Why Is Jane Kim Attacking a Formerly Homeless Gay Man?

By Scott Wiener

Jane Kim is viciously attacking a formerly homeless HIV-positive gay man named Gary McCoy. Gary appeared in an ad by Equality California, a major LGBT civil rights group, and criticized Jane for her abysmal record on homelessness - specifically, that she supports tents on sidewalks while she opposes significant new funding for homeless housing.

Rather than defend her record, Jane launched a personal attack on Gary.

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Let me tell you about Gary McCoy. Gary was homeless and slept in elevator shafts. Gary was addicted to meth. Gary, who is HIV-positive, was on the verge of full-blown AIDS. Along with others, I helped get Gary off the streets, off meth, and back on track. I took him into my office to get him back on a regular schedule.

And, yes, I gave Gary a job. I actually gave him two different jobs. Gary no longer works for me, since after he fully got back on track, he was able to get a job with our parks department. He is also an incredible community leader, in the addiction recovery community, the LGBT community, and the HIV community.

I'm intensely proud of Gary. He is an inspiration to everyone who may think they're beyond redemption or their life is too broken to be put back together. I am so honored to call Gary a friend and to have played a role - with so many others, including, most importantly, Gary himself - in getting Gary healthy and back on track.

Campaigns are intense, and as candidates we are all subject to criticism for our views, even intense criticism. Jane and I have certainly criticized each other's records (though Jane's claim that Chevron is funding me is a bald-faced lie - Chevron has zero involvement in this race).

But there are boundaries. You don't attack a formerly homeless and meth-addicted HIV-positive gay man who got his life back together and who has a very legitimate criticism of Jane Kim's homeless policies.

Enough, Jane. Focus on the issues. Attack me all you want. Stop attacking Gary.


Supervisor Wiener a Champion of Trans Rights

This op-ed was first published by the San Francisco Examiner.

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Supervisor Scott Wiener is running for California State Senate District 11. (Anna Latino/2013 Special to S.F. Examiner)

By PJ Moore on September 27, 2016 1:00 am

I’m supporting Scott Wiener for state Senate for a very simple reason: Scott will use the power of the office to fight for transgender rights statewide. While we still do not enjoy equality and often feel unsafe even in “tolerant” San Francisco, the experience of our trans brothers and sisters in other parts of the state is intolerable. We need Scott, a tenacious fighter, with a long record of delivering for our community, to lead the fight for equality in the state Senate.

I should know. Growing up in the Central Valley — hardly a bastion of tolerance for anyone outside the norm, let alone a trans kid — was not easy. When I came to the Bay Area, I hoped for a more accepting community, which I found. But I also found continued discrimination and inequality.

In 2010, Scott Wiener was elected to the Board of Supervisors, and for the first time in my memory, the trans community had an advocate who heard us and who fought for us. Anyone who is familiar with Scott’s record knows that he has been an outspoken, tireless advocate and fighter on behalf of the transgender community. While some people talk about supporting the trans community, Scott actually does the work to foster real change, to support our community and to bring awareness to our fight for equality. Because of Scott Wiener’s relentless work to require The City to pay for health care, trans people are able to access medically necessary surgeries to better align our bodies with our gender, finally bringing closure to what for many is a long and often painful journey, as it was for me. If Scott had not fought relentlessly to ensure we had the same coverage as other people, most could not afford the surgery.

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California Needs An Urban Transportation Agenda

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(Photo: A packed N Judah train. Urban transit systems are stressed, over capacity, and in need of state support.)

By Scott Wiener on September 14, 2016 at 7:00am

California is growing, and our urban centers — particularly the Bay Area and Los Angeles — are experiencing incredible growth. Our transportation systems have not kept pace, as exemplified by our packed transit systems and highly congested freeways, bridges, and roads. One has only to look at a BART, Caltrain, or Muni vehicle, the Bay Bridge, or Highway 101 during rush hour to understand this problem.

In addition to undermining our state’s economy and quality of life, our broken transportation system generates massive carbon emissions and undermines California’s aggressive carbon reduction goals. Transportation accounts for nearly 40% of carbon emissions in our state.

This challenge is statewide and regional, not just local, and it must be addressed at the state level. California must not continue down this environmentally and economically destructive path of growth accompanied by weak transit investment. Now is the time for California to adopt an urban transportation agenda — one that dramatically invests in sustainable transportation options, including public transportation, regional and state rail systems, biking, and walking, while reducing congestion on our roads and bridges and moving our vehicle fleet toward low- and no-emission.

The goal is simple and clear: reduce the number of cars on our roads, thus alleviating congestion and reducing carbon emissions. The method of getting there is equally clear: provide people with true alternatives to owning cars by making it easy to get around using other options. It’s not about eliminating cars. It’s about providing so many other great — and sustainable — options that a certain number of people will feel comfortable choosing them over a private auto.

