Responses of Erik S. Gaull to GLAA 2002 Questionnaire
for DC Council Candidates
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1. Will you support funding for mandatory gay male, lesbian, bisexual and transgender sensitivity and diversity training including gay and transgender community representatives as a continuing part of the training for all members of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Fire/EMS Department?
I support funding for mandatory gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) sensitivity and diversity training for all D.C. government employees, especially those in client-facing positions. It is important that all employees receive such training because there are GLBT people working throughout D.C. government, and I believe that it is important to make the D.C. government a hospitable workplace as well as a government that delivers services without prejudice. Such training helps make the District of Columbia a better place to live. The benefits clearly outweigh the costs.
2. Metropolitan Police Officers are barred from moonlighting only at bars and sexually oriented establishments. Officers are not barred from working at any other establishments. Will you support legislation that will reverse the Council's ban on moonlighting at bars and sexually oriented establishments?
I support allowing plainclothes officers to work in bars and sexually oriented establishments. I further support allowing uniformed Metropolitan Police Officers to be employed by such establishments on the street in front of the clubs to deter crime and prevent patrons of such establishments from being victimized. I do not support having uniformed officers working inside of these establishments as the public is generally unable to distinguish whether the officers are being paid by the City or by the club, and frequently assume that the officers are on-duty and simply hanging out at the club. If the clubs were willing to post a sign in a prominent location that the uniformed officers working inside a club were being paid by the club, then I could support having them inside as well.
3. A few years ago the District enacted a version of Megan's Law that refuses to allow sex offenders to keep themselves off the public registry of sex offenders by demonstrating that they are no longer a danger to the community. A federal judge struck down this provision of the D.C. law as unconstitutional last September. Similar provisions have been struck down by many other federal courts. Will you support a change in Megan's Law to ensure that the registry of sex offenders only includes those who are still dangerous?
I support amending the law to include only sex offenders convicted of felony sex-related charges in the registry. I donít know how one could prove that one is no longer a danger to the community to the satisfaction of enough people; however, were there a consensus about how to make such a determination, I would be willing to support an amendment to Meganís Law.
Public Health & AIDS
4. The rate of HIV infections in DC is the highest in the United States, rivaling levels in sub-Saharan Africa. The last time that The DC Council held an oversight hearing on the HIV/AIDS Administration was June 18, 1998. If elected or re-elected to the Council, will you ensure that the Council holds an annual performance oversight hearing on the HIV/AIDS Administration?
I will ensure that the Council holds an annual performance oversight hearing on the HIV/AIDS Administration. Evidence from the public health community indicates that many Americans have become desensitized to and complacent about the need to further reduce the transmission of HIV. Given the high rate of HIV in DC, we need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to promote lower-risk lifestyles among people at-risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV.
5. The Director of the HIV/AIDS Administration, Ron Lewis, is his own boss, also serving as a deputy Health Director. Will you demand that the HIV/AIDS Administration have a full-time Director?
The position of Director of the HIV/AIDS Administration is too large of a job for the Director to have collateral responsibilities. I believe that the position should be reclassified to full-time status.
6. The current HIV epidemiological surveillance system discourages people-especially immigrants-from getting tested by requiring both their partial social security number and their country of origin. This potentially threatens their ability to stay in this country. The HIV Unique Identifier System Amendment Act of 2001, B14-0326, would eliminate the partial social security system. Will you vote for the bill and seek a speedy passage?
It is important that public health officials have a means to do epidemiological analyses of HIV spread. However, the social security number (in part or in whole) when used as an identifier in this context jeopardizes the privacy of people with HIV. I advocate the removal of the social security number as an identifier and use, instead, of a random, unique identifier that can further be protected with bar-coding or some other means of encryption. Further, I believe that all public health records should be protected from accidental or intentional disclosure through a combination of tough penalties/enforcement and use of privacy technologies.
7. Recognizing the significant improvements made in the operations of the Office of Human Rights under then-Director Charles Holman, the Williams Administration granted OHR a significant addition to its FY 2003 budget to increase the number of investigators and other staff so that the case backlog will continue to drop. Will you support such increases in funding for future years as well until complaints are routinely processed within 120 days?
The Office of Human Rights (OHR) is a small office in need of additional employees, so I would support increases in funding for OHR to facilitate reduction of its complaint processing time to 120 days. However, I recognize the importance of keeping the District financially solvent. Increases in expenditures may not be possible only at a time when the District is facing a budget shortfall and potential elimination of essential services, so I would look for ways to augment the OHR staff by reprogramming funds from within the existing District budget.
