Dems for Equality eNews

Tuesday, November 25, 2014   

No Man Is Above the Law and No Man Below It


Ferguson Is an LGBT Issue   


The LGBT people coalesced into our modern community largely due to our problematic relationship with the police. Most of our people know the place in our development that the Stonewall Riots in 1969 holds. Far fewer know about the Compton's Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco in 1966 and fewer still know about the Cooper's Donuts riots in Los Angeles in 1959.


Clockwise from top left - Stonewall,Compton's Cafeteria, Ferguson, Cooper's Donuts
Clockwise from top left: Stonewall, Compton's Cafeteria, Ferguson, Cooper's Donuts

In all three incidents, "outlaws" - transgender people, drag queens and others who could not hide, or chose not to hide - fought back against police overreach, harassment, and even violence. From each incident, more people were drawn into the struggle that got us to where we are now.


Here in San Diego, it's hard to recall the "bad old days" before the Human Dignity Ordinance, Sheriff's LGBT Advisory Board, and all the other infrastructure designed to assure equal protection under the law. The sad fact though, is that in many places (both outside and inside the United States) - and for many other groups - we haven't progressed very far from those days.


Ferguson is an LGBT issue. Leaving aside the thought processes that could cause a grand jury to fail to indict a police officer who shot an unarmed African-American ten times, the police militarization and the profiling of a group of people that are "other" than the vast majority of law enforcement is right out of the pages of our history. Perhaps even more importantly, much of our progress as a community stands on the shoulders of the Civil Rights movement that both predates our struggle and, in many ways, lags behind it.


I'd guess that you figure here is where I will throw in the "No one is free when others are oppressed" quote. I think a better quote comes from Teddy Roosevelt. "No man is above the law and no man below it." While you can't legislate away an individual's prejudice, we have seen the miraculous changes that have occurred here and elsewhere when police are asked to live up to their mission to equally "Protect and Serve" all residents of their community.


The time has come for the Federal government to step in where local government has failed. Investigation into civil rights violations were suspended while the local prosecutors/grand jury considered charges. That phase has ended (badly) so the Justice Dept. must step in. Only with justice will there be peace.


More importantly, Federal policies that allow local law enforcement to become a militarized occupying force rather than community police must be halted and reversed. It's awful that police action and reaction has led to what is occurring in Ferguson today. It would be unspeakably awful if we don't use what is now occurring to make things better. A police force that looks like the community it serves does a better job than one that does not. Outcomes are better when police work with the community rather than lobbing tear gas from armored vehicles at them.


The call from our community to our government is simple: Stop contributing to the problem. Start to fix it.




Is it Time to Re-Up?


The Club depends on membership dues to keep the lights on and promote our candidates and issues to the community. A large number of community members depend on our Voters Guide to help them make an intelligent choice when marking their ballots so your membership renewal is critical to ensure those Guides get into those hands. If your membership has lapsed or if you know you're membership is soon to expire, please re-up now. You might also consider upgrading your membership to a higher level.


You can find out more about the Club's membership levels and benefits online HERE. You can also renew with a credit card there.  If you would prefer to use a check, send the check, made out to Democrats for Equality to:


San Diego Democrats for Equality

PO Box 33050

San Diego CA 92163





Elections Matter


No way around how much the National mid-term election hurt. We lost in States we expected and States we thought of as toss-ups.  There were even a few true-blue States that went against us. We had the money against us. We had VWD* laws against us. We had low voter turn-out against us. Bottom line though, we lost and we need to take every opportunity to turn a spotlight on who will be hurt and how they will be hurt by Tea Party Republican policies over the next two years.


Locally, the big news is obviously the reelection of Scott Peters to a second two-year term. Scott's race was a priority for Dems for Equality and we're thrilled that he was able to emerge victorious Toni Atkins with a nearly 3% spread after a nasty, expensive campaign.


We would have preferred another outcome for our other priority campaign - Carol Kim's campaign for San Diego City Council. Carol was an impressive candidate who put together an impressive campaign, but she just wasn't able to overcome the fact that she was outspent by her lobbyist opponent by more than 4:1.


Democrats also picked up other local offices throughout the County and both of our members, Speaker Toni Atkins and Board President Kevin Beiser won reelection with lopsided wins. California once again provided a little light on an otherwise very dark election night.






* Voting While Democrat




Ashish T. Agrawal & Bryan H. Wildenthal 
Assembly SpeakerToni Atkins 
Laurie Black 
Susan Guinn & Denice Feldhaus
Eric Isaacson & Susan Weaver 
Chris Kehoe & Julie Warren
John McConnell & James Kinney 
Don Mullen & John Logan 
Dr. Bob Pedrick & Josť Guzman 
Craig Roberts 
Stephanie J. Swift


Thank you for your continuing support of San Diego Democrats for Equality.

Self Evident Truths
David Warmoth, President 
San Diego Democrats for Equality 
Defending LGBT Equality since 1975