tv [untitled] July 10, 2013 11:00am-11:31am PDT
>> good afternoon, everyone, almost good evening, and welcome to san francisco city hall. i'm supervisor scott wiener. i have the honor of representing district 8 including the castro on the board of supervisors. and which district are formerly represented by harvey milk. supervisor olague likes to remind me we share the district 5 represented by milk. and we're here today to remember supervisor harvey milk
and mayor george moscone who were brutally assassinated decades ago. and we gather every year to remember, and not just to remember and to mourn, but also to remember the positives and to remember frankly both of these great men and what they contributed to our community. you know, with respect to harvey milk, there will never, ever be another harvey milk in our community in terms of what he represented for our community in terms of a step forward. we are now elected lgbt peep to office and harvey was such an incredible trail blazer, not? in just getting elected, but in being a great leader and always holding his head high for our community. and i know when i was first sworn into office, one of the things that i always kept in mind was something that i understand harvey to have said, * that when you go into city hall, you walk up the central
staircase. you don't walk on one of the side staircases because for our community, it is so important for us to walk up that central staircase and for us to be in the middle of everything and for everyone to know that we are here. and all these years later, we've made a lot of strides in the lgbt community, but we still have so much work to do around hiv issues, around our youth, around discrimination, around transinclusion, and all the things that we know that harvey had he been here today would still be working on and leading on. and, so, we have to keep doing our work. and frankly, we can't take for granted that queer people are going to keep getting elected to office if we don't work on that and focus on that, we'll quickly slide back. so, we're here today to remember and also to look forward. so, it is my great honor to turn the mic over to our
mistress of ceremonies, one of harvey's legislative aides and now the director of emergency management in san francisco and one of my absolute favorite people in city hall, the great ann kronenberg. [cheering and applauding] >> i have to move this mic down a little bit, supervisor. welcome. thank you all so much for coming and honoring mayor moscone and supervisor harvey milk today. it is absolutely mind boggling to me that it's been 34 years. i think 34 years ago tonight, i was standing out here, we all had candles. we did the candle light march and we were in total shock, denial, grief beyond belief. i think we really felt at that point so hopeless because we had lost two people who were so
important to us in our community. today, as we leave here and we march up to castro street, we're going in the opposite direction because i think there is so much hope left. we're going up the street, and that's harvey's whole message, his whole legacy was about hope. so, again, i thank you all so much for coming today. we have wonderful speakers. our electeds are here, and i thank you all for coming. you'll be hearing from most of them. and i look in the crowd and i just see family and friends, people who were with us that night 34 years ago. so, i can't, i can't mention every single person, but i thank each and every one of you for being here. i am now very happy to introduce our mayor, mayor ed lee, who is also a trail blazer. and we are so pleased that he's here today to start the festivities. so, thank you very much, mr. mayor. (applause)
>> thank you, ann, and thank you, supervisor wiener. thank you, the other supervisors here today as well representing our board. thank you very much, mayor brown, for being here as well, and the moscone family and friends, and former members of our board as well. welcome, everyone, to this 34th tribute and remembrance of mayor moscone and supervisor harvey milk. you know, i will say at the outset in gathering my thoughts here and my personal thoughts here, of what they represented. as we wait for this wonderful sound to pass by. they made it very quiet here. hope everyone is okay. you know, mayor moscone and supervisor milk to me, as i was a law student in the bay area
when the assassinations happened, and wanted to be part of a government that was going to be much more open. in fact, i had to sue the government in order to make it more open. and those years where struggle and just representing people who wanted to make the city much more equality bent was where i felt. and i feel today that if mayor moscone and harvey milk were here, they'd be pretty proud of what we've been able to accomplish in those years. seeing how mayor brown became mayor and my lucky charm of being now the first asian mayor of the city, understanding -- thank you. (applause) >> understanding now that we have the first african-american as president of the united states has now been reelected. [cheering and applauding]
>> and this is in addition to all of the local regional lgbt persons that have been elected and a pointed to this wonderful city and the region. * appointed i think they would smile, that they would see that their efforts to make this city much more equitable for everybody has been already accomplished. and like supervisor wiener said, the job isn't done, but there's been a lot that has been done. and we're proud of it and we want to keep it going. and just look at the crowd here today celebrating this. you see how diverse the city is and continues to be, and that we pledge in our own official capacities, we're going to always keep these doors open. we're going to always work to make our diversity benefit the rest of the city for generations and generations to come. this is our commitment. this is why we have these tributetion to remind ourselves of those years when it wasn't very easy at all.
