By Nicole Murray Ramirez | Conversations with Nicole
Recently, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Police Chief David Nisleit, SDPD Lt. Manuel Del Toro, Chief’s Advisory Board LGBT Liaison Sgt. Daniel Meyer and the mayor’s Senior Community Representative John Ly, met with San Diego LGBT leaders, business and bar owners. Also in attendance were members of the mayor’s LGBT Advisory Council and FBI Special Agent Brett Kalina.
Many issues and concerns were discussed, including the growing problem of police harassment, increasing physical attacks on residents, more incidents of hate crimes including hate speech directed at LGBT citizens, and the slow response rate of 911 calls.
Recently, a pickup truck with young men have harassed gay bars in Hillcrest throwing eggs and calling out homophobic and racial slurs to bar staff and customers. The growing homeless problem outside The San Diego LGBT Community Center was also discussed, with some urging the The Center to hire security guards before a major violent incident happens.
Faulconer and Nisleit made it very clear that any hate speech and crimes would not be tolerated against any citizens in San Diego.
The local LGBT leaders, business and bar owners in attendance were: Metropolitan Community Church Rev. Dan Koeshall; Executive Director San Diego LGBT Pride Fernando Lopez; The Center’s Latino Services Coordinator Carolina Ramos; Urban Mo’s owner Chris Shaw; Brian Bazinet; Attorney Bruce Abrams; Benny Cartwright of The Center; Big Mike Phillips; David Cohen; Rich’s General Manager Ryan Bedrosian; Flicks’ owner Jeff Jackson; Julia Legaspi; Gossip Grill General Manager Moe Girton; and Susan Nester.
A future meeting with bar owners and their staff as well as other local businesses is in the planning and will be held in Hillcrest. Bedrosian of Rich’s agreed to establish communications for all bar owners and staff to be able to communicate with each other when problems arise.
With the increase of hate crimes at LGBT centers and Planned Parenthood health centers — as well as a rise in anti-Semitic incidents — happening across the nation, we very much appreciate the proactive efforts and priority of making all of our city’s diverse community safe.
Sherman Mendoza and The Caliph
After nearly six decades, one of San Diego’s most popular and beloved piano bars The Caliph is closing its doors on New Year’s Eve. The corner it sits on was sold and I am sure we will be seeing another condo building going up. While many San Diegans will miss this entertainment landmark, some will miss its owner and San Diego businessman Sherman Mendoza the most. He is one of the kindest, most caring and giving men that I have had the honor to call my friend. I first met Sherman when he was 19yearsold and talked him into running for Mr. Gay Teenage San Diego at what was then Bradley’s in Downtown.
This man has given tens of thousands of dollars to countless LGBT organizations and causes, especially during the AIDS crisis. It seems like “no” was never in Sherman’s vocabulary. He also supported countless candidates for public office.
Simply put, Sherman just loves our community and has always had a heart for those in need.
The good news is that Sherman is not going anywhere, and he plans to stay active with our community — and yes indeed, our community is lucky he is. Thank you for the memories Sherman and God bless you.
—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 does not necessarily 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.