Political Action Committee Letter Regarding the Shooting of Mario Woods

January 13, 2016

Dear San Francisco Police Commission, Police Chief Greg Suhr, Mayor Ed Lee, the Police Officers Association, and the San Francisco  Board of Supervisors:

We write to you today to demand justice for Mario Woods and the countless individuals who have been unjustly terrorized and murdered by the SFPD. We stand in solidarity with the family of Mario Woods and the Justice For Mario Woods Coalition in demanding the following actions be taken immediately:

  • Release of a public apology to Gwendolyn Woods;
  • Payment by the SFPD and the City and County of San Francisco for the funeral of Mario Woods;
  • Termination of Police Chief Greg Suhr  
  • An independent Federal and External investigation into the murder

San Francisco has been a well-known leader in many social justice causes. Sadly, however, our Police Department has lagged behind implementing 21st Century Policing strategies to ensure the protection and safety of our most marginalised, vulnerable communities. Despite the fact that SFPD has adopted Community Policing strategies in its General Orders (Section 1.08 - Community Policing), these policies have no points of accountability or enforcement.  Additionally, Police Chief Greg Suhr and other leadership have continued to execute policies and support personnel that allow racism, homophobia, transphobia, and homeless persecution to proliferate within the force, instead of challenging the Board of Supervisors to vote in favor of protecting all citizens of San Francisco, and not just the most elite.

Far too many black and brown folks, people with mental and physical disabilities, and members of the LGBT community and homeless residents have suffered at the hands of the SFPD. This is not unique to San Francisco. This is a national endemic. But we refuse to let this happen here. Current leadership has proven that it either cannot or will not take action to stop the excessive use of force, abuse of power, and bigotry that is causing unjust pain and suffering in our communities. It is clear that current training and practices being deployed by the San Francisco Police Department are part of the problem, and that better solutions like anti-oppression training, de-escalation and conflict mediation are necessary.  

The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club Political Action Committee demands immediate actions be taken to ensure justice for the victims of police brutality, including Mario Woods and Alex Nieto, and for the Police Commission to aggressively pursue measures that ensure accountability, transparency and the implementation of effective Community Policing best practices.

Political Action Committee of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

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Political Action Committee Meeting, 12/8

Political Action Committee Meeting
Tuesday, December 8th
7-9pm @ the SF LGBT Center (1800 Market Street)
Open to the public. 


  1. Welcome / Call to Order
  2. Presentation on "The Familial Impacts of Incarceration: An Overview and Analysis for Action" by Dr. Crystallee Crain, Coordinator, SF Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership
  3. SF's Density Bonus Plan and its Impact on the Castro & Rental Housing (Tommi Avicolli Mecca)
  4. Question and Answer period with State Senate Candidate and current District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim*. Download a copy of Supervisor Kim's completed Club questionnaire here.
  5. Upcoming Events
  6. New Business
  7. Adjourn

*At the Club's General Membership meeting in November, a motion was made to vote on an early endorsement of Supervisor Jane Kim for State Senate at the Club's holiday part on Wednesday, December 16th. The motion was accompanied by a request that the Club invite Supervisor Kim to our next Political Action Committee and that she complete the Club's candidate questionnaire. A copy of Supervisor Kim's questionnaire is available here. Depending on the length of business at the Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Kim or a member of her team will attend. 

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UPDATED: Official Harvey Milk Club Endorsements for November 2015 Election

Local Candidates
Mayor: No Endorsement*
District 3 Supervisor: Aaron Peskin
Sheriff: Ross Mirkarimi 
District Attorney: George Gascon
City Attorney: Dennis Herrera
Treasurer: Jose Cisneros
City College Board: Tom Temprano 

Local Initiatives
Proposition A (Affordable Housing Bond): Yes
Proposition B (Paid Parental Leave for City Employees): Yes
Proposition C (Expenditure Lobbying): No Position**
Proposition D (Mission Rock): Yes
Proposition E (Requirements for Public Meetings): No Position**
Proposition F (Short Term Residential Rentals): Yes
Proposition G (Disclosures Regarding Renewable Energy): No
Proposition H (Defining Clean, Green and Renewable Energy): Yes
Proposition I (Luxury Housing Pause in the Mission): Yes
Proposition J (Legacy Business Preservation Fund): Yes
Proposition K (Surplus Public Lands): Yes

*No Endorsement = No candidate received more than 50%+1 of the total points possible.
**No Position = Did not meet the 60% threshold on the options of Yes, No, or No Recommendation.

