Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Political Notebook:
Gay Dem clubs weigh
in on SF 2013 elections


Supervisor Katy Tang was unable to meet with the Milk club's political action committee, but said she's happy to talk to club members.
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)
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It is the least contested municipal election cycle San Francisco has seen in decades, and as such, there is little surprise about who the city's two main LGBT political clubs are backing in the November election.

Even an endorsement snub in the lone supervisor race on the ballot is less exciting than it would first appear. The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club gave no candidate its endorsement in the District 4 supervisor race.

The reason being neither of the two candidates met with the club's political action committee to seek its backing. Challenger Ivan Seredni, an audit accounting consultant at San Francisco Suicide Prevention, opted not to pursue the club's endorsement.

The incumbent, Supervisor Katy Tang , was unable to attend the PAC endorsement meeting. Not having a chance to talk to her about various policy issues, the club decided to withhold its endorsement.

"We hold those PAC endorsement meetings so candidates can address the members about their plans. We had no reading whatsoever about Supervisor Tang," explained club President Tom Temprano . "Given her short track record, it would have been really helpful to hear what was on her agenda and what stance was she going to take on things. And we had not a clue about that."

Tang was appointed to represent the Sunset District on the Board of Supervisors earlier this year by Mayor Ed Lee to fill the vacancy created when he named the former holder of the seat, Carmen Chu, the new assessor-recorder following Phil Ting 's election to a state Assembly seat last November.

A former aide to Chu in the supervisor's office, Tang told the Bay Area Reporter this week that she was unable to attend because she was preparing to leave town that weekend and was hosting an event that Saturday, August 17 when the Milk PAC met with candidates. She added that she prefers to meet with political clubs herself rather than send a campaign representative in her place.

"I could not miss an event I was hosting. I do apologize for the confusion about that," said Tang. "I am happy to offer myself to be available to meet with whoever would like to meet. I certainly value the endorsements of all clubs."

Tang added that she does look forward to having a policy discussion with the Milk club at a future date.

"It was unfortunate I couldn't make it," she said.

Tang did secure the endorsement of the more moderate Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. Writing in the club's candidate questionnaire, which can be downloaded from its website at, Tang said that her top priorities in office are to keep the city family-friendly, encourage economic development, and push for fiscal accountability.

"I am strongly committed to our party's ideals, especially ending discrimination; as a person of color, I know that tough fights have opened opportunities for me, and they must continue to be fought to end all discrimination," wrote Tang in explaining why she was seeking the Alice club endorsement.

It remains unclear if the moderate Tang would have been able to win over the progressive Milk club. But Temprano noted that her predecessor, who often clashed with Milk members on various policy fights, won the club's endorsement for her re-election race for assessor-recorder.

"Obviously, the fact that the club endorsed Carmen Chu, who did take the time to show up, and being we have disagreed with Carmen Chu on so many legislative issues," noted Temprano, she nonetheless was endorsed. "She did address the concerns of our members."

The Alice club also endorsed Chu, who is unopposed for the position. Despite not having to worry about an opponent, Chu has been making the rounds to meet with various groups in the city.

Last week, she addressed the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro during their monthly meeting. It was her first appearance before the gayborhood's merchant association since taking over the position.

There, Chu said her main goal for her office is modernization, though she cautioned it would take some time to achieve. The first priority will be business property statements known as a 571-L Form.

"I expect that you will be able to get information online and pay your bills online," Chu told MUMC members. "Unfortunately, City Hall doesn't move as fast as we would like. We will be working on getting the forms online, and by next year, we hope to roll it out."

City Attorney Dennis Herrera and city Treasurer Jose Cisneros, the only LGBT person elected to a citywide position at City Hall, both secured the backing of Milk and Alice this year.

The two are running unopposed for truncated terms this fall due to a voter-approved plan to save the city on election costs. In 2015 they will have to again run for their elected positions when they revert back to being four-year terms.

Later this month the Log Cabin Club of San Francisco will be endorsing in the local races. The gay Republican group will vote September 25 on its endorsements.


Ballot measure positions

The only real excitement in this year's November 5 election is down ballot among the local ballot measures. Gaining the most attention is the fight over Propositions B and C in regard to the 8 Washington Street mixed-use luxury condo project along the Embarcadero.

Opponents decry the development as too dense and are against the city's granting it an exemption to the height limits in the area. Supporters of the housing counter it has gone through nearly a decade-long process of public review and would funnel $11 million toward the city's fund for affordable housing projects.

The Alice club is backing the developer, Pacific Waterfront Partners Inc., and has recommended yes votes on both Prop B and C.

In the opposition corner is the Milk club, which is urging voters to reject the dual measures.

Both clubs support Proposition A, aimed at protecting retiree health care benefits for city employees. As for Proposition D, which would make it official city policy to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to secure the cheapest prices on prescription medicines, the Alice club is in support while the Milk club did not take a position.


Opt out of paper ballot guide

In an effort to "green" the city's voting process, the Department of Elections is offering voters to opt out from receiving the printed voter guide mailed out each election cycle. The guides will be available online, but by reducing the number sent to mailboxes, the city will save on printing and mailing expenses.

This Monday, September 16 is the deadline to sign up. To do so, visit


Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check Monday mornings at noon for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion. This week's column reported on the funeral of gay SF icon Jose Sarria.

Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @

Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 861-5019 or e-mail

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