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Out Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan Loses Oakland Mayoral Race

Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan has lost her bid to become the city's mayor, The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

KaplanOakland native and one-term Councilwoman Libby Schaaf cruised to a decisive victory Wednesday in a ranked-choice race that saw her take the lead and keep it through 14 elimination rounds.

In the end, the last three candidates standing were Schaaf, Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan — who had been favored to win in polls — and incumbent Jean Quan. But it was never close. When Quan was eliminated, her redistributed votes were almost evenly split, boosting Schaaf to victory from 49 percent of the vote to 63 percent. Kaplan lost with 37 percent of the vote. [...]

Kaplan said in a statement that “Mayor-elect Schaaf and I share a deep and profound commitment to making Oakland stronger, safer and more prosperous. We’ll together represent the entire city, and I’m excited to partner with her on a wide variety of ways to improve the city that she and I both love.”

Kaplan also ran in the city's 2010 mayor race, where she came in third. 


Out Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan Jumps in to Oakland Mayoral Race

Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who came in third in the city's 2010 mayoral race, has decided to run again, joining more than a dozen people challenging Mayor Jean Quan this fall, the SF Chronicle reports:

KaplanKaplan, 43, told The Chronicle that she had grown frustrated with the inaction and turmoil during Quan's time as mayor.

"I've concluded that Oakland isn't ungovernable, it is ungoverned," said Kaplan, who plans to formally announce her candidacy Thursday. "All of the top goals the city is trying to accomplish are right now being hampered by the lack of effective leadership."

Kaplan's decision dramatically changes the dynamics of the race in which no candidate has been able to rise above Quan in polls or attract overwhelming enthusiasm from a large number of voters five months before the election...

...Kaplan, who lives in the Longfellow area in North Oakland with her fiancee, Pamela Rosin, is serving her second term as the city's at-large member. She becomes the 16th person to challenge Quan in November.

Watch Kaplan's announcement video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Out Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan Jumps in to Oakland Mayoral Race" »


Oakland Teen Burned in Alleged Homophobic Attack Speaks Out: VIDEO

Fleischman

Sasha Fleischman, the Oakland teen burned in November while riding a city transit bus, is ready to return to school after facing three surgeries.

SFGate reports:

Fleischman came home Wednesday from a San Francisco hospital burn unit after recovering there from second- and third-degree burns suffered when a 16-year-old boy set the teen's skirt ablaze on Nov. 4 while Fleischman was sleeping on an AC Transit bus in Oakland. Fleischman - who was named Luke at birth but now goes by Sasha - identifies as agender, neither female nor male, and police say the attack was at least partially motivated by homophobia.

Fleischman, who wears a skirt, is glad the crime has brought attention to those who identify as agender.

Watch the interview with Fleischman (warning: autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Oakland Teen Burned in Alleged Homophobic Attack Speaks Out: VIDEO" »


Hate Crime Victim Receives Outpouring Of Support From Oakland High School: VIDEO

Stroll with Sasha

When high-schooler Sasha Fleischman wound up in the hospital as a result of a hate crime attack that left him with severe burns and in need of major skin grafts, his classmates and teachers at Berkeley's Maybeck High School came together in a show of support for the injured teen.

SashaThe support continues as students and faculty from Oakland High School, the school that Sasha's attacker attended, rallied together with the community for a "Stroll for Sasha", a small march to raise awareness of and denounce the attack while promoting respect and equality.

The Oakland High students are no slacktivists, though. Envelopes were passed around for donations and they managed to collect over $800 for Sasha and his family to help cover his medical bills, and eventually reached $1300 with a grant from the teachers union. Sasha's parents didn't release any medical specifics about their son's condition, but said that he's doing "as well as can be expected" and they hope to have him home in time for Thanksgiving. Financial support for the Fleischman's has reached over $20,000, which should make a substantial dent in the medical bills.

The assailant, 16-year-old Richard Thomas, is to be tried as an adult and was scheduled for a plea trial yesterday. Though police say that Thomas indicated that he was homophobic, Thomas' lawyer insists that his client was misconstrued and "can't even spell the word homophobic" in an interesting defense gambit that involves both belittling one's own client and requiring one to be able to spell the behaviors they are accused of before they could be convicted of crimes related to it. So, good news for gynophobic, misogynistic wife-beaters out there.

You can see a video of the news report (autoplay)AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hate Crime Victim Receives Outpouring Of Support From Oakland High School: VIDEO" »


California Football Coach And Teacher Says He Was Fired For Being Gay

LVPHOn the heels of the Senate's vote today to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, comes a story out of Oakland, California about a high school football coach and English teacher, Burke Wallace, who was allegedly fired for being gay. Wallace was let go from his post as head of the football team this past spring and was ultimately forced to leave his job as a teacher at the school because of harassment and stress. Now Wallace is filing a lawsuit against the high school.

The Contra Costa Times reports:

According to a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Burke Wallace -- the head varsity football coach at Livermore Valley Charter Prep High School in 2012 -- alleges his supervisors discriminated against him after he mentioned "in passing" that he had a husband.

The school, the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation [the non-profit organization that runs the school], and a number of John Does are named in the suit.

"He was wrongfully terminated because of his sexual orientation, and the (school's) administration is responsible for that," said John Furstenthal, Wallace's attorney. "They may try to come up with all these different excuses, but I don't think they'll hold water in court."

Furstenthal said Wallace's sexuality was no secret and that some parents and administrators objected to him coaching the team. The suit claims Wallace's supervisors openly discussed his orientation and "how it was a bad idea having a gay football coach."

Derek Austin, attorney for the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, when asked for a comment by the Contra Costa Times said he had not seen the lawsuit in question.

(Photo via Facebook)


Oakland High School Student's Legs Scorched After Man Sets Skirt on Fire

Sasha

A disturbing incident targeted an Oakland High School student who identifies as agender and often wears a skirt.

A man has been arrested and charged on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem after lighting 16-year-old Sasha Fleischman's skirt on fire on a city transit bus.

Fleishman suffered second and third degree burns and is in stable condition Tuesday at the St. Francis Memorial Hospital burn unit in San Francisco. The injuries will apparently require massive skin grafting and a long period of rehabilitation.

The Oakland Tribune reports:

Fleischman was apparently asleep on the bus, heading home to East Oakland, when the suspect set fire to a skirt the victim was wearing, his mother said. The victim, a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, does not identify as male or female but rather as nonbinary gender, an umbrella term covering any gender identity that does not fit within the gender binary.

"My son considers himself agender," Debbie Fleischman said. "He likes to wear a skirt. It's his statement. That's how he feels comfortable dressing."

She said her son has been riding the bus home from school, oftentimes wearing a skirt, for the past year and has not had any problems or threats.

Police investigators are still sorting out a motive, but Debbie Fleischman said she is torn about whether the fire was a prank or a hate crime. "It's something I'm worried about," she said.

Fleischman is a gender identity activist:

[Fleischman's mother] said her son told her and his father, Karl Fleischman, about two years ago that he did not want to identify as a man or a woman. He also became politically involved in the issue of nonbinary gender, gathering 27,000 signatures on the Internet in hopes of catching President Obama's attention to the subject.

Friends and supporters of Sasha have set up a recovery fundraising page. You can find out more and donate here if you wish.


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