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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee
Minutes of the April 16, 2002 Meeting

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

Committee Members Absent: Melchor Bustamante, Chris Carnes (excused), Erin Farrell (excused), Jorge Romero-Lozano (excused), Stephen Schwichow (excused).

Staff Present: Larry Brinkin, Ellise Nicholson, Domenic Viterbo.

Guests Present: None.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

Commissioner Sparks called the meeting to order at 5:45 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.

2. Welcome and Introductions

Commissioners Knutzen and Sparks introduced themselves and welcomed the new members. Commissioner Knutzen explained that as a Commissioner, her role is to take action items from the Advisory Committee to the Commission as well as to report back to the Advisory Committee on the activities at the Commission. She thanked members for serving, and stated the importance of having an active, diverse Committee. Commissioner Sparks added what a dynamic Committee the LGBTAC is and highlighted the colorful, important history of the Committee. Commissioner Knutzen then asked each member to introduce himself or herself.

3. Approval of Minutes of January 15, 2002:

Ms. Boyd moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Lewis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

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

5. Family Support Services Presentation:

Staff member Ellise Nicholson reported that she received a call from Family Support Services earlier in the day expressing their regrets that they had to cancel the presentation. Ms. Nicholson stated that Family Support Services would like to reschedule the presentation.

6. Retreat Planning Committee Report:

Staff member Larry Brinkin stated that because none of the Committee representatives were present at the meeting, he and Commissioner Knutzen met and planned the retreat themselves. He stated that they recommended an agenda similar to last year's. Mr. Brinkin explained that the goal of the retreat is to plan for the upcoming year. The retreat will be held at City College in the auditorium of the Administrative Building at 33 Gough Street. Members should arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. Mr. Brinkin detailed the schedule for the day. He asked members to come up with one particular issue that they think would be good for the Committee to work on. He further asked this be put in the form of a proposal and that if anyone has literature to support their proposal, they get it to staff by Wednesday, May 8, 2002 at the latest. That way, staff can include the literature in the retreat packets that staff will send out prior to the retreat.

Virginia Benavidez stated that she cannot attend the retreat, but will send her proposal through Larry.

Jordy Jones asked if members must limit their proposals to one only. After some discussion, it was agreed that one or two proposals would be all right, though one proposal is optimal.

7. Action Item: Approval of Resolution in Memory of Barbara Cameron

Morningstar Vancil spoke about her relationship with Ms. Cameron. She stated that Barbara Cameron had a significant impact on her life, that she was a role model to her, and that she was grateful to have known her. Commissioner Knutzen said that Ms. Cameron was an important mentor to her as well, and that she lived so fully and achieved so much even in her shortened life. Larry Brinkin said that he served on this Committee with her for three years, and that she was one of the best. She was very active, had lots of energy, and was a role model to him as well. Commissioner Knutzen added that this year is really about Barbara Cameron, that we will carry that for her, and that someone like her does not leave easily.

Morningstar Vancil moved to ask the Commissioners to approve the resolution honoring Barbara Cameron. Virginia Benavidez seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
8. Discussion of Racial Privacy Initiative:

Larry Brinkin summarized the Racial Privacy Initiative, which is expected to be on the November ballot. He explained that the Initiative will prohibit government agencies from asking anyone about their race, national origin, ethnicity, or color. Mr. Brinkin stated that it would make the collection of data difficult. Health providers are some of the strongest voices coming out against the Initiative.

Commissioner Sparks explained that the Issues Committee is currently working on examining racial profiling in the law enforcement context. This Initiative would prohibit the collection of data to track whether or not police are stopping certain groups of people disproportionately.

Mr. Brinkin stated that the Director has asked all Committees to start discussing the Initiative. He explained that the Commission cannot take a position on it, but we can talk about the issues that it presents.

There were a few minutes of additional discussion about the implications of the Racial Privacy Initiative. Commissioner Sparks stated that we would put it on the agenda for a 15-20 minute discussion next month. She also stated that information regarding the Initiative is available on the Internet.

Johnnie Pratt stated that there would be discussion of the Racial Privacy Initiative at the NGLTF Power Summit coming up. Yoseñio Lewis stated that he is going to the Summit and will report back to the Commission and forward relevant materials.          