8. Will you support legislation that will codify the Office of Human Rights' former practice of giving top priority to discrimination complaints filed by people with AIDS or other major life-threatening diseases?
I will support legislation that will codify the Office of Human Rightsí former practice of giving top priority to discrimination complaints filed by people with AIDS or other major life-threatening diseases.
9. The Council recently confirmed the reappointment of Pierpont Mobley to the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, despite Mr. Mobley's statements during his confirmation hearing indicating a lack of support or understanding of the Commission's ruling against the Boy Scouts' policy of excluding gay men from participating either as Scouts or as leaders. Will you vote against the confirmation of any other nominee to the Human Rights Commission who displays a similar lack of commitment to enforcement of the D.C. Human Rights Law?
Yes, I will absolutely vote against the confirmation of any nominee to the Human Rights Commission who displays a lack of commitment to enforcement of the D.C. Human Rights law.
10. Will you block ceremonial resolutions saluting individuals or organizations that promote any sort of bigotry, including but not limited to the Nation of Islam and the Boy Scouts of America?
I would not support any ceremonial resolution that celebrates any person or institution that espouses, practices, or supports any type of bigotry. Additionally, I believe that ceremonial resolutions are a waste of the time and money. Congress has stopped enacting ceremonial resolutions, and I believe the city council should do the same.
Defending Our Families
11. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?
Yes, I will support the legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex.
12. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?
I will introduce or co-sponsor legislation in the District similar to Vermontís civil union law.
13. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's September 30, 1992 Directive?
Yes, I will support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kellyís September 30, 1992 directive. Furthermore, I believe it is necessary to protect the records of domestic partnerships with the same procedures and vigor that marriage records are protected. It would be unthinkable for the District of Columbia to "lose" hundreds of marriage licenses. It should be equally implausible for the District to "lose" records of domestic partnerships.
14. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions?
Yes, I support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions.
15. Will you vote for the "Elimination of Outdated Crimes Amendment Act of 2002," Bill 14-636, which eliminates archaic criminal laws including fornication, adultery and others?
Yes, I support the passage of the "Elimination of Outdated Crimes Amendments Act of 2002" Bill 14-636, which eliminates archaic criminal laws including fornication, adultery, and others. Although these laws are not routinely enforced, having them on the books makes people who engage in these acts subject to capricious enforcement. It is clear that societal mores have changed since such laws were passed. It is clear that people now need to be protected from these laws by their repeal.
16. Will you oppose legislation designed to end nude dancing at any establishment holding a D.C. liquor license or prohibiting such establishments from transferring their nude dancing licenses to different establishments or otherwise further limiting nude dancing in ABC-licensed establishments?
While I do not support the granting of additional licenses to establishments that wish to feature nude dancing, I believe that those establishment that are currently operating should be allowed to continue to operate and should be allowed to change locations if they are forced from their present location by circumstances beyond their control. It must be recognized that such establishments not only provide a constitutionally protected form of free speech, but also substantial tax revenues to the District. I support the rights of communities to determine whether they wish to have new establishments that permit nude dancing (i.e., whether they will allow a currently operating establishment to move from its previous location into a new one). I feel that such establishments should be limited to commercial areas only.
17. Will you vote against "The Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs Act of 2002," Bill 14-719, which would undermine citizen advocacy by creating official gay advocates under the direction of the Mayor?
I have questions about the "Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs Act of 2002," Bill 14-719. The Mayor already has a Special Assistant for GLBT Affairs; therefore it would seem that the bill is not necessary. However, there are arguments to be made that a future Mayor might not wish to have a Special Assistant for GLBT Affairs, and therefore this legislation is needed. In either case, I would support getting the Special Assistant for GLBT Affairs additional staff to help with the performance of those duties. The GLBT community appears divided on the subject, and so I would want to hear more from the community (at a hearing or roundtable) before making a final decision.
Your record is part of your rating. Please list any actions that you have taken that may help illustrate your record on behalf of lesbians and gay men.
Never having held elected office, I donít have a legislative record on which to run. As far as actions that I have taken, I can cite my having been one of the first two men trained as Rape Advocates (we were both in the same class) at St. Lukeís Hospital in NYC in the early 1980s. However, the most important action I have taken is internal Ė to have constantly and aggressively resisted prejudiced thinking in my personal life.