Saturday, May 12, 2012

Is SF Gay Youth Executive 
on Sup. Wiener's Enemies List? 

Castro district Supervisor Scott Wiener in January held a hearing at City Hall about his controversial legislation to restrict certain behaviors (sleeping, use of shopping carts, smoking, etc), at Jane Warner and Harvey Milk Plazas, and dozens of concerned citizens spoke about his proposal.

An email exchange between Wiener and leaders of the Castro Benefit District, a prime backer of the legislation, reveals that he has quite a thin skin regarding one opponent of his proposal who didn't plant a big wet kiss on his tush.

Through a public records request, I obtained recent emails from CBD executive director Andrea Aiello, and I've posted the batch that contains the exchange here, for all to read. See page 62 for the email in question.

Wiener was upset that at his hearing, Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center leader Jodi Schwarz supposed acted inappropriately. My recollection of her two-minutes of public comments is that she calmly rejected the legislation and addressed how it would impact gay youths who come to her agency's office in the Castro. In no way did Schwarz raise her voice or otherwise violate standards of decorum.

And yet, Wiener believes she acted "horribly" during the hearing. He wrote:

Thank you to both of you (Aiello and Gustavo Serina of the Castro Benefit District) for all the great organizing. It's impossible to turn out as many people as they do, but we held our own nicely. Boy they are over the top, and I'm truly unhappy with Jodi Schwarz. She behaved horribly.

Serina wrote to Aiello asking:

Do you know who Jodi Schwarz is?

The reply from Aiello said:

Executive Director for LYRIC. I think Scott was upset because she didn't acknowledge all the work he has done on behalf of LGBT youth and homeless people in general. She also did say she asked to have a work group with the CBD to discuss these issues and the CBD refused ... this part is right ... we did decline to meet with her and then [two CBD board members] were supposed do that and I'm afraid they dropped the ball.

To which Serina said:

Thanks for this. I think she was looking for money from the CBD.

Interesting that Aiello says nothing about Schwarz behaving "horribly" and suggests that Wiener may be upset Schwarz did not use any of her two-minutes to praise him. If she had, she would have less time to speak in opposition to the legislation's impact on her gay youth clients.

While I have been critical of Schwarz on other issues, on this matter I don't think she did damn thing inappropriate at Wiener's hearing. All she did was speak against his proposal for the public plazas in the Castro. Somehow, her testimony upset Wiener and I suspect he has an enemies list and she is now on it.

What I believe the emails from Wiener and Serina show is that they think speaking against the plaza legislation equals something horrible or that Schwarz wanted funding from the CBD.

Wiener should learn that lots of folks in his Castro district disagree with his legislative and political agendas, and offering public comment opposing his proposals is not acting horribly.

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