when the thought of having a gay person in office was a huge struggle, that people took their lives in risk to actually take up the responsibilities to do so. and now it's become part of our dna. it's what we do in san francisco. it's how we represent ourselves. it's how my pride in being the mayor, i get to join the other u.s. conference of mar and talk proudly of our diversity in this city, and how it helps me run this city. * mayors and now for lesbian, gay, and transgender individuals to take up the responsibilities and have the responsibility of other people's lives that they are responsible for in their official capacities, this would make mayor moscone and supervisor milk very proud of us. and in the week, perhaps less than a week, we have another historic opportunity for this country as we take up this opportunity of hopefully, we join together to see that
marriage equality becomes the law of this land. [cheering and applauding] >> we have that opportunity to do so. and i think everybody who holds office or holds an appointed position in the city is proud to see this diversity. this is what we have worked so hard, so many struggles. and we still remind ourselves of the night of the assassination and what had occurred and how this city was so divided. i believe now that there is such a great unity. when we talk about diversity in the city, how that unity transforms itself. it really is part of our dna in everything that we do. and, so, it is in this spirit that i welcome all of you to this 34th tribute and this remembrance. it is in the spirit that we set a foundation continually to go forward and be even more diverse and continue to invite people who have never been a
part of this government, take up it this responsibility with us. help us bring more people into the economy, to the wonderful city of san francisco. * make sure that their lives are respected with dignity and with the prosperity this city has to offer. thank you for being here in this wonderful, wonderful city of san francisco. (applause) >> thank you, mayor lee. that was beautiful. it's now my pleasure to introduce mayor willie brown who is an iconic figure in our city. and as mayor lee said, the first african-american mayor of san francisco. it is such an -- and a very close friend of mayor moscone. so, it's my pleasure to introduce mayor brown. (applause) >> ann, thank you very much. mr. mayor, members of the boards of supervisors,
assemblyman ammiano, [speaker not understood], moscone family, gay men's course, and all of you who are assembled herein, as i look around, i absolutely know that i had probably the greatest pleasure, other than the moscone children, of literally living with george moscone for so many years. mr. mayor, it was when we were in law school together, we were fellow janitors at hastings college of law. george moscone was amazing. he was just as aggressive about inclusionary activities. he was just as focused on sharing. and he had an immense pride in
the city and county of san francisco like no other. i suspect that much of my love of the city comes from my exposure to george in those very early years. george went through a considerable amount of evolutionary process politically. he allowed john burton to talk him into running for the state legislature. an unsuccessful effort for the state assembly. he went on to become, obviously, a supervisor in the city and county of san francisco. and in those days it was a different city. it was dramatically different. there was no such thing as a so-called progressive, david campos. there was no such thing as somebody in that category. george moscone, philip burton, represented that which we all
now richly enjoy. george went on to become a state senator. and in that capacity, scott, it was george moscone who shepherded the bill that removed criminal penalties between consenting adults in this state that cost people their positions as teachers, as doctors, as nurses, as lawyers in those days. it was a bill that we orchestrated together. and george did what has never been done since, and that is cause the senate to hookup in a 20 to 20 tie in the late dimely was flown in from colorado to break the tie to give us that bill. that set the stage, scott, for all the things that have occurred in this state, and ultimately in this nation on the issue. i must tell you that george moscone was extraordinary. (applause)
>> and then george decided he wanted to be the mayor of his city. and believe me, it was a ball having george as mayor of this city. mr. mayor, i never had so much fun. [laughter] >> as i did with george, enjoying every aspect, having been a son of the city, having been raised by a single mother here in this city, and having an extended relationship with the italian community and that heritage, having an extended relationship with a catholic community, in then probably the most radical person other than john burton in existence in this whole city. he became the mayor of this town. and he set the stage for everybody you see before you, every single zoll tear i person here on this stage is the end property of what moscone envisioned and what george
moscone did. he partnered up with harvey milk to continue that process in the halls of this incredible building. * their death on the same day and by the same hand was literally the end product of what had been an incredible team for achievement purposes in every single solitary category. and now when i walk around the city, whether it's in the embarcadaro, whether it's mission bay, whether it's sea cliff, or whether it's the outer sunset, whether it's hunters point bayview, whether it's the mission, whether it's north beach, whether it's the marina, i tell you in every single solitary space and place, i see what george moscone and harvey milk, in their existence, inspired in all of us and in the people.
and, so, when we come in remembrance, it is, in my opinion, to celebrate, to celebrate the lives of two extraordinary people, one whom i knew almost as well as i know my own brother, and that was george. and the other whom i worked with just as if he was my brother in the things that we were able to achieve together. and, so, tonight, san francisco, it's not a time to be sad. it is a time to celebrate because you are the beneficiaries of an incredible productive team that has caused san francisco to be what it is. when carol migden and the troops stepped up and said, "let's do the whole business of domestic partners," and we did it on the steps of the rotunda, that was george and harvey doing that, not us. that was george and harvey doing that.
