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The Best of the Gays: Politics

by Cynthia Laird
Wednesday Apr 18, 2012

Gavin Newsom may not be mayor of San Francisco anymore, but he remains - for the second year - the favorite politician among Bay Area Reporter readers. Newsom, of course, started the national debate on same-sex marriage when he boldly ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in 2004. Now, eight years later, same-sex marriage is legal in eight states (two, Maryland and Washington, have yet to begin the nuptials and could face referendums) plus the District of Columbia.

Today, Newsom is California's lieutenant governor. While the office doesn't come with many official duties, Newsom has continued to be involved in green tech and energy issues. He is a regent of the UC system and has used that position to forcefully argue against further tuition increases in the university system.

It also seems that readers long for the City Hall fights between Newsom and his nemesis, former Supervisor Chris Daly. For the second year, the fiery ex-legislator has received the Best Politician You Love to Hate "honor." No word on what either man thinks of these distinctions, neither returned messages seeking comment. Since leaving office, Daly bought The Buck, a Market Street watering hole, where he and other members of the city's progressive faction can be found plotting their next ballot measure or recruiting candidates.

But Daly wasn't alone this year, as readers also named current Mayor Ed Lee and suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi as politicians for which they have love-hate feelings. Lee, who was sworn into a full-year term in January, has generally received high marks from LGBT residents, though he did ruffle some with his recent decision to kick two gay men off the Health Commission, leaving the seven-member panel without LGBT representation for the first time in nearly 20 years.

As for Mirkarimi, his rapid fall has been chronicled in the media since before he took office in January. Following an alleged domestic incident with his wife, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment and was ordered to attend domestic violence counseling. The mayor promptly suspended Mirkarimi and appointed Vicki Hennessy as interim sheriff. Mirkarimi, meanwhile, is fighting his suspension and hopes to be reinstated. Stay tuned.

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