Aiello, Dan


Dan Aiello, is the Sacramento reporter for the California Progress Report.

Breaking: SB 48 Supporters Ask Harris To Investigate Signature Gathering Tactics For Repeal

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report
 
A complaint was filed this morning with state and local offices by the equal rights advocacy group, Courage Campaign, after a video surfaced showing Stop SB 48 volunteers gathering signatures by describing the legislation as protecting child molesters. 

According to Courage Spokesperson, Ana Beatriz, her organization filed the complaint with State Attorney General, Kamala Harris, and John Mullen, the City Attorney of Oceanside where the incident occurred, on behalf of Campaign Courage member and Oceanside resident, Max Disposti. Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Oceanside City Attorney John Mullen told CPR he had not yet seen either the video or the complaint.

State Senator Leno Names ‘Heroes and Villains’ As Nation Ends DADT Witch Hunt

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

The United States government quietly but officially repealed its military policy prohibiting gay and lesbian Americans from open service in the nation’s Armed Forces yesterday. 

Instead of marking the occasion with celebrations of victory, civil rights groups and progressive public officials throughout the state held protests and press conferences to remind Californians equality for lesbian, gay and transgendered Americans is a goal not yet realized.

Rep. Ammiano Honored as ACLU’s ‘Legislator of the Year’

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

At an awards ceremony held in Los Angelese Sunday,  the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California presented the organization’s “Legislator of the Year” award to 13th District Assemblymember, Democrat Tom Ammiano.

The Assemblymember was recognized for his successful stewardship of several prominent ACLU-sponsored civil rights bills through this year’s legislative session.  

Ammiano has been a civil liberties activist for more than four decades. He is the author of four of the ACLU’s most prominent bills this year, including Seth’s Law (AB 9), Secure Communities (AB 1081), 911 Good Samaritan (AB 472), and Eyewitness Identification (AB 308).

Omission of former Executive Director’s Name Raises Questions about EQCA Leadership Change

By Dan Aiello

Equality California, in issuing a press release late Wednesday noting the culmination of the organization’s legislative success in Sacramento this year, raised unintended questions from LGBT media by omitting the name of the non-profit’s former Executive Director, who was replaced just last month.

Within hours of the release of an EQCA press release on Wednesday touting the success of the organization’s legislative year, Karen Ocamb, one of the most read LGBT journalists nationwide, whose byline appears in publications like Frontiers magazine, Huffington Post and POV magazine among others, questioned the omission of the name of EQCA’s former Executive Directore, Geoff Kors, who is widely believed to be the primary architect of the legislative direction of the organization.

Kors was replaced as Executive Director of EQCA in July of this year. The new Executive Director is Roland Palencia.

AIDS, LGBT Communities Mourn Death of Elizabeth Taylor

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

California and national AIDS organizations joined gay rights groups in mourning the death of film star Elizabeth Taylor, who died earlier this week at a Los Angeles hospital.

Taylor died March 23, 2011 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from Congestive Heart Failure.  She was 79.

The two-time Academy Award winning actress starred in more than 50 films throughout a career that spanned seven decades.  But it was Taylor's early and very public efforts to fight AIDS, a battle she began in 1985 after losing friend and colleague Rock Hudson, which was being honored in the statements of sympathy being released by AIDS and equal rights organizations following the actress' death.

"Seth's Law", Anti-Bullying Legislation Introduced in California Assembly

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Today, California's openly gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced AB 9, anti-bullying legislation known as "Seth's Law," aimed at providing California schools with "specific tools" to prevent and address pervasive bullying and create a safe education environment for all of the State's students.

"Seth's Law" was named in memory of Seth Walsh (pictured on right), a 13 year-old gay student from Tehachapi, California, who killed himself in September 2010 after facing years of relentless anti-gay harassment at school that officials effectively ignored.

AB 9 is co-sponsored by a coalition of organizations advancing LGBT equality and justice – including the ACLU’s California Affiliates, Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

Students Rally Against Governor's Proposed Education Cuts

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

A protest against Governor Brown's proposed $1.4 billion dollar budget cuts to the UC, CSU and Community College systems was held today on the west steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

The rally, numbering well into the thousands, consisted primarily of college students from the Los Angeles area but included students from all education levels. Official estimates by the California Highway Patrol representative Sean Kennedy have yet to be released. The rain-soaked protest, which followed an earlier march around the Capitol, was peaceful.

Breaking: Russia's Best Known LGBT Rights Activist Arrested, SF Vigil Planned for Tonight

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Russia's most prominent advocate Gay and Lesbian rights was arrested September 15, at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport as he was preparing to board a flight to Geneva, Switzerland.   

According to UKGayNews.com, which broke the story, LGBT activists around the world are concerned for the safety of Nikolai Alekseev because Russian officials are refusing to provide any information regarding his whereabouts or the reason for his arrest.   

LGBT advocates in California issued an alert late Wednesday calling upon civil rights supporters to converge on the Russian consulate in San Francisco this evening.

Marriage Equality USA, a Bay Area-based group which advocates the right of same-sex couples to marry, has organized tonight's vigil at the Russian Consulate's Green Street location near the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Senate Dems Pass, Ashburn Opposes, Uganda Condemnation SR 51

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

In the last hours of the legislative session, Sen. Mark Leno (D-SF) successfully shepherded a resolution condemning the government of Uganda for the African nation's escalating persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people after finding the 21 floor votes needed to pass the measure. 

Conservative Republican Senator Roy Ashburn, who recently admitted he was gay, voted against the resolution.

A similar House Resolution authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF) was scheduled for a vote when the legislature reconvenes for the budget. Both Uganda resolutions are part of a package of 14 bills sponsored by Equality California this year.

Brownley Bag Ban Faced Formidable Last-Minute Campaign Contributions

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, expressed disappointment today in the Senate’s rejection of her bill to ban single-use carryout bags in California supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores.
 
AB 1998 failed passage on a 14-21 vote.  

The Sacramento Bee's Susan Ferris reported last minute campaign contributions ahead of Tuesday's vote to moderate Democrats and to Senate Republicans from the Virginia-based American Chemistry Council representing bag manufacturers, as well as Exxon and Poly Hilex, helped seal the bill's fate.