By Nicole Murray Ramirez
A big congratulations to Will Rodriguez Kennedy who recently won a tough race for chair of the San Diego Democratic Party. Yes, Will is controversial and passionate – but what effective leader isn’t? And yes, he has made some mistakes in the past but who hasn’t? Will was supported by Rep. Scott Peters, Assembly member Todd Gloria and council members of the 4th and 8th districts. His also controversial opponent Craig Roberts was supported by state Senate President Toni Atkins, Chris Kehoe, and Councilmember Chris Ward.
Will was born in the Bronx of New York and is a proud Puerto Rican and Marine veteran who served on the San Diego County Advisory Board. Fresh out of the Marines he was a Republican for a few years and a past president of the Log Cabin Republicans. Will is the current president of Democrats for Equality and is also the state president of the California Young Democrats. He is the perfect chair of these challenging times … the youngest chair ever elected at age 31, a veteran and gay man of color. Will is an early strong supporter of Todd Gloria for mayor and Stephen Whitburn for City Council. I know he will do us proud and many of us made calls on his behalf. Will gave me the following statement for this column:
“This election represents a new day for San Diego Democrats. Over the coming year we will invest in community engagement, embrace our diversity and continue our tradition of being the Party of the People. Then our United Democratic Party will fight to take the majority at the County Board of Supervisors, elect a Democratic mayor in San Diego and carry the Blue Wave into North and East County.”
A Conversation with Police Chief Nisleit
Our San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit may be in Washington, D.C. for a national meeting of America’s police chiefs and sheriffs, but he was quickly on top of things within minutes after the shootings in Hillcrest on Feb. 12.
Within hours I received a phone call from Chief Nisleit. After discussions with Mayor Kevin Faulconer, they have made this case a top priority and will leave no stone unturned. The most important thing for our community is to be aware, alert and report any suspicious activity immediately to the police department. Thank God an alert patrolling police officer quickly caught the man while he was changing and (maybe) reloading in an alley.
The chief, to be safe, has put Hillcrest on high alert, especially after the vandalizing of the Rainbow Flag Monument on Feb. 6. Nisleit and the police department have launched a full investigation and will keep The LGBT Community Center and the community informed. A big thank you also to Lt. David Meyers for his outreach.
Welcome Brian Maienschein
Those of us who have known popular Assembly member Brian Maienschein were not surprised with his recent announcement that he was registering from Republican to Democrat. I met Brian before he won his first City Council race. He previously was a neighborhood activist and even then he was a moderate progressive Republican. The current Republican Party has left many good, solid, caring Republicans and is turning into a “Nationalist” right wing party, causing many to leave it. Brian has always had many GLBT supporters and was one of the very few endorsed by Equality California and also “GLBT Vote San Diego.” He is a dedicated public servant who has served his district and state well.
Bayard Rustin Honors: March 15
San Diego’s Annual Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Honors is set for Friday, March 5 at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. This event honors LGBT African Americans and allies. This year’s absolutely and well-deserved ally honoree is the super popular and rising star Racquel Vasquez, the mayor of Lemon Grove. LGBT Honors are Carmen Vann, Jelecia King, and longtime community fundraiser and military veteran Norman Braxton. This is always a prideful event, and all are welcome to salute and honor our African American brothers and sisters. For more information, contact Darnell at 619-737-7326.
—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 Nicolemrsd1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Nmrsd2.
[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.]