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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.”

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.

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 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.

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.

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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