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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee
Minutes of the June 18, 2002 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Martha Knutzen, Commissioner Theresa Sparks, Jason Alley, Virginia Benavidez, Kirsten Boyd, Sally Buchmann, Melchor Bustamante, Chris Caldeira, Scott Campbell, James DeVinny, Jay Dwyer, Erin Farrell, Julie Frank, Ted Guggenheim, Jordy Jones, Danny Kirchoff, Nancy Lawlor, Yoseñio Lewis, Kristine Oreskovich, Johnnie Pratt, Jorge Romero-Lozano, Lisa Scheff, Stephen Schwichow.

Committee Members Absent: Chris Carnes (excused), Morningstar Vancil (excused), Gary Virginia.

Staff Present: Larry Brinkin, Virginia Harmon, Ellise Nicholson.

Guests Present: Jimmy Loyce.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

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

2. Approval of Minutes of May 21, 2002:

The minutes were approved unanimously as written.

3. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda: None

4. Remarks from Director Virginia Harmon:

Director Virginia Harmon introduced herself to the Committee. She stressed the importance of the Committee's work. She also stated that she is excited about the Committee's efforts in the coming year, particularly on LGBT Senior Issues and the Racial Privacy Initiative. She stated that she is available to Committee members at any time for discussions.

5. Racial Privacy Initiative Report from staff and Department of Public Health

Staff member Ellise Nicholson summarized the proposed Racial Privacy Initiative (RPI). She explained that the Racial Privacy Initiative is a proposed California ballot initiative that would amend Article I, section 32 of the California Constitution to prohibit state and local governments, public universities and school districts from collecting or using information about race, ethnicity, color or national origin. The law defines "state" as including, but not necessarily limited to, the state itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, California State University, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the state. "Classifying" by race, ethnicity, color or national origin is defined in the initiative as the act of separating, sorting or organizing by race, ethnicity, color or national origin, including but not limited to inquiring, profiling, or collecting such data on government forms. Finally, "individual": refers to current or prospective students, contractors or employees or, for purposes of subsection (b), any persons subject to state operations.

Ms. Nicholson further explained that the proposed law has seven exemptions, including: 1) where there is a compelling state interest as determined by 2/3 majority of the legislature and approved by the governor (this exemption does not apply to public education, contracting or employment); 2) the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is exempt with respect to already existing classifications (this exemption expires in ten years); 3) law enforcement may continue to use racial descriptions but shall not be required to track individuals on the basis of race, national origin, ethnicity, or color; 4) medical research subjects and patients are exempt; 5) classifications of prisoners and undercover law enforcement officers are permissible; 6) the state may collect data necessary to comply with federal law or establish or maintain eligibility for federal programs; and 7) consent decrees already in place as of the date this law becomes effective shall remain valid.

Ms. Nicholson explained that the Racial Privacy Initiative appears to be slated for the March 2004 ballot. She explained that the Human Rights Commission is looking into the effect the law would have on City programs should it pass. Ms. Nicholson then introduced Mr. Jimmy Loyce, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) AIDS Office, who gave a presentation on the impact that the law would have on the work of DPH.

Mr. Loyce explained that without accurate data on race and ethnicity, DPH would not be able to identify and respond adequately to health disparities, and would be unable to fulfill its mission to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans. Mr. Loyce stated that there are five bases on which DPH collects and reports on racial and ethnic information: 1) to appropriately evaluate the health needs of San Francisco's diverse communities; 2) to access funding through competitive grants; 3) to conduct effective program planning; 4) to help evaluate contractors' cultural competency; and 5) to collect and report race, ethnicity and national origin information through its hiring process.
Concerning the ability of DPH to appropriately evaluate the health needs of San Francisco's diverse communities, Mr. Loyce stated first that DPH must be able to conduct its own community evaluations in order to obtain timely, accurate and specific data. He explained that DPH needs to know how disease impacts communities. This requires that contractors demonstrate cultural competency in order to represent a certain community, and that staff and board members reflect that community. One of the first things that the proposed law would do, said Mr. Loyce, is to disallow check-off boxes. The exemption for "medical research subjects" and "patients" would not apply to community surveys.
DPH sometimes goes out into communities to inquire about who lives in those areas and what their health indicators are based on race and national origin.

