Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama Shills for Yes on 8 in Mailer?

The Yes on 8 campaign has sent out a mailer featuring on one side a grinning Barack Obama's image, with his wife Michelle laughing lovingly in the background, and a quote from him opposing gay marriage. Needless to say, the Obama campaign should denounce the use of Obama's image and quote to urge a Yes vote, while he should also personally speak out this weekend encouraging a strong NO NO NO vote.

On the other side are four big block quotes from black male Christian pastors, along with headshots of each, all grinning. Guess what? They're all against gay marriage.

At the bottom of that side, in a large yellow box reads as follows:

"Senator Joe Biden affirms his and Barack Obama's support for traditional marriage - 'Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that.' - Sen. Joe Biden, VP Debates [sic] 10-02-08."

The editor of the Bay Area Reporter, Cynthia Laird, has posted a story about the mailer, with reactions from all sides, that is a must-read. Here's a snippet, but click here to read the entire piece:

The No on 8 campaign has been increasing its outreach to the African American community, which is expected to vote overwhelmingly for Obama. Many African Americans, however, have traditionally had conservative views on same-sex marriage. Some black leaders, however, such as former San Francisco Supervisor the Reverend Amos Brown, have been outspoken in urging blacks to vote against Prop 8.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sissies Won't Debate Prop 8 Opponents

With the making of the "Milk" movie this past year, and its world premier at the Castro theater earlier this week, the life and times of Harvey Milk, and his political successes, have been much discussed, especially as we geared up to fight still another proposition attempting to deny us equal rights, Prop 8.

I've chatted with some gay elders who were active at the time of the Briggs Initiative, that would have stripped gay teachers of employment protections across the state.

How could they have defeated that initiative, with little money, no cell phones, faxes, the web, computers, and all the electronic tools we now have, was what I wanted to learn.

Over all, their responses echoed two things: Gay visibility and Harvey traveling up and down the state to debate the initiative's author, John Briggs. I bet Harvey saw the debates as a chance to garner free media, and educate voters to the truth about gays.

Harvey's Wiki entry illustrates how he fought his electoral battle:

Briggs' messages supporting Proposition 6 were pervasive throughout California, and Harvey Milk attended every event Briggs hosted. Milk campaigned against the bill throughout the state as well, and swore that even if Briggs won California, he would not win San Francisco.

In their numerous debates, which toward the end had been honed to quick back-and-forth banter, Briggs maintained that homosexual teachers wanted to abuse and recruit children.

Milk responded with statistics compiled by law enforcement that provided evidence that pedophiles identified primarily as heterosexual, and dismissed Briggs' points with one-liner jokes: "If it were true that children mimicked their teachers, you'd sure have a helluva lot more nuns running around."

Those debates and their importance receive their rightful attention in Randy Shilts' book "The Mayor of Castro Street." Click here to read the pertinent section.

Fast-forward to this week, and the Yes on 8 people issuing a debate challenge to the chief executive of No on 8, Steve Smith.

Since this is the most closely watched election issue in the nation outside of the presidential contest, I am proposing that voters hear from both campaigns in a more substantive forum than is possible in the fit for tat exchange of television and radio commercials.

Accordingly, we are hereby challenging your campaign to a live 30-minutes televised debate in the presence of voters and the media to discuss this critical initiative, including whether failures of Proposition 8 will result in gay marriage being taught in California public schools.

We propose that this debate be conducted either this Saturday or Sunday evening, November 1 or 2, under the auspices of an independent organization such as the California Broadcasters Association.

I hadn't much thought about debates between the Yes and No forces, for the simple reason there haven't been any. Have I missed the leaders of both sides staging debates in Fresno, San Francisco, Long Beach, Orange County and Los Angeles? As far as I know, our side never issued a similar challenge to the Yes side, nor am I aware that either side tried to arrange debates through the League of Women Voters or newspapers and TV stations.

Where the eff were the televised debates on Prop 8 the past month? Was No on 8 director Steve Smith not interested? What about Mark Leno or Kate Kendall or Phill Wilson, gay leaders I'd like to see on TV debating our opponents.

But I digress. What was the response from Steve Smith, on behalf of the 8 forces and every gay person in CA?

Thank you for your letter. It would be a disservice to the people of California to debate an issue that is completely unrelated to Proposition 8 ...

The only debate worth having in California is why you have pursued such a deceptive campaign strategy.

That debate you can conduct alone - with your conscience.

Call me a traitor to the gay movement for challenging another decision by the No leadership on how to win this campaign, but I would like to disagree with Steve Smith. There are many debates worth having in this beautiful state, debates led by out of the closet gay and lesbian married couples.

What would Harvey say about Steve Smith and the No campaign, acting like big sissies afraid to debate our deceptive adversaries? Would he reject pleas for televised discussion and the "inning" strategy of keeping gays couples out of the limelight and discussion?

The decision by Steve Smith to not debate the Yes people tarnishes the legacy of Harvey. It also is a lost opportunity to debunk some of the lies about gay marriage and Prop 8.

Rosie: $1000 to Liddy Dole 4 Prez,
$0 For Gay Marriage

Damn, have you checked out Rosie O'Donnell's FEC files lately? Not only is she big-boned, to go along with her big mouth, but she has a big bank account to help politicians and causes she believes in. (Does former HRC head Elizabeth Birch still run Rosie's businesses and foundation?)

Since 1998 the out lesbian comedic actress and TV personality has contributed a total of $178,600 to federal pols and PACS. Sweet chunk of candy to be doling out, huh?

Rosie gave $143,700 to Democrats, $33,900 to PACs, including HRC and Emily's List, and way back in 1999 she donated $1,000 to GOP presidential hopeful Elizabeth Dole. Nice to know our Rosie is so bi-partisan.

But this year, as in 2000 when CA fags and dykes faced the Knight Initiatiave, alias Prop 22, that set-back gay marriage equality, Rosie can't cough up a contribution to defeat Prop 8.

As it stands today, Rosie has given more to a nasty GOP candidate than she has to an initiative of keen importance to her, her partner and family, and millions of her fans.

Something for gay married couples to think about on November 5 as they plan their honeymoon cruises or book travel through Rosie's agency, R Family Vacations.

