Political Notebook: Newsom taps Dufty campaign manager for liaison post
by Matthew S. Bajko
Mayor Gavin Newsom has hired Alex Randolph as his new liaison to both the LGBT community and District 8. Randolph, who served as campaign manager on District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty 's successful re-election bid last year, started Monday, January 29.
The openly gay Randolph, 24, is already at work planning a February 12 celebration to mark the day three years ago when Newsom ordered city officials to wed same-sex couples. He will be paid $48,000 a year.
"Having a mayor in City Hall who supports gay marriage and stood up for our community â€“ he made clear we should have the right to get married and have equal standing in society â€“ it is an amazing opportunity to work for somebody like that," said Randolph, who came out of the closet 18 months ago.
He credited his time in the city meeting out politicians like Dufty and city Treasurer Jose Cisneros as having helped him come out. In his new job, Randolph hopes he can do the same for those LGBT people younger than him.
"There are a lot of young kids who are coming out, like myself over a year ago, and seeing successful LGBT leaders is very encouraging," he said. "I would love to be that role model to someone going to Berkeley or living in San Francisco or living in different parts of the country. I want them to know that yes, I can come out and be successful."
Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, Randolph's mother is German and his father, an African American, is American. The two met in Washington, D.C. when his mother came to visit her sister, who was married to a mid-level State Department diplomat. His father disliked living in Germany and left the family to return to Maryland.
At 16, Randolph moved to San Diego to attend high school as part of a student exchange program. He graduated last May from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in political science and public policy. In July he joined Dufty's campaign.
"I always wanted to work for the city of San Francisco. Growing up in Germany, San Francisco and New York are the two cities everybody wants to visit," said Randolph, who is fluent in German and speaks French.
While in college he met Trevor Nguyen , his boyfriend since the summer of 2005. The two bunked together during an internship program in the nation's capital. Randolph interned in the offices of San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis , a Democrat and Cal alum. Nguyen, now at Oxford University working on a dissertation about same-sex domestic violence, interned with the Department of Justice's civil rights division.
Randolph gave credit to the former liaison, James "Jimmer" Cassiol, for the work he did in the position and said, "I see him as an inspiration and big shoes to fill." He said the LGBT community always has an "open door with me."
In a statement, Newsom said, "We're thrilled to have Alex on board â€“ he brings a wonderful enthusiasm and diverse background to this vital position. He will continue â€“ and without question strengthen â€“ our commitment to serving the many, diverse people who make up our city's LGBTQ community."
Dufty praised the mayor for tapping Randolph for the job.
"I think it is an outstanding choice. Alex is smart, energetic, hardworking, and he is young. We need more young people in positions of leadership," said Dufty. "He did an amazing job leading my campaign team. He has certainly met a lot of people in District 8 and understands the neighborhood issues and concerns."
Peskin 'bears' all
The mayor has long held "hottie" status among gay men â€“ many of whom wished they were spooning in the handsome pol's arms in that infamous Vanity Fair pic where Mayor "McDreamy" is on the rug with his now ex-wife. But the hundreds of hirsute men arriving in town February 15 for the 13th annual International Bear Rendezvous â€“ who may prefer a man with a more pear shape than the lanky mayor's physique â€“ have a new political pin-up to ogle: Board of Sup
Peskin strips down to his Speedo in the latest issue of San Francisco magazine, showing off his hairy chest for a profile the glossy did of the powerful "Titan of North Beach." What Peskin's swimming attire and dips in the bay have to do with his muscling through legislation that favors high-rise construction South of Market â€“ the point of the article â€“ is anybody's guess.
But if Peskin does dive into the 2008 race for the state Senate seat held by Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), the revealing shot may play well in mailers to those bears residing in the district.
In addition to his stripping down last week â€“ the February edition of the magazine hit subscribers' mailboxes Wednesday, January 25 â€“ Peskin doled out committee assignments to his colleagues on the board. He not only returned District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty to the powerful budget and finance committee but also named District 9 Supervisor Tom Ammiano its vice chair, despite rumors the two are still at odds over Peskin's voting for the controversial Home Depot project over Ammiano's objections.
District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly will once again chair the committee. With the two openly gay members of the board and Daly, who represents the Tenderloin and is a strong LGBT ally, on the committee, it is a good sign that AIDS agencies will again this year likely be spared from budget cuts. And LGBT groups will also have heavy clout in the annual fight for local dollars.
"I don't think it gets much better than this," Dufty said when asked what the makeup of the committee means for the LGBT community.
Ammiano will also chair the rules committee while Dufty, who became a dad last year, will chair the city and school district committee.
Dufty will also sit on the public safety committee, which will be chaired by District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi ; District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell will serve as vice chair. All three have expressed frustration with the leadership of the police department and have wrangled with the mayor and Police Chief Heather Fong over police foot patrol legislation. Expect more of the same as the three use their committee hearings to question how Fong and her deputy chiefs are addressing crime.
Out lesbian Joyce Newstat, formerly Newsom's top policy chief, has joined the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund in San Francisco as its newly created vice president for communications and public policy. The $593 million Haas fund has been a major contributor to LGBT causes, doling out more than $2 million in grants in 2006 to LGBT groups and AIDS agencies.
Newstat played a key role in shaping the Newsom administration's handling of the same-sex marriages in 2004 and developing assets for low-income families. She founded and served as CEO of consulting firm Rocket Science Associates and worked as the assistant director of community and governmental relations for the University of California at San Francisco.
Newly sworn-in Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi , formerly the state insurance commissioner, has hired his former deputy insurance commissioner, Eric Bauman , as his deputy in charge of regional offices and external affairs. Bauman, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party chair, will remain in the Los Angeles area and commute to Sacramento when needed.
Asked if he intends to run for state Democratic Party chair in 2009 when current chair Art Torres steps down, Bauman simply said, "It's a long time away." If elected, he would be the first openly gay person to hold the post.