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Letters >>

August 10-16, 2017 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 7

Offended by Milk letter

As a native San Franciscan and gay man who knew and campaigned for Harvey Milk, I am greatly offended by the vile letter of Allen Jones [Mailstrom, August 3]. Milk was the Martin Luther King Jr. of gay liberation. Before Milk, no openly LGBT person had ever been elected to office in San Francisco. Queers were lucky to have a seat or two on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee. Consensual gay sex was a crime in those days (until Willie Brown used his legislative smarts to get 19th century sodomy laws repealed). In the 1960s and 1970s homophobia was widespread even in “liberal” San Francisco. When I was in junior high, high school, and Boy Scouts in those years, I was regularly harassed and bullied by other kids who perceived I was gay – even though I was in self-denial. Teachers and Scout leaders would tell us that racial discrimination was bad, but would tell me that bullying and harassment I suffered was “my fault.” Milk changed all this – by living life and running for office as an openly gay man. He caused LGBT people to come out, and straight folks to accept us. Milk deserves the honor that King has obtained. As for Jones’ criticism of Milk for supporting the Reverend Jim Jones, look at history before Guyana and Jonestown: Jones was a shrewd political operator who supplied vast numbers of volunteers to liberal campaigns and causes. Pre-Guyana, Jones managed to obtain support of many other liberal leaders – including SF’s greatest political genius, Brown. I believe that both ex-mayor Brown and Milk need to be honored by the city for their great contributions to human rights, even if they were once conned into defense of Jones. By the way, I didn’t support Supervisor Hillary Ronen in the last election, but I agree with her on this issue, because she is right.

Look to history for gay heroes

Thank you, Allen Jones. We should look at gay history before we start to name so many things after one person. I was a bartender in San Francisco during the 1950s and very aware of the history of the gay movement. Many of my friends, as well as myself, worked our asses off to get where we are today. Long before Harvey Milk, we were arrested and treated like crap by both the city officials and the police department. It was against the law to be gay and to congregate. We were always looking over our shoulder. I have a feeling [former supervisor] David Campos should look more at the history before he tries to name so many things after one person. There were many that have since left us that were so responsible for what we have today. Oliver Sipple was my friend, and I was so proud of him being at the right place at the right time. We need to look at history and then make judgments on just who should be considered a hero. Milk did good but he was not alone.

Barry Schneider Attorney at Law

family law specialist* • Divorce w/emphasis on Real Estate & Business Divisions • Domestic Partnerships, Support & Custody • Probate and Wills

415-781-6500 *Certified by the California State Bar 400 Montgomery Street, Ste. 505, San Francisco, CA

James Robinson San Francisco

Appreciated ballet review

San Francisco has a world-class ballet company and kudos to the Bay Area Reporter for having a world-class writer on your team [“Ballet pictures of social harmony,” August 3]. Paul Parish’s review of the San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove is much appreciated by the many fans who could not attend. It will be read widely. Burl Willes Berkeley, California

Arlo Hale Smith San Francisco

Former Castro resident seeks San Mateo education post by Matthew S. Bajko


orn and raised in Ashville, North Carolina, Gary Waddell, Ph.D., grew up in a family dedicated to public service. His father was a local fire district chief, while his mother worked as a school district secretary. He followed in her footsteps in pursuing a career in education. Waddell became an award-winning school counselor in his native state, where he also was a foster parent for adolescents with emotional and behavioral disabilities. “I think something about that experience, sitting across the table from kids and hearing their lived experiences in schools, really changes who you are,” said Waddell, 54, in a recent interview with the Bay Area Reporter. Wanting to more fully come out of the closet, both professionally and socially, as a gay man, Waddell moved to San Francisco’s gay Castro district in 2003, as he had several close friends living in the city. “That was the year my father passed away as well. In a moment of reflection, I decided to move out here,” recounted Waddell. “I never looked back. I love it.” A former school principal, he is currently the deputy superintendent of the San Mateo County Office of Education overseeing instructional services and programs. He previously had served as the county education office’s associate superintendent of instruction and its curriculum services administrator. Now living in Pacifica, where he moved two years ago, Waddell is a first time candidate for public office. He is running to succeed

lesbian San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Anne E. Campbell. “My passion has always been really around equity and ensuring schools are safe spaces where all kids can thrive,” said Waddell in a recent interview with the Bay Area Reporter. “I am doing this because I want to do something bold and make a difference.” After serving two four-year terms in the position, Campbell opted not to seek re-election next year. Her current term will end in January 2019. “It has been a true honor to serve as county superintendent over the past seven years,” stated Campbell in announcing her decision earlier this summer. “I have so appreciated the opportunity to work with the outstanding staff at the San Mateo County Office of Education, as well as with educators and partners throughout San Mateo County. We share a strong and devoted commitment to the educational success of all our county’s children and youth.” The county education office works with 23 school districts on the Peninsula with a total enrollment of nearly 94,000 students. It provides teacher training and staff development as well as fiscal oversight and legal services for the districts. Waddell, who officially announced his campaign in June, is running against another insider candidate. At the end of July Nancy Magee, the county education office’s associate superintendent for the student services division, formally announced her candidacy. She oversees direct educational

Gary Waddell, Ph.D.

services to students who are in the juvenile justice system or who are enrolled in the county’s special education program. Also under her auspices are safe and supportive schools initiatives, including emergency response and mental health coordination, foster youth, Safe Routes to School, Career Technical Education, and Special Olympics. A mother of two grown sons, Magee lives in Half Moon Bay. “After 34 years of dedicated service in education, as teacher, coach, librarian, and administrator, I am launching my first political campaign!” Magee announced via Facebook July 30. As of June 30, Waddell had raised $23,026 for his campaign and spent nearly $5,000, according to the most recent financial disclosure form. Magee, meanwhile, reported having raised $14,850 and has spent very little to date. She and Waddell are the only candidates to pull papers so far for the 2018 race. If neither captures more than 50 percent of the vote on the June primary ballot next See page 14 >>

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August 10, 2017 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter  

The undisputed newspaper of record for the San Francisco Bay Area LGBT community and the oldest continuously-published gay newspaper in the...

August 10, 2017 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter  

The undisputed newspaper of record for the San Francisco Bay Area LGBT community and the oldest continuously-published gay newspaper in the...