As we reported in the February-March
2010 issue of the DTNA Newsletter,
Trader Joe's signed a lease in January
for the Tower space at the Market and
Trader Joe's still needs for its plans for
the location to be approved by the City's
Planning Department. The first step
Trader Joe's must take in that approval
process is to complete a transportation
impact study that analyzes the potential
effects the proposed market would
have on local auto, pedestrian, and bicycle
traffic, as well as the impact of
truck deliveries to the location.
DTNA's Land Use Committee has
been tracking this project since its inception,
and is in regular communication
with the City's Planning Department
about the project. In November
2009, DTNA proactively approached
Trader Joe's to convey a number of discussion
issues for the project related
to the neighborhood context, including
parking, street congestion, loading
and noise impacts, and the impact
on smaller, locally owned merchants.
The discussion with Trader Joe's was
framed by using DTNA's "Formula
Retail Evaluation Matrix" which the
association developed to help ensure
proposed retail chain (also known as
formula retail) projects add to, rather
than detract from, the neighborhood's
cohesion and assets. (For more information
about DTNA's matrix, go to
First Don't Ask Don't Tell Victory but Gay Battle isn't Over
The U.S. House voted 234 to 194 Thursday night to approve a compromise amendment that many believe will –with some conditions—eventually lead to the end of the military's policy of discharging gay service members.
The vote was the second major victory of the day for proponents of repeal. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a similar amendment just hours earlier by a vote of 16 to 12.
The fight is hardly over – at least two Republican senators have said they would support a filibuster over the underlying defense authorization bill in order to stop repeal of the 17-year-old Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. And, both chambers will have to vote again after a conference committee works out the differences between the two versions of the defense funding bill.
But for now, LGBT activists are celebrating a pair of dramatic and hard won victories against a policy which has led to the discharge of more than 13,000 service members so far.
"The votes in the Senate Committee and on the House floor to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' constitute one of the most important advances in our fight against prejudice based on sexual orientation," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a key Democratic leader involved in that fight. "A very few years from now, it will be clear that the fears expressed by our opponents' arguments were totally without foundation. I particularly want to express my admiration and great appreciation to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, and Representative Patrick Murphy, for their extraordinary leadership in bringing this about."
Murphy (D-Penn.) was the chief sponsor of the measure to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) and pressed vigorously for a vote even when the Pentagon pushed vigorously for a delay. And Pelosi promised support for the measure and to let the measure to the floor, even as some reports claimed that conservative Democrats were beginning to bail out for fear of repercussions during the mid-term elections.
The repeal measure that passed the House floor vote and the Senate committee was a compromise worked out during a meeting with White House officials on Monday. The compromise calls for repeal of the DADT federal law to take place only after two things occur:
1) the Secretary of Defense receives the implementation report he has asked for by December 1, and
2)"The President transmits to the congressional defense committees a written certification, signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating" that three additional things have been accomplished.
Those three things are:
1) that the three men have "considered the recommendations contained in the report and the report's proposed plan of action,"
2) the DOD has "prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise" repeal, and
3) that the implementation of those policies and regulations is "consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces."
While most supporters of repeal in the LGBT community praised the compromise and applauded its securing a vote in Congress this year, there were critics, too. They said the measure does not guarantee that the military will stop discharging gays. In fact, many supporters of repeal acknowledged as much during debate Thursday.
"It doesn't repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell," said Speaker Pelosi during a press conference Thursday. "It defers to when that [DOD] report comes forth and then repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
And Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who earlier this year told the Senate Armed Services Committee that repeal of DADT is "the right thing to do," told a town hall meeting of service members at a Colorado air base Wednesday that the compromise's provision for certification means, "to certify whether we should move ahead with that change, even if the law were to repeal it."
But for now, Congressional repeal of the DADT law is underway. The repeal measure reached the floor of the House at about 8:30 Thursday evening, after nearly 10 hours of off and on debate. The time allotted to debate of the Murphy Amendment was only 10 minutes, so Republicans used their time allotment during consideration of other amendments to express their vehement opposition to the Murphy Amendment.
The common themes among opponents who spoke –all but two of whom were Republicans – were that Democrats were trying to rush the issue, renege on an agreement to let the Pentagon study how best to implement repeal, and ignore the views of service members. Some, like Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), said the amendment was "advancing a liberal political agenda." Many said that Congress shouldn't vote until the Pentagon had worked out procedures around such matters as sleeping quarters and the extension of benefits to same-sex spouses.
Rep. Frank went to the floor early in the day to say that, if he had introduced an amendment to exempt gays from a military draft, these same opponents would be criticizing him for seeking "special rights" for gays.
And longtime civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) made an impassioned comparison between DADT and the early segregation of troops by race.
"The military helped end segregation based on race," said Lewis, "and can help end Don't Ask Don't Tell." The federal law excluding gays from the military, he said, "is an affront to human dignity."
"Discrimination is wrong and we must end it," said Lewis.
In praising the work to pass the repeal amendment, Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, also emphasized that "it doesn't end the discharges."
"The repeal amendment allowed for Congress to act while respecting the ongoing work by the Pentagon on how to implement open service for lesbian and gay service members," said Sarvis. "Nothing would happen until the Pentagon Working Group completes its report and the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President certifies repeal."
But Servicemembers United Executive Director Alexander Nicholson said the two victories Thursday demonstrated "real momentum in the battle to finally rid the United States Code of the outdated" DADT law.
