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District of Columbia

Most LGBTQ ANC candidates win races in D.C. election

Official outcome of four write-ins delayed until Nov. 15

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Winning Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates include Anthony Lorenzo Green, Nandini Sen and Jeremy Sherman. (Photos of Green and Sen via Twitter; photo of Sherman courtesy campaign)

At least 35 of the known roughly 44 LGBTQ Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates running in the Nov. 8 D.C. election have won their races, according to voter returns released by the D.C. Board of Elections.

Another four LGBTQ ANC contenders who ran unopposed as write-in candidates were expected to emerge as winners when the election board discloses on Nov. 15 the names of winning write-in candidates, whose names did not appear on the ballot.

Whether the total number of LGBTQ ANC candidates who win remains at 35 or reaches 39 should the write-in candidates win, the number will surpass the 33 LGBTQ candidates who won election to ANC seats in 2020.

Twenty-two of the winning candidates this year ran unopposed.

Just five of the LGBTQ candidates appear to have lost their races. One of them, James Tandaris, an incumbent commissioner in ANC district 3F05, was trailing his opponent by just eight votes with a vote count of 210 to 202. With an undetermined number of mail-in ballots still to be counted it was possible that Tandaris could surpass his opponent, Andrew Koval, and win the election.

Among the LGBTQ write-in candidates believed to have won their races are Christopher Dyer in Logan Circle ANC 2F05 and Matt Fouracre in neighboring Logan Circle ANC 2F06. Board of Elections vote count returns show that an unnamed write-in candidate in Dyer’s district received 53 votes making up 100 percent of the write-in votes cast. In Fouracre’s district an unnamed write-in candidate received 39 votes comprising 100 percent of the write-in votes cast.

The unnamed candidates are believed to be Dyer and Fouracre, although voters could have cast their vote for other write-in candidates.

Another LGBTQ write-in candidate whose outcome was uncertain is Bradley Gallagher, who ran in ANC 1E01, which is the Park View neighborhood seat held by gay longtime ANC member Kent Boese. Boese withdrew his candidacy for re-election in October after he was nominated by the D.C. Council and later confirmed to be appointed as executive director of the D.C. Office of ANCs.

Board of Elections spokesperson Nicholas Jacobs said it was too late to remove Boese’s name from the ballot, but he said the board posted notices informing voters that Boese had withdrawn his candidacy. However, the election returns show that Boese received 412 votes and 87 write-in votes were cast. It wasn’t expected to be confirmed whether Gallagher will be declared the winner until Nov. 15, when the election board discloses the names of write-in candidates.

Elections board spokesperson Jacobs told the Washington Blade the board requires all write-in candidates to submit an Affirmation of Write-In Candidacy form by Nov. 15 to be certified as the winner of their respective race. Jacobs said the board will disclose the names of winning write-in candidates at that time.

Following is a list of the confirmed LGBTQ ANC candidates who won their election on Nov. 8:

