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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the November 20, 2007 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Commissioner Mark Dunlop, Rene Astudillo, Dora Balcazar, Blue Buddha, Billy Curtis, Ted Guggenheim, Allison Laureano, Anthony Philip, Ren Phoenix, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Greg Shaw, Miko Thomas, Lindasusan Ulrich, Morningstar Vancil.


Committee Members Absent: Jane Aceituno (excused), Ryan Fuimaono (excused), Robert Hill (excused), Christina Martinez (excused).


Staff Present: Nadia Babella, Larry Brinkin, Chris Iglesias, Yong Lee, Masood Ordikhani, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present: Heather Cassell, Deborah Hoffman, Alex Randolph (Mayor’s Office), Margaret Richardson.


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


Mr. Ordeñana called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.


2.      Approval of October 16, 2007 minutes (Action Item):


Ms. Ulrich suggested that the second paragraph of Item #5 be changed to read “Ms. Ulrich suggested that the language on gender identity be stronger since not just transgender people are discriminated against because of perceived gender.”


Ms. Ulrich moved to approve the minutes as amended. Mr. Buddha seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda:


Heather Cassell, with the Bay Area Reporter, said that the Commission on the Status of Women recently did a survey on gender on City Commissions which was reported at their meeting last week. They reported on how many men/women hold City Commission seats. There is no information on LGBT representation on City Commissions. She was wondering if the Committee was doing a similar report on this topic as well.


Mr. Brinkin responded saying that the Committee hadn’t planned on doing a report on this subject, but staff will look into this to see if HRC would want to undertake this project.


4.      Introduction of new Executive Director, Chris Iglesias:


Mr. Brinkin introduced Chris Iglesias, the new HRC Executive Director, who began on November 5. Prior to the HRC, he was at the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development for two and a half years running a program, CityBuild, focusing on employment in building trades. Prior to that, he worked for twelve years with the Redevelopment Agency doing work on their Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program.


5.      Panel Discussion: Being Labeled a “Sex Offender” and Expungement of Records:


Lauren Lofton, fall intern in the LGBT and HIV Division from U.C. Davis, gave background on this topic and introduced the two panelists, Margaret Richardson, an attorney with theEast Bay Community Law Center, and Deborah Hoffman, an attorney with the Public Defender’s Office’s Clean Slate program.


Ms. Hoffman talked about 290 Registration, or having to register as a sex offender with the state, and how it impacts the LGBT community. Because there are no statistics in terms of who is being convicted, their sexual orientation, etc., it’s unknown how the LGBT community is affected; however, they know what types of crimes require registration and what types of crimes that can later be expunged from one’s record through a certificate of rehabilitation. Brochures were provided to the Committee members that are made available to clients who have suffered a conviction that requires registration. She said that if there are people who’ve committed sex offenses requiring registration must register for life; however, there are exceptions. A record can be expunged under 1203.4 of the Penal Code if rehabilitation is complete and there was no conviction thereby stopping the registration process. Failing to register is, in fact, a crime which can either be a misdemeanor or a felony.


Ms. Richardson said that the East Bay Community Law Center is the largest provider of civil legal services in Alameda County. She said that 1203.4 of the Penal Code in expunging conviction is a limited remedy in that it was a code written in 1935 that allows for someone on probation to petition the court to have their case dismissed when probation has been successfully completed, or in the interest of justice. The biggest reason why those convicted of sex offenses apply for expungement is so they can obtain employment. There are three specific circumstances listed in the code that are excluded from the opportunity to say that you haven’t been convicted: 1) applications for public employment (any government agency); 2) licensing; 3) contracting with the California state lottery. There are specific sex offenses that require registration that cannot be dismissed that require a certificate of rehabilitation; however, if convicted of offenses excluded from this process, they are required to go directly to the Governor to be pardoned. She said that she hasn’t seen a lot of people who’ve been convicted of sex offenses based on consensual acts, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not happening. The reason why there are fewer people who have registration requirements at all is because there’s a limitation on what can be dismissed. She said that in the circumstance of an arrest that did not lead to a conviction, their records can be sealed. This may be a more frequent circumstance in a consensual encounter. In these circumstances, if the person can prove factual innocence (no basis for arrest) within two years of the arrest, a petition to have their record sealed can be filed.


The speakers entertained questions from the Committee.


Ms. Lofton said that staff had difficulty finding a panelist from the LGBT community who had participated in a consensual act resulting in having to register. A fact sheet was created and made available for the Committee members highlighting the problems faced when having to register.


6.      Discussion of New Member Recruitment:


Mr. Guggenheim distributed a handout created by the Outreach Committee to help with recruitment efforts and briefly described each item in the handout as well as the requirements for applying. He asked Committee members to identify potential applicants and to start a dialog on applying. Committee members present indicated which organizations they would approach: Mr. Thomas: Native American AIDS Project; Ms. Vancil: LGBT veterans and seniors organizations; Ms. Balcazar: AGUILAS and Ward 86 at S.F. General Hospital; Mr. Buddha: UCSF; Mr. Astudillo: Gay and Lesbian Medical Association; Mr. Shaw: Harvey Milk Democratic Club and And Castro For All; Ms. Ulrich: Bay Area Bisexual Network, St. Francis Lutheran Church; Commissioner Dunlop: Positive Peddlars, high schools where he’s invited to speak; Commissioner Chung: Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Coalition, Transgender San Francisco, Lou Sullivan Society; Mr. Ordeñana: LYRIC, Bay Area Young Positives, Larkin Street Youth Services. Mr. Guggenheim said that Cynthia Goldstein is finishing a flyer on applying for membership to any of the four HRC advisory committees (LGBT, Local Business Enterprise, Issues, and Employment) that will go out to the public. Potential applicants can also fill out an application found on the Commission’s webpage: Mr. Brinkin encouraged the committee to also approach people who are active in the sports, leather, business, and other communities within the LGBT community when thinking about diversity.


