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Gay delegate candidate finishes ahead of Barry, has highest vote count

Three gays win at D.C. Caucus to become Obama delegates

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Gregory Cendana, gay news, gay politics dc

Openly gay Gregory Cendana emerged as the top vote getter, Tuesday, in the District's selection of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. (Courtesy photo)

An openly gay labor official who emerged as a dark horse candidate finished ahead of D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) to capture the first-place position in the city’s March 3 Democratic caucus to select delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Gregory Cendana, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, an arm of the AFL-CIO, received 187 votes compared to 138 votes for Barry among male candidates running in one of two districts created for electing convention delegates.

D.C. Democratic Party spokesperson Bill O’Field said party officials Monday night completed the final vote count for the caucus. An earlier count on Saturday showed Cendana ahead but by a closer margin.

Joining Cendana as winners for an Obama delegate position were lesbian Democratic activist Lateefah Williams, president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political organization; and Jeffrey Richardson, former Stein Club president and director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

The local Democratic Party divided the city into two voting districts for purposes of electing 13 delegates and one alternate delegate among the city’s registered Democrats. Under party rules, four male and three female delegate positions were allocated to District 1 along with one female alternate delegate slot.

In District 2, three male delegate positions and four female delegate positions were created. Eighty-nine people competed for the delegate and alternate positions.

In the District 1 male contest, Cendana finished first, with Barry coming in second. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) was in 3rd place, behind Barry, with 134 votes. Richardson came in 4th place with 108 votes.

Just behind Richardson in 5th place was David Meadows, a former Stein Club president and staff member for D.C. Council member Michael Brown (I-At-Large). Meadows, who received 105 votes, lost his bid for a delegate seat because only four male delegate slots were available in District 1.

In the District 1 female category, Williams, the current Stein Club president, finished in second place, with 115 votes, wining one of the three delegate positions available for women in the district by a comfortable margin. She finished 9 votes behind first-place winner Suisan Meehan.

Cendana’s strong showing and lead over both Barry and Evans has raised eyebrows among the city’s political establishment. Some local Democratic Party activists criticized Barry and Evans for running in the caucus, saying they should have allowed grassroots party activists to fill the delegate positions at the caucus.

The critics noted that more than a dozen additional delegates will be selected to represent D.C. at the Democratic Convention by the D.C. Democratic State Committee and by the Democratic National Committee in the coming months.

“Tonight’s results reflect the power of the grassroots,” Cendana said in a statement released on Saturday. “This kind of energy is what powered Barack Obama four years ago – we were inspired then, and we are inspired now as this small movement for big change continues.”

Although Cendana’s supporters say he was helped by votes from LGBT Democrats, they acknowledge that he benefited greatly by the city’s organized labor activists, who reportedly helped turn out the “labor” vote for him. But political insiders also credit Cendana with organizing a highly effective campaign for the delegate post.

Eight more LGBT candidates competing in the caucus for delegate positions finished further down in the vote totals and did not emerge as winners when the final tally was completed.

Here are their names and vote totals:

District 1:

Alexander Padro—70 votes

Adam Bink—35 votes

Kevin Scott Carroll—10 votes

Jonathan Degner—5 votes

District 2:

Alexandra Beninda—82 votes

Sterling Washington—23 votes

Aadit Dubale—4 votes

Phillip Skillman—3 votes

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Baltimore

Carlton R. Smith: LGBTQ advocate, ‘mayor’ of Mount Vernon, passes away

‘The Duchess’ died on May 29 in his sleep

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Carlton R. Smith, an LGBTQ advocate, died May 29. He was 61. (Photo courtesy of Carlton R. Smith)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | Carlton R. Smith was affectionately called “The Duchess” in a nod to royalty, because of his unofficial role of mayor of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. He was a “walking billboard” for Calvin Klein, with a love for purple, Batman, cooking, house music, Prince, and Diana Ross.

“If you said Duchess, you knew who that was,” said his close friend of 25-years, Carrietta Hiers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Maryland

Moore pardons more than 175,000-plus cannabis-related convictions

Governor signed executive order at State House on Monday

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Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (Public domain photo/Twitter)

BY BRENDA WINTRODE and PAMELA WOOD | Gov. Wes Moore pardoned more than 175,000 cannabis-related convictions Monday, nullifying guilty verdicts decided when carrying small amounts of the drug or paraphernalia was illegal.

The Democratic governor signed an executive order during a State House ceremony, granting clemency to thousands of people convicted in Maryland. The convictions to be pardoned include more than 150,000 misdemeanors for simple possession and more than 18,000 for possession of drug paraphernalia with an intent to use.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Local

Blade wins multiple journalism awards

Society of Professional Journalists recognizes writing, design work

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The D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored the work of the Washington Blade at its annual Dateline Awards dinner last week.

The Blade took top honors in the weekly newspaper editorial/opinion writing category for a piece by Michael Lavers, the Blade’s international news editor, titled, “Bearing witness to the unimaginable,” which recounted watching raw footage of Hamas’s attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

In it, Lavers wrote, “The Israeli government clearly wants the world to understand the barbarity of what happened on Oct. 7, and that is why it has shown footage of that horrific Saturday to journalists and lawmakers. The footage left me deeply shaken, and perhaps that was the point.”

Washington Blade graphic designer Meaghan Juba won the Dateline Award for front-page design in the weekly newspaper category.

And in the weekly newspaper-features category, the Blade’s Kathi Wolfe was recognized as a finalist for her piece titled, “Meet one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet.”

“These awards reflect our 55-year commitment to journalistic excellence,” said Blade Editor Kevin Naff. “Congratulations to our team for another year of award-winning journalism.”

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