Click here to view her FEC page for the Dole donation. Go here to read her full list of donations.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

(Rosie O'Donnell, holding her wife Kelli Carpenter's hand, on the steps of the grand staircase at SF's City Hall, the day of their marriage in 2004.)

Rosie O'Donnell's Donation to No on 8?

Has anyone seen any checks from super-duper lesbian entertainer and gay marriage activist Rosie O'Donnell? I just used the SF Chronicle's search engine of donations to the campaigns battling over Prop 8, and here's what turned up when I punched in "o'donnell":

Contributor namePositionAmountState or countryCityTransaction dateDescending
Paul O'DonnellOppose$100.00CASan Francisco10/17/08
Ben O'DonnellOppose$100.00ORPortland10/16/08
Mark O'DonnellOppose$150.00NYNew York9/3/08
Trevor O'DonnellOppose$100.00CALos Angeles8/26/08
Ciaran O'DonnellSupport$10.00CASanta Clara6/24/08
Ciaran O'DonnellSupport$500.00CASanta Clara6/4/08

Rosie's name doesn't come up. Now, of course, she made have recently made a donation and it's not yet been entered into the system, but if she has contributed, I bet she would issue a release about it or post something to her blog. Haven't seen either the release or posting from her.

Speaking of Rosie's well-read and influential blog, Greg Hernandez over at OutinHollywood is taking her to task for her MIA status in this fight:

Just finished checking Rosie O'Donnell's blog and find it kind of mind-boggling that she is writing about "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and old Reese Witherspoon movies and not a word about Proposition 8. I am curious about why Rosie, always so outspoken, has been so out of the picture ...

Now what about the fight for equal rights in California Rosie? Any thoughts? Maybe we'll hear from her after the election because, as she writes, "i am trying to stay away from the news as we near the finish line ... the noise distracts me i believe."

Oh, brother.
I don't know why Rosie is so silent, and her checkbook closed, on the matter of Prop 8. Why is Rosie MIA on this fight?

SF Sheriff Withholds Tapes of Protesters
Disrupting Gay Weddings

Last week I blogged about reports in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding two gay weddings that were interrupted at City Hall on October 21, and I said if we could lay our hands on the surveillance tapes of the interruptions, or the protesters being led out of the building, the tapes would provide us with powerful image to use against those who favor passing Prop 8.

On Monday I filed a Sunshine Act request with the sheriff's office for the tapes, and this was the denial I received:

Dear Mr. Petrelis,

I am responding to your request for copies of the City Hall surveillance tapes for October 21, 2008 pursuant to the Public Records Act and the Sunshine Ordinance. The records you have requested are not public records and are exempt under Government Code section 6254(f).The surveillance cameras at City Hall are maintained for investigative and security purposes and are specifically exempt from the Public Records Act under 6254(f). If you have any questions, please contact me at the number listed below.

Freya A. Horne
Assistant Legal Counsel
Sheriff's Department

But Sunshine Act experts strongly disagree with the sheriff's interpretation of section 6254(f) of the act, because it clearly states that surveillance tapes may be withheld if there is an active law enforcement investigation underway involving what's on the requested tapes.

In the case of the City Hall tapes of the afternoon of October 21, there is no investigation of the interruptions. Hence, no legal justification for denying my request.

I am asking you to contact two key people at the SF sheriff's office and politely request that they reverse their refusal to release the surveillance tapes. If you call, please leave a civil message with the live receptionist answering the phone, request a call back. And if you send email, request a written reply.

Here is the info you'll need to participate in this action alert:

Eileen Hirst
Spokesperson, Sheriff's Office
Phone: (415) 554-7225

Jim Harrigan
Legal Counsel, Sheriff's Office
Phone: (415) 554-7225

Adding insult to injury, the gay weddings that were disrupted were taking place in the rotunda on the second floor, a favorite spot for weddings of straight and gay couples, and the location of the recently installed bust of slain leader Harvey Milk.

Let's pry those tapes out of the SF sheriff's office and show the world how the opponents of gay marriage equality trampled on the institution of marriage in City Hall on October 21.

Many thanks to all who join in this call to action!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boring: Phelps Klan Pickets Paul Newman Tribute

How much of a snoozer was the protest on Monday night at Davies Symphony Hall, by the homo-haters belonging to the Fred Phelps klan, there to picket a tribute to Paul Newman?

It was so boring I left after 15 minutes. Same goes for the BAR photographer and reporter who showed up. I saw lots of cameramen and reporters, but they were looking for stars there to honor the late actor and humanitarian.

A few pics from the corner of Van Ness and Hayes, around 5:15 pm yesterday:

Isn't he just the most adorable homo-hater in training you've ever seen? Child welfare advocates should raise a stink about how this kid from Kansas was taken out of school, brought across state lines, to spread this kind of message. I'd rather kids attend their lesbian teacher's wedding at City Hall and not stand on street corners peddling lies.

In the dark clothes, center and center-left, are the BAR folks. I count four adults and one child from the Phelps crew, standing with signs and stepping on the American flag.

This young man arrived at one point, with his "God Hates Spoons" sign, and proceeded to tell me that "God hates cars. God hates pollution. God hates mean people."

The woman on the left is singing "God hates America," to the tune of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America." Kate Smith she ain't. Why am I holding a sign about gays and the United Nations? I used it last year when Hank Wilson and I zapped Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and it was the only sign I had that folded up and fit neatly in my bike bag.
Photo credit: Rick Gerharter.

Why Sen. Boxer Is Missing
From No on 8 Ads

A gay staffer for Barbara Boxer contacted me yesterday regarding my online kvetch about her absence in being visible fighting to defeat Prop 8, and I sent him a reply thanking his boss for her email action. Click here to read Boxer's letter to constituents.

But I also went one-step further and asked why she's not appeared in any TV ads for our side, or loudly and publicly spoken out urging no votes on the hateful measure. His responses to my concerns are shared below.

I want to say at this point, that I would have liked for the gay community's political friends holding elective office right now, to be showcased in our TV spots and putting in joint appearances with married gay couples, raising noise against the initiative. Why haven't we taken advantage of putting our elected to work to defeat Prop 8?

And if the No on 8 leadership were having trouble getting the politicians to do that kind of basic advocacy for us, then action alerts should be issued, urging gays to contact the politicians to do the right thing for us. I know gays and our allies would respond positively to such a call for action.

Sure, individually each of our so-called political pals, from across the ideological spectrum -- Schwarzenegger, Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi -- speaking against Prop 8 might have the reverse effect and drive one or two voters to cast ballots for the measure. But I'd rather have them take that small political risk, show a united front opposing Prop 8 at news conferences and making public arguments favoring gay marriage and its benefits to society.

I hope to be surprised by the No on 8 campaign, and in the remaining 7 short days of the race, that I will see not only TV ads with gay newlyweds, but also spots with Barbara, Di, Arnie and Nancy, or press events with them addressing the media. It ain't too late for such things to happen.

Here are the emails from Boxer's gay staffer Brent Blackaby:

Hi Michael,

Saw your blog post today. I help manage Sen. Boxer's online program for her campaign committee. Just wanted to make sure you had a copy of this email that Sen. Boxer sent to her full CA email list this morning, encouraging people to vote No on 8 and join the campaign to defeat the initiative.

Best regards,
Brent Blackaby

This was his second note to me yesterday:

Hi Michael,

I hear you... and as a gay man myself, certainly identify with what you're talking about.

As for TV ads, etc., the decision-making behind much of that comes from the campaign itself. They're featuring who they choose to feature based on their understanding of the best way to make the case and defeat Prop 8.

While Sen. Boxer in an ad would be effective at mobilizing our base, it's not clear that it would necessarily sway some of the undecideds and independents, some of whom aren't necessarily big fans of Sen. Boxer.

That's why the email, in particular, to more than 100k of her own active CA supporters, is targeting a constituency who can be mobilized by a message from Sen. Boxer.

Believe me, from speaking with her, I know she wants to be helpful and defeat Prop 8. She also wants to do it in the way that will be most effective, without driving up votes on the other side.


Monday, October 27, 2008

MIA: Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi & Prop 8

Over at the TruthDig site, veteran gay socialist leader and writer Scott Tucker has penned a long examination of the gay marriage and Prop 8 fight, and he raises a troubling question that needs to be answered now: Where are are the voices and bodies of leading CA Democrats?

As with so many questions about the No on 8 strategy, like why are no gay couples featured in our side's TV ads and promotion of gay marriage is verboten, the issue of our state's reps to Congress status as persons missing in action is one more question I've heard people say should wait until after the election.

"Let's leave the criticism of the campaign and Feinstein, Boxer and Pelosi till November 5 and put all energy into get-out-the-vote efforts," I am told. I can't swallow this advice.

We need real loud words and visible actions from our state's politicians, who say they're friends of gays and oppose Prop 8, whether Democratic or Republican, in the remaining eight days before the election.

It's troubling to see our supposed political friends doing so little, if anything, to actively push voters to oppose Prop 8, and it's also disturbing that the No on 8 leadership is spinning yet another gay journalist who dares to raise uncomfortable questions. The gay community deserves better than "evasions and obfuscation" from the directors of our No on 8 campaign.

I'm proud to share a relatively short passage from Tucker's piece at and to link to it. Take the time, please, and read all of what Tucker has to say. Click here for the full article:

The No on 8 coalition includes many reliable liberal groups and individuals, but as of Oct. 24, no television ad featuring the leading Democrats of California has brought the No on 8 message to the general public. No political courage was required for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein to tell a gay magazine, “I believe we should uphold the ability of our friends, neighbors, and coworkers who are gay and lesbian to enter into the contract of marriage.” This message would have more reach and power if Feinstein dared to use the megaphone of the mass media. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer has not campaigned aggressively against Proposition 8 either, and has also not yet appeared in any television ad.

Likewise, the political capital that Rep. Nancy Pelosi has spent on this issue is spare change, but many Democrats will give her a “pragmatic” pass precisely because she is speaker of the House. A perverse logic operates in this case. If Pelosi refuses to wield congressional power in a fair fight against imperial adventures and war budgets; if she rules impeachment out of order and sidelines Rep. Dennis Kucinich and other dissenters in her own party; if she goes along to get along with the corporate oligarchy … then why should anyone expect her to risk a political bruise in defense of gay marriage?

I tried to discover whether the No On 8 forces had tried to enlist Sens. Boxer and Feinstein or Speaker Pelosi to appear in TV ads, as state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell has done. Speaking to a number of officials and spokespersons for No On 8 and Equality California, I encountered evasions and obfuscation but no straight answers. I can only conclude that the anti-Prop. 8 forces are willing to provide cover for the reluctance of California’s Democratic leaders to be publicly identified with an issue that might not play well with segments of the party base.

Hey Scott Tucker, keep pointing out our MIA political pals and the questionable media strategies of the No on 8 directors.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

(Andrew Sullivan, on the left, with his husband Aaron Tone, at their wedding. Photo credit: Michael Stuetz.)

Slapping Sully Over Gay Marriage Rant

Hey Andrew,

You really pissed me off with a rant you posted on your blog last week, so much so that I've decided to respond to your unwarranted criticisms of gays in the fight to defeat Prop 8. You write:

Nate Silver studies the Prop 8 polling and labels it a toss-up:

I'd peg the 'no' side as about a 55/45 favorite, but not more than that.

Memo to the gays: wake up.

MP: We've been quite awake since 2000 when we lost so badly on Prop 22, an initiative that barred the state from recognizing gay marriages. The campaign on our behalf was the campaign that dare not say it was about gay marriage or gay people in California.

The most depressing aspect in the gay community has been the apathy of so many, as well as the energy and determination of so few.

MP: Where's the proof of the alleged apathy? There's really no need for you to echo the verbal bashing gays have received from the No on 8 leadership. Consider first the hundreds of gay couples who come out publicly and gotten hitched at marriage bureaus cross the state, and all the friends and family members of the couples.

Go and notice the millions of dollars raised, for the freaking most expensive proposition ever in America, to make the measure a loser with voters, along with all the outpouring of incredible volunteering happening here to relegate Prop 8 to the compost bin.

