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    SF Pride in LGBTQ Leader Mark Leno

    By Jamie Leno Zimron–

    After a hard-fought mayoral election, literally half of San Francisco, along with thousands of people across our state, country and around the world, listened to my brother Mark Leno’s concession speech with broken hearts. And in awe. He spoke with his hallmark sense of impeccable intelligence and integrity, unflinching gorgeous grace and fierce passion for the ordinary people whom he serves first and foremost.

    By a razor-thin margin, San Francisco lost our 2018 chance to have this great man and human as the first progressive mayor in decades, and the first gay mayor ever. We know Mark Leno would have led the City in essential new directions. He would have energetically tackled what he points out has grown into “a tale of two cities,” where some continue to generate and enjoy amazing wealth, while so many are suffering and struggling with escalating displacement, homelessness, filth in the streets, lack of affordability or access to opportunity and even basics of life. Substantive change and solutions are required!

    Thanks to so many people for beautiful messages of appreciation and support for Mark. As our hearts ache, and our community faces rising forces of discrimination, I am so unspeakably proud of my brother. We are so grateful for all of the incredible people who poured their talents, hearts and souls into his stellar campaign. And to all those who gave a few dollars up to the $500 cap of the Fair Campaign Pledge.

    Mark led in the effort to keep big money interests, dark money and mean-spirited super PACs out of this election. Very unfortunately, not every candidate took the pledge, allowing billionaire influence to find its way into the race, such that power brokers’ attack ads and media manipulation worked to defeat the two leading progressives, Senator Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim. With the City already plunged in crisis, we must be very aware and activist as entrenched business interests work to keep their hold on City Hall to keep on ruling for their own favor.

    My prayer now is for the new mayor, London Breed, to seize the reins as the first African American woman to be mayor, staying true to her identity and roots. May she lead with utmost integrity, inspiration and independence. And with her heart and mind truly dedicated to the people in the projects where she grew up, the neighborhoods, small businesses, unions and streets of San Francisco. Godspeed and strength to her, and to the people—not patrons—of San Francisco!

    As we enter into Pride weekend, Harvey Milk is surely weeping with LGBTQ people here and everywhere. He and Mark represent the best in all of us, exemplifying heights of honesty, courage and compassion seen far too little in public or private life.

    When asked how my brother handles or has succeeded through the unnecessary nastiness of politics, I always say it’s because he takes politics as his spiritual practice. For real! Growing up with our loving, social justice-minded parents, and having completed two years of rabbinic studies, Mark is as his dear friend SF Symphony Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas describes him: “Rebbe with a cause!”

    Time and again, when others deign to lie and slime this most upright and eminently qualified of elected officials, I (along with his aides, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle) have watched breathlessly as Mark consistently takes The High Road. It is not an easy practice, particularly in politics. But he is devoted to it, no matter what. He absolutely refuses to go anywhere near the low level of expedient lies, greed, vengeance and self-serving hypocrisy that most politicians stoop to for their own, rather than their constituents’, sake.

    In today’s Trumpian world, which is forsaking the very notions of values or morality, Mark stands tall above all for what is real and right. May he not be a rare breed, but a shining beacon for every leader to be a genuine public servant as they take their oath of office.

    A big shout out and mazel tov to our own Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who will serve as a fabulous advocate and progressive, gay voice and vote on the new Board of Supervisors. And infinite blessings upon my brother, and each and every person, as together we walk forward, working our souls out for a brighter future for all, not just some!

    I know how much I treasure and learn from my brother’s unfailing commitment to goodness and righteousness. I sincerely hope everyone can recognize, honor and follow his High Road example as we continue on our own paths in life, always and truly for the greater good. Therein lies our ultimate Pride!

    “San Francisco Bay Times” columnist Jamie Leno Zimron is a Corporate Speaker, Executive Trainer, LPGA Golf Pro, and 6th Degree Aikido Black Belt. Check out her website: