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    What to Start, Stop, and Continue in 2015

    zoeAs 2014 winds down, it’s time for reflection of the past year and plans for the coming year. Professionally, politically and personally I find myself taking stock of where things stand and then conducting an exercise I often facilitate for my consulting clients. It’s called “Start, Stop, Continue,” and it goes like this:

    What did I (and we as an LGBT community and as a city) not do in 2014 that I want to start doing in 2015?

    Similarly, what was happening this past year that I want to stop?

    Finally, what good things took place in 2014 that I want to continue (either as is or with modifications)?

    Start

    Politically, there are three areas I would like to focus on in the coming year. The first is to work on identifying and recruiting more local LGBT women to become involved in politics in San Francisco. Our city is fortunate to have elected several gay men into office—Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos and City College Board Trustee Rafael Mandelman. What is missing? Women from our community representing us in City Hall and Sacramento. I’d like to work with organizations like Emerge CA, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, and the Victory Fund to brainstorm ways of identifying and mentoring the pipeline of women willing to step forward and run for office. We have a rich history of lesbians in San Francisco public office—Roberta Achtenberg, Susan Leal, Carole Migden, and Leslie Katz. Where will the next generation come from? Let’s find out!

    Secondly, I want to help launch a Veterans Democratic Club in San Francisco. Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego all have such clubs, organizing our veterans and giving them a voice and the ability to endorse candidates and ballot initiatives. Right now, I am the only veteran on the San Francisco Democratic Central Committee. We need more veterans actively involved, as veteran issues cross multiple policy areas—homelessness, housing, education, job training, health care and employment.

    Finally, I want to explore what can we do to address the continuing speculation, displacement, and skyrocketing housing costs in San Francisco now that Prop G failed on the November ballot. Just because the specifics of this initiative were not approved by a majority of voters, we can’t give up developing some solution to address the issues. Perhaps the window to tax house “flipping” is narrowed to 3 years rather than 5 years, or it applies to properties with three units or more rather than the two or more proposed in Prop G. The key is to get all parties around a table—the tenant advocates, the realtors, and the landlords—to hammer out a proposal palatable to everyone before going to the ballot.

    Stop

    I recognize we often need to make space for new things by letting go of current commitments and activities. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we

    all have to sleep sometime. One action I will be taking is stepping down from the California Democratic Party’s LGBT Veterans Caucus Executive Committee when my term is up this year. Through the work of the committee, I had the honor of meeting Shawn Terris. Shawn is a former Marine Corps Captain and has led the caucus’ legislative efforts over the past two years as Chair of our Policy Committee. She is also a member of our LGBT community, and will likely be nominated to be the Veterans Caucus Chair. Shawn will be a tremendous leader, and I know she will take it to the next level.

    Continue

    In 2015, I look forward to continuing my work as a member of the San Francisco Library Commission. In June, the American Library Association will have its national convention in San Francisco, coinciding with Pride Weekend, no less! It will be a great opportunity to show off our city and our tremendous library system to a national audience. If you have not been to your local library recently, I urge you to check it out. It’s not your parents’ library anymore as you’ll find eBooks, self-checkout, online book catalogs, children’s play areas and hundreds of live programs. They truly are your neighborhood’s literary and cultural center.

    The coming year will bring another election. We don’t know yet what propositions will fall on the ballot next fall, but we do know there will be some high profile elections—Mayor and Sheriff to name two. Senator Mark Leno has publicly stated he will not challenge Mayor Ed Lee, despite a heavy recruitment effort from the city’s progressive wing. It remains to be seen who else might step forward and declare their candidacy, but right now it seems the Mayor has the inside track to stay in office. There will also be a contested Sheriff’s race, as Vicky Hennessy, a 30-year veteran of the San Francisco Sheriff’s department, looks to challenge Ross Mirkarimi. I’m excited at her candidacy, and wish her great success. I look forward to continuing to lead the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and serve on the County Democratic Central Committee as we navigate ourselves through this next election cycle.

    What about you? What do you want to start, stop and continue in 2015? I wish you the best in the coming year.

    Zoe Dunning is a retired Navy Commander and was a lead activist in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She currently serves as the 1st Vice Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, as a San Francisco Library Commissioner, and as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.