Maybe from DC you can't see the tremendous energy and organizing take place out here, but I wish you and the No on 8 brain trust would lay off the people who've poured heart, soul and money into the campaign.

So many straight people seem to be doing more for this issue than many gay people. That's unacceptable.

MP: Show me the data proving your contention. Are you all of a sudden an HIV epidemiologist with the SF DPH, willy-nilly making statistical claims without evidence? What do you see from Dupont Circle that I can't see from Castro Street, proving more straights are working on the defeat of Prop 8?

If there are more straights than gays working to stop the ballot measure, maybe it's because there are more of them then us. Also, the path to fully gay marriage equality is going to take lots of straights. I heartily welcome their valuable assistance in our fight.

And let's recognize the many gays who have legitimate reason to not be involved or donating to the campaign. I know a handful of gays in San Francisco who are so turned off by the invisibility of gay people in the No on 8 TV ads and over all lack of any effort to educate the voters about gay citizens, they are only committed to voting against the measure, and not endorsing or contributing money to a deeply offensive and closeted media effort by our side.

It's perfectly legitimate to expose the LDS [Latter Day Saints] campaign against civil rights; but the Mormons are working the system. The right response is to work it back.

MP: If only we were working the system to put gay peoples' live and loving relationships. A great opportunity to build on the saturation media coverage of May, when the state Supreme Court ruled in our favor, was lost because of fears of the consultants running the No on 8 effort.

Working the system, during this historic election season, to me as a gay man, meant showcasing gay couples, their families and out celebrities in our campaign's outreach media. Instead, we have the political consultants and official gay leaders shoving us back into a closet.

Donate here. But better still: call your family and friends in California and tell them why this matters.
I applaud all the links you provide to make a donation, but some might say you are apathetic because you've not held a fundraiser at a cafe or restaurant on Washington's Dupont Circle. It's not too late to hold a "Bloggers Against Prop 8" party and rattle a tin cup. Hint, hint.

If you live there, get organized. Canvass; campaign; volunteer; spread the word on the web. This is our Gettysburg. And we're losing it.

We are organized in so many beautiful ways, but I guess it costs to much for you and the No on 8 leaders to give all the amazing volunteers, activists and newlywed lovers some applause and positive reinforcement for all that we're doing in this battle.

If you truly believe we're losing the battle, consider asking your friends to contact Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's two top PR consultants and tell them we want him to keep his pledge to fight the initiative.

Here’s the contact info:

Julie Soderlund, 916-551-1383


Adam Mendelsohn, 916-444-1380,


Saturday, October 25, 2008

St. Obama Candle &
Polish Gay Says No on Prop 8
There are lots of knickknack store along San Francisco's Valencia Street, but one near the north corner at 20th Street is truly unique. It's the only such place with an enormous votive candle of St. Obama in the window. I think St. Francis, the religious figure whose image is being parodied, would heartily approve of remaking Obama's iconography in the spirit of our city's patron saint.

Very unrelated to the candle in any way is the blog of Wojtek Szot, a young gay blogger in Warsaw. He sent me an email the other day about California's Prop 8, which I responded to and our exchange is shared below.

Sure, I was impressed to learn that a gay youth in Poland is not only aware of our state initiative, but also know about the two other states facing anti-gay-marriage propositions.

But what really made me smile, in strong international gay solidarity, was the small banner promoting a no vote on Prop 8 and a link to donate to the campaign! Click here and check out Wojtek's blog and see how from Europe he is playing a part in defeating Prop 8.

Here is our short exchange:


I'm one of the most popular Polish gay-blogger, my site: and I've questions to you, if you answer me can I put it on blog?

Do you think that in a voting in Florida and Arizona we have a chance to win? Because I'm afraid that everybody speaks about California and other voting aren't popular in media. And at least - if we will win at California it will be a historical step for LGBTq rights? Or it's just a small step i process of emancipation?

In Poland sometimes we (I mean - a LGBT organization) think about referendum on our rights to same-sex unions or Common-law marriage, and I thint that will be a great moment to teach people about us and our problems. Do you think that in US it works like that?

I'm sorry for my English :)

Wojtek Szot

Hi Wojtek,

Thanks for writing from Poland. I like your blog and very much like your message to vote no on Prop 8, with a link to make a donation. Thank you for your help to defeat the Prop 8. Here is my reply to your questions.

Yes, you are free to use my remarks on your blog.

I forget about the anti-gay propositions in Florida and Arizona, not just because I live in California, but because the straight and gay press only focus on Prop 8.

If we keep gay marriage equality in California, it will have a widespread beneficial influence for gays and gay marriage across America's states.

I don't know how the voters will vote next week, but I fear Prop 8 will pass and end gay marriage. That would be a terrible thing for the American gay movement.

Human rights for gay people should not decided by voters during an election. The equal rights and civil protections for all persons should be the law. It is undemocratic to put anyone's human rights up for a vote.

The referendums over gay rights in the USA is never a great moment to teach people about gay life. This is because the "official" gay leaders think it is best to ignore the gay aspect of the referendum, and instead focus on vague ideas about civil rights.

Many gays, me too, complain the TV ads to stop Prop 8 don't show gay people! That is just one sign of how the teaching moment is lost.

Your English is better than my Polish.

Please keep in touch.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Gay Weddings Disrupted by Haters at SF City Hall

Do you supposed the men who interrupted a few gay wedding ceremonies at City Hall recently believe that marriage is a sacred institution? If they do, then why were they trampling on the institution as more people were trying to enter into it?

The Chronicle ran two briefs about the disruptions and how the sheriff's office is handling the situation, but I don't recall it getting proper attention so I'll publicize the briefs here. If we knew the dates, times and locations in City Hall when the disruptions occurred, then we could file a Sunshine Act request. I'd like to see the surveillance tapes of the protests, just to be an after-the-fact witness.

From Tuesday's Chronicle:

Many same-sex couples have waited for decades to legally marry, but evidently a few protesters thought they would be able to get in their way.

Sheriff's deputies walked a number of protesters out of City Hall when they interrupted ceremonies on Tuesday. Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said it wasn't immediately clear how many weddings were interrupted.

