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Let’s honor the past and look with hope to the future

Commentary: Conversations with Nicole

John Laird, seated, with Aaron Borovoy and Empress Erika Odessa

I am back from Montana and will now be on my way to Washington, D.C. Then, it’s off to Portland, Hawaii, San Francisco, etc., and D.C. again. I’ll see you all at “Nightmare on Normal Street” Halloween night when I will finally have a free weekend!

In memory of John Laird

John Laird was a proud father of two girls, a very proud Marine veteran and 28 year partner of Aaron Borovoy. (They were legally married in 2008 on their 25th anniversary.) His recent passing has saddened so many in our community. John Laird had one of the biggest and most giving hearts that I know. His middle name was “Volunteer” and he would never say no to any causes or benefits.

He served with distinction on the LGBT Community Center Board, AIDS Memorial Taskforce, Grocery Hearts Food Pantry, Imperial Court, etc., etc.! He was a leader when it came to raising money for the Lesbian Health Fund and so many, many other causes.

John was a very proud Native American and was close not only to the LGBT community but the Jewish community as his husband Aaron was the first openly gay president of Temple Emanu-El. John himself was a former Christian minister and loved everyone. He was famous for his bear-like hugs and smiles. I will especially miss his laughter.

John Laird was a giving spirit and a humanitarian in every sense of the word. He loved life, his communities and helping others. He was like a “little giant” and refused to hear, “It can’t be done” or, “We can’t raise it.” I wish I could be just half of the unselfish and caring man John Laird was. His giving spirit is a role model for us all.

John will forever be in my heart and we will all miss him so very much. It was, indeed, my honor to call him friend, emperor and son.

A Celebration of Life will be had for John this coming Sunday, Sept. 18 at The Center, and though I’ll be in Washington, D.C. at this exact time, I will be thinking of him and all of you who will be sharing words and stories about this great man whose passing is an even greater loss for our community. Rest in peace my son and hug all of our friends.

DeMaio, Gloria and $$$

This past Sunday’s Union-Tribune reported on the “free” tickets, dinners, etc. that San Diego City Council members Todd Gloria and Carl DeMaio have received while in office. There has been a lot of talk and blogging about this report.

Todd Gloria was second on the list of receiving the most in the last four years – a measly $1,703. Let’s be real and remember Gloria is one of the poorest members of the city council. He just moved into a house in Hillcrest where he is renting a room from a straight friend! Gloria also took a big cut in pay when he became a councilman.

You have to admire DeMaio. He hardly ever accepts a hosted lunch or dinner, as he is a self-made millionaire. DeMaio is definitely one of those “American success stories” which most dream about. So far, he has contributed almost $300,000 of his own money in the mayor’s race, put over $100,000 into his last failed city ballot measure campaign and has put $70,000 into the current pension ballot initiative campaign. When he ran for council, DeMaio also put in big money. Word is he is willing to spend over a million dollars of his own money in his mayoral campaign.

A reporter called me to ask if DeMaio has ever given any big donations to any GLBT or HIV/AIDS causes, or if DeMaio has ever given any donations to GLBT civil rights campaigns (No on 8, for example). This reporter stated that he could not find any such donations. Well, I refuse to discuss this issue with him or to even comment at this time, but it is an interesting question to ask. I know DeMaio must have made some donations. So, I hope he will let us all know as this line of questioning will obviously continue to come up as when any wealthy candidate puts hundreds of thousands of dollars into his campaign for mayor. After all, DeMaio’s fellow millionaire past mayoral candidates Steve Francis and Peter Davis were asked this same question and gave an answer.

Future GLBT candidates

The new 9th City Council seat already has a candidate from our community. She is the popular community leader Katt Eaton from the Azalea Park neighborhood. Current City Councilwoman Marti Emerald is also announcing that she will be running in this new district, which is the supposed new “Latino” district.

The neighborhoods of Kensington, Talmadge and Azalea were cut out of our 3rd District (with the final blessings of Linda Perine and the LGBT Redistricting Taskforce). The GLBT community members of these neighborhoods are not happy, and have let everyone know about it?

Word is that many are pushing school board member Kevin Beiser to run for an open state Assembly seat next year. Beiser tells me he is keeping all doors open right now but loves his work with children and students (and by the way, he is doing an outstanding job).

Six years before Todd Gloria announced his run for the city council, we were already meeting to map out his campaign. As you know the saying: “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, Todd Gloria will be termed out in about four years; and already a frontrunner to replace him is (handsome) San Diego native Andrew Poat. He is a registered Independent and has supported the elections of Kehoe, Atkins and Gloria – and voted for President Obama in the last election.

A long-time public servant (chair of the California Mental Health Services Oversight Commission and the San Diego River Conservancy), Poat has even served on the staff of a governor of California; and for about 10 years, has been a volunteer and mentor for the Big Brothers of America program. Keep your eyes on Andrew Poat.

Also being mentioned by many as a possible candidate to succeed Todd Gloria is Stephen Whitburn, who has earned a lot of respect for staying active in District 3 neighborhoods, and in our community. Whitburn still has a lot of name identity and was even voted Man of the Year at the Nicky Awards.

There are some names that are emerging as possible future LGBT candidates.

City Commissioner Robert Gleason is being heavily talked about as a future candidate in the new 9th District and he would indeed be an outstanding possible candidate. Others being mentioned as possible future 3rd City Council District candidates are: Carlos Marquez, Dwayne Crenshaw, Will Kennedy Rodriguez and Joseph Rocha – all of whom have a bright future ahead of them.

Celebrate with our community’s veterans

Next Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 19 and 20) there will be two “community-invited” events to celebrate the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, each happening at Bourbon Street and hosted by two of our GLBT veterans organizations. I hope to see you all at Bourbon Street next Monday and Tuesday night; just follow the happy crowds!

Carnival this Friday at Bourbon Street

This coming Friday night, there will be a fun and festive Carnival at Bourbon Street starting at 9 p.m. with clowns, stilt walkers, games, etc., including a celebrity dunk tank! All this is for Being Alive. It promises to be really over the top with cotton candy and eye candy!

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 15, 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

1 Comment for “Let’s honor the past and look with hope to the future”

  1. Cool post it is surely. My mother has been looking for this update.

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