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Our 39th Annual Dinner & Gayla - July 16, 2015

Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club's
39th Annual Dinner & Gayla

Thursday, July 16th | 6:00-9:00pm 
New Asia Restaurant (772 Pacific Ave, SF)

Tickets & Sponsorship Info >

Keynote Speaker
Jovanka Beckles
Councilmember, City of Richmond, CA


2015 Honorees

Hank Wilson Activist Award: 
Gerard Koskovich (individual) | #MyNameIs (organization)

Bill Kraus HIV/AIDS Activism Award: Prevention Point

Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Award: TAJA's Coalition

Sylvester Pride In The Arts Award: Shine Louise Houston

Howard Wallace Labor Leadership Award: Jane Martin, SEIU-USWW

Community Ally Award: Tim Redmond, 48 Hills

Harry Britt Lifetime Achievement Award: Miss Major, TGI Justice Project

Funds raised by this event are contributions to the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club PAC and are not tax deductible.
HERO {$2,000 or above}
One table (10 tickets) at Annual Dinner
Our undying gratitude and devotion
Banner prominently displayed at event
Full page and logo recognition on program
A thank you on stage during the program
Acknowledgement in press releases and promotional material prior to event
Sponsored posts from the Harvey Milk Club’s Facebook (1,650 fans) and Twitter (850 followers) accounts

One table (10 tickets) at Annual Dinner
Banner prominently displayed at event
Half page and logo recognition on program
Acknowledgement in press releases and promotional material prior to event
Dedicated posts on the Milk Club’s Facebook (1,650 fans) and Twitter (850 followers) pages

One half table (5 tickets) at the Annual Dinner
Quarter page and logo or name recognition on program
Acknowledgement in press releases and promotional material prior to event
Group posts on the Milk Club’s Facebook (1,650 fans) and Twitter (850 followers) pages

Two tickets to Annual Dinner 
Company or Individual name listed in program


Email co-presidents Peter Gallota and Laura Thomas at [email protected] for additional information about sponsorship opportunities.
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Dear San Francisco Pride Board Members,

As the co-Presidents of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, we write to express our disappointment in your recent vote to allow Facebook to sponsor and march in the San Francisco Pride parade this year.

The Harvey Milk Club and our members have been actively involved with the #MyNameIs coalition since the Facebook name change policy first went into effect last fall. There is no doubt in our mind that this policy directly discriminates against and impacts members of the LGBT and drag community, as well as survivors of violence, undocumented immigrants, teachers, doctors, and others who are transitioning identities or are in need of privacy for a myriad of social, professional, or personal reasons.

Not allowing Facebook to sponsor or march in Pride would have sent a strong message that Facebook needs to be held accountable for this discriminatory policy that promotes surveillance of bodies, gender, and individual identity and undermines the individual right to privacy. Instead, by allowing Facebook to not only march, but sponsor Pride, you are forsaking the community you seek to serve.

We are also deeply troubled to see that San Francisco Pride has chosen to allow Airbnb, a company that is contributing to San Francisco’s unaffordability crisis, to serve as a Grand Sponsor and “Alternative Accommodation Partner” for Pride in 2015. The Harvey Milk Club has fought for greater regulation of Airbnb’s practices and is concerned about the impacts that unfettered “home sharing” is having on our neighborhoods and housing costs. Given that San Francisco is a union town, with so many great union hotel options, it seems overly gratuitous to name Airbnb the official “Alternative Accommodation Partner” and also ill-considered given the current policy battles underway in San Francisco (and many other cities) to better regulate use of Airbnb.

We have real reasons to be concerned by the corporate cooptation of Pride generally, but these companies in particular are bullying and buying their way into our community’s good graces. Meanwhile, we know very well that they are not acting in our best interest. They are profiting off of our homes, our names, and our identities.

We understand that Pride requires significant funding, but we do not understand why Pride would take money from companies that are so incredibly divisive and polarizing. Would Pride have taken money from Coors in Harvey Milk's time? No, and Pride should not now sell out to companies that are doing great damage to our communities. Our dignity is not for sale. 

We acknowledge that there are challenges to organizing an event of this size and scale. There are political pressures and financial realities to contend with. However, we expect a Board that is accountable to the community that it seeks to serve and represent. That community is San Francisco and many of us would like to see greater steps taken to secure additional funding for Pride from alternative sources (e.g. the City) in order to rely less on the need for branding by large corporations.