One example of this community surveying is the Bayview community. DPH helped conduct a survey as a participant on the Bayview Hunter's Point (BVHP) Health and Environmental Task Force. One important finding broken down by race was that the overall percentage of those diagnosed with asthma in BVHP was 10%. African-Americans had the highest (11%) while Asian/Pacific Islanders had the lowest (6%). Moreover, BVHP is often perceived as being an exclusively African-American area. However, in collecting data on race and ethnicity, DPH now knows that a significant number of Asians and Latinos also live there. DPH would not be able to evaluate the health care needs of this community had it not been able to find out who lives there and what their respective health care needs are.

Mr. Loyce also explained that Healthy People 2010 (the set of federal health objectives) has as its goal the elimination of health disparities. This goal cannot be met if DPH is not allowed to conduct community surveys. . For example, African-Americans and Latinos are over-represented in rates of HIV. The proposed law would make it impossible for DPH to identify risk populations within racial and ethnic groups and to work to achieve the goals of Healthy People 2010.

Regarding the second basis on which DPH's work would be impacted by the proposed law, accessing funding through competitive grants, Mr. Loyce stated that grants accounted for 8% of DPH's revenue last year, but that some areas of DPH rely much more heavily on grants. 87% of the AIDS Office's 73 million-dollar budget comes from grant monies. While the Racial Privacy Initiative allows data collection for information required by federal grants, obtaining information for federal, State, and local grant applications would be made more difficult if State and local agencies cannot collect information based on race and ethnicity. For example, Ryan White CARE funding requires documentation of severe need in San Francisco, including information about co-morbidities including substance abuse, mental health, tuberculosis, and access to services. The AIDS Office is asked to describe racial disparities and access to services. RPI would make it difficult to accurately establish need and access to services. This not only will affect communities of color but white communities as well. In San Francisco, primarily, large numbers of white men are contracting HIV. We would not know this if we could not collect the data on race, said Mr. Loyce.

Third, RPI would prohibit DPH from conducting effective program planning. Race may be associated with increased exposure, different susceptibility to disease, and unequal access to care. DPH strives to create programs that respond to the needs of the City's diverse communities and to improve health outcomes within target populations. Under RPI, DPH would be greatly challenged in its ability to target programs to specific racial and ethnic groups impacted by health disparities.

For example, DPH implements the Chinatown Outreach & Prevention Services program (CHOPS) and the Breast Cancer & Cervical Cancer Services program (BCCS). The CHOPS program was developed because tuberculosis rates in San Francisco are highest among Asians, and three quarters of new cases occur among foreign-born people. The CHOPS program aims at increasing adult screening and improving compliance and participation. With respect to the BCCS program, African Americans have the highest mortality rate for breast cancer. Its prevalence is also elevated for Latino and Chinese women. BCCS was developed to educate communities in the City most impacted by these cancers (Bayview Hunter's Point, Potrero Hill, Visitacion Valley/Sunnydale), and actively helps women get screened for these cancers. These programs would not exist without the racial data showing which communities are most impacted by which illnesses.

Another example concerns the environmental impact relating to race and region. Residents of BVHP face proximity to the City's most environmentally unfriendly industries, hazardous waste sites, and have the highest hospitalization rates for corresponding illnesses (asthma, hypertension, and congestive heart failure). Many of the houses in BVHP have mold, which causes cancer and respiratory problems. Such environmental hazards as sewage, shipyards, and fire on the nearby naval base release unhealthy toxins into the area. DPH has worked with community groups to create the Health & Environmental Resource Center, to educate and train residents on issues such as housing habitability, and to negotiate with the transit agency to allocate the lowest emissions buses.

The fourth basis on which DPH relies on the collection of racial and ethnic data is with respect to evaluating contractors' cultural competency. DPH relies on community based organizations (CBOs) to carry out many of its programs. Effective treatment and interventions must take place in the context of the consumer's culture. The goal is that all contractors provide culturally competent, language appropriate services. In order to achieve this goal, DPH seeks to hire people from the communities being served. Under RPI, DPH would be unable to determine whether appropriate, effective services are being provided to clients. Additionally, the City and County of San Francisco focuses on minority, women and locally owned businesses for contracting. It would be impossible for DPH, as well as other local governmental agencies, to ascertain the ownership information as it relates to race/ethnicity for the businesses with which we contract, or with which we consider contracting.

