SF DPH to Jamaican Consul:
Cease Diplomacy on City Property
It's mighty unusual, to say the least, that an individual representing a foreign government, and one that is so homo-hating as the political leaders in Jamaica, has been allowed to conduct consular affairs on San Francisco property. Last week, I filed a Sunshine Act request with Ms. Eileen Shields, public information officer for the Department of Public Health, for all contracts and leases between the DPH and the honorary consul of Jamaica. This was her first reply:
My initial information is that a while back a UCSF oral surgeon from Jamaica inadvisably used his work address at SFGH as the contact point for an "honorary consulate." It does not appear there was any formalized agreement, it was more a Jamaican resident who wanted to be available to other Jamaicans in the Bay Area. Still, the information managed to work its way onto the web.
As soon as this was discovered, he was asked to remove reference to it and discontinue any association with a Jamaican consulate at SFGH, including and especially reference on the internet. Evidently the internet posting still has not been pulled off the site and remains there, as you have discovered. This was what I was told but am still awaiting a review from UCSF.
I believe there will be no documents on this subject and can assure you that DPH has no agreement with Jamaica or any other consulate or embassy to maintain facilities on DPH property.
How you manage to find these things is the real mystery.
Yesterday, I sent off this note to the head of DPH, openly gay doctor Mitch Katz, pushing him to take some action and promising to show up at today's Health Commission meeting to use public comment time to press my case:
Dear Dr. Katz,
I have been made aware that Newton Gordon, DDS, and a UCSF professor with an office on the SF General Hospital campus, is listed by the Jamaican foreign ministry as an honorary consult conducting diplomatic business from a DPH facility.
He is also registered with the US State Department as a representative of Jamaica, with his campus address as his place of business.I have blogged about these matters on my site.
As a gay citizen of San Francisco I am formally asking you to cancel any agreements or leases DPH has with Gordon pertaining to his diplomatic duties.
Furthermore, I want DPH to instruct Gordon to write to the Jamaican foreign ministry and request that they not list his address as SF General Hospital, and that he and the ministry both send out letters to the press explaining that he does not conduct any Jamaican government business on DPH property.
Gordon should be directed to widely spread on the web, another location where he can conduct his consul business.
Allow me to remind you that Jamaica has a bloody and long record of murder and denial of basic human dignity and rights toward gay people.
The prime minister, Bruce Golding, is leading the fight to retain laws that criminalize consensual sodomy between adults, and hold hostile views against gay citizens.
Click here to read the latest grim human rights report from the US State Department on Jamaica's gay and AIDS record for 2008.
Please make it clearly understood to Dr. Gordon that he is take concrete and measurable steps to no longer feed the public perception that he is allowed to conduct consulate business for the homo-hating and AIDS-phobic nation of Jamaica.
I will be at tomorrow's Health Commission meeting and request that a written reply be presented to me at the meeting.
I received the following response, and while the DPH is not doing everything I requested, I'm deeply pleased they've made it quite explicit to the honorary consul that he is to address some of my concerns, which are in alignment with the DPH's views. Not only that, I must applaud the DPH for sending copies of the cease and desist letter to the appropriate people at UCSF, which actually employs the consul, and at the city attorney office, which would pursue legal remedies if the consul does not comply with the requested actions.
To: Newton Gordon, DDS
Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
From: Yvonne Lowe
SFGH Compliance Officer
Date: March 16, 2009
Re: Honorary Consul Activities
The Public Records Act request regarding the operation of a Jamaican Consulate’s Office and your response that you actually serve as an Honorary Consul of Jamaica have been referred to me. This memorandum is to advise you that you are to immediately cease any and all activities related to your role as Honorary Counsel for Jamaica on the premises of San Francisco General Hospital. This includes use of your SFGH/UCSF telephone, computer and office and removal of any signage.
To be specific, none of the following activities are to take place on the SFGH campus:
1. Promotion of the national interest and culture of Jamaica,
2. Protection of the interest of Jamaican nationals,
3. Processing visa applications,
4. Witnessing signatures on passport applications and other documents, and
5. Assisting visiting dignitaries and in-transit officials.
We do not allow our staff to use our public premises and equipment for personal business or purposes. Although your activities as an Honorary Consul may be minimal, it is still inappropriate and in violation of hospital and university policy to exercise them on publicly funded premises. It is to stop immediately.
Sue Currin, Chief Executive Officer
Sue Carlisle, MD, UCSF Associate Dean at SFGH
Kathy Murphy, Deputy City Attorney
Have I mentioned that a boycott of Jamaican rums, beers and cruises is in development?