While we are disappointed by your recent actions, we ask that you create a dialogue with us on the conditions that facilitated these decisions. The Harvey Milk Club would like to create a space for that dialogue to occur, and we call upon members of this Board to attend any of our upcoming General Membership meetings on the following dates: June 16th, July 21st, or August 18th, to speak directly with us, answer our questions, and brainstorm solutions. 

Our meetings are at 7pm at the Women’s Building in the Mission and we can add you to our agenda. We welcome you to join us and will be following up on this invitation to attend to emphasize the importance of your participation.

Thank you for the work that you have and continue to put into this event. We want a better Pride for San Francisco, and we hope to work with you to ensure a more inclusive and community focused celebration in the future.


Peter Gallotta and Laura Thomas
Co-Presidents of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

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"The Times Of Harvey Milk" - A Special Screening To Celebrate Harvey's 85th Birthday!

WHEN: May 22nd, 2015 | VIP Reception: 6:00 | Screening & Fireside Chat: 7:00
VIP Reception & Fireside Chat featuring Rob Epstein, Tom Ammiano, Harry Britt and other special guests from the film
WHERE: The Castro Theatre
Get Your Tickets Now> 

Celebrate Harvey Milk’s 85th birthday this year at the Castro Theatre for a special one-time screening of the Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. Presented by the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, this anniversary event will include a special VIP reception and fireside chat with the film’s director Robert Epstein, former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, former Supervisor Harry Britt and other special guests from the film and friends of Harvey’s.

Get Your Tickets Now> 

Premiering at the Castro Theatre in 1984, The Times of Harvey Milk chronicles the political career of Harvey Milk, San Francisco's first openly gay elected official, and his rise from a neighborhood activist to a symbol of gay political achievement, through to his assassination in November 1978.  Receiving international acclaim, awards and selection into the National Film Registry in Library of Congress, the documentary later became inspiration for Gus Van Sant’s 2008 Oscar-winning biopic, Milk.

“At first, Harvey Bernard Milk showed few signs he would make history,” narrates Harvey Fierstein in the opening of The Times of Harvey Milk. Eighty-five years later, it’s hard to conceive what LGBTQ history much less life in San Francisco would be without him. What better way to honor one of our movement’s most galvanizing figures than to spend an evening in the heart of the Castro remembering his legacy with living legends of the gay rights movement.

Join us for this special evening commemorating the Mayor of Castro Street.

Get Your Tickets Now> 


Press Release

Event Flyer

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Tech, Queers & Progressive Politics: A Panel Discussion To Disrupt The Divide

Come tech workers, come queers, come progressives, come allies, come all - it’s time to collaborate on solutions for our city’s most pressing issues! Eager to help foster a more constructive dialogue between San Francisco’s booming tech community and the city’s long-standing progressive base, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club is excited to host this important panel discussion and start the conversation about what’s been holding us up.

With a vibrant panel reflecting both the diversity of the Bay Area and tech industry, the discussion will focus on:

  • The intersection of the tech industry and the progressive community, highlighting members with shared affiliation and the organizations that marry technology & social engagement

  • Identifying how to change the communication dynamic between the communities to foster more open dialogue and collaboration

  • Strategizing how we can shift the “us vs. them” paradigm to one of shared thriving

  • Unpacking the barriers making it difficult for tech workers to engage with issues such as housing affordability, homelessness, racial justice, public transportation, and more

If you've got questions for the panelists, please email them to [email protected]. Due to time and format constraints, we can't guarantee we'll be able to field all of the questions, but we'll do our best to fit them in where we can. 


Read more
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SF Tenants Rights Fair 2015: Knowledge Is Power


San Francisco faces a new surge of evictions by landlords seeking any excuse and pretext to remove existing tenants and profit from the city’s out-of-control market rents. In response to this crisis, organizations of the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition are joining together in an unprecedented effort to inform tenants of their rights and to support families, seniors, and working people in their attempts to keep their homes and stay in San Francisco – because if we know our rights before a crisis comes knocking, we will be better equipped to assert our rights in a time of need. Knowledge is power.

Join us for this important day of organizing and education - stay in your home!

RSVP and spread the word!

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Lexington Club Commemorative Street Plaque

We're honored to have been able to write the resolution for a Commemorative Street Plaque for the beloved Lexington Club. Thank you to our members the Lexington family for including us in the process and providing vital input. It's a bittersweet happiness, but we're excited to announce that the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the installation last week. We look forward to celebrating the legacy of the Lex on April 22 at our monthly happy hour. In the meantime, check out the resolution and feel free to share your memories of this vibrant community space on our Facebook page.

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