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Political Notebook: Out SF candidates report fundraising progress

by Matthew S. Bajko

SF school board candidate Mia Satya. Photo: Rick Gerharter
SF school board candidate Mia Satya. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

Gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy reported having more than double the money of his main opponent, gay attorney Rafael Mandelman, to spend on their contest on the June primary ballot as of the start of 2018.

Meanwhile, of the quartet of out candidates running for school board seats in the fall, two reported raising more than $11,000 for their campaigns. All of the candidates for local offices had to file their financial reports covering the last half of 2017 by Wednesday, January 31.

Sheehy, the board's lone gay member, was appointed last January by the late mayor Ed Lee to fill the vacancy created by the election of gay former supervisor Scott Wiener to the state Senate. He is the first known person living with HIV to serve on the board.

He must run in the special election on the June 5 primary ballot to serve out the remainder of Wiener's term through early January 2019. There will also be an election in November for a full four-year term as the supervisor of the gay Castro district and Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park neighborhoods.

Sheehy has yet to hold an official campaign kick-off or open a headquarters and has churned through two campaign consultants over the last six months. While he has said his main focus is on being supervisor, he has been holding fundraising events.

According to his financial report he filed last week with the city's ethics commission, Sheehy raised $182,435 in 2017 for the June primary race and started the year off with $71,238 in cash on hand to spend.

Mandelman, who serves on the City College board, reported raising $165,032 last year for the June primary race. But he spent most of the money, leaving him with $32,233 in his campaign account at the start of the year. It is the second time he has sought the District 8 seat, having lost to Wiener in 2010.

For the November general election, Mandelman reported raising $59,279 last year and had $11,242 left in his account. Sheehy reported raising $38,350 for his November campaign account and that $37,657 was remaining at the start of 2018.

In the November contest for three school board seats on the seven-member oversight body, Phil Kim, a gay man who works for an operator of charter schools in the East Bay, reported raising the most money among the four out candidates.

He netted $13,081 in donations last year and had $12,182 remaining in his account at the start of 2018. This is Kim's second bid for school board, having lost two years ago.

Mia Satya, a transgender woman who is an employment specialist at the LGBT Community Center, had the second best fundraising total. She raised $11,321 in 2017 and had $10,427 in her account.

Married transgender public school parent Martin Rawlings-Fein, who is bisexual, raised $2,550 and had $2,019 in cash on hand. Sarah Thompson-Peer, a married lesbian mom, raised the least amount of money of the out candidates. She reported $790 in donations in 2017 with $478 left in the bank.

E. Bay lesbian judge draws challenger
Karen Katz, a retired deputy public defender in Alameda County, pulled papers Tuesday to run against lesbian Judge Tara M. Flanagan for her #11 seat on the Alameda County Superior Court.

It is highly unusual for a sitting judge in California, particularly in the Bay Area, to be opposed. None of the 24 other judges on the Alameda court running this year had drawn an opponent as of Wednesday morning, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

Flanagan, a former prosecutor and legal aid attorney who had gone into private practice, won election to an open seat on the East Bay bench in June 2012. Her final vote total of 50.75 percent was enough to avoid having a runoff election in November that year, and she was sworn onto the bench in January 2013.

Three years ago the California Fair Political Practices Commission fined Flanagan $4,500 and her friend Carol Pranka $1,500 for misreporting $25,000 in loans Pranka made to Flanagan for her 2012 campaign. Pranka had served as her campaign committee treasurer that year, and the two women agreed to pay their fines in order to settle the matter with the state watchdog agency.

Flanagan accepted responsibility for the mistakes, telling the B.A.R. that they were "inadvertent." She did not respond this week to a request for comment on having a likely opponent this year.

Katz could not be reached for comment. She earned her law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law and was admitted to the state bar in December 1985. She went to work for the Alameda County Public Defender, where she remained until 2016.

According to her profile on the State Bar of California, she has been listed as inactive since leaving the public defender's office.

BAYMEC early-endorses
A South Bay LGBT political group has early-endorsed three out candidates running in the June 5 primary. It marks a return to playing a larger role in local elections for BAYMEC, which stands for the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee, as in 2016 it did not release any endorsements.

Two of the candidates picking up early support from BAYMEC are hardly a surprise.

Gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) has long had ties to the group and, as noted in the Political Notes online column Monday, so far has no opponent this year for his 28th Assembly District seat.

Shay Franco-Clausen, a queer woman of color who is running for the open District 9 seat on the San Jose City Council, is a former BAYMEC board member. Should she win, Franco-Clausen would be the first female LGBT council member and only the second out LGBT person to serve on the body.

"That is a thrilling and historic prospect," stated BAYMEC Vice President Paul Escobar.

The first out San Jose council member was Ken Yeager, who is now serving in his last year on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors due to term limits. No out candidate has filed to run for his seat, and BAYMEC will be hosting a candidate forum with those who have next month.

In the contested election for San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, BAYMEC endorsed Nancy Magee, a lesbian who is the county education office's associate superintendent for the student services division. She is running against Gary Waddell, Ph.D., a gay man who is the deputy superintendent overseeing instructional services and programs for the county education office.

"We believe that Nancy's bold vision and concrete plans for how to support LGBTQ students and their families - in fact, all of San Mateo County's students - is what the county's residents deserve," stated Escobar.

SF supes pass pro-trans bathroom policy
As expected, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors at its meeting Tuesday unanimously adopted legislation to require single-room occupancy hotels to designate their single-stall bathrooms and shower facilities as gender neutral. The policy needs to be voted on a second time at the board's February 13 meeting before going to the desk of interim Mayor Mark Farrell, who is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The first-of-its-kind rule would apply to all hotels in the city. Proponents argue it not only benefits transgender SRO residents but also seniors and disabled people with caretakers of the opposite sex, as well as parents with children of the opposite sex.

District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen is the lead sponsor of the legislation. Co-sponsors include Supervisors Jane Kim, Aaron Peskin, Sandra Lee Fewer, Ahsha Safai, Malia Cohen, board President London Breed, and Sheehy.

"Some SROs already have all-gender bathrooms but it is currently not a requirement," noted Ronen.

Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com Monday mornings at noon for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion. This week's column reported on the fundraising reports of 12 out legislative candidates in California.
Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/politicalnotes .
Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or email m.bajko@ebar.com.

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