Lambda Line: December 2005

Keeping the Momentum in 2006


We’re coming to the end of an exceptionally busy and productive year for LID. As you’ll read below, LID has made a number of important statements and won some key victories in just the two months since our last Lambda Line. We plan to keep the momentum going in 2006 and hope you’ll be part of our efforts.

Kick off the New Year with our Annual Meeting and 11th District Congressional Forum


Our 2006 Annual meeting will be held on Thursday, January 26, and not only will we be electing new officers and members of the Executive Board, but we will also holding a candidates forum for Brooklyn’s 11th Congressional District. Longtime Congressmember Major Owens has announced he will not seek re-election, creating the first open Congressional seat in Brooklyn in a decade. There are currently five candidates announced: State Senator Carl Andrews , City Councilmember Yvette Clarke, Assemblymember N. Nick Perry, former School District 13 board member Chris Owens , and City Councilmember David Yassky. Please join us for our first look at the candidates in what promises to be Brooklyn’s most exciting race of 2006. The meeting will start at 7:30 pm at the Montauk Club, 25 Eighth Avenue (at Lincoln Place) in Park Slope.

Not Letting Bloomberg Off Easy


Mayor Bloomberg may have held a commanding lead throughout his $77.9 million re-election campaign, but LID didn’t simply concede to him and his war chest. LID volunteers, led by past president Dan Tietz, helped Democratic mayoral nominee Fernando Ferrer spread his message at campaign stops, rallies, and subway stations from mid-September until Election Day. An op-ed by LID president Gary Parker and VP Christopher Murray explaining the merits of Ferrer over the Mayor was published in the Courier Life Publications. And when the Bloomberg campaign held a Park Slope community forum to rally support in late October, more than a dozen of us protested outside (see photo) and distributed a flyer detailing Bloomberg’s abysmal record on LGBT concerns.

Court Upholds Lopez Torres Victory


After two recounts, a Board of Elections ruling, a review of paper ballots, and numerous legal challenges by the Brooklyn Democratic organization, LID’s endorsed candidate for Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court Judge, Margarita Lopez Torres, was officially declared the Democratic primary winner on October 31. That’s when a federal court judge threw out a last-ditch effort by challenger Diana Johnson and the County Democratic machine to overturn the primary results.

As the official Democratic Party nominee, Lopez Torres’ victory was assured since she had no opposition in the general election. When she takes office in January, she will bring judicial independence and integrity to a court best known for patronage.

Several LID members, including Susan Loeb and Democratic District Leader Alan Fleishman, were key volunteers in the Lopez Torres campaign. LID Executive Board member Ken Diamondstone was among those who stepped up after the primary to help with the tedious recount effort at the Board of Elections. Many thanks to all who helped. This is a great victory for the reform movement in Brooklyn.

Rainbow Heights Club Saved!


Lobbying by LID and others to stave off the closure of downtown Brooklyn’s Rainbow Heights Club, New York State’s first and only government-funded, peer-based mental health organization specifically for the LGBT community, has proven successful. The club’s Executive Director, Christian Huygen, called LID VP Christopher Murray in October to say that he had received a letter from the City’s Department of Health informing him that Rainbow Heights Club’s funding has been completely restored through 2007. He thanked LID for its successful efforts to ensure the continuation of services for New York’s only clubhouse for LGBT people with serious mental illness. In late October, Rainbow Heights Club was honored by Borough President Marty Markowitz in recognition of the fifteenth anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, after having been nominated for the award by LID.

“Punkin Patch” Latest LID Outreach to LGBT Families


On October 23, in Park Slope’s J.J. Byrne Park, LID held its first ever “Punkin Patch,” a free event that gave children a chance to paint faces on pumpkins while their parents and guardians drank cider and talked politics. The event was conceived by LID Executive Board member James Whitty as a way for LID give back to the community and reach out to LGBT families. Councilmember David Yassky joined the gathering and over 150 free pumpkins were given away to local kids. Pictured at the event are LID Executive Board member Carol Marker with her son Ben and his friend Max.

