Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reps Honda, Lofgren to Hold

Gay Forums in San Jose

There are two names to add to the list of Northern California Congressmembers who hold town hall meetings with constituents about gay marriage and other gay issues, Zoe Lofgren (above left), and Mike Honda (above right).

Representative Jackie Speier of San Mateo, has held two public forums on gay concerns, the most recent over Pride weekend. After Lofgren and Honda hold their gay town halls in the coming weeks, we will have three Congressmembers to point to who care enough to hold such forums for us.

Compare the gay forums' records of Speier, Lofgren and Honda with that of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who represents the gayest district in the nation. From the Bay Area Reporter article about Speier's first gay town hall:

It has been more than a decade, if not longer, since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has taken the time to meet with local LGBT constituents in a setting open to the press and the public.

Pelosi, who represents the majority of San Francisco, including the gay Castro district, first won election to the House in 1987, and in 2007, was elected speaker. Apart from private meetings with local LGBT leaders, and carefully stage-managed events where the local press is given limited access to her, Pelosi has not held an open town hall with her LGBT constituents in some time. [...]

Pelosi who has plenty of time on her hands to attend the funerals of Sen. Robert Byrd, San Francisco real estate tycoon and donor Walter Shorenstein, and Congressman John Murtha, and can also fly into Las Vegas for a chat at the recent Netroots Nation confab, seems to have no time to emulate the civic engagement with gays practiced by her colleagues.

Heck, even Pelosi's district office staff, headed by Dan Bernal, an openly gay man, don't put on town halls for the gays. Are Pelosi and her staff so afraid of local gays that they fear our anger if they were to hold public forums?

From the Marriage Equality Silicon Valley web site:

The first two Saturdays in August will see town-hall meetings held at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center by two members of the U.S. House of Representatives. On August 7, 2010, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, representing the 16th District, will appear in the upstairs conference room to answer your questions. The following week will be 15th District Congressman Mike Honda's turn.

Both meetings will take place in the morning, from 10:00 to 11:00. Don't miss this exciting chance to interact directly with your elected representatives in Congress, and to make sure they hear the concerns of the LGBT community. The meetings are free and open to all; donations to the DeFrank Center are appreciated. The DeFrank Center is located at 938 The Alameda, San José.

For more info, contact longtime Latina lesbian activist Gloria Nieto: glorianieto (at) comcast (dot) com.

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