In many cases, federal, state and local funds are mixed together in one contract. It is not yet clear how RPI would affect this practice. For example, it is possible that agencies would need to separate federal funding into a new contract and continue to collect data on that portion of the contractual services while not on the portion using other funds. If this is the case, the contract will be artificially bifurcated for the contractor and the agency, and will increase the administrative cost and burden. This could require that even a small community based organization track race/ethnicity for clients in one part of a program, yet not in a different part of the same program. Worse, it could become so cumbersome as to have the effect of bringing these services to a standstill.

Fifth, regarding the ability of DPH to collect and report race and ethnicity data in hiring, RPI would have a negative impact. DPH currently collects race and ethnicity data with respect to applicants for employment, individuals taking the civil service examination, new hires, termination, and workforce data by classification and work site. DPH is an equal opportunity provider and is committed to an active nondiscrimination program. A policy of nondiscrimination is not sufficient to erase the effects of past discrimination. What is important is the ability to access services and to have those services reflect the community. Data are also used to respond to complaints of employment discrimination and are frequently requested by federal or State civil rights agencies. DPH's ability to respond to complaints and requests for information would be greatly limited if the information were not available.

Finally, Mr. Loyce stated that RPI would have profound effects on the ability of DPH to collect and disseminate information integral to understanding and responding to disparities in a number of areas. Research today shows that there are disparities within almost all health indicators, with many racial and ethnic groups suffering far below the norm in health care access, likelihood of early diagnosis and adequate treatment and rates of specific diseases. With this knowledge, it is more important than ever to collect the very information this initiative would ban. Clearly, this initiative would interfere with the ability to fulfill DPH's mission to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans.

Mr. Loyce then answered questions from the Committee. One member asked whether if RPI passed DPH could still collect data on patients not connected to research. Mr. Loyce stated that in hospitals linked to the University of California system, such as San Francisco General, you could collect data on those patients who could be linked to a research project. But once they are out of the hospital and back into the community, DPH would not be able to track them.

When asked about grant funding from combined sources, Mr. Loyce explained the complicated nature of the RPI in that often times federal money is given to the State and then passed on to the City. It is unclear which rules apply in that case. When asked if data collected for federal grants could be used for other purposes, Mr. Loyce stated that under the proposed law, the data collected would be limited and narrowly defined as only for the purposes of the federal grant.

A Committee member asked if Mr. Loyce could think of instances where if passed, the RPI could benefit DPH or communities of color (e.g. grants might be easier to obtain because they would not be slated for people of color). Perhaps with respect to increasing private giving, Mr. Loyce said, but not with regard to public monies. Moreover, said Mr. Loyce, race neutral policies will not benefit people of color agencies until those agencies have the skills and staff to compete.

Lastly, when asked his thoughts on the legality of the law should it pass, Mr. Loyce stated that he believes that the law would be challenged in court. Whether or not it would be implemented while pending the court's decision is unclear, but he stated that it could be argued that, like Propositions 187 and 209, it would have a chilling effect on access to health care even while litigation was pending over its legality.
6. Project Assignments for Committee Members:

Larry Brinkin distributed the work assignment list. There was discussion about any possible conflicts and assignments were altered accordingly. The list was finalized, and it was agreed that the Senior Issues Panel task force would meet on the first Tuesday of each month beginning July 2, 2002, and that it would be staffed by Mr. Brinkin. It was also agreed that the Gender Identity Guidelines Task Force would meet on the second Tuesday of the month and would be staffed by Marcus Arana. Finally, Mr. Brinkin stated that the Gender Talk II work group could get together and themselves decide on a time to meet. It has not been decided yet who will staff the Gender Talk II work group.

Commission Knutzen introduced Adam Benditsky, the Mayor's new liaison to the LGBT community.           

7. Schedule for Monthly Panels:

Mr. Brinkin read off the schedule for monthly panels as follows: 1) July - sex-segregated bathrooms; 2) August - intersex issues; 3) October - family issues; 4) November - immigration and asylum; 5) January - LGBTQQ public school issues; and 6) February - Racial Privacy Initiative.