(applause) >> and when mayor newsome called the whole world to look for a second time when he said, "people should be able to marry anybody whom they love," that was moscone and milk. literally being channeled through mr. newsome to do what caused san francisco to become the center piece of all aspects of openness, all aspects of what this nation should be about. and i tell you in celebrating, just on your own, think about your experience in san francisco. and i would be willing to almost bet that somewhere in that experience you'll find a piece of moscone and a piece of milk. and i must tell you that for me
it's on a daily basis. before coming here tonight, i told the mayor, i walked the embarcadaro. i do that quite often. i wander around san francisco. it's always amazing to me because as i wander around san francisco i'll see something or experience something that has come as a result of the most open, the most directed, and the most people-sensitive government anywhere in this world. and it comes as a result of two extraordinary people who gave their lives so that we can enjoy, and enjoy we must. thank you. (applause) >> thank you, mr. mayor. that was wonderful. i kind of messed up on the timing here. i apologize. but, so, i'm going to introduce
assemblyman tom ammiano next and then we'll have the gay men's chorus and we will go to jonathan. so, just before tom gets up, tom was one of harvey's volunteers for many campaignses. he walked precincts and he was a very brave person being a teacher at the time. and when no on 6 was an issue in our state and they were trying to use the state proposition, was trying to out law lesbian and gay teachers in our schools, tom, a gay teacher himself, spoke out and was the facebook, the picture book of that campaign. so, we aloe tom an incredible debt, and we thank you so much. * all owe (applause) [cheering and applauding] >> thank you so much. there is a note from willie brown that says, tom, be short. [laughter] >> i don't know, scott. every time i see you, i want to
take off my clothes. i don't know what that is. [laughter] >> you can read into that whatever you wanted to. i think you should see from the remarks that preceded me that one strong attribute of both these extraordinary men was a sense of humor and a sense of irony. i've often thought about the differences in their background and how they came together in that context that juxtaposition in history. you know, san francisco, as the former mayor and speaker mentioned, was very eclectic, electric at the time, women's movement, the lgbt movement, the civil rights movement, and, you know, things were happening, boys and girls. harvey's election i think made people take notice. i think that george's, george's proclivities were always in and
around social justice. i know that he was raised catholic. so was i. 16 years of catholic school has made me the man i am today. [laughter] >> and harvey influenced by jewish culture, you know, i don't think it's ever been explored enough. but if you talk to every brit, you know that harvey was a very, very much impacted by the holocaust. you know, if you remember, it happened in the '40s. it's only 20 years or so since he came onto the scene. and i think he was able to transfer, you know, that tragedy and that oppression into what was happening with gay people. he was very scrappy. i wanted to acknowledge two people who were very supportive of harvey milk and george moscone, and both of them have left us and that's howard wallace and hank wilson. (applause) >> what i loved about them was, what i loved about them was
they knocked back a few and really get into it with harvey about different issues. but the comic was always there. and i think that's the beauty of san francisco. i think that we were able to take that sense of social justice and blend it. and that day, that brutal, brutal day, you know, i can't imagine what the moscone family went through and is still going through, because this is something you don't get over. and, of course, the lgbt community in addition. you know, we've triumphed, we've said, all right, you might take away the messengers, but you're not going to take away the message. so, long live harvey milk and long live george moscone and long live san francisco. [cheering and applauding] >> thank you very much, assemblyman ammiano. i am now going to introduce jonathan moscone, who is the
youngest son of mayor moscone who was really just a young teenager at the time his father was assassinated. jonathan, i've heard you speak before. you're always so inspirational. so, i turn it over to you. thank you so much. (applause) >> thanks. i apologize, i had to write my speech so i was running out of time and i'm sorry that i directed such a bad production of wizard of oz for you at the turtle creek round in dallas. maybe you'll forgive me one day. listen, on behalf of my family gina and rebecca and jennifer and christopher, i want to thank you for inviting us to speak today. and although i am the only member of the family to speak today, i'm not speaking on their behalf. the truth is i just like to talk. [laughter] >> in fact, as i am happy to see so many people here as i do, as the comedian paula said, even if you weren't here, i'd
still be up here talking. but despite my tendencies towards reliving the admonishment of my fifth grade teacher sister grace who chastised me for having diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of ideas, i took a long while for me to say yes when stuart and ann asked me to talk a bit on the day that marks the death of george and harvey. and the reason became clear when i sat down to write my words. i'm exhausted by talking about death. i know that's not the subject of today's memorial, but it always happens on the day that george and harvey were shot. and i think i'm tired of remembering them on the worst day of their lives. i wonder that if indeed there is a heaven, and if george and harvey got in, or perhaps they made it to somewhere a little more hip, a little more happening. they might be sitting up there on november 27th of every year and think, oh, lord, not this again. i mean, it's hard for me to
imagine that this would be the day that george moscone and harvey milk would want to remember each and every year. don't get me wrong. i'm deeply touched that people remember my father and i do speak for my family in this regard. we are always and every day grateful that we live in a city that does not forget. but there's just something wrong in this notion that the day we remember our lost leaders is the most violent day of their lives, which in the case of my family was the most violent day of ours. it's almost as if we're giving the senselessness of these deaths way too much respect by centering our love and passion and memory and yearning on the day the beating hearts of these two men, hearts that were so brave, so unflinching, so immensely loving so full of life that they seemed larger than life, the day those beating hearts stopped forever. because, let's get this straight, george and harvey did not die noblely. there was no opera music.
