City and County of San FranciscoHuman Rights Commission

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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the April 18, 2006 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Commissioner Mark Dunlop, Jane Aceituno, Whitney Bagby, Dora Balcazar, Blue Buddha, David Cameron, Celina Chico, Billy Curtis, Aidan Dunn, Calvin Gipson, Christopher Gomora, Danny Kirchoff, Erica Newport, Roberto Ordeñana, Anthony Philip, Ren Phoenix, Aleem Raja, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Jason Riggs, Stephen Schwichow, Morningstar Vancil,  Meredith Wood, Diana Ming Yin.


Committee Members Absent: Ted Guggenheim (excused), Jason Stein (excused).


Staff Present: Larry Brinkin, Hadas Rivera-Weiss, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present:


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


Commissioner Dunlop called the meeting to order at 5:33 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.


2.      Approval of Minutes of March 21, 2006:


Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Cameron seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:


Mr. Brinkin announced that Steven Noh, who spoke during Public Comment at the February 21, 2006 meeting, requested a change in how his comments were summarized in the minutes. He said that the City Attorney approved the change because public comment is not an action item. The correction has been made and posted onto the HRC’s website.


4.      Adopt Work Plan For the Upcoming Year:


Mr. Schwichow called a point of order: He noted that introductions of members had not been completed. He introcuded Anthony Philip, and Commissioner Dunlop and Diana Ming Yin introduced themselves as new members of the Committee.


Mr. Brinkin said that the Committee identified four issues during the retreat on April 16, to work on this year: 1) Discrimination and Other Issues Affecting Native American Communities. A task force would prepare a public hearing, subject to approval by the Commissioners. He said that the Commissioners will have a planning meeting on April 27 where they will consider the recommendations from all the Committees and decide what they’d like to do. Assuming a yes vote, the task force would identify which issues they would like the Commissioners to learn about, areas covered, (e.g. employment, housing, health, education, forms of discrimination, youth, LGBT, etc.). Then the task force would identify speakers who are experts in the areas being covered. There also would be time at the hearing for public comment. He added that the Issues Committee may also want to recommend to the Commissioners that this public hearing be held. If they decide to work on this issue, a joint task force would be formed to produce the public hearing together. If not, it’s fine for the LGBT Advisory Committee to prepare a public hearing on the broad Native American community on its own and that it doesn’t have to be restricted to just the LGBT segment of that community. Commissioner Chung encouraged Committee members considering working on the task force to really plan thoroughly and to invite as much input as possible for the public hearing to be meaningful. Mr. Brinkin said that once the public hearing is over, the task force would remain together to prepare a draft report on the public hearing that includes findings and recommendations for the Commissioners’ approval. The work group includes: Ms. Aceituno, Ms. Balcazar, Mr. Cameron, Mr. Gomora, Ms. Phoenix, Mr. Rawlings-Fein, Ms. Vancil and staffed by Mr. Arana.


2) Immigration and asylum issues including the barring of people with HIV/AIDS from entering the U.S. , and the issues facing bi-national same-sex couples. Mr. Brinkin said that a work group would be created that will decide on what project(s) that they would want to do: one possibility is to produce a position paper with findings and recommendations that would be taken to the Commissioners for their approval. Commissioner Chung added that the Issues Committee has been looking at the immigration issue as well because of the REAL ID Act and might work jointly with them on this issue. Mr. Brinkin also added that if the Issues Committee wanted to do a public hearing, the task force or Committee may decide to provide an LGBT piece to the hearing. The work group includes: Ms. Aceituno, Mr. Bagby, Ms. Balcazar, Ms. Chico, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Guggenheim, Mr. Schwichow, Ms. Yin, Ms. Vancil and will be staffed by Ms. Rivera-Weiss.


3) Racism in the LGBT Community: Awareness, Acknowledgement and Advocacy. Mr. Brinkin said that a work group would be formed to decide what would be done on this topic. There were many ideas that came up during retreat: the Committee could sponsor a forum for the community to discuss the issues, address public accommodations issues and develop a “customer’s bill of rights”, or produce a brochure or flyer similar to the racism brochure currently offered, but it would be up to the work group to make a recommendation. The work group includes: Commissioner Dunlop, Mr. Buddha, Mr. Cameron, Mr. Gipson, Mr. Gomora, Mr. Kirchoff, Ms. Newport, Mr. Ordeñana, Mr. Philip, Mr. Riggs, Mr. Stein, Ms. Vancil and staffed by Mr. Brinkin.


4) Expungement of Arrest/Conviction Records and the Stigma of Being Labeled a “Sex Offender.” Mr. Brinkin said that this would be a shorter assignment where there would be a panel, or two, put together by a small ad hoc group to decide on who would be invited to speak. The work group includes: Mr. Buddha, Mr. Dunn, Ms. Phoenix, Mr. Wood and staffed by Ms. Rivera-Weiss.


Commissioner Chung said that a standing committee that would work and make the Committee more known to the community, is missing from the work plan. The Outreach Committee will plan recruitment outreach. He said that all work groups would typically meet once per month and meetings would be scheduled around the availability of the members; however, as the date for the Native American public hearing approaches, an extra meeting or two may be necessary. For all work group and task force meetings, they’ll be noticed and open to the public. However, since the topic of sex offenders will be a panel discussion, the meeting(s) of the ad hoc group will not be noticed. The Outreach Committee includes: Commissioner Chung, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Gomora, Mr. Raja, Mr. Riggs, Mr. Schwichow. A staff person will be determined later.


