City and County of San FranciscoHuman Rights Commission

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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the February 19, 2008 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Rene Astudillo, Dora Balcazar, Billy Curtis, Robert Hill, Allison Laureano, Ren Phoenix, Greg Shaw, Miko Thomas, Lindasusan Ulrich, Morningstar Vancil.


Committee Members Absent: Commissioner Mark Dunlop (excused), Blue Buddha (excused), Ted Guggenheim (excused), Anthony Philip (excused), Martin Rawlings-Fein (excused).


Staff Present: Nadia Babella, Larry Brinkin, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present: Margaret Dagovich, Justin Patrick Jones.


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


Commissioner Chung called the meeting to order at 5:40 p.m. Ms. Babella called the roll.


2.      Approval of January 15, 2008 minutes (Action Item):


Ms. Laureano moved to approve the minutes as written. Ms. Phoenix seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda:


No public comments were made.


4.      Approval of New LGBTAC Members (Action Item):


Ms. Babella explained that 13 committee members are returning; 23 applicants applied; of the 23, Commissioner Chung and Mr. Brinkin selected 16 of the applicants to be interviewed. Interviews were conducted by Ms. Babella, Mr. Brinkin, and Mr. Viterbo. Of the 16 interviewed applicants, 13 are being recommended for approval: Alex Baty, Saurabh Bajaj, Samer Danfoura, Bill Doggett, Winston Dong, Jr., Justin Patrick Jones, Poonam Kapoor, Paul Klees, Mark Murphy, Yvette Pannell, Alic Shook, Kim Shuck, and Brad Vanderbilt and to reinstate Jane Aceituno as a member. Committee members who are not returning are Blue Buddha, Billy Curtis, Robert Hill, and Anthony Philip. The approval of the 13 recommended applicants would bring the number of committee members to 26.


Ms. Ulrich moved to approve the 13 applicants to the committee as a slate. The motion was passed unanimously.


5.      Discussion of Past Year Activities/Evaluation:


Commissioner Chung said that a set of six questions were emailed prior to tonight’s meeting and explained the process. The evaluation is a new tool devised to help the Committee look back at the activities done over the past year as well as to provide input and feedback on how to move forward. The process would be to address each question at a time so that the responses can be compiled. Mr. Brinkin asked members to submit their questionnaire if they’ve filled it out. Questionnaires also can be submitted anonymously.


Question #1: Does staff support the committee well?: Responses include that staff was able to support the committee as best as it could given the limited amount of resources. Suggestions include getting more available resources to staff and for the committee to be cognizant of staff’s time so that both can work together as a team. Communication between staff and committee members can also be improved. Also to not to monopolize staff’s time and resources, a point person ought to be appointed to help staff on projects, task forces, and work groups to engage the other committee members as well as to give status reports, more accountability among committee members and for volunteers to step up and staff the process.


Question #2: Do the commissioners facilitate and guide the committee well?: The general response was that they do a good job, but could cut back on their input in a discussion. It would be helpful if there was some way to indicate this feeling to whoever is chairing the meeting. Also the reports of Commission meetings sometimes feel distant, with their bearing on the work of the committee unclear. Getting genuine feedback from members of the Commission about the work the committee is doing would help the committee do its job better. Ms. Phoenix offered as a possible retreat item is the possibility for each committee member to rotate in attending the Commission meetings. Lastly, our commissioners do a great job in ending meetings on time or early.


Question #3: How well do the members interact and work with each other?: Mr. Curtis said that since the committee is made of up very active community members, he would like to see the members reach out to other members who may not be quite as active and possibly mentor them into doing more. He added that the talent within the committee can be better managed by taking a project, narrowing it down, then deciding on how it can be best addressed. The feeling is that there’s a lot of expectation to accomplish tasks placed on the members who already have too few hours available. Some members shared that they felt left out of a couple of committee activities because they were led to feel that they didn’t have much to contribute to the subject matter. The committee should be sensitive to this dynamic so as to not have a member feel unwelcome on a particular project.


Question #4: What were the successes or accomplishments of the committee in the past year?: Members felt the Native American Hearing Report and panels on S/M family custody and non-traditional sexuality/relationships were great accomplishments. Ms. Phoenix said that the committee needs to look back at their successes and accomplishments and decide if follow-up work needs to be done. 


Question #5: What did you hope to accomplish or achieve on the committee this? And did you?: Ms. Ulrich was really encouraged when bisexual invisibility was adopted as one of the topics to work on this past year, and understands that due to lack of resources, budget, etc., she was disappointed when it wasn’t addressed, but hopes to accomplish this subject. Ms. Laureano said they have progressed and done a lot of good groundwork on the “We Agree” project, bisexual invisibility, the panel on sex stigmatization, etc., and what they need to look forward to is closing the loop on some important issues then they can look back to see that the activities from this year truly were successful. Mr. Astudillo agreed adding to address the issues that were not addressed this year rather than coming up with more, big issues to address that may fall by the wayside. He also added that he would like to see a committee meeting brought to the community this year as well as hearing about the accomplishments made by the other standing committees. Mr. Curtis would like to see more work on educating and becoming educated on having an inclusive ENDA.