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Scott Wiener will champion a progressive environmental agenda for California

This op-ed was first published by the San Francisco Examiner on September 6, 2016

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Supervisor Scott Wiener is the right choice for a progressive environmental agenda for the state of California. (Anna Latino/2013 S.F. Examiner)

By Amandeep Jawa on September 6, 2016 1:00 am

San Francisco’s state Senate race gives us a choice between two great candidates. Both candidates have a list of accomplishments of which they can justifiably be proud, and of which we as a city can be proud as well. Yet, for me, as an environmentalist, the choice is clear: Scott Wiener is the kind of leader we need in Sacramento to focus our state on addressing climate change and moving toward a more sustainable and greener future.

Moreover, when addressing these challenges, California needs to lead. In San Francisco, Scott Wiener has led, and continues to lead, with progressive approaches to clean energy, water conservation, sustainable transportation and transit-oriented development. As a state Senator, there is no question that Scott will be a statewide leader on environmental sustainability, which is the biggest reason why I am supporting him.

Wiener is a leader in the effort to move away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future. He authored legislation making San Francisco the first large city in the country to require the installation of solar panels on rooftops of new buildings. This week, he is building on that legislation by introducing first-in-the-nation legislation to expand green roofs, which clean the air, absorb carbon and reduce stormwater runoff. Wiener also passed legislation to expand the use of clean hydro-power in San Francisco from the Hetch Hetchy public power system. We need leadership in Sacramento to aggressively continue California’s transition from a carbon economy to a clean energy economy. I’m voting for Wiener because he will provide that leadership.

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Matching late-night transportation with our late-night reality

This Op-Ed first appeared in the San Francisco Examiner on August 7, 2016.

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Until BART runs around the clock, Bay Area transportation options will not reflect the region’s actual nighttime patterns. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

By Scott Wiener on August 7, 2016 1:00 am

San Francisco and the Bay Area run 24 hours a day. We are not a 9-to-5 community. We have a robust nighttime economy — in San Francisco, contributing more than $4 billion annually to the economy and employing more than 50,000 people — and nightlife is part of our city’s cultural heart. A huge number of residents go out at night and need to get home late, and many workers either get off work late at night or start work very early in the morning.

Unfortunately, our transportation systems don’t reflect our city and region’s actual nighttime patterns. We too often operate as if everyone works during the day and sits home at night. BART shuts down shortly after midnight, as do the Muni subway and Caltrain. While our various bus operators — Muni, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit and SamTrans — have overnight service, that service is extremely limited and not usable by everyone.

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A Stark Contrast for the LGBT Community

When it comes to fighting for the LGBT community - fighting for our civil rights, protecting our access to healthcare, going to the mat for LGBT nightlife and culture, or recognizing our LGBT heroes, there is a stark contrast between Supervisor Scott Wiener and Supervisor Jane Kim.

Scott has shown leadership on LGBT issues, while Jane has not made our community a priority.

It’s not only that Scott's the gay candidate in the race, or that the San Francisco LGBT community will lose all state legislative representation if he is not elected, it's about who has truly fought for our community.

LGBT Community Health

Scott Wiener is a champion for people living with and at risk for HIV. He fights every year to back-fill millions in federal HIV cuts. He fought insurance company efforts to increase co-pays for HIV drugs. He helped lead and secured significant funding for our Getting to Zero effort — San Francisco’s effort to end new HIV infections. He played a pivotal role ensuring full transgender healthcare access under San Francisco’s universal healthcare program. He passed legislation to ensure that long-term HIV survivors are protected by rent control and obtained resources to house LGBT youth and seniors. And, he courageously disclosed that he takes PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which reduces the risk of HIV infection by nearly 100%. Scott fights hard for our community's health and will always do so.

Harvey Milk Naval Ship

We recently received the inspirational news that the Secretary of the Navy will name a ship after Supervisor Harvey Milk, who served in the Navy. This decision sends a message that the United States of America supports everyone serving in its military, and everyone in our country, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Young, closeted sailors and people from oppressive countries all over the world will be inspired by this ship.

While Scott Wiener vocally supported this effort - authoring a resolution in support - Jane Kim publicly *opposed* naming a ship for Harvey Milk. We had support from both gay and straight allies on the Board of Supervisors, including David Campos and John Avalos, who recognized that whatever one’s views on the military and war, naming a ship for Harvey Milk would be profoundly impactful for the LGBT community worldwide. But not Jane Kim. She refused to support this impactful step for our community.