1A04 Jeremy Sherman* (unopposed) – Columbia Heights

1A05 Stephen Coleman Kenny* (unopposed) – Columbia Heights

1A09 James Turner (unopposed) – Columbia Heights

1B01 Larry Handerhan (incumbent/unopposed) – LeDroit Park

1B02 Sean Holihan (Unopposed) – U Street/Shaw

1B03 Jamie S. Sycamore* (unopposed) – Columbia Heights/U Street

1C01 Howard Bauleke* (incumbent/unopposed) — Adams Morgan

1/e03 Michael Wray (incumbent/unopposed) – Park View/Pleasant Plains

1E07 Brian Footer * — Howard University/Pleasant Plains

2A04 Ed Comer * — Foggy Bottom

2B02 Jeffrey Rueckgauer (incumbent/unopposed) – Dupont Circle

2B03 Vincent E. Slatt* (unopposed) – Dupont Circle

2B06 Matt Johnson (unopposed) – Dupont Circle

2B09 Christopher Davis (unopposed) – Dupont Circle/U Street

2C01 Michael D. Shankle (incumbent/unopposed) – Penn Quarter

2C02 Rebecca Strauss* — Downtown

2F04 Brian McCabe* (unopposed) – Logan Circle

2F07 Brant J. Miller (unopposed) – Logan Circle

2G02 Alexander M. ‘Alex’ Padro (unopposed) — Shaw

2G04 Steven McCarty * — Shaw

3C01 Hayden Gise* (she/her) (unopposed) — Woodley Park

3F01 Ryan Cudemus-Brunoli* (unopposed) — Cleveland Park

4B04 Evan Yeats (incumbent/unopposed) — Takoma

5A01 Duvalier Malone* (he/him) — Lamond Riggs

5A09 Zachary Ammerman* (unopposed) — Lamond Riggs

5B02 Nandini Sen* (unopposed) — Brookland

5B04 Ra Amin* (incumbent) — Brookland

5D05 Salvador Sauceda-Guzman (incumbent/unopposed) — Trinidad

5F06 Joe Bishop-Henchman* (unopposed) — Eckington

6A06 Robb Dooling (incumbent/unopposed) – H Street/Capitol Hill

6B03 David Sobelsohn* (unopposed) — Capitol Hill

6D02 Ronald Collins (incumbent) –Southwest

7B02 Jamaal Maurice McCants-Pearsall* (he/him) (unopposed) — Good Hope

7B03 Travis Swanson* (incumbent/unopposed) — Randle Highlands

7C04 Anthony Lorenzo Green (incumbent/unopposed) — Deanwood

These LGBTQ write-in ANC candidates were expected to be certified as winners when they submit a required Affirmation of Write-In Candidacy to the D.C. Board of Elections by Nov. 15 if they have not already done so:

1E01 Bradley Gallagher (write-in/unopposed) – Park View

2F05 Christopher Dyer (write-in/unopposed) –Logan Circle

2F06 Matt Fouracre* (write-in/unopposed) – Logan Circle

6E02 Charles Panfil* (write-in/unopposed) — Mt. Vernon Square

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District of Columbia

D.C. police chief, officers marched in Pride parade in uniform

Capital Pride cautious about whether MPD violated ‘no uniform’ policy

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D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith marches in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 8. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

(Editor’s note: This story was updated Friday morning with a new statement from Police Chief Pamela Smith sent to the Blade late Thursday evening.)

D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith led a contingent of D.C. police officers, including members of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, in the June 8 Capital Pride Parade with the chief and all the officers in uniform in what appeared to be a violation of a Capital Pride policy of not allowing law enforcement officers to participate in the parade in uniform.

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes most D.C. Pride events, including the parade, posted a statement on its website in June of 2020 announcing that a policy it adopted in 2018 that does not allow uniformed police officers to march in the parade remained in effect. The group told the Washington Blade this week in a statement that the no uniform policy remained in place for this year’s Pride parade.

In her own statement released on the day of the parade Chief Smith appeared to take exception to the no uniform policy without saying so directly.

“I am proud to march in today’s Capital Pride Parade in full uniform to support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and to further our commitment to creating inclusive and supportive environments,” the chief said. “MPD will continue to support, and ensure security, at Pride events and different community focused events year-round,” she said.

The chief’s statement, which was sent to the news media in a press release, added, “Having been selected as the department’s first Chief Equity Officer, and now as the Chief of Police, I’m committed to celebrating diverse identities. I will always stand up for diversity, equity and inclusion for our members and our community.”

In response to an inquiry from the Blade asking for confirmation of whether the “no uniform” policy was still in effect for the 2024 Pride parade, Capital Pride Alliance responded with a statement. 

“The Capital Pride Alliance policy concerning MPD remains in place,” the statement says. “If the group officially registers for the march, they must participate out of official uniform,” it says. 

“This year, the police did not register and as such were not an official parade contingent,” the statement continues. “The police chief walked the route with on-duty police officers, and being on-duty, officers are required to be in uniform.”

The statement adds, “We continue to have conversations with MPD, including the Chief of Police, about how we build a collaborative relationship with our community.”

