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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the February 17, 2004 Meeting


Committee Members Present: Commissioner Theresa Sparks, Sally Buchmann, Melchor Bustamante, Scott Campbell, Jay Dwyer, Ted Guggenheim, Danny Kirchoff, Nancy Lawlor, Johnnie Pratt, Aleem Raja, Jorge Romero-Lozano, Stephen Schwichow, Morningstar Vancil, Lauren Williams.

Committee Members Absent: Jason Alley (excused), Chris Caldeira, Julie Frank (excused), Bill Kirkpatrick, Lisa Scheff (excused).

Staff Present: Ellise Nicholson, Domenic Viterbo.

Guests Present: Commissioner Haig Baghdassarian.

  1. Call to Order and Roll Call:
    Commissioner Sparks called the meeting to order at 5:43.m. Ms. Nicholson called the roll.
  2. Approval of Minutes of January 20, 2004:
    Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Bustamante seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

  3. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:
  4. Action Item: Approval of Recommendation to Commissioners re: Appointment of New Members:
    Ms. Williams announced that the Recruitment Committee interviewed 14 applicants – eight applicants were selected: Dora Balcazar, David Cameron, Ben Chan, Becky Freund, Aidan Kotler, Patrick Mulcahey, Ren Phoenix, and Brooklynne Thomas. The total number of Committee members equals 25. Mr. Kirchoff said that deciding who to recommend was a difficult process and is excited that Aidan Kotler, a member of the intersex task force, was recommended. Ms. Vancil said that because all the applicants were qualified, it was difficult in determining who to recommend. Ms. Lawlor said that she is excited to see more transgender, intersex, and youth Committee members becoming involved. Mr. Schwichow moved to recommend the eight applicants to the Chair of the Commission for approval to the Committee. Mr. Romero-Lozano seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
  5. Intersex Task Force Report:
    Mr. Kirchoff reported that the task force will meet on Wednesday, February 17, 5:30 p.m., at 25 Van Ness Avenue, to discuss planning the May 27th public hearing.
  6. Marriage & Family Issues Task Force Report:
    Mr. Guggenheim reported that a panel of speakers was held last Thursday at the LGBT Community Center was a success, attracting 150 people. Ms. Nicholson said $160.00 in donations were collected that would help pay for expenses. She added that the Friends of the HRC contributed $300.00 for the room and that $200.00 was owed for the sign language interpreter.
  7. Homeless Queer Youth Task Force Report:
    Commissioner Sparks said that the Homeless Queer Youth position paper was approved by the Commissioners. The approved version has been forwarded to the Board of Supervisors and to Mayor Newsom’s office. Staff will follow up after it has been reviewed. She added that Supervisor Dufty has a community task force that meets once each month. Ms. Nicholson said that she attends the Youth Housing Initiative meetings, sponsored by Supervisor Dufty, that happen once each month. She said that they are trying to secure a floor of a single room occupancy hotel on Market Street in the Castro District for eight rooms and designated them for youth. More negotiations on funding this project still need to be made. Supervisor Dufty has been able to get the neighborhood residents to support this issue. Commissioner Sparks said that Patrick Mulcahey, one of the new Committee members, would be heavily involved on this issue and would represent the Committee.
  8. Retreat Planning:
    Ms. Nicholson requested that Committee members volunteer to form the retreat planning committee. She said that the retreat would be held on one of the Saturdays in April: April 3, 10, 17, or 24. The Committee will be notified of the retreat date based on the date that most Committee members can attend. Committee members and staff who volunteered to form the retreat planning committee are Commissioner Sparks, Mr. Brinkin, Ms. Buchmann, Mr. Bustamante, Mr. Schwichow, and Ms. Nicholson.
  9. Commissioners’ Report:

Commissioner Sparks reported that the homeless LGBTQQ youth position paper was approved.

Commission Sparks reported that Mr. Brinkin is meeting with Berkeley, CA officials to discuss implementing their own Gender Identity Ordinance.

10. Staff Report:

Ms. Nicholson reported that staff may address questions regarding same-sex marriages in the near future though the legal implications resulting from the marriages are unknown. Staff will try to keep up to date on any information that develops. Staff will confer with the City Attorney prior to accepting any complaints pertaining to domestic partner status change and same-sex marriage. Commissioner Sparks suggested the Committee discuss forming a task force or hosting a panel at the upcoming retreat to inform the public on marriage rights and the pending legal progress. She also suggested that the Committee ask the Director to write a letter from the Committee thanking Mayor Newsom for approving same-sex marriages or recommend that the Commission send a letter expressing gratitude.

Ms. Nicholson reported that the Health Services System Board (HSSB) broke its promise to end the exclusion of coverage for transsexual treatments and surgeries in all City employee health insurance plans. She said that the HMOs are ready to allow the surgeries, but HSSB hasn’t allowed it the City Plan trust fund would lose revenue if employees in the HMOs were covered. Mr. Brinkin and Marcus Arana are working closely on this issue.

Ms. Nicholson reported that Cynthia Goldstein testified in Atlanta before a commission that was appointed by their Mayor and City Council regarding an ordinance combining living wage and equal benefits. She said that Ms. Goldstein met with representatives from their Procurement Department to discuss how to put it in effect if it passes.

Ms. Nicholson reported that she and Mr. Arana have been providing sensitivity trainings to employees of the Department of Parking and Traffic focusing on gender identity issues.

Ms. Nicholson reported that Mr. Brinkin had spoken with Matthew Cusick regarding his case. She said that he is waiting for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s results from their mediation on this case before closing the file. She added that Cirque du Soleil has satisfied all of the Commission’s requirements and that no further action will be taken by the Commission.

Ms. Nicholson reported that the City’s deficit is over 300 million dollars and that unless there are early retirements, staff may face layoffs. Commissioner Sparks added that every City department had to present a budget with a cut of 5% for the upcoming fiscal year, plus a contingency plan of an additional 15%.

  1. Old/New Business:
  2. Announcements:
    Ms. Buchmann said that informational picket lines will form on February 20, 21, and 22 at the Church Street, 30th Street, and Potrero Hill Safeway markets until an agreement is made on their employee’s health benefits.

    Mr. Campbell reported that Erin Farrell, former Committee member, has stepped down as director of Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS).

  3. Adjournment:
    Meeting was adjourned at 6:37 p.m.