7.      Work Group Reports:


Anti-Racism: Mr. Buddha reported that they discussed the forum following the Rap On Race sessions and they’ve decided to push it further back in the year because they’re trying to get buy-in from the business communities. He asked that anyone with personal connections with business owners or those who work in businesses to talk about the forum with them or to pass their names and numbers to work group members so they can talk one-on-one with them. One of the things they’d like to ask members of the business community who are either LGBT or who serve the LGBT community is what would make them want to come to the forum; what things in the “We Agree” statements they like or not like, what they’d like to hear or see, etc., and get some feedback. He reported that they’re going to possibly partner with S.F. Pride in doing an event addressing racism in the beginning of next year. Commissioner Dunlop asked Committee members who have connections with members of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC) to really talk up the forum with them. Mr. Brinkin added that Supervisor Dufty said that he would help in making those connections as well. Their next meeting will be held on Monday, December 10, at 5:30 p.m.


Outreach: Mr. Thomas reported that they discussed three main topics: 1) recruitment, 2) activity work plan, and 3) a community meeting. Part of the activity work plan is looking at everything the Committee has accomplished and not accomplished and where they’re at with them. One of the things they want to do is increase our presence at events for diversity in the community so they’ve selected the Chinese New Year festival to be the next place to have a presence. They also discussed how to do recruitment for volunteers, not just for the LGBT Advisory Committee, but for the other HRC committees and to evaluate the level of participation they want to have at the event. They also discussed having PSAs produced; presently there’s a text PSA available on SFGTV, but they would like to see one that’s more interactive in the near future. Website Development: Mr. Thomas reported that just about all committee members are on the webpage, but if a picture or biography is needed, they need to submit one to Ms. Goldstein. Brochure Development and Distribution: The brochure’s content has been finalized and they have identified places where they’d want them to be distributed, but what they’re waiting for is finding volunteers to help translate the information into different languages as well as determining the costs. He said that Ms. Goldstein will meet with the Executive Director to talk about availability of funds. Community Meeting: They’ve decided to have a town hall meeting in May and what topics to have discussed. Because a lot of the proposed topics have been addressed at other town hall meetings by other organizations, they’re asking committee members to offer any ideas or suggestions for discussion topics. Ideas include addressing racism within the LGBT community, bisexual invisibility, and a reception marking the 10th anniversary of the Equal Benefits Ordinance. Their next meeting will be on Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 5:30 p.m.


8.      Commissioner Report:


Commissioner Chung reported that two letters were drafted: 1) to the House of Representatives to express the Commission’s support for an all-inclusive ENDA, and 2) a resolution to the chair of the Fair Employment and Housing Commission asking them to reconsider their decision in handing over complaint cases to administrative judges who lack the experience and training around discrimination. The first letter was modified and will be sent to the Senate Majority Leader with copies to be sent to the House of Representatives. She added that as of Sunday, November 18, the State Democratic Party adopted a resolution supporting transgender equality. Regarding the second letter, Mr. Brinkin said that they’re in discussions with the City Attorney’s Office who is researching what powers the Commission has on writing letters about pending legislation and other governmental matters.


9.      Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin reported that he’s been doing a lot of work with openhouse on issues around aging in the LGBT community by training senior service providers on LGBT sensitivity. He participated in a two-part workshop on the legal requirements of service providers at a conference in Los Angeles last week. He reported that he is organizing a workshop on employment and housing discrimination for the California Association of Human Relations Organizations’ conference in Sacramento on January 6-8, 2008. He reported that Nadia Babella has joined Mr. Lee in providing HIV in the Workforce trainings at Positive Resource Center. He and Cynthia Goldstein are preparing to meet with Executive Director Iglesias to discuss the division’s policies, procedures, resource needs, and to describe the work of the Committee.


10.  Old/New Business:


Commissioner Chung said that there’s a chance that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which had just passed the House of Representatives, may not make it past the Senate. She suggested that the committee draft a letter supporting the Hate Crimes Act to be mailed to the Senate. Mr. Brinkin asked the committee members to consider whether or not they’d like to continue serving on the Committee for the next term. Knowing who is/isn’t returning would help the recruitment process. A response date will be emailed to the members.


11.  Announcements:


Mr. Buddha announced that the Experimental Performance Institute at New College is having a fundraiser for their program on Monday, December 3, at the Voice Factory, Mission and 11th Streets. Also their end-of-the-month performances before classes resume will take place on January 14-16, 2008, at New College.  Ms. Vancil announced that the Harvey Milk Memorial March will take place at Harvey Milk Plaza on Tuesday, November 27, at 5:45 p.m. Mr. Viterbo announced that a financial assistance fund has been set up to assist Mr. Fuimaono’s sister, Lisa, who was critically injured in an automobile accident.


12.  Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.