Takano in SF for Pride
by Matthew S. Bajko
With gay Congressman Mark Takano 's high-profile visits to San Francisco this year, one would think the freshman lawmaker represents the city on Capitol Hill. But the Harvard-educated Takano hails from Riverside in southern California.
During his campaign last year for the state's 41st Congressional District seat, Takano, 52, came to town twice to hold relatively low-key fundraising events. According to an analysis of OpenSecrets.org data by MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics, Takano raised $55,742 in 2012 from San Francisco donors.
Now that he has become the first out member of the Golden State's congressional delegation, the Democrat has become something of a regular in the city by the bay.
He flew into the Bay Area twice in February, once to take part in an annual observance of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Takano's grandparents and both parents were among those sent to the internment camps.
Mayor Ed Lee also feted him during that trip at a Chinatown event. The second time he returned to attend several private fundraisers in San Francisco to bolster his campaign account, and the following night, he was at the annual gala held by Equality California, the statewide LGBT advocacy group.
Campaign finance records show Takano has raised $14,000 so far this year from San Francisco donors.
Takano, who also has the distinction of being the first LGBT person of color elected to Congress, will be headed back to town this weekend to attend several events. He is the keynote speaker Sunday, June 30, at the annual Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club's Pride breakfast.
Lee has invited Takano to then ride with him in his Pride parade contingent. And the next night, Monday, July 1, Takano will be feted at a fundraiser at the gay-owned Club OMG on Sixth Street in the South of Market neighborhood.
"I think it is great that a trailblazer like Mark Takano is willing to come to San Francisco, the capital of thought leadership for the nation's LGBT community," gay consultant Julian Chang , who is helping to coordinate the nightclub event, told the Bay Area Reporter via a Facebook message last week while visiting England. "It's a good match and helps reinforce the need for diversity and inclusion in Congress."
His frequent stopovers in San Francisco are somewhat ironic, considering back in 1994, during Takano's first attempt at running for Congress, anti-gay mailers were sent to Riverside County voters that asked if he would be "a congressman for Riverside ... or San Francisco?"
During his second congressional bid, Takano turned the homophobic attack on its head and used it to his advantage. As the Political Notebook noted in a profile of Takano last fall, the former educator reminded supporters about the mailers and pledged that, if he were elected, he would be a congressman for both cities.
Based on his travel schedule, Takano is making good on his promise.
The Alice breakfast begins at 7:45 a.m. at restaurant Yank Sing-Rincon Center, 101 Spear Street at Mission.
Tickets cost $95 for the general public, $45 for club members and can be purchased online at http://www.alicebtoklas.org/breakfast/.
UPDATE: The event at Club OMG that had been planned for Monday night has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict, Takano's office announced late Thursday. It will likely be rescheduled for a later date.
(Photo: Courtesy SF Bulls)
Sports teams to march
Two Bay Area sports teams plan to march in this year's Pride parade.
The San Francisco Bulls professional minor league hockey team is sending its mascot Rawhide and staffers to the LGBT event for the first time. And Rick Welts , the gay president of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, will also make his first appearance in the parade since being hired in 2011.
As noted in March by the Political Notebook, local professional sports teams have been a rare sight at Pride. Until now, none had their own contingent in the parade.
Last year, the mayor had invited Welts to march with him but a scheduling conflict left Welts out of town that day. The team did send its community ambassadors and former players Nate Thurmond and Al Attles, who also coached the team to an NBA title win in 1975, to ride in cars as the mayor's special guests.
The invite came after the team announced in May 2012 that it planned to move to the city and construct a new arena on the waterfront. As that plan has met opposition, the Warriors, and Welts in particular, have been courting community support for the project.
As for the Bulls, which just ended its inaugural season at the Cow Palace, the team had looked at fielding a float in last year's parade but found the price cost prohibitive. In its newsletter emailed to fans Monday, June 24 the farm team for the San Jose Sharks invited them to "join the Bulls family as we march in one of the biggest events of the year."
Gov. picks acting CA AIDS office chief for post
Sixteen months after being named acting chief of the state Office of AIDS in the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Karen Mark was officially appointed to the position Friday, June 21 by Governor Jerry Brown.
Mark, 42, is a registered Democrat and will earn $173,964. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.
The UCSF graduate lives with her partner of 12 years and their three children in Sacramento. The B.A.R.'s request to speak with Mark was not granted by press time.
An HIV doctor with stints in San Diego and Seattle, Mark first joined the state AIDS office in 2010 as its chief of the Surveillance, Research, and Evaluation Branch.
She was given the top job on an interim basis in October 2011 following the departure of Dr. Michelle Roland , the bisexual co-founder of ACT UP/San Francisco, who resigned in order to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Tanzania.
AIDS advocates had been critical of the long delay in seeing the AIDS office chief job be permanently filled. They noted that due to her interim status, Mark had been barred from serving on the executive committee of the National State and Territorial AIDS Directors. The national body had recently decided to make an exception to the policy and allow Mark to serve due to the lengthy vacancy.
Anne Donnelly, director of health care policy for the San Francisco-based nonprofit Project Inform, said AIDS advocates met with the Brown administration repeatedly to stress how important it was to have a permanent director in place.
"We have no idea why it took so long," she told the B.A.R. last week following the news of Mark's appointment. "Personally I think it demonstrates this governor's lack of commitment to health in general and HIV specifically."
One of the key concerns Mark will face, said Donnelly, is the federal health care reforms set to take place in 2014 and how they will impact HIV care and the prevention delivery system in California.
"There are a multitude of areas where the [state AIDS office] can show leadership and be a voice for people with HIV and their providers at the state level and there are also state level program development and implementation issues," stated Donnelly.
While Mark's office has been taking important steps in those directions, added Donnelly, and is working well with the community, "even more needs to be done given how close we are to implementation of Medi-Cal expansion and Covered California."
The difficulty that the state AIDS office faces, Donnelly said, is that "it is not staffed, funded, or charged to do these things, which makes it more challenging."
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 LGBTs backing South Bay Congressman Mike Honda's re-election bid in 2014.
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) 861-5019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.