"All of us who have served under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and who have been impacted by this law," said Nicholson, who was himself discharged under the law, "will remember this day as the beginning of the end for 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
Oddly, more than an hour after the DADT repeal amendment had passed the House and the chamber appeared to be almost empty, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) continued to debate the issue. Gohmert, who is prone to bombastic rants, said "we've accepted the loss of morality" by allowing gays in the military and, speaking in almost a whisper, he said the House has "betrayed" servicemembers and "it breaks my heart."
"I'm so sorry that this body broke its word for political gain," he said.
The White House issued a statement from President Obama about an hour after passage, too.
"I have long advocated that we repeal 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'," said Obama, who brought it up in his State of the Union speech in January but did not mention it in his message to Congress this week about the DOD authorization bill.
"This legislation," he said, "will help make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity."
For more than a decade, researchers and advocates have marked HIV Vaccine Awareness Day with varying degrees of hope, cynicism and despair. This year, in large part because of the results of the Thai Prime-Boost vaccine study, there is greater cause for hope than ever before and a renewed sense of urgency to transform this hope into a reality.
In September 2009, the world's largest AIDS vaccine trial to date showed the first evidence that an experimental AIDS vaccine could lower the risk of HIV infection. The results were complex; the observed benefit from the vaccine was modest; and the field is still years away from a highly protective vaccine.
"The caveats to the Thai Prime-Boost study results are important and true. But letting them become the entire story does a severe, even dangerous, disservice to the field, the trial and especially the 16,000 people who participated in the trial," said Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention. "Despite the many perspectives on and interpretations of the trial and its results the Thai AIDS vaccine trial provides evidence for the first time that it is possible to reduce the risk of HIV infection with a vaccine.
He's 24, he'd had a brush with death, and he hasn't even finished college, but Matthew Vanderpool might be Kentucky's best chance at ousting one of the state's most antigay legislators.
At just 24 years old and with a meager $150 in campaign finances, earlier this week, Matthew Vanderpool pulled off the unthinkable, beating an Air Force veteran and a lawyer to win the Democratic primary for the 45th district of Kentucky's house of representatives. Now, as the openly gay candidate gears up to face one of the state's most notoriously antigay politicians, Vanderpool talks to The Advocate about what made him run, what he expects from campaign season, and why he's sick of hearing politicians talk.
The Advocate: Why did you decide to run against incumbent Rep. Stan Lee?
Organizers submitted a parade request to the mayor's office last week, outlining a proposed route through the Russian capital. The openly homophobic mayor, who previously described gay Pride parades as "satanic happenings," has ruled out this year's march, set to take place May 29.
In the past, organizers have ignored the mayor's ban and planned marches became protests. Historically, their efforts have been quickly and violently dispersed by Russian police.
Once again, it appears that no lawful march will take place.
Even so, chief organizer Nikolai Alekseev said he is not going down without a fight.
The saga of Ike's Place, the all-too-successful sandwich shop in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, has captured the public's imagination. The tiny doorway eatery has amassed a huge following in the foodie community, bringing mobs of hungry mouths to a once-quiet block.
Some neighbors say their lives have been unfairly disturbed by all the attention, and they want Ike's to leave.
Or, perhaps, they'll settle for a piece of the action.
This week's column looks at the pre-emptive settlement offers to let Ike's stay in its current location. Ike Shehadeh, the owner of the sandwich shop, said that one of the four options suggested that the lawyers call on him to pay nearly $1 million for the privilege of enjoying his success without moving.
That's more than the shop's entire sales for all of 2009.
Laura Bush may not have been very vocal about how she felt on gay marriage or abortion when her husband was president, but the former first lady is talking now. (Probably not) coincidentally, it's just in time to promote her new book!
In an interview on "Larry King Live" Tuesday night, Bush said she disagrees with her husband on two key issues that continually popped up during George W. Bush's eight years in office.
Posted on www.Advocate.com
May 10, 2010 www.Advocate.com
By Advocate.com Editors
Dr. George Rekers, the antigay Family Research Council co-founder who reportedly took a trip to Europe with a male escort, spent part of his Tuesday trading messages on Facebook with people inquiring about the story connecting him to rent boy "Lucien."
JoeMyGod blogger Joe Jervis posted a comment Rekers made on his Facebook page after he asked the antigay Christian leader how "to find the hottest male prostitutes." Rekers wrote that the article about him and Lucien was a "mixture of truth and falsehood."
He reiterated the claims he made to the Miami New Times that he didn't know Lucien was an escort until they were midway through their vacation, saying he hired the young man because recent surgery requires him to have assistance carrying his bags.
He continues: "I have spent much time as a mental health professional and as a Christian minister helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as 'gay.' My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes. Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them."
Later he said he wanted the media to leave Lucien alone because "already the press has been stressful for him."
Domestic violence isn't something that happens only to straight people During his physical exam, Troy, a clinical psychologist and a patient of mine for nearly nine years, confided that his partner had been abusing him for two years. My first thought was to blurt out, "Rihanna, what were you thinking?" A psychologist should know better! Instead I shut my big mouth and listened. As obvious as the right course of action -- to get out quickly -- seems, I can't presume to know how any of us would react in a similar situation. Domestic violence occurs in one in four same-sex relationships, but fewer than one third of cases are ever reported. Victims fear insensitivity from the police, and men especially feel emasculated by needing to seek help regarding physical or emotional abuse. In Troy's case the abuse started after he lost his job: "My boyfriend always made more money than me, and after I was laid off, he joked about it front of our friends." As is often the case in relationships, that emotional abuse led to physical abuse.