A whirlwind of meetings and speeches in Washington, D.C.Conversations with Nicole Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Commentary: Conversations with Nicole
Well, I just got through what must be my 1,000th trip to Washington, D.C. in these last four decades.
The Victory Fund and Carl DeMaio
The Victory Fund, headquartered in Washington, D.C., endorses and financially supports GLBT candidates across the country. I am a proud founding member of this most outstanding and important organization.
In 1961, World War II veteran Jose Julio Saria became the first openly-gay candidate to run for office and I will be speaking at his 90th birthday banquet, Dec. 8, in San Francisco.
Now, there are more than 500 elected GLBT officials and the Victory Fund has played a major role in this empowerment of our community. I can say that probably never in the history of the Victory Fund have they faced such a highly controversial and explosive decision as to endorse or not to endorse Carl DeMaio for mayor. I have had discussions with its board of directors and executive director and they have received a lot of communication from very prominent and respected San Diego leaders NOT to endorse DeMaio. It’s interesting that all the GLBT “establishment” in our nation’s capital know how disliked and non-supportive DeMaio is in his own community – from him being booed at GLBT Pride and other events; anti-AIDS needle exchange vote to his statement that he will not follow in popular Mayor Sander’s footsteps on social issues, to his spending millions of his money on campaigns, but no major contributions to GLBT and AIDS organizations.
The HRC made the wrong endorsement years ago and as a past HRC national boardmember I warned them it would cost them dearly, and indeed, it took more than two decades for San Diego to once again support an HRC presence in San Diego.
DeMaio wants gay money badly, but does not want to “lead” when it comes to our gay civil rights issues.
A very respected San Diegan said it best recently, “Carl DeMaio is just a ‘homosexual’ while Kehoe, Atkins, Dumanis, Gloria, Beiser are all proud GLBT citizens.”
Six days in Washington, D.C.
The Marriott Hotel hosted me for a very hectic schedule of meetings and speeches. Everywhere I went GLBT leaders talked about our Harvey Milk Street naming and our campaigns for a Harvey Milk U.S. postage stamp and naval ship naming.
We have a lot to be proud of in San Diego and recently the state Senate and state Assembly passed official state resolutions in support (thank you to authors Kehoe and Atkins and, yes, Nathan Fletcher gave his full support.)
I was given a tour of the unbelievably massive estate of the late billionaire Marjorie Merriweather Post. It’s now called the Hillwoods Estate Museum and Gardens. (Yes, the Post cereal company family.)
Her third husband was the U.S. ambassador to Russia during the 1930s and thus to the royal court of the Czars. Trust me, this estate is a true palace and among the notable art collection are 80 Fabergé objects including two imperial Fabergé eggs!
While I was attending meetings in Washington, D.C. the arch-conservative, anti-gay Values Voter Summit was being held blocks away.
By the way, I had the best steak and crab in the world at Bobby Van’s Grill. And, young actor-activist Wilson Cruz, who hosted the recent Equality California San Diego dinner, was just hired by GLAAD.
I was very honored to be the recipient of the first annual Dr. Frank Kameny civil rights award and the Victory Fund received the international award at the same fundraising gala dinner. (Commissioner Robert Gleason and Executive Director Chuck Wolfe accepted the honor.)
Dr. Kameny’s home was recently made a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. government – a fitting tribute to this gay rights icon from the 1950s.
I also received a handsome Emperor Napoleon “general’s hat” because the way I chair meetings … hmm!
My most sincere appreciation to the businessmen and gay leaders in Washington, D.C. who hosted me and, yes, I stopped by Secrets – the all-nude male dancers club – and I did not leave ‘til 3 a.m. Lucky me, I know the general manager! I will be returning to our nation’s capital again next month along with upcoming speaking engagements in Portland, Hawaii, Seattle, San Francisco and Toronto, Canada.
Stuart Milk to endorse Bob Filner
Global GLBT rights activist, Stuart Milk, and other prominent civil rights activists will be in San Diego for an event Friday Sept. 28, at which Milk will endorse Rep. Bob Filner for San Diego mayor. LGBT Weekly will have an exclusive interview with Milk about what made him decide to endorse Filner.
Chris Ward for state Assembly
As I’ve often said, we must be ready and plan for future elections. When popular Assemblywoman Toni Atkins is re-elected in November, GLBT San Diegans will be looking for someone to succeed her and everyone is urging Chris Ward (chief of staff to Assemblyman Marty Block) to become a candidate. Ward has an outstanding record of public service and civic involvement. We recently had lunch and when I asked him about a possible run for the Assembly he acknowledged Democratic leaders and San Diego community leaders are urging him to run, but that he respects Atkins and will wait ‘til her election is over to make any comments … I say Ward in 2016!
September: national suicide prevention month
September is national suicide prevention month in the USA. We, all of us, should take this rising rate of attempted and death by suicide most seriously.
Just in our military, affected by more than a decade of war, it has resulted in an unprecedented rate of suicides.
GLBT suicides are high, especially among youth.
Did you know that 42 percent of GLBT youth nationwide state that their community is not accepting of them.
Seventy percent of GLB youth in Utah alone feel this way.
Our alcohol and drug problems have also resulted in suicides, as well as the loss of jobs, homes etc.
Indeed, I have written about this before and I urge you to check out your friends … ask questions … take more notice of their problems and moods. In San Diego alone we have seen more frequent GLBT suicides … let’s watch over and reach out to each other. Be more sensitive. You could, just by caring, save a friend’s life. Thank you for listening.
Nick Moede moving to New York
One of our community’s most popular and respected businessmen, Nick Moede of Rich’s and Numbers fame, will be moving to New York in a few weeks to pursue a music production career.
He will have residences both in New York and San Diego, but will be living most of the time in New York.
An award-winning DJ/VJ, Nick is one of the most generous and giving-back persons to any and all important causes and organizations in San Diego.
A going-away party for Nick will be held Sept. 29 at Rich’s. I’m sure it will be a mob scene!
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. Nicolemrsandiego@aol.com
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