And this is excerpted from Thursday's Chronicle, the paper edition:

We told you Tuesday about some wedding crashers at City Hall, and now we've gotten more details. Two same-sex weddings were interrupted Tuesday afternoon, one shortly before 2 p.m. and one twenty minutes later.

In both instances, same-sex couples were saying their vows when two different men approached them and screamed at them. Sheriff's deputies nearby responded promptly, admonished the men for disrupting city business and escorted them out of City Hall. Neither man was arrested.

Eileen Hirst, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said she didn't know what the men were shouting, but she assumes they were supporters of Prop. 8, which would ban same-sex marriages in California ...

"Disrupting somebody's wedding is deplorable behavior," Ballard said. "If these protesters believe that shouting during a wedding ceremony is a smart way to make their point, they are sorely mistaken."

Ballard said security at City Hall will be ramped up if there's any indication the protesters are planning to return.

We really should get copies of the surveillance tapes and put them out on the web. I'll contact the sheriff's office about it on Monday.

Phelps Klan in SF Oct 27
to Protest 'Fag' Paul Newman Tribute

If I could beam the Rev. Fred Phelps klan into every home in California through TV news stories, and show voters the faces of hate and those who oppose gay marriage equality, I'd do so in an instant. I believe many CA voters would vote no on 8, if they knew voting yes on the hateful proposition puts them in bed with the like of Phelps.

The God Hates Fags crew have announced on their site that they'll be in San Francisco on Monday, October 27 for a few pickets at foreign consulates in the day, then they'll put in an appearance outside a fundraiser for a summer camp for ill children supported by the late great humanitarian and actor Paul Newman. From the haters' site:

Davies Symphony Hall - Paul Newman Is In Hell 201 Van Ness Ave. We will picket your "Special Tribute" for Paul Newman. What the heck are you talking about, you fools. He lived a life of pure filth. From his desire to be a movie star to his personal life as an adulterer. You know full well that nobody had a CLUE who Paul Newman was until he played a drunken fag in Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof with the WHORE Elizabeth Taylor, then his acting career took off (as they say). You know full well that Joanne Woodard was NOT HIS WIFE. More importantly, you know that he sold his never-dying soul for a little bit of human praise.

Some pretty big and glamorous names will be inside Davies Hall on Monday night, report celebrity gossip web sites:

Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks will be among the A-list stars who will pay tribute to movie legend Paul Newman at a benefit gala for the late actor's California kids camp The Painted Turtle.

Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Danny DeVito, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening and Billy Crystal will also take the stage at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, California on October 27.

The stars will perform a stage reading of "The World of Nick Adams," an adaptation of a number of Ernest Hemingway's autobiographical stories, written by Newman's longtime pal A.E. Hotchner.

I sure hope that stellar line-up of liberal Hollywood friends of the gay community take the opportunity from the stage on Monday night to not only honor Paul Newman, his philanthropic work and the Painted Turtle, but that they also strongly denounce the hate of the Phelps klan and forcefully speak out for the defeat of Prop 8.

Anyone up for organizing a counter-protest at 6 PM on Monday at Davies Hall? It would be right in the middle of Phelps' protest, and one hour before the start of the tribute to Paul Newman.

We could not only "welcome" the Phelps haters, we could additionally promote voting No on 8 with signs and chants, while also sending a message to the stars inside the concert hall to use their voices to stop the hate of Prop 8.

Gays, Phelps and celebrities -- all practically guarantee media coverage. Let me know if you're game for a picket of love on Monday at Davies Hall.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vote For McCain - Or He Pokes Woman's Eye!

Presidential-hopeful John McCain showing his lighter side on his Straight Talk Express bus. On the left is his daughter Meghan's personal videographer and photographer, Shannon.

Honestly, this photo just doesn't show the candidate in a very presidential light, but Meghan thinks the image will win him a few votes. She posted it to her blog yesterday. All I see in his face is the angry mask he wore so terribly in the debates, and was a huge turn off to many TV viewers.

Is this really the face America wants to see the next four years from the Oval Office?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

(Gov. Schwarzenegger with Log Cabin president Patrick Sammon on April 11 in San Diego, promising to fight this year's anti-gay proposition. Photo credit: Rex Wockner.)

Call Arnie - Demand He Keep Pledge to Fight Prop 8!

Before you read any further, please pick up the phone right now and call Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's top two political consultants, who serve as his eyes and ears and help him decide which battles to fight. Call Julie Soderlund and Adam Mendelsohn and tell them you want the governor to keep the pledge he made in April to fight the anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative.

Here's the contact info:

Julie Soderlund
Phone: 916-551-1383

Adam Mendelsohn
Phone: 916-444-1380

When you call those numbers, you'll get a live receptionist. Please be polite and to the point. Tell them you want to reach Soderlund and Mendelsohn to have them convey to the governor that his muscle and voice are needed to defeat Prop 8. Leave your name and number, and request a call back. Or send a similarly polite email.

A blog at the LA Times site succinctly summed up the problem with Schwarzenegger and Prop 8, with barely two weeks left before the election:

Back in April, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed to fight any attempt to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. "I will always be there to fight against that because it should never happen," he told the Log Cabin Republicans at their San Diego convention -- a month before the state Supreme Court recognized the right of gays and lesbians to marry. And after that ruling, the governor again promised to oppose the effort to take away that right -- now known as Proposition 8.

But Schwarzenegger has been awfully quiet about an issue that could use his visible presence. Not that he has switched camps. He just hasn't been showing up to remind Californians that they generally champion expansive civil rights, not the elimination of such rights. He hasn't been around to reassure voters that their churches won't have to conduct same-sex marriages and their preschoolers won't have to attend gay weddings.

He attends rallies for Proposition 11, on redistricting, but is quiet about opposing Prop. 8.

I believe with the right kind of nudging, Arnie will do the right thing, open his mouth and exert some influence to sway voters to vote no on Prop 8.

You've probably donated money to defeat the measure, volunteered for the campaign, urged friends to vote no, and maybe even voted against the prop already.

But please also take a few moments to contact Soderlund and Mendelsohn today, and ask your friends, family and neighbors to do the same. The eyes and ears of the governor need to hear YOUR no on 8 voice today!

Monday, October 20, 2008

(Big sissy won't do any heavy lifting over Prop 8 and gays.)