8. Pride Day Booth Planning:

Mr. Brinkin led a discussion about possible petitions for the booth. It was agreed that there would be a petition for the federal Permanent Partners' Act. Mr. Brinkin agreed to make calls to look into other petitions concerning domestic partner rights. Mr. Brinkin emphasized the importance of the booth as an outreach opportunity and asked members to talk to the crowd and invite them to get information and sign petitions. He also emphasized the need to show up for your shift and to be on time.

9. Follow-up on Spirituality Panel:

Stephen Schwichow stated that he would like to see the Committee take the next step of calling together religious organizations in the city to talk about LGBTQQ youth. Larry Brinkin stated that he has had conversations with Supervisor Ammiano about this in the past. Commissioner Knutzen suggested that a group of people from the Committee might get involved in such a project should Ammiano or members of the larger community decide to undertake it, rather than an HRC task force that would require staffing. Sally Buchmann expressed interested in working on such a project.

10. Economic Empowerment Status Report:

Commissioner Knutzen summarized the work of the Committee in this area, including the hearing and subsequent report, the identification of 96 recommendations, and the community meeting held last year. She stated that the work of the Committee would now be shifting to the Economic Development sub-committee of the LGBT Community Center. Commission Knutzen will be participating in these meetings, along with Richard Allman, Larry Brinkin, and other members from the Community Center, including the Executive Director of the Center. Deloit and Touche have volunteered to help the Center conduct a needs assessment, which will be the next step. Commissioner Knutzen stated that she would give another update in July and/or August.

11. Partners Inheritance Bill Letter to State Legislature:

Commissioner Knutzen moved to approve the letter which encourages the state legislature to pass A.B. 2216. This legislation would provide surviving domestic partners the right to inherit a partial to entire share of the partner's property if the partner dies without a will. Lisa Scheff seconded.

12. Commissioners' Report:

Commissioner Sparks reported that the June Commissioners' meeting consisted entirely of a public forum on the status of the African-American community in San Francisco. She stated that the forum consisted of relevant and poignant testimony, and that it is just the beginning of what the Commission will start doing to address this issue. One Commissioner directed staff to agendize this issue for every Commissioners' meeting.

Larry Brinkin added that the managers and Director have started having regular discussions about this issue and are considering what recommendations to make to the Commission.

Commissioner Sparks stated that a report will be generated from the testimony taken at the forum.

13. Staff Report:

Larry Brinkin reported that the California Alliance for Pride and Equality (CAPE) would be honoring the LGBTH Division at its annual luncheon for the divisions' work on implementing the City's Equal Benefits Ordinance. Mr. Brinkin stated that there are three summer interns working in the division, and hopefully they all will be present at the July meeting. Mr. Brinkin also reported that he met with Mark Leno's office and a City Attorney regarding legislation to clarify that business to business discrimination is illegal under the City's anti-discrimination laws. Mr. Brinkin said that the next LGBT Community Center Legal Collaborative will be held on July 11, 2002, and will be a know-your-rights panel presentation on housing issues. He also reported that Christine Kehoe, an Assemblywoman from Santa Monica, is attempting to create a state Equal Benefits law similar to ours. She has called on staff member Cynthia Goldstein to help craft the law. Ms. Goldstein will be going to Sacramento next week to testify about the law. Mr. Brinkin also reported that Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, and Jim Mitulski all will be contacted to invite them to work on the task force on Senior Issues. Mr. Brinkin stated that he will agendize approval of the Senior Issues Public Hearing for the July 11, 2002 Commissioners' meeting, and that the tentative date for the Hearing is October 10, 2002.

14. Old/New Business:

Larry Brinkin said he would email Committee members information about attending the CAPE luncheon.

15. Announcements:

Yoseñio Lewis asked if anyone had information about a press conference for Jeremy Burke, an FTM beaten by San Francisco police. Danny Kirchoff stated that he could find out and email the details of the press conference.

Kirsten Boyd stated that Assemblywoman Carole Migden is having a domestic partner ceremony Saturday before Pride at 1p.m. on the main stage. She stated that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will do a blessing, that the Gay Men's Chorus will sing, and that there will be a reception after.

Chris Caldeira announced that she is teaching this summer at a program called Aim High and she is looking for old cameras for a photography project.

16. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m. in honor of John Cook, the gay police officer who lost his life in the line of duty in June.