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With public office comes media attention – wanted or not

Commentary: Conversations with Nicole

Right to left: City Councilman Todd Gloria, Cheryl Houck and Sheriff Bill Gore at Stepping Stone

This Saturday, you’re all invited to a very fun and free event celebrating Recovery in San Diego at Balboa Park (President’s Way and Park Blvd.) from noon to 3 p.m.

DeMaio, Dumanis and the media

When now Portland and Houston’s first gay mayors ran for office, there was a lot of media attention and focus on their candidacies. San Diego may be joining these cities if either Carl DeMaio or Bonnie Dumanis become our city’s first elected mayor who happens to be gay.

Already the local and national media has begun to focus on these two candidates and this historic possibility. The national and local media, both straight and gay, has contacted me and yet the election is a year away. I’ve proudly served the last five mayors of San Diego, and for more than four decades the media has approached me as a gay activist for my opinions on political races. I have granted some media “interviews” and some I have not … and will weigh every request and their questions very carefully.

There has always been a media interest in the spouses or partners of candidates and, like it or not, in their private lives. Mayor Susan Golding’s husband, for example, was all over the news until she divorced him.

Carl and Bonnie’s partners are very different from each other. Hers is very private and out of the spotlight and his has become a public figure and gay personality.

So far, there has absolutely been no “gay baiting” in this race. The media’s interest in the spouse or partners of our two gay candidates for mayor is just the same interest as with heterosexual candidates. Our past GLBT candidates for office (Kehoe, Atkins, Gloria, Beiser, etc.) have always acknowledged their partners in media interviews and public forums – just as straight candidates acknowledge their wives, husbands or relationships.

Both Carl DeMaio and Bonnie Dumanis and their partners, just like any other candidates, have now become an interest to both gay and straight media in this upcoming campaign whether they – or we – like it or not.

A Harvey Milk St. in San Diego

As many of you know, I’ve been advocating for a street to be named after Harvey Milk in San Diego. Many city officials who I have talked with are very supportive and now I’m pleased to say that an official organizing committee is being formed this month to make this happen. Helping with this Milk St. project is Dwayne Crenshaw, the executive director of San Diego Pride.

Harvey Milk was stationed in San Diego when he was in the Navy. Like almost every city, San Diego has named streets after prominent American and local civic leaders. It’s time a GLBT citizen also be named and honored.

In the future it would be nice to get streets named after Jess Jessop and Chris Kehoe.

Joseph Rocha is in San Francisco working with the Bevan Duffy for mayor campaign.

About Pride’s cultural stage

There has been a lot of recent talks and meetings between San Diego LGBT Pride and people of color community activists about this year’s Pride festival not having a cultural/ethnic stage. In every city in California, Pride festivals have had such stages; for the first time, San Diego did not. I’ve had discussions with the Pride executive director and co-chairs, and I believe that they will rightfully bring back this most important stage, which is extremely popular with GLBT Latinos, Asians, Native and African Americans. I want to thank SanDiego Pride for their continuing dialogue and openness on this issue.

Youth receive school supplies

Recently, I was at our LGBT Center to see many children and youth of LGBT parents provided with badly needed school supplies through the Imperial Court and The Center’s Queen Eddie Youth Fund. Well over 40 youth and teens whose parents are out of jobs or need assistance were helped through this fund. About ten young people were also provided with needed new school clothes.

It was wonderful to see the happiness in their eyes, especially the little boys and girls all who were very grateful as well as their parents. All this was organized by The Center’s Family Matters program and top donors Dale and Chaz of Martinis Above Fourth also stopped by and gave their support.

Feeling Good draws hundreds

Now in its 26th year, San Diego’s recovering community hosted its annual Feeling Good Roundup this past weekend at the Handlery Hotel in Fashion Valley. I was invited to see their variety show entitled, We are not Saints, a Hell of a Show. A big thank you and bravo to former TV reporter M.G. Perez (the show’s director) and the entire production crew and show cast as I had a great time. This show was super fabulous and full of fun comedy. Stand out skits were “Yellow Brick Road of Destiny” also“5th Step Mine” and“The Real Housewives of A.A.” This was a top-notch show with very creative writers and outstanding talent.

A special thank you to County Commissioner Frank Lechner (serves on the County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board) and everyone who made me feel so welcome. It was good to spend some time with our community’s recovery family.

Changes with the Nicky Awards

Our community’s award show, the Nicky Awards, will be presented for the 37th time next year. Like any awards show, there are changes that need to be made. I agree that the winners should be able to speak and give a short thank you speech. And I also agree that this year’s awards show seemed very rushed and the emcees could have been more exciting.

But remember, no one gets paid and this is all volunteer run for a worthy benefit. I’ve handed the Nicky Awards to a board of governors, but there will be some changes made for next year and I appreciate and thank this years producers. If you are interested in helping with next years awards or have suggestions or comments write P.O. Box 33915, San Diego 92163 or nickyawards.com.

Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for well over 40 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last five mayors of San Diego. He is also a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council of the USA, Canada and Mexico. Nicolemrsd@aol.com.



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Sep 9, 2011. Filed under Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “With public office comes media attention – wanted or not”

  1. The only problem here Nicole is the only “media” that is using headlines like “Did Carl DeMaio hid his gay relationship” is you. It’s clear you have an axe to grind and your actions are disgusting. Clearly mainstream media pays you no attention because not one of your nasty comments have ever gone any further than your hate filled column.

  2. Dumanis and Demaio are bad choices for the LGBT community. But coming from this deluded aging empress who backed Republicon Ron Roberts over Stephen Whitburn for Country Supe who’s surprised. Vote Democrat because they’re working for the LGBT community and not against us..

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