Question #6: Any other feedback?: No comments were raised on this question, but Commissioner Chung said that each member needs to set realistic expectations for themselves, to really challenge themselves this year to focus on producing really good quality work instead of quantity. She invites all the members to communicate openly with the Commissioners about how they feel things are going while on the committee.


6.      Approval of Letter of Concern to the Health Commission Regarding HIV/AIDS/STD Advertisements Being Stigmatizing (Action Item):


This item has been tabled to a future meeting agenda since there is no time constraint on when to send the letter.


7.      Work Group Reports:


Anti-Racism: Mr. Brinkin reported that the work group is defunct in at the moment because many of their members have left the committee; however, staff continues to work on the “We Agree” document. He hopes that this item can be discussed at the retreat on whether or not to move this project forward. Commissioner Chung added that since Mr. Brinkin is now managing the Housing, Public Accommodations, and Employment Division in addition to the LGBT & HIV Division, his time is greatly limited to working on this project and for committee members to be mindful of this fact.


Outreach: Commissioner Chung reported that they hadn’t met but they’ve arranged to staff an information booth at the Chinese New Year Celebration this coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24, and that more volunteers are needed to help fill the gaps in the booth staffing schedule.


8.      Commissioner Report:


Commissioner Chung reported that the Commissioners approved the contingency budget for the midyear and approved moving forward with the new budget. During this process, other reports such as performance measures of the department, etc., are forthcoming and will be presented at the next Commission meeting. She added that the Commissioners are looking closely at the outreach efforts made by the Outreach Work Group which can potentially turn into suggested practice for the Commission at large.


9.      Staff Report:


Ms. Babella reported that Hadas Rivera-Weiss has returned to the LGBT & HIV Division. In addition, Ellise Nicholson will also be returning to the LGBT & HIV Division in a few weeks. Both have left the division to work in the Small and Micro Local Business Enterprise Division and are returning to replace Kabir Hypolite and Yong Lee who have left the Commission. Also Masood Ordikhani is the new Deputy Director of the Commission. She reported that we will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Equal Benefits Ordinance in which a 10-year report will be produced as well as a reception in April 2008. She reported that the Commission’s budget is due to the Mayor’s Office on Friday, February 22, and is happy to report that there will be no layoffs; however, because of the City and State budget crises, all requisitions for job vacancies cannot be filled. Mr. Brinkin added that Doreen Arevalo, Administrative Assistant for the staff located at the airport, started today.


10.  Old/New Business:


Commissioner Chung reported that term limits are being discussed which would affect all the advisory committees of the Commission; people who’ve been on a committee for a number of years get to take a break for a year or two then return revitalized and rejuvenated. Also so that others would have a chance at participating on the committee.


11.  Announcements:


Mr. Curtis announced the 3rd Annual Transgender Leadership Summit, sponsored by U.C. Berkeley, Transgender Law Center , and the National Center for Lesbian Rights will take place on Friday, March 14 to Sunday, March 16 at U.C. Berkeley. To register, go to


Mr. Brinkin gave a word of thanks to the members present who will not be returning for their time and commitment to the committee. They were reminded that the meetings are open to the public and that they can reapply in the future.


Ms. Laureano announced that Transgender San Francisco and the Lou Sullivan Society have joined forces to be a resource for the entire transgender community and that they’re going to have elections in April.


Mr. Thomas announced that National Native AIDS Awareness Day is on Friday, March 21, and that a sunrise ceremony will be held in Dolores Park. On Saturday, March 22, a powwow at San Francisco State University will take place, including an intertribal dance specifically for LGBT people.


Ms. Vancil announced that a community forum sponsored by San Francisco Pride will be held at the Women’s Building on Saturday, March 1, from 1:00-2:00 p.m.


Commissioner Chung announced that the Supreme Court will be hearing the oral arguments of the married same-sex couples who are suing the State of California on March 4. In addition, she announced that INFORUM of The Commonwealth Club will have a panel on HIV housing on Thursday, March 6, 6:00 p.m., at The Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street, San Francisco.


Mr. Brinkin announced that the Senior Community Partnership committee looking at senior service providers will be looking at ageism within the LGBT communities. At their next meeting, they’ve invited Brian DeVries, a professor of gerontology at San Francisco State University, to speak on this subject. He also advised everyone to come to next month’s meeting early because it will not only be a full agenda, but it’s also the first meeting to include the new members.


12.  Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 7:30p.m.