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Getting Fire Victims into Affordable Housing

This Op-Ed was first published in the San Francisco Examiner on July 11, 2016

By Scott Wiener

Tenants can be displaced by fire for days or weeks or months. Sometimes even years. Some will never be able to get back into their homes. When I first came into office in 2011, a series of arsons struck the Castro, driving dozens from their homes. We have seen fires throughout our city, with countless residents, particularly in the Mission District, being burned out of their homes.

Each time one of these fires hits, the first question we ask is whether everyone is safe. The next question is where is everyone going to sleep that night and the night after that?

When fires hit my district, we immediately work to make sure that displaced tenants know how to access the Good Samaritan Program, which I authored in 2011 after the Castro fires. The Good Samaritan Program allows property owners to rent out vacant units on a temporary basis to victims of fires and other natural disasters at a discounted rate without triggering a full tenancy. I’m proud of this legislation — which was supported by both tenant and landlord groups — but the Good Samaritan Program is about addressing those temporarily displaced by fires who need a few months, maybe more, until their homes will be repaired.

We also need more permanent solutions for the worst cases when people cannot return to their homes. That’s why I’m authoring legislation to give tenants displaced by fire preference in the affordable housing lottery.

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Supervisor Scott Wiener’s Statement on Week of Violence

By Scott Wiener

“This has been a week of profound grief and heartbreaking loss. After the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear. We must reject the easy impulses of bitterness and rancor and embrace the difficult work — but the important work, the vital work — of finding a path forward together.”

-Attorney General Loretta Lynch

. . .

I commit to being part of the solution.

This week has been a rough one and a depressing one. Just when we were coming to terms with the massacre in Orlando and moving forward to address the hate crime violence plaguing our country. Just when we thought that maybe, just maybe, we were beginning to see a small amount of progress in the relationship between police and communities of color. Just a day after we saw deescalation training in practice, when police apprehended an armed standoff suspect on Market Street without shooting anyone.

Then we saw — and I mean *saw* — the deeply disturbing and tragic video out of Louisiana. Then we saw the equally disturbing and tragic video out of Minnesota. Then we saw the disturbing and tragic events in Dallas. Then we saw other targeting of police officers in other cities. And, we continue to see the fear, anxiety, and anger that disturbing incidents like Louisiana and Minnesota trigger in communities of color.

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LGBT Nightclubs Are Sacred Spaces: Why the Stud Matters

By Scott Wiener

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(Photo: localwiki.org)

As the Pulse nightclub massacre recently reminded the world, LGBT nightclubs are, in many ways, at the heart of our community. They’re our community gathering spaces. They’re where many of us grew up, met some of our closest friends, and picked up our next boyfriend (or at least boyfriend for the night). I started sneaking into LGBT nightclubs when I was 18 years old. I can’t even imagine what coming out as a gay man would have been like without these community spaces — the places where you always knew you could go to be with your people.

We recently learned that the Stud — an iconic gay nightclub at 9th and Harrison in Western South of Market — is at major risk of shutting down due to sale of the building, a steep rent increase, and possible future development of the site. I have a personal connection to the Stud. I moved to San Francisco in 1997 and spent. more nights there than I can recall, at Trannyshack, Sugar, and other awesome parties. The grave risk to the Stud’s future is personal for a lot of us. A significant community effort has risen to save the Stud. We must join together and support this effort. These fights are hard, though winnable and well worth the effort. After all, we are talking about our community and our spaces.

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Fighting The LGBT Community’s Invisibility

This article first appeared on The Huffington Post on July 7, 2016

By Scott Wiener
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(HINDUSTAN TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES)

In many ways, the history of the LGBT community is a history of battling invisibility. Since the dawn of time, society has tried to make us invisible. We gained strength as a community only by shedding that invisibility, coming out, and proudly saying who we are.

Sadly, as far as we have come, our battle for visibility is not over. We are fighting discriminatory policies in states all across our country, against forces that want us to disappear. We face disproportionate challenges regarding poverty, suicide, isolation, substance abuse, and violence, yet most do not know of these challenges. We are the most targeted group for hate crimes, as exemplified by the recent tragedy in Orlando, once again by someone who just wanted us to disappear.

The LGBT community’s disappearing act also plays out in the provision of the most basic services, ranging from senior long-term care facilities to meal programs to homeless facilities to employment programs. We do not even systematically collect data about how many LGBT people use these programs, so that we can understand how many LGBT people access a particular service and whether better outreach or more culturally competent service is needed. Over and over again, we hear stories from members of our community about how a particular program or facilities just wasn’t targeted to the needs of LGBT people.

To address this challenge, I introduced legislation, which is currently working its way through the legislative process, to collect this very data. The legislation requires that our city agencies and city-contracted nonprofits collect data regarding the sexual orientation and gender identity of the people they serve. The legislation does not require an individual to submit the data, but service providers must ask the question and collect any data provided.

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