there was nothing heroic. there was nothing romantic to be found in the loss of my dad's life. it was a senseless act. and i think why that is after all these years of loving to talk at these beautifully intentioned memorials, i can no longer bear to remember george on the day of his death. so, i think i'm going to start next year and for years to come to stop remembering november 27th and i'm going to turn back the clock a few days to george's birthday which is november 24th. and i'm going to remember that and i'm going to celebrate that and i'm going to memorialize that for the rest of my life. i'm going to ask my mother gina to remember the day that george asked her to marry him. i'm going to ask my sister rebecca what it was like to play tennis with dad, competing with him to win game, set and match. i'll ask jennifer what it was like to go to the opera with him. or chris how he and dad shared a love of talent, love and talent for basketball, making them heroes, if not studs on and off the courts.
i'm going to remember the nights george took me to my first r-rated movie, the longest yard, the original one. or when he bought an alpha romeo much to the delight of his children and ire of his wife. our vacations of sea ranch and houses with primer color doors, [speaker not understood] where we skinny dip as a family. i'm going to remember the night george when the mayoral election and we rode up portola and my father extended his arms out as if he owned this town, this town he loved with the fierce heart of his. or stopping at lorenzo's at the end of the columbus day parade for a drink. i'm going to start this kind of memorial next year on george's birthday. and by then, all of the moscone children will have looked past all of george's too brief life and see him as he was, as shakev supervisor aioto-pier's hamlet saw his father, as a man
taken for all and all. but unlike hamlet, i shall see the likes of him again. i'll see him everywhere, in every moment i hear willie brown speak. that was beautiful, willie, what you said. and the stories that my friend barbara tells of she and husband dick leaving the life of luxury in cleveland to run muni for dad. or of the dmv when a woman behind the counter looks twice at the name of my driver's license and looks up and tells me of the day she met george on the street or worked on george's campaign. or about the time in her life in our city's life when things seemed more touchable, more human, or just tells me that she's honored to meet george moscone's son. or on the first preview of the play that my dear friend tony wrote about george and me, a play called ghost life, and the first public performance up in ashlan, oregon. halfway through the second act, at long last, george shows up and the fractured city hall
backdrop begins to fill with floating lights outlining the golden gate bridge and we hear tony bennett sing his legendary recording of "i left my heart in san francisco." and then the character of george, sometimes mouthing the words, sometimes singing them quietly, moves towards john without looking, for he cannot look at his son. and he touches john's heart and then he moves away towards the city hall of john's memory and john set the stairs in the way that george did, cocky and sexy, cruel as all get out. and then the song ends. and i notice the woman sitting next to me crying. and after the play is over, after the standing ovation of tony's brave and beautiful play, as people start to leave the theater, this woman, she remains in her chair and it seems she cannot move. i gently asked her if she's all right. and she nods. and she says without looking at me because she couldn't look at
me, "i got to see my mayor again." so, maybe through art we can see again. about a month ago i braved going to the sf moment to check out the infamous bust of my dad and all i could remember growing up were the images of that controversial pedestal of gunshots and twinkies and don't think i didn't smile when i heard hostess went under. [laughter] (applause) but when i went to see the bust for that first time, a bust that i have to admit captured george's mile wide grin and dramatically imperfect teeth, i saw on the pedestal so many things that i didn't know were there. i saw the names of my brothers and sister inside a heart, my dad's favorite movie, quotes by him how much he considered being mayor, honor bestowed on him, and the things made possible for people who didn't have por