Arnie to Gays: Drop Dead;
Time to Campaign for McCain

Wanna know how and where the Gov of California will spend part of his political capital this election season? Check out this story this afternoon from the Sacramento Bee's blog:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once again will stump for a Republican presidential candidate in Ohio on the weekend before the election, this time making a Halloween stop for Sen. John McCain in Columbus ...

At a press conference backing the redistricting initiative today in San Diego, Schwarzenegger called Columbus "the city where I traditionally always go and campaign, like the weekend before the election. I have done this in 1988 and in 1992 and so on, so I will be going there for one event to Columbus, Ohio."...

The Halloween rally is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31 at Nationwide Arena, according to Schwarzenegger political adviser Adam Mendelsohn ...

"The governor has been looking forward to going out and campaigning, and he's going to go to his home away from home, Columbus, Ohio," Mendelsohn said.

Should gays start contacting Mendelsohn and pressure him to advise Arnie to speak out and actively campaign in his first home state against Prop 8? I think so. It can only help our gay marriage equality cause, if CA voters lobby Arnie now to keep his promise to fight the proposition.

If the No on 8 campaign, or the Log Cabin leaders, were to issue a call to pressure the Gov and his staff, we'd likely see some action on our behalf.

Anyway, I needed a refresher today on exactly what Governor Schwarzenegger said to the Log Cabin organization back in April about battling a ballot initiative over gay marriage, so I checked out his full quote, as reported by newsman Rex Wockner, who was at the gay GOP convention:

"Well, first of all, I think that it would never happen in California because I think that California people are much further along with that issue. And, number two, I will always be there to fight against that, because it would never happen. I think we need a constitutional amendment so that foreign-born citizens can run for president, but not about gay marriage. That's a total waste of time."

Great words, Arnie, how about moving some of your muscles and keep your promise to fight for us?

Speaking of words, the governor expended a small amount of capital and official resources to issue a statement about the passing of one his bodybuilding sponsors, Mr. Ben Weider. Click here to read the tribute to Weider.

Then go here, Arnie's public info page, and search for gay marriage. You won't find a thing there about him doing his part to defeat Prop 8.

Armistead Maupin:

Gay Marriage Ad = Tampon Parody

If I'm ever at a party with the author of the great "Tales of The City" books, I must remember to listen to him opine on matters of paramount importance for gay people. He speaks much homo-truth. In his quote to the Bay Area Reporter this week about the lame No on 8 ads, Mr. Maupin squarely hits the problem of the TV spots on the head:

The first three No on 8 ads have generated mixed reactions among LGBT people, with some urging the campaign to hit harder with its messaging. The second No on 8 ad, which shows two women at a table discussing same-sex marriage after one admits her discomfort with the issue, is particularly irksome to some in the gay community.

"I find it discouraging that people are contributing money to put those ads on the air. They are not strong enough," said novelist Armistead Maupin. "I think the soft ad with the two women at the kitchen table is a parody of a tampon ad."

Pelosi to Gays: Drop Dead

I am represented in the House of Representatives by the very unrepresentative Nancy Pelosi, who in her latest mailing to voters, which arrived in my mailbox over the weekend, omits mention of either gay rights or Prop 8.

Speaker Pelosi, who ignored her constituents' overwhelming support for impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush, sure isn't knocking herself out to help the gay community this election and stop the ant-gay-marriage ballot initiative.

The Pelosi mailer highlights the following important issues for voters in her district: Preserving the Presidio, embracing alternative forms of energy, boosting the economy, ending the Iraq conflict, assisting vets, more health care for kids, preserving Medicare for seniors, enhancing affordable housing, providing grants to college students, fighting for stem cell research, advocating for cleanup of toxic waste in the Hunter's Point neighborhood, and restoring AIDS funding cuts.

Not a single mention of gay marriage rights or Prop 8, and that mailer is not the only piece of evidence of Pelosi's silence on gay couples and marriage equality. Her Congressional web site shows her last press release on gay marriage was back in May and there's nothing posted about Prop 8, certainly nothing urging voters to oppose it.

In her August 27 short tribute to Del Martin on her passing, and the work of her and her wife Phyllis Lyon over the decades for gay equality and marriage, Pelosi was characteristically mum on Prop 8. Click here to read the tribute.

Then on October 1, for the memorial service for Del Martin at City Hall, Pelosi released a much longer tribute, this time heralding her opposition to DOMA, but again stopping way short of saying a word about Prop 8 and any effort to encourage voters to reject the measure. Click here for the full statement:

“In times when my colleagues and I have debated legislation that seeks to divide our great nation, I have brought to the House floor the example of Del and Phyllis’s deep and abiding love.

“I invoked Del and Phyllis first in 1996 as I spoke in strong opposition to the ill-named Defense of Marriage Act, then again ten years later against the constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage.

“I told my colleagues about Del and Phyllis’s commitment to each other and how this is a source of strength and inspiration to all who know them, and how much courage it took to love someone in a time when their relationship was not met with respect and understanding. I asked my colleagues to explain how their relationship was a threat to anyone's marriage, and why Del and Phyllis should not be treated equally under the law.

“What a beautiful moment it was this June, when because of Del and Phyllis’s decades of advocacy, the great state of California affirmed marriage equality. As they always have, Del and Phyllis led the way, becoming the first of many gay couples to affirm their commitment ...

“And so, in Del Martin’s name, let us go forward to continue the fight for justice and equality.”

Would Pelosi have been struck with a nasty infection if she had been brave enough to say continue Del Martin's fight for full equality and work to defeat Prop 8?

And her Wikipedia entry contains this bit of falsehood, which to be corrected:

When the Supreme Court of California overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Pelosi released a statement welcoming the "historic decision" and voiced her opposition to Proposition 8, which seeks to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state.[74]

That citation, number 74 in her Wikipedia page, links to her May statement on the CA Supreme Court ruling and says nothing about her opposition to Prop 8.

The separate Wikipedia entry for Prop 8 also says Pelosi opposes the initiative. The citation reads:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (2008-05-15). 'Pelosi Statement on California State Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage."

As we know, that statement says nothing about the proposition.