9. Commissioners' Report:

Commissioner Sparks reported that at the last couple of meetings, the Commission has heard reports regarding implementation of recommendations the Commission made to address violence in the African-American communities. A resource guide and brochures are currently being prepared.

The Committee is also working on a report and update on the public hearing regarding the escalation of violence after 9/11 against those who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent. A joint task force is being created between the Board of Supervisors, the Commission, and individuals who put the hearing together. The Chair of the Commission, who is Lebanese American, and the Commission as a whole have been asked to author a chapter in a book on 9/11 backlash. Commissioner Sparks noted that the Commission is the only public organization in the United States that has been asked to author a chapter. She connects this to the fact that the Commission issued a resolution on September 13, 2001 condemning Anti-Arab American backlash and had a hearing on the issue soon thereafter.

Commissioner Sparks stated that the Commission also authored a letter to the Secretary of Transportation expressing concern about the potential loss of 800 security screener jobs at SFO. Federal law now requires that airport security screeners be U.S. Citizens, which would cause 80% of screeners at SFO to lose their jobs.

Finally, Commissioner Sparks stated that each month, the Committee hears reports from one of the divisions. At the last meeting, Larry Brinkin reported on the development of a complaint-handling manual. Commissioner Sparks encouraged member to attend Commission meetings. The meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 4:30 p.m. in Room 416 of City Hall.

10. Staff Report:

Larry Brinkin stated that we must make a decision about Pride Day as deadlines for having a booth are fast approaching. Domenic Viterbo explained that historically we have either marched, staffed a booth, neither, or both. After some discussion, members agreed that we would have a booth.

Ellise Nicholson discussed Gender Talk, explaining that Gender Talk I was a moderated dialogue between butch and femme dyke, genderqueer, and FTM transgender communities. Mr. Brinkin said that Gender Talk II will be put on in the fall, and that at the retreat we will discuss the level of Committee interest in forming a task force to work on it.

Mr. Brinkin reported that we want to do a splashy celebration of the 5-year anniversary of the Equal
Benefits Ordinance. He stated that the plan includes having a reception in the conference room.

Regarding summer interns, Mr. Brinkin reported that last year we hosted an intern funded by the National Lawyers' Guild who worked on drafting a proposal for protocols for the treatment of transgender persons in jails. This year we again will be hosting a National Lawyers' Guild intern who will be completing the project. Also, Alex Freeman, a Boalt Hall law student, will be working with us full time. Dino Duazo, a law student from New College, will be here part-time.

Mr. Brinkin stated that staff member Hadas Rivera-Weiss will be working on the Commission's task force on Anti-Arab discrimination.

Concerning the budget, Mr. Brinkin noted that we are experiencing a deficit and facing lots of cuts. We will not be able to fill vacancies, and are looking at budgetary challenges.

Mr. Brinkin stated that staff member Maria Cordero, who heads up the M/W/LBE certification division, will be conducting her monthly outreach meeting this month for LGBT small business owners. The outreach meeting will take place on April 26 at the LGBT Community Center.

Finally, Mr. Brinkin passed out a confidential roster of member addresses and phone numbers, and asked members to give any changes or corrections to staff as soon as possible and staff will send an updated roster out with next month's packet.

11. Old/New Business:

Scott Campbell mentioned the issue of next month’s scheduled panel on spirituality. Jordy Jones, Kirsten Boyd, Scott Campbell, and Virginia Benavidez all agreed to meet after tonight's meeting to discuss the panel.

12. Announcements:

Jason Alley announced that Project Inform would have a hotline training in the near future. Staff member Domenic Viterbo stated that the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is performing this weekend. Johnnie Pratt said that the LGBT Community Center is planning a volunteer fair at which organizations can table to recruit potential volunteers. Interested members should email Johnnie with the job descriptions by the middle of next week. The fair will be May 1, 2002 from 7p.m. to 9p.m. Kirsten Boyd stated that a documentary about Harry Hay would be showing at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Larry Brinkin stated that the new Executive Director of the LGBT Center, Brian Cheu, is a former member of this Committee and also a former staff person in the LGBT & HIV Division. Commissioner Knutzen said that one of the Commissioners emailed her about discrimination suffered by LGBT victims of 9/11. She stated that she would turn it over to staff to see if we can do anything to support the victims or their families.

13. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.