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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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