I've Googled "No on 8, Pelosi" and "Pelosi opposes Prop 8," and variations, but no hits came up for Pelosi official statement, if she's made it, opposing the initiative.

If I've not used the right search terms, either at Pelosi's House site or with Googling, for her formal comments opposing Prop 8, and you have the text of it, please share it with me and I'll post it to my blog.

Click here to read the six citations on Pelosi's site for "gay marriage." I can't find a thing on her site about Prop 8, can you?

With pals like Pelosi ...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lawyers' Prop 8 Giving:

No = $767K / Yes = $679K

Lots of eyes are monitoring who is giving to either side of the Prop 8 initiative, including the legal eagle eyes of editors and reporters at The Recorder, the daily law journal for Northern California.

The paper earlier this week looked at donations, through the end of September, from state attorneys and found more donations to the No on 8 forces than the campaign to pass the proposition.

I'm not sure the article drew much attention, but feel it's of interest to political junkies following this gay initiative. Let's hope the paper does a follow up story, after the election, and see how the donations flowed in the last month of the race.

Excerpted from The Recorder story, registration req'd:

... But that's not the case when it comes to the legal community. Lawyers contributed more money to the top two No on 8 campaign accounts than they did to the two biggest Yes on 8 accounts, according to the latest state reports for the period between July 1 and Sept. 30.

Donors describing themselves as lawyers, attorneys and law professors contributed more than $767,000 to No on 8, Equality for All, and No on 8, Equality California, the two accounts funding the campaign against the constitutional ban on gay marriage. The Lawyers' Leadership Council for Equality, a group of Bay Area lawyers opposed to the initiative, reports raising more than $300,000 for the campaign since its inception this summer ...

During that same three-month period, legal professionals poured more than $679,000 into two Yes on 8 campaigns. A spokesman for Protect Marriage, the main pro-Prop 8 campaign, noted the relatively small difference in legal donations to the two sides ...

Sifting through more than 8,000 pages of donation records filed by the major Prop 8 campaigns this month reveals a few common themes. Many of the lawyer-donors to the Yes on 8 side live and work in Orange County, the Central Valley or the suburbs of Los Angeles, all typically hubs of social conservatives in California.

Lawyers at Latham & Watkins and Irvine-based Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear together contributed almost $50,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign, although neither firm did. Latham — the second largest U.S. law firm — was also the source of $20,350 in individual contributions to the No on 8 side.

Lawyers donating to the No on 8 campaign hail more frequently from the Bay Area, Los Angeles and, in a number of cases, New York. Many attorney-donors work for the state, appellate courts or other public agencies. Attorneys at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Morrison & Foerster; and Proskauer Rose were significant donors to the campaign against Prop 8. Lieff Cabraser lawyers gave $38,950, while MoFo attorneys donated $29,500 ..

Friday, October 17, 2008

CBS/SF: Gays Upset Gays
Missing from Prop 8 Ads
Yesterday afternoon I was over in Berkeley to catch two musicals from the Soviet Union playing at the Pacific Film Archive, so I wasn't around to reply to this request for an interview.
Nevertheless, I'm very pleased to report that the local CBS affiliate ran a two-minute story about a few bloggers, myself included with a screen shot of this site, and the fabulous columnist Ann Rostow of SF Bay Times, would like to see some living, breathing and loving gay couples in the No on 8 ads. The publisher of SF Bay Times, Kim Corsaro, is featured nicely summing up the views of those who'd like gay people to appear in the TV spots.

This is the email from the reporter, which I find interesting because of how he says the No on 8 ads are missing not only gays, but humanity!
Hi Mr. Petrelis -
My name is Joe Vazquez, and I'm a reporter for CBS5 TV in San Francisco. I'm working on a story about proposition 8 and how - as you and some of the folks who have posted on your blog have pointed out - the TV spots for "NO ON 8" are "lame" and devoid of gay people (or any humanity).
Are you in San Francisco? If so, can we swing by and interview you on camera? Please write back or call me at 415-xxx-xxxx.
I have written a similar email to Mr. Wockner for a response as well.
Joe Vazquez
Click here to view the news story. And here is the teaser from the KPIX-TV web site:
Prop. 8 Opponents Say Ads Not Strong Enough
Some in the gay community have complained about political ads against Proposition 8, saying the message...

NYT Rebuffs Transparency Call For
McCain & Obama Editorial Meetings

Earlier this week I suspected that John McCain and Barack Obama, because they were both spending time in the New York City area, were probably taking out time from campaigning and debate preparation to meet with the editorial board of the New York Times, as the paper readies its presidential endorsement.

Okay, maybe McCain and his advisers, with their disdain for the Times, weren't actively seeking the paper's endorsement, but if invited to meet with the editorial board, McCain might take them up on the invitation.

I sent a note to Catherine Mathis, NYT communications director, asking that they allow the public see the interviews with the candidates, as part of the paper's commitment to editorial transparency.

Unfortunately, she replied that the Times will not allow the sun to shine in on the process that produces their presidential endorsement.

Regardless of which man the NYT backs, I would have liked it if the paper permitted me to see how the candidates comported themselves during the interview process, not to mention also rate the Times people doing the questioning.

Maybe by 2012, the NYT will follow the great example of the Des Moines Register, and not only tape the interviews with the candidates, but also share the tapes on the web.

Here is my email to the Times:

Hello Catherine,

I hope you're well today.

I am writing to you because I'd like to know if the editorial board of the New York Times has interviewed John McCain and Barack Obama, as part of the paper's endorsement process.

If the board hasn't done so, does it have plans in the near future to speak with the candidates?

Finally, if the NYT editorial board interviews either or both candidates before deciding which one to back in the November election, will you all tape the interviews and share them on the web with readers?

It's my hope, as both a Times shareholder and reader, that the paper follows the lead of the Des Moines Register editorial board in its recent meeting with John McCain.

The transparency of the Register's endorsement process is a fabulous leap forward in modern journalism, a leap I'd like to see the Times follow.

As always, a prompt reply would be very appreciated.

Sincerely yours,

And this is the NYT reply:

Hi Michael,

We don't discuss our editorial board decisions, especially before we have written the editorial in question.