Protesting Scalia


LID spearheaded a Greater Voices protest of Columbus Day Parade Grand Marshal Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. LID president Gary Parker created a flyer outlining Scalia’s right-wing extremist agenda and shameful decisions on reproductive rights, civil liberties, affirmative action, and LGBT rights. On Columbus Day, protesters from NYC’s progressive LGBT political clubs gathered in front of the Plaza Hotel, holding signs opposing Scalia’s anti-human rights agenda and handing the flyers to paradegoers and passersby. In the next day’s New York Times, the one picture from the parade was of Scalia walking by the sign-carrying protesters.

Alan Fleishman Day


On Sunday, October 2, LID members Jack Esterson and Richard Montelione opened their home for a fundraising brunch on behalf of LID’s own Democratic District Leader and former president Alan Fleishman (pictured at right: Jack, Gary Parker, Alan, and Richard). Many LID members and friends, including Assemblymember Joan Millman, City Councilmember David Yassky, and Alan’s co-District Leader Joanne Simon, gathered in Jack and Richard’s gorgeous backyard as Gary presented Alan a proclamation from Borough President Marty Markowitz declaring it “Alan Fleishman Day.” As Male District Leader from the 52nd Assembly District, Alan has been a strong voice for reform on the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s Executive Committee, as well as an aggressive representative for his constituents and the LGBT community throughout Brooklyn. Proceeds of the fundraiser benefit his campaign committee.

Founding Members Share News of their Civil Union


This fall, LID received a lovely email message from Tom Massotti and Ralph Colucci, who were among the founding members of LID back in 1978. For several years, Tom was chair of the Executive Committee that ran and sustained LID in its infancy. He and Ralph also hosted many of LID’s early meetings, fundraisers, parties, and Lambda Line mailings at their home on Fort Greene Place, around the corner from BAM, before moving to Stamford, CT.

They wrote: “This is just a note to let LID and anyone who may still remember us know that after more than 35 years together, we were ‘Civil Unionized’ on Oct 1, 2005 [the first day Connecticut’s civil union law took effect], in Stamford CT. Our ceremony was officiated by Mayor Dannel Malloy of Stamford, a Democrat. In attendance, besides our family and the media, and consistently supportive, was CT’s Republican Congressman, Christopher Shays, who personally congratulated us.”Longtime LID Executive Board member Renée Cafiero not only remembers Tom and Ralph from the early days of LID, but also recalls that Ralph was active in Mattachine when she was there in the 1960s. Judging by the luminaries at their Civil Union ceremony, Tom and Ralph sound no less politically active today. Congratulations, Tom and Ralph, and thanks for sharing the great news with us.

Honors for LID Leaders


On November 5, the Brooklyn AIDS Task Force honored LID President Gary Parker with its Brooklyn Advocacy Award and Vice President Christopher Murray with its Policy Development Award. On November 17, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery honored LID Executive Board member JonathanLovett for his work as a community activist and leader of the Clinton Hill Community at her annual awards
ceremony for “18th Senate District Trailblazers.”

Vintage Pride Seeks Volunteers, LGBT Seniors in Need of Companionship


Vintage Pride, the Park Slope Geriatric Day Center’s volunteer program for LGBTQ seniors, seeks additional senior participants as well as volunteers. This program, similar to a “friendly visitor” program, aims to match volunteers with isolated and/or homebound LGBTQ seniors in order to help ward off social isolation and maintain ties within the community. If you know of an LGBTQ senior over the age of 60 who could benefit from having a “friendly visitor” for a minimum of two hours each week, or wish to volunteer, please contact Matt Kudish, MSW, the Center’s Director of Caregiver Services at 718-499-7701 ext. 117.

Calendar:


Saturday, January 8, 6-8 pm

LGBT Family Luau at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue at St.
Marks Avenue. For more information call 718-735-4400 or visit brooklynkids.org.
Thursday, January 26, 7:30 pm

LID Annual Meeting and Congressional Forum at The Montauk Club, 25 Eighth
Avenue (at Lincoln Place) in Park Slope. For more information contact
garyparker@nyc.rr.com.
Saturday, April 8, 11:30 am – 3 pm

Save the Date for LID’s annual Lunch with Lambda. Details to follow in the months
ahead.

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