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Downtown Portland designates Harvey Milk Street

By Nicole Murray Ramirez | Conversations with Nicole

Last week, I traveled up to Portland, Oregon as its mayor and City Council considered naming a downtown city street after Harvey Milk. This two-year grassroots campaign was led by gay pioneer and trailblazer, prominent Portland realtor Terry Bean (co-founder of Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund).

Bean got the idea when he visited San Diego and stopped by our Harvey Milk street in Hillcrest! Former Governor Barbara Roberts, global gay activist Stuart Milk and I were part of the official presentation at Portland’s City Hall. Stuart’s remarks brought almost everyone to tears. The vote was unanimous and now elected officials from four different cities have contacted me to advise them on future Harvey Milk streets! A big thank you to Terry Bean, his wonderful staff, Scott Siebert, Matt Steele, Darcelle, Suzanne, Jean Pierre Nugloze, and everyone that made me feel so welcomed!

(l to r) Nicole Murray Ramirez, Stuart Milk, Terry Bean and Oregon Former Governor Barbara Roberts at the unveiling of its newest downtown street, Harvey Milk Street. (Photo by Nicole Murray Ramirez)

Stephen Whitburn for City Council

(l to r) Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Stephen Whitburn (Photo by Nicole Murray Ramirez)

With many city leaders urging Todd Gloria to announce early next year his candidacy for mayor and others urging Chris Ward to then announce for Todd’s seat, there could be a very possible special election for the 3rd District City Council seat in our near future. And there are already a few serious possible candidates holding conversations about it with community leader Stephen Whitburn being urged by many to become a candidate. Like Harvey Milk, LGBT leaders and Democrat activists I have talked to feel that the third time could also be the charm for Whitburn like it was for Harvey. It’s interesting to note when Whitburn lost his race against Republican Supervisor Ron Roberts, he won the 3rd District Council precincts 53 percent to 47 percent over Roberts. Actually, Whitburn got 17,165 votes in those precincts while Ward recently won with 15,029 in those very same precincts! Whitburn has solid name identity and has worked for the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society and is a past president of the powerful Democrats for Equality Club, and also sits on the mayor and the sheriff’s advisory boards. The popular Whitburn also was voted LGBT’s Man of the Year in 2011 and 2016! Word is Nick Serrano is also thinking of running.

“50 Years of Fabulous”

I was in San Francisco this past weekend for the premiere of the historic documentary film “50 years of Fabulous” at the world renown Castro Theatre with a sold-out crowd all the way up to the balcony. Yes, it was showcased at the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival and yes, I am in this film focusing on the 1960s to 2015 and our LGBT civil rights struggle, the city by the Bay, gay pioneer and icon Jose Julio Sarria and the Imperial Court of San Francisco, this city’s oldest LGBT charity organization. The film’s premiere was also co-presented by the LGBT Historic Society. It also had its premiere in Europe at a Paris film festival and will be coming to San Diego in the future. For more info: 50yearsoffab.com.

Carl DeMaio back on top

With a Times of San Diego headline, “Demaio was biggest Winner on Election Day” and the Los Angeles Blade headline, “Carl DeMaio California’s gay GOP King Maker,” and his radio program on KOGO AM600 No.1 in the ratings, Carl DeMaio has return to the political scene in a big way — like it or not. DeMaio organized and led the campaign to repeal the 12 cents per gallon tax hike and the successful recall campaign against Sen. Josh Newman. Carl DeMaio was and has been the subject of one of the ugliest gay baiting and smear campaigns in the history of this city (sadly by Democrats) and like Elton John’s hit record, “I’m Still standing,” he is happily married to gay businessman Johnathan Hale. While he and I differ on many political issues and candidates, I know one thing: Keep your eyes on DeMaio, as he isn’t going anywhere.

—Nicole Murray Ramirez has been writing a column since 1973. He has been a Latino/gay activist for almost half a century and has advised and served the last seven mayors of San Diego. Named the “Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest” by a city proclamation, he has received many media awards including from the prestigious San Diego Press Club. Reach Nicole at Hillcrestqueen5@gmail.com.

Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this column are the author’s own and by no means reflect or represent the opinions of the staff and/or publisher of Gay San Diego and/or its parent company, San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN). The newspaper and its staff should be held harmless of liability or damages.

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