Hope all is well with you.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rostow, Bay Times:
Gays Queasy About Gays in Prop 8 Ads?

If you're following the propaganda effort by the No on Prop 8 campaign, you've got to read Ann Rostow's column, not all of which I agree with, especially related to the school kids, but which raises many issues that need addressing now, starting with why are we losing.

Why are gay couples and gay love missing from the No on 8 ads? Questions about the omission of gays from the ads, and the failing effort to defeat the measure, shouldn't be a one-way conversation.

We need the No on 8 leaders to show more respect to the out-of-the-closet community that would like to see ourselves in the ads and the campaign's outreach materials. Tell us why the image of gay and lesbian couples is so threatening to our side and can't be shown in the TV spots.

From Rostow
's piece in the SF Bay Times today:

Throughout this campaign, we have once again hid the face of same-sex couples and given a free pass to those in the middle of the electorate who are uncomfortable with gay relationships. Instead of challenging that atavistic premise, we have nodded our collective heads and said something on the order of “Hey, we understand that gay couples make you a little queasy, but for God’s sake don’t write us out of the constitution.”

You know what that message actually means? It means that it’s just fine to feel queasy. It implies that we ourselves feel queasy in a way. We can see your point! It’s a losing strategy and it has lost us every same-sex marriage election, save one (Arizona 2004) that we’ve ever fought.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wasilla Library Rejects 2 Gay Childrens Books

I have negative news to report about the two books I recently donated to Wasilla Public Library, which I wanted to be on the shelves when Gov. Sarah Palin returns home on November 5 to resume her full-time duties as governor.

According to a report from the Library Journal blog, written by Norm Oder, the local librarian will not be accepting the books and instead they will be sold at a book sale to raise funds for the library.

While I'm disappointed my two donated books won't make it to the shelves, I'm still happy, as a gay man who supports strengthening public libraries, that "Heather" and "Daddy" will benefit the Wasilla library. Plus, it's nice to know other gay childrens books, such as "And Tango Makes Three," take up some of the real estate on the Wasilla library shelves.

From the Library Journal today:

[Background] In the wake of the Palin news, an activist donated two gay-themed children’s books to the library. Martin-Albright tells LJ, in news not previously reported, that the library will give HeatWasilla Public Libraryher Has Two Mommies and Daddy’s Roommate to its Friends group for sale.

Q: You had already stated that one reason that Heather Has Two Mommies isn’t in the library is that a book has to earn its real estate.

A: The library strives to achieve a balanced collection of materials in the major information categories, as well as a fiction collection calculated to satisfy the widest possible variety of tastes. All viewpoints and opinions on controversial subjects are represented whenever possible. Wasilla Public Library’s collection development states that materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation and that the library should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

In the past, Wasilla Public Library held both Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy’s Roommate, although the books are no longer on the library’s shelves. Wasilla outgrew the size of its library about 20 years ago. Library collections are dynamic, and anything on the book shelves has to earn its real estate. If it is not circulating, it does not stay. This is not the ideal, but it is the reality. The books were removed as part of on-going collection development and not due to the subject matter presented in the books. Wasilla Public Library holds many titles that deal with the same subject matter, including the popular And Tango Makes Three.

All one has to do is look at thWasilla Public Library, Children's Roome books in question next to Tango, or any other well-made picture book, to see that Heather and Daddy’s Roommate are poorly constructed, lack engaging illustrations, and have too many words on the page to be useful to young readers. The books are poorly manufactured; they are insubstantial paperbacks that would not withstand repeated use. Moreover, the books are dated in illustrational style and content. Since they were published, several better-made books which are more appealing to children that deal with the same subject matter have been released. Wasilla Public Library houses quite a few of these titles on its shelves.

While the library agrees that Heather and Daddy’s Roommate are important books because they were ground-breaking and because of the controversy and discussions that have occurred in the 15-plus years since they were published, there are better choices for a dynamic, current, and appealing children’s collection. The donated materials, in accordance with our Donations Policy, will be given to the Friends of Wasilla Library for its annual book sale. You are the first reporter who has asked since the decision was made, so I guess this will be our first public announcement.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SF Chron, Kendall Scapegoating
Kids for Prop 8 Failures

You may have heard by now, thanks to a front-page article in the SF Chronicle, and a video posted on the paper's site, that a lesbian first grade teacher got hitched last week, and in response to this loving act, the parents of some of her students waited on the steps of City Hall to congratulate the newlyweds.

I see nothing wrong with parents deciding to include gay weddings and witnessing the power of love in action as part of their children's education. And there would have been no harm done to the children, had they, horrors!, seen the mayor performing the wedding ceremony.

But my opinion is deeply at odds with that of John Diaz, editorial writer for the SF Chronicle, and the dynamic and terrific lesbian leader Kate Kendall.

Diaz and Kendall are stricken with pangs of terror over the children tossing flower petals in the path of happy matrimony of their teacher and her lesbian spouse, all because our hateful opponents object to the kids doing this, and on a school day.

Frankly, it is just one more act of "don't do anything to frighten the heterosexuals who hate us" from the campaign to defeat Prop 8. The polls for our side are grim and we're probably going to lose come November 4, but our deep hope to retain gay marraige equality should not scapegoat the love and honor of the lesbian teacher, her students and their parents, as we face almost certain defeat at the ballot box.

If the Chron and Kendall want to cast the lesbian wedding and the kids attending the walk down the steps outside City Hall as a disaster for us, I want to be among the few to stand with the kids and oppose such thinking.

From today's Chronicle:

As someone who regards marriage-equality laws as a basic civil right, I had the same sinking feeling when I heard at Friday's news meeting that a first-grade class would be making a field trip to City Hall to celebrate the wedding of their lesbian teacher. This was handing powerful ammunition to the Yes on 8 campaign, which had been trying to scare Californians with warnings that its defeat would lead to the indoctrination of kindergartners.

The only thing that could be worse, I thought, was if Newsom - the anti-equality movement's favorite villain - officiated the wedding.

And he did, a double gift for the campaign against marriage equality.

"I know, I know, I know, I know," Kate Kendell executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who first learned of the field trip in Saturday's Chronicle. "It was, obviously, a public-relations disaster for us."