge to the way King's "official" celebrations have been co-opted by his enemies: the police, the military and the poltiical establishment.

Giving His Eyes for His Country (tags)

Arab-American Mazin al-Nashi got screwed twice by the Bush administration and the private military contractor that employed him. Recruited to work as an interpreter for Titan in Iraq, he was blinded in an attack and then systematically denied the medical care that might have saved his eyesight. Mazin and his wife Layla told their story to Activist San Diego January 14.

Kucinich for President (tags)

Zenger's Newsmagazine endorses Dennis Kucinich for President (as we did in 2004) over the so-called 'top-tier" Democrats, each of whom has serious liabilities but all of whom would make a better President than any of the Republican candidates. This editorial from the January 2008 Zenger's also contains recommendations on the seven state propositions on the February 5, 2008 ballot.

Daniel Watman: Activist Bridges Cultural, Sexual Borders (tags)

Bisexual activist DANIEL WATMAN doesn’t believe in walls — whether they’re the artificial “borders” between countries or the psychological borders between straight and Gay people. His involvements in the Border Meetup Group and the Bisexual Forum are bringing people together in new and unusual ways.

First Openly Gay Young Democrats President Interviewed (tags)

David Hardt, recently elected president of the national Young Democrats and the first openly Gay man to hold that position, came to San Diego December 6 for a Young Stonewall Democrats' fundraiser and did this interview with Zenger's Newsmagazine. He discussed the future of the Democratic party and the Queer presence within it.

Over 500 Attend SDSU “Rally Against Hate” (tags)

Over 500 people, most of them students, attended a "Rally Against Hate" December 3 at San Diego State University (SDSU). The rally was inspired by three hate incidents directed against Queers at SDSU — an egg thrown at marriage equality demonstrators, the theft of the Queer student group's rainbow flag, and a hate letter in an independent student paper against an openly Gay administrator — but speakers at the rally broadened the topic and attacked all forms of prejudice.

Queer Democrats Fail to Endorse for President (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club failed to endorse a candidate for President after a contentious meeting November 29. On the first ballot, Hillary Clinton received eight votes, John Edwards seven, Barack Obama three, Dennis Kucinich two and 14 club members voted against making an endorsement at all. The club also voted to oppose statewide Proposition 91 on the February ballot, which would block legislators from using gas tax money to balance the state budget.

The Fires of Class (tags)

An analysis of how the recent fires in Los Angeles and San Diego counties demonstrates how much America has given up even lip service to the notion that "all men are created equal" and how this nation has evolved into an aristocratic society that judges people's intrinsic worth based on their wealth.

San Diego Hosts Transgender Day of Remembrance (tags)

San Diego commemorated the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 20 with a candlelight march through the streets of Hillcrest and a rally at the LGBT Community Center. The program featured community volunteers (pictured) reading the names of this year's 15 known victims of Trans-related murders and brief accounts of how each died.

SDSU Queer Leaders Castro, Tjarks Speak (tags)

An interview with the leaders of the San Diego State University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Union (LGBTSU), president Isaac Castro and secretary and acting vice-president Nikki Tjarks, discussing recent hate incidents and the university administration's lack of support for the Queer community on campus.

Reese Erlich: Stopping the War on Iran (tags)

Journalist Reese Erlich, author of "The Iran Agenda," spoke to a San Diego audience November 17 about the prospects for a U.S. attack on Iran. He exposed the lies being told to justify sucn an attack but also suggested the U.S. government might be backing away from the brink.

Independent Journalist Dahr Jamail Speaks on Iraq (tags)

Anti-war journalist Dahr Jamail spoke at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego November 15 to promote his new book, "Beyond the Green Zone," about his experiences as an unembedded reporter in Iraq over eight months from November 2003 to February 2005. His most moving stories were about the two U.S. sieges of Falloujah in April and November 2004.

Queer Administrator at SDSU Attacked (tags)

When a student newspaper at San Diego State University published a letter attacking an openly Gay administrator, fraternity/sorority coordinator Doug Case, the Queer communities on campus and throughout San Diego responded and confronted the paper's staff members at a November 14 town-hall meeting on campus. They've scheduled a "Rally Against Hate" at SDSU December 3 to protest this and other hate incidents against Queer SDSU students.

Hillary: Democrats' Death Wish (tags)

Hillary Clinton probably has the power, money and organizational clout to win the Democratic nomination for President, but she cannot win the general election. The combination of her conservative principles — including her support for an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq — and her radical reputaton will alienate both moderates and progressives and drive white working-class voters back to the Republicans.

Former Christian Music Star Performs at Palm Springs Queer Pride (tags)

Blayne Bell lost his lucrative career in Christian music and broadcasting when his former partner "outed" him to the dean at Abilene Christian University in 2001. He's gone from making up to $200,000 per year to working at a Starbucks in Palm Springs, but as an openly Gay man he's happier than he's ever been. He's performing at the Palm Springs LGBT Pride event Saturday, November 3.

Kozol Rips "No Child Left Behind" in San Diego (tags)

Educator and activist Jonathan Kozol spoke at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego October 8 and ripped the "No Child Left Behind" law, with its agenda of standardized high-stakes testing, militaristic regimentation of the classroom and veiled racism in its assumption of children of color learn "differently' from whites and therefore must be taught less imaginatively.

S.F. Assemblymember Leno Speaks on Same-Sex Marriage (tags)

San Francisco Assemblymember Mark Leno was the keynote speaker at the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club's Freedom Banquet fundraiser October 6. He talked about the bill for marriage equality for same-sex couples he's pushed through the California legislature twice, the likelihood that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto it (as he did in 2005) and the various radical-Right initiative proposals to ban marriage for same-sex couples in California forever.

Forrest Church Speaks on God and America in San Diego (tags)

Forrest Church, Unitarian-Universalist minister and son of the late Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho), spoke October 4 at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in San Diego on the history of the relationship between church and state in the U.S. His message, surprising in front of a progressive audience, was that religion shouldn't dominate politics but it shouldn't be read out of the public sphere altogether either. Many progressive causes, including the abolition of slavery and the 1960's civil rights movement, were headed by religious leaders.

Queer Democrats Endorse Block, Pettis for Assembly (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club endorsed Marty Block, San Diego Community College board member, over more grass-roots candidates Arlie Ricasa and Auday Arabo for an open Assembly seat at its September 27 meeting. The club also endorsed openly Gay candidate Greg Pettis for another Assembly seat in Palm Springs and Riverside County.

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