D.C. police didn’t immediately respond to a Blade request for comment by Chief Smith or a spokesperson on the claim by Capital Pride officials that the police were not in an official contingent in this year’s parade.

But late Thursday evening on June 13, the day after the Blade reached out to the police for comment, police spokesperson Paris Lewbel sent a statement from Chief Smith expressing concern over the no uniform policy.

“I was not provided a policy from Capital Pride that informed me of the Metropolitan Police Department’s ban on marching in the Capital Pride parade in uniform,” the chief says. “As Chief of Police and the Department’s first Chief Equity Officer, I will always remain focused on ensuring that we, MPD, are inclusive of all members, partners, and stakeholders,” her statement says. 

“Now that I have been ‘told’ that there is a ban on the MPD from marching in the Capital Pride parade, in uniform, I believe there needs to be more conversations around inclusivity and equality,” the statement continues. “We have MPD members who are allies as well as members of the LGBTQ community who support Capital Pride and safeguard the participants and attendees of the parade,” the chief said. “We need to break down the silos that are excluding others and find a way to be more inclusive.”

The statement concludes by saying, “I am willing to work with Capital Pride to discuss ways where we (MPD) can be engaged in Capital Pride as participants in the parade, in uniform, as opposed to being excluded.”

Capital Pride officials did not respond to the Blade’s additional request this week for an explanation of why the no uniform policy was adopted and whether the policy is still needed.

In earlier statements posted on its website in past years, Capital Pride officials cited the Black Lives Matter movement and the police killing of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd that triggered anti-police protests across the country as an issue that made some in the LGBTQ community and others participating in the Pride parade uncomfortable in the presence of uniformed police officers.

“Pride this year comes on the heels of a global pandemic and a nation confronting the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers,” the group said in a June 3, 2020, statement. The Floyd case and the 2020 police shooting deaths of a Black woman in Louisville, Ky., and a Black transgender man in Tallahassee, Fla. “have created a nationwide uprising crying out for racial justice and the protection of Black life,” the statement said.

“As members of the Black and Brown communities have stood with the LGBTQ+ community, the Capital Pride Alliance stands in complete solidarity to unite against these disparities that impact communities of color,” the 2020 statement said. “We pledge that we will work together to find solutions and make positive changes that are so desperately needed to end inequity, injustice, and violence against people of color.”

Activists have acknowledged that the LGBTQ community nationwide has been divided over decisions to ban uniformed police participation in Pride parades in cities across the country, including New York and San Francisco.

A June 2019 nationwide poll of 801 LGBTQ people in the U.S. conducted by the polling firm Whitman Insight Strategies and BuzzFeed News found that 79 percent of LGBTQ adults said, “police should be welcome to join pride events,” with just 8 percent expressing opposition to police presence, according to BuzzFeed.

“People of color, who made up 21 percent of all survey respondents, support cops in pride events by 77 percent to 8 percent (15 percent say it makes no difference either way),” BuzzFeed reported in a June 24, 2019, article.

Earl Fowlkes, the founder and former CEO of the D.C.-based Center For Black Equity, which organizes D.C.’s annual Black Pride events, told the Blade that Black Pride has not adopted a policy of restricting uniformed police officers from participating in any of its events.

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District of Columbia

Cherry Fund files lawsuit  against Republiq Hall

LGBTQ nonprofit says breach of contract led to $137,000 in lost revenue

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Cherry Fund claims Republiq Hall canceled a contract for one of its popular events. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Cherry Fund, the D.C.-based nonprofit organization that has raised money for HIV/AIDS, mental health, and LGBTQ organizations for the past 27 years, filed a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court on May 31 charging Republiq Hall, a large entertainment venue in Northeast D.C, with abruptly and improperly cancelling Cherry Fund’s reservation to rent the hall for an April 6 event expected to draw 2,000 paid guests.

The event was to be one of several circuit dance parties that Cherry Fund produces as part of its annual Cherry weekend in April, which has raised several million dollars for LGBTQ related organizations since the Cherry weekend  events began in 1996.  

