||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2012)|
|Tom Ammiano on Harvey Milk's 77th birthday|
|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 17th district
December 3, 2012
|Preceded by||Cathleen Galgiani|
|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 13th district
December 1, 2008 – November 30, 2012
|Preceded by||Mark Leno|
|Succeeded by||Susan Eggman|
|Member of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from District 9
|Preceded by||district created in 2000; prior terms were on city-wide seat|
|Succeeded by||David Campos|
December 15, 1941 |
Montclair, New Jersey
|Domestic partner||Tim Curbo (deceased)|
|Residence||San Francisco, California|
|Alma mater||Seton Hall University
San Francisco State University
|Profession||Schoolteacher, stand-up comedian|
Tom Ammiano (born December 15, 1941) is an American politician and LGBT rights activist from San Francisco, California. Ammiano is a Democrat who has served as a member of the California State Assembly since 2008. He had previously been a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and had mounted an unsuccessful bid for mayor of San Francisco in 1999.
Ammiano was born and grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. He attended Seton Hall University in 1963 and received a bachelor's degree in communication. He was an Easter Seals Camp counselor in the summers of 1962-3, later attending San Francisco State University in 1965 where he received a master's degree in special education. He taught English to children in South Vietnam as part of a Quaker program, but left shortly after the Tet Offensive in 1968.
Ammiano is a former public school teacher. In 1975, he became the first public school teacher in San Francisco to make his sexual orientation a matter of public knowledge. In 1977, Ammiano founded the movement (No on 6) against the Briggs Initiative, started by John Briggs to ban all gay people from teaching in California, with activists Hank Wilson and Harvey Milk. The anti-Briggs movement, supported by people as diverse as Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, was successful in defeating the initiative in 1978.
San Francisco Board of Education
In 1980 and 1988, Ammiano ran for the San Francisco Board of Education, and was elected in 1990. He was subsequently elected its vice-president in 1991, and then president in 1992.
As president of the Board of Education, Ammiano was successful in his efforts to include a gay and lesbian sensitivity curriculum for all students in the San Francisco Unified School District. He helped to make San Francisco public schools' sexual education curriculum, which begins diversity and sensitivity training in kindergarten, one of the most diverse and inclusive in the United States.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Among his accomplishments on the Board of Supervisors is the creation of the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance, which was passed by a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors and signed by Mayor Gavin Newsom on August 7, 2006. This makes San Francisco the first city in the nation to provide universal healthcare access. Ammiano is also the main architect of the city's Domestic Partners Ordinance, which provides equal benefits to employees and their unmarried domestic partners. It also requires companies that do business with the City and County of San Francisco to provide the same benefits.
In 1999, Ammiano came into conflict with some in San Francisco's Catholic community when the Board of Supervisors, at Ammiano's request, granted the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a charity group of drag queen nuns, a street-closure permit for Castro Street for their 20th anniversary celebration on Easter Sunday.
1999 mayoral campaign
In the San Francisco mayoral race of 1999, Ammiano mounted a successful write-in campaign in the November election, preventing the incumbent Willie Brown from achieving a victory without a run-off. While Ammiano lost that second election in December, Ammiano's campaign galvanized progressive voters in San Francisco and had a major impact on the composition of the new, more liberal Board of Supervisors the next year. There is a documentary about the 1999 mayoral election titled See How They Run. Ammiano ran for mayor again in 2003, but did not win enough votes to make that run-off after Supervisor Matt Gonzalez entered the race, splitting the progressive vote.
California State Assembly
|This section requires expansion. (May 2009)|
Ammiano introduced the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, to the California State Assembly in February 2009, calling for the legalization of cannabis statewide. The proposal would regulate marijuana like alcohol, with people over 21 years old allowed to grow, buy, sell and possess cannabis. With the state's severe budget shortfalls the bill has been discussed in light of the revenue generated as well as the savings from decriminalizing and prosecuting marijuana-focused possession crimes. The bill failed the assembly's Public Safety committee by a 3-4 vote on January 12, 2010.
Schwarzenegger acrostic memo
In October 2009 Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Governor of California appeared at a Democratic Party fundraiser at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel. Though the governor was a prominent member of the Republican party he had been invited by the organizers. Many in the room thought the governor’s appearance was, as Ammiano described it, a "cheap publicity stunt." When former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown introduced Schwarzenegger, Ammiano shouted "You lie!" in a copy-cat of Representative Joe Wilson's remarks during President Barack Obama's congressional address a month earlier. Ammiano walked out stating that Schwarzenegger could "kiss my gay ass" (in video of the event, an audience member is heard yelling "Kiss my faggot ass!" at Schwarzenegger, leading some to conclude that "faggot" was what Ammiano actually said, and that "gay ass" was a censored version of the quote. However, Ammiano did not use the word "faggot", and the person yelling "kiss my faggot ass" was not Ammiano).
Four days after the fundraiser, Schwarzenegger vetoed Assembly Bill 1176 authored by Ammiano that had cleared the State Senate 40-0 and the Assembly 78-0. Schwarzenegger sent a memo to Ammiano explaining the veto. The letter contained a hidden message that, when using the first letter of each line along the left margin, spelled out the words "Fuck You". The memo was widely reported on and seen as both generally offensive and retaliatory. Although Schwarzenegger denied the hidden message was inserted intentionally, media outlets noted that mathematically, it was extremely unlikely that it was simply a coincidence.
Ammiano was in a 16-year domestic partnership with a fellow schoolteacher, Tim Curbo, who died of complications from AIDS in 1994. He has one daughter and is now a grandfather. Aside from his teaching and political careers, Ammiano has been a stand-up comedian since 1980. Ammiano portrayed himself in the 2008 film Milk.
He is a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.
- The Bay Area Reporter Online | Mayor signs healthcare measure
- San Francisco Leads Nation with Health Care For Uninsured - NAM
- "Sistory (history on The Sister's main site". Retrieved 2006-10-29.[dead link]
- Editors (1999-04-10). "Mock Nuns Hold Easter Party Despite Protests". Catholic World News.
- Rabin, Nathan (2003-12-15). "See How They Run (DVD)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- Eskenazi, Joe (2010-01-12). "Puff, Puff, Pass: Ammiano's Pot Bill Clears Assembly Committee". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- Andrew Belonsky (October 8, 2009). "No, Sir, Arnold Will Not Kiss Your “Fa**ot” Ass". Gawker. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- Carla Marinucci (8 October 2009). "Ammiano to Schwarzenegger: "Kiss my gay ass"". SFGate. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- Phillip Matier; Andrew Ross (28 October 2009). "Did Schwarzenegger drop 4-letter bomb in veto?". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- Allysia Finley (29 October 2009,). "The Fingernator". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger (2009). AB 1176 Veto Message (.PDF). State of California. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- Associated Press (March 18, 2010). "Schwarzenegger "F*** You": Did Gov Send Lawmaker Obscene Message Through Acrostic Poem?". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- Odds Schwarzenegger's 'I F--k You' Message Was Coincidental? About One in Two Billion, Says Math Prof. Ashley Harrell in Laser-Guided Awesome, SF Weekly, October 28, 2009.
- Null and Vetoed: "Chance Coincidence"? Philip B. Stark, November 3, 2009; updated February 8, 2010.
- Kevin Fagan and John Wildermuth. "Ammiano's Long Road From Jersey Kid to Mayoral Candidate," San Francisco Chronicle, November 13, 1999.
- Erin McCormick. "Ammiano's career as an 'inside outsider,'" San Francisco Examiner, December 7, 1999.
- Official website
- Campaign website
- Campaign Without Precedent: Tom Ammiano's Run for San Francisco Mayor