SF supervisors OK LGBTQ commissioners

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Tuesday July 25, 2023
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Cynthia Wang, left, and Saul Sugarman were approved for city commissions by the Board of Supervisors. Photos: Courtesy the subjects
Cynthia Wang, left, and Saul Sugarman were approved for city commissions by the Board of Supervisors. Photos: Courtesy the subjects

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a gay man for a seat on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force July 25.

The board, at its last meeting before its August recess, also reappointed a lesbian to the city's Entertainment Commission.

Saul Sugarman, 38, was approved 7-4 by the supervisors to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force one day after the board's rules committee forwarded his name with a positive 3-0 vote.

Sugarman is currently the editor of the Bold Italic, an online site run by GrowSF, which describes itself as a nonpartisan group of volunteers who want the city to be safe, clean, affordable, and vibrant.

Seat 3 is specified for a member of the media. Sugarman fills an unexpired term that ends April 27, 2024.

During his remarks to the committee, Sugarman said he has previous media experience at the now-defunct SF Weekly, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Daily Journal.

"I've been interested in this task force for awhile," he said, explaining that he had applied before but deferred to another candidate and was urged to apply again in the future.

In his application, Sugarman notes that he is active in the LGBTQ community. He stated that he has written for nearly a dozen San Francisco-based news outlets in his 12 years of living in the city. He stated that he is Jewish and has an active relationship with local Jewish media.

Voters approved the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force 25 years ago. Its purpose is to protect the public's interest in open government. It also provides information to city departments on appropriate ways to implement the Sunshine Ordinance.

The supervisors also approved David Pilpel on the same 7-4 vote to the task force's seat 9, which requires experience in the issues of citizen access and participation in local government. That position also fills an unexpired term that ends April 27, 2024. Pilpel is a former member of the task force, but drew criticism from some public commenters during the committee meeting.

There was no comment during the supervisors' meeting. Board President Aaron Peskin (District 3) voted no, along with Supervisors Dean Preston (D5), Hillary Ronen (D9), and Shamann Walton (D10).

As a member of the rules committee, Walton had voted yes on July 24 to forward the men's names to the full board.

Entertainment Commission

On the Entertainment Commission, the board unanimously approved the mayoral reappointments of Cynthia Wang and Ben Bleiman. The board also approved the reappointment of Dori Caminong. The terms are all until July 1, 2027.

Wang is the urban planning representative on the panel.

Wang and her spouse, Tessa Chavez, were in the news last December when they renewed their vows in front of U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-California), who was in San Francisco to promote the Respect for Marriage Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law shortly afterward.

The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act that was passed in 1996 but had key provisions struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 (Section 3, U.S. v. Windsor) and 2015 (Section 2, Obergefell v. Hodges). Not only does it require federal recognition of same-sex and interracial marriages nationwide but also mandates states must recognize such unions performed in other states.

Wang was also in the news earlier this year when the San Francisco Democratic Party initially balked at recognizing her new Westside Family Democratic Club, claiming it was a front for Republicans. The club later got its charter and an influx of members, after a San Francisco Chronicle story about the dustup.

Bleiman is an industry representative on the commission. He currently owns five bars/restaurants in the city, according to the commission's website.

Caminong was reappointed by the supervisors to the neighborhood seat on the commission. She works for the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families.

Updated, 7/26/23: We have deleted information that was redacted by the city after publication of this report.

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