Though Commissioners Chung and Dunlop have selected a work group to participate in, they’ll contribute to all workgroups. Mr. Brinkin said that each work group needs to select a Chair after they’ve formed. He added that as the year progresses, there would be other possible projects the Committee could work on together. The work groups cannot make any final decisions at the work group level; only they can make recommendations to the full Committee on projects.


Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the work plan. Mr. Dunn seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


5.      Follow-up On Transgender Health Care Panel:


Ms. Phoenix said that she hadn’t met with the other panelists to follow-up on this item and requested a stay until the next meeting. Commissioner Chung said that since panelists were invited to present at Committee meetings because of their expertise, organizers for all panels should ask panelists if they have records for the Commission. She suggested that questions be given to Ms. Phoenix who will relay them to the panelists so that they can be mindful of them when offering their recommendations. Commissioner Dunlop suggested further discussion in next month’s meeting agenda.


Ms. Phoenix asked for an outline of options to consider when following up after a panel presentation. Mr. Brinkin said that there doesn’t have to be a follow-up after panel presentations since they’re for the edification of the Committee; but, if the Committee wants a follow-up action, they can recommend that the Commission write a letter, or hold a hearing, consider legislation, etc.


6.      Discuss May 16, 2006 Training:


Mr. Brinkin said last year’s Committee identified the issue of racism and communication within the Committee and asked to receive training on this topic. A work group was formed to look at this issue and they decided to devote the May meeting to the training and that Veronica Neal would be the trainer. Ms. Neal suggested that a three-hour training be held rather than two hours, which is the usual length of Committee meetings. Commissioner Chung said the training cannot be mandated because the Committee members are all volunteers, but to ensure attendance, using a scheduled Committee meeting was the best recommendation that was offered. Mr. Raja, who’s on the Racism and Communications work group, pledged that Ms. Neal would be informed of the Committee’s issues and concerns prior to the training date. The Committee decided to hold the training from 5:30–8:30 p.m.


7.      Decision on Pride Day Activities:


Mr. Brinkin said that SF’s Pride Day is scheduled for June 25 and described what the Committee’s done in the past and asked that the Committee consider staffing a booth, marching as a contingent in the parade, to do both, or neither. The Committee agreed in having a presence at the celebration with an informational booth; however, not enough Committee members volunteered to fill all the one-hour shifts, especially in the mid- to late-afternnon. Mr. Rawlings-Fein, Ms. Aceituno, Mr. Buddah, Mr. Gomora, Ms. Phoenix, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Wood, and Mr. Schwichow had offered to volunteer for a shift (or two).


8.      Discussion of Attendance and Punctuality Policy:


Commissioner Chung described the issue and said that in addition to the “three-strikes” rules currently in place, the “three mini-strikes” rule would be added due to unreasonable tardiness to Committee meetings or having to leave meetings early and not participate in 75% of the meeting. A “mini strike” is counted as a half strike in which three tardies or early departures from meetings of at least one-half hour counts as one full strike; nine “mini strikes” out of 11 meetings would result in the termination of membership on the Committee, for example. Exceptions can be made to people who need ADA - related reasonable accommodations.


9.      Decision On Whether to Cancel June Meeting:


A discussion was held on whether or not to hold the scheduled Committee meeting on June 20 given the proximity to Pride Day. The vote went as follows: in favor of cancelling the June 20th meeting: Mr. Bagby, Ms. Balcazar, Mr. Buddha, Ms. Chico, Mr. Gipson, Mr. Kirchoff, Mr. Ordeñana, Mr. Philip, Mr. Schwichow, Ms. Vancil, and Mr. Wood; those opposed: Ms. Aceituno, Mr. Cameron, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Gomora, Ms. Phoenix, Mr. Rawlings-Fein, and Ms. Yin.


The June 20th meeting has been cancelled.


10.  Commissioners Report:


Commissioner Chung said that there wasn’t an April 13th meeting, but there are some community activities happening: a gathering for the LGBT community to speak up against the current Immigration Reform Act that is currently before Congress will take place on Friday, April 21, at Harvey Milk Plaza at 5:30 p.m.


11.  Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin reported that permanent legislation to create the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program passed the Rules Committee last week and will be up for vote at the next Board of Supervisors’ meeting.


12.  Old/New Business:


No Old/New Business was discussed.


13.  Announcements:


Mr. Curtis will send an email to the Committee regarding legislation exempting religious schools from anti-discrimination law which had passed the House of Representatives and will be before the Senate. Mr. Buddha reported on homophobic messages he and others received on Commissioner Dunlop suggested looking at this topic as an agenda item in the future. Ms. Vancil announced that there will be an LGBT conference of people of color on Friday, April 21 at the Women’s Building and that the East Bay Queer Film Festival will take place in Oakland. Commissioners Chung and Dunlop encouraged the Committee members to contact them for one-on-one discussions.


14.  Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:33 p.m.