The lawsuit, which charges Republiq Hall with breach of contract, says the contract signed by the two parties in January called for Cherry Fund to pay Republiq Hall an initial deposit of $3,500 on Jan. 10, 2024, to be applied to a nonrefundable rental fee totaling $7,000 for the one-time use of the space on April 6.

Republiq Hall is located in a large former warehouse building at 2122 24th Place, N.E., near the intersection of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue. 

According to the lawsuit, under the contract, Cherry Fund “was responsible for promoting the event, booking talent, and managing ticket sales,” with Cherry Fund to “retain all door fee revenues and a percentage of the net bar sales.”

The lawsuit states, “On February 28, after Plaintiff had already begun promoting the event and booking talent, the Defendant unilaterally and without just cause demanded an additional $9,000 from the Plaintiff. When the Plaintiff refused to pay the additional amount, the Defendant cancelled the reservation.”

 As a result of Republiq Hall’s action, the lawsuit states, Cherry Fund was “forced to book an alternative venue with significantly less capacity, resulting in substantial financial losses.” 

It says as a direct result of the alleged breach of contract, Cherry Fund “suffered financial damages in the amount of $130,000 in lost door fees and $7,000 in a lost percentage of the net bar sales that were estimated to be collected on the date of the event.”

A spokesperson for Republiq Hall did not respond to a phone message from the Washington Blade requesting a comment and a response to the lawsuit’s allegations.

Court records show that Superior Court Judge Juliet J. McKenna, who is presiding over the case, scheduled an initial hearing for the case on Sept. 6. McKenna issued an order providing guidance for how a civil litigation case should proceed that includes a requirement that Republiq Hall must file a response to the lawsuit within 21 days of being officially served a copy of the lawsuit complaint.

Sean Morris, the Cherry Fund president, issued a statement expressing disappointment over the developments leading to the lawsuit.

“Our organization, powered by volunteer efforts, relies on our annual event to fundraise for local non-profits,” he said. “This abrupt and unforeseen demand, and subsequent cancellation, has severely affected our ability to support vital community programs focused on HIV/AIDS, mental health, and LGBTQ+ advocacy,” Morris says in his statement.

The lawsuit concludes by stating, “The Plaintiff, the Cherry Fund, respectfully requests the following relief: Direct compensatory damages for the lost benefits it was entitled to under the terms of the contract; Restitution for the benefits retained by the Defendant in unjust enrichment; Reasonable attorney fees and costs of this action; and Any other relief this court deems just and proper.”

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District of Columbia

D.C.’s beloved Duplex Diner closes its doors

Owners looking to open new location in Rehoboth Beach

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Duplex Diner owners Mark Hunker and Jeff McCracken. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Owners of D.C.’s Duplex Diner announced Tuesday that they closed the business immediately after the landlord terminated a sub-lease last month. They also announced that they are searching for a new location in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to open a “Duplex 2.0.”

A note posted to the door reads as follows: “On May 31st JAM Holdings, owners of Duplex Diner since 2014, were notified by our landlord that he was terminating our sub-lease effective July 31, 2024. We have come to an agreement to sell our assets to our general manager who will be creating a new concept in this location, but unfortunately, we must close effective immediately.

“This decision is not made lightly. We know how much The Duplex Diner has meant to so many people who worked here, played here, had our rosé-all-day here, laughed here, cried here, over-imbibed here, celebrated here, found love here, and trusted us enough to leave credit cards on file here. Like us, we hope you have memories that last a lifetime. We leave this community with love and gratitude and will miss this beloved neighborhood institution more than we can describe. Thank you all for making The Duplex Diner a stop on your journey! Stay tuned though! JAM Holdings is searching for a location in Rehoboth Beach to open Duplex 2.0 and continue its legacy.”

The Diner’s general manager, Kelly Laczko, posted a message on social media indicating that she plans to reopen under a new name in the same space. She wrote, “While the Duplex Diner owners may have closed the original spot abruptly, we will be opening your next hang in this location. We remember your order, know where you sit and when you left your credit card. … More to come.”

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