Could Gerrie Schipske Be Long Beach's First LGBT Mayor?

The councilwoman stands on the cusp of making that title a reality. But getting there hasn't been easy

I'm not saying Schipske is somehow hiding who she is. She has lived openly with her partner, Flo Pickett, for 33 years, raising three children and now doting on a 3-year-old granddaughter.

I'm not saying Schipske is not a passionate, vigilant, creative and proud force for LGBT equality, protection and opportunity.

What I'm saying is I—or anyone else—don't have any right, qualifications or desire to say anything for Schipske.

But the label of Long Beach's First Gay Mayor is around the corner, and the combination of Schipske's run for mayor and this weekend's Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride festival seems as though it's the time for it to start. On Sunday morning, Schipske's campaign trail is actually going to merge with the Pride Parade route, as Schipske rides a fire engine in the 1-mile parade down Ocean Boulevard. And it's a fitting crowning of sorts for Schipske. She was gay when gay wasn't cool, having homophobic smears hurled at her in campaign mailers and fliers during her initial efforts to win elected office, as well as listening to local "experts" opine that she couldn't be elected in the city's Fifth Council district.

Instead, she was elected—and re-elected. During her two terms in office, she didn't pander to gay voters and instead handled her council job by addressing issues on the merits and calling things as she saw them. She didn't shrink in silence if she believed the incumbent mayor and his council allies were wrong (including on an attempted parcel property tax that she helped derail).

Now that she's announced a mayoral run, incumbent Mayor Bob Foster (who hasn't announced his future plans) apparently wasn't big enough to include Schipske in a photo-op timed for the U.S. Supreme Court's arguments on Proposition 8. Foster's office issued a media release pretending LB's first openly lesbian and second openly gay elected official didn't exist. (Dan Baker was first.)

So when Schipske learned about the raising of a Pride flag at City Hall, she simply showed up, paying tribute to actions in Washington. The release from the mayor's office explicitly included Garcia as part of the event, but neither one of them acknowledged Schipske's presence.

*     *     *

THE BEST LITTLE GIRL IN THE WORLD
Perhaps the most unfathomable aspect of Schipske is how the hell she has done and continues to do so much after getting the ball rolling by working for the CIA reading intelligence reports on the wars in Southeast Asia.

*

OC WEEKLY: Who taught you how to do this? Or did it come naturally? And is it satisfying?

GERRIE SCHIPSKE: My parents were always doing something but didn't have the benefit of going to college. They had political views, but they expressed them around the kitchen table. My mom registered voters to make a little extra money for the house. On Election Days, our house was a polling place. They made sure we were involved in sports and scouting—I was a Girl Scout for 12 years. . . .

Maybe the biggest influence was the Sisters of St. Joseph, who taught me from first to eighth grades when we were in Orange County. They have a wonderful social-justice program. They got it out there that we are supposed to do. . . .

I guess it's a combination of things, although I do think being first born makes you more responsible. But someone's doing some research into the contention that gays and lesbians probably are the most effective elected officials. Part of that I kind of agree with, in a way. . . . You know about Ed Tobias, right? Wrote all these financial books, worked with the Democratic Party. But he also wrote this memoir, The Best Little Boy in the World, about how, especially those of us who are older, we started out with a mark against us about being gay. We work very hard in every other part of our lives so people can't point to us and say, "Oh, yeah, the reason so-and-so is like that is because they're gay." It resonated a little bit. When I heard about the study, I said, "You know, I think there may be some truth to that."

*     *     *

THE LIBERAL LESBIAN LAWYER FROM LONG BEACH
OC WEEKLY
: When you brought up the Best Little Boy book, it was the first time I ever heard you bring up your sexual . . . what's the word? Anyway, trying to be the best under such circumstances—it sounds like horrible pressure. And then at the end, it doesn't mean that people are going to treat you better. And maybe it creates another misconception about you, makes things more complicated, emphasizes the sense that you are different, that you are stigmatized.

GERRIE SCHIPSKE: It certainly was a stigma, and it's still a stigma outside a certain circle. [In the CIA,] I was working in top-secret situations and politically sensitive areas, and I didn't—I couldn't—let anybody know who I was, and that kind of circumscribes your life a little bit. It narrows your circle, forces you to change your pronouns when you're talking about what you've done over the weekend. That does have an impact. I'd make a wonderful spy. That is part of living in the intelligence community, where everything isn't what it appears to be. Those of us who are older, this newfound openness and tolerance has come later in our lives. This wasn't always there. That has an impact. You're very careful about what you do.

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25 comments
normru
normru

Gerrie, there's a huge pro marijuana vote in Long beach. Many remember ur stance on the dispensaries. If u lose 5-10% of that vote u lose the election. We all know u were leading the charge along w/Shannon. Yes u were part of the 8-1 vote but many of the others would have worked on a comprimise.

Look I know ur a highly intelligent person but many of the voters that were hurt by ur comments on the dispensary issue.. I believe this iis going to be a problem for u going forward. I really believe ur out of step with most voters in Long Beach on this.

deadjogger
deadjogger

The Naval Hospital referred to in the article is not the current Veteran's Administration Hospital near CSULB.  There used to be a Naval Hospital at the site of the current Long Beach Town Center site near the 605 and Carson.

James Rose
James Rose

Gerrie schipske is just like the rest of LB city council - lining their pockets with money. She also voted to shut down all medical marijuana dispensaries. The only thriving new businesses in long beach filling our vacant store fronts and bringing money into our city.

babybird8
babybird8

u go Gerrie Schipske, you have come a long way-don't stop now.

James Rose
James Rose

Only ugly people want to be politicians.

Oldschool Rocker
Oldschool Rocker

I don't mind a lesbian for Long Beach mayor, but why can't it be a hot lesbian? Why does it have to be a fat, bull-dikey, musty-pussy lookin' lesbo?

myming
myming

while no one is perfect, she comes close.

many fine achievements !

paullucas714
paullucas714

She has a lot of explaining to do to the LGBT community on why she chooses to be a tyrant in the area of medical marijuana.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

I am not being racist or not being hatred here but frankly I don't care about the LGBT crowd because it's vile behavior and they can't have babies the natural way anyway and Sodom and Gammorah were destroyed over it, so there.

"If a man lies down with anothe man it is a vile thing". - So they know that they are wrong but continue in thier vile behaviors anyway. 

egschipske
egschipske

@deadjogger  Sorry the Naval Hospital was located at 7th which is now the Veterans Hospital. The Naval Hospital was moved from 7th to the Carson site and then later closed.

egschipske
egschipske

@James Rose  So Mr. Rose, have you ever looked at my campaign reports or my form 700? Prey tell how am I "lining my pockets?" Unlike my colleagues who took money from the med pot owners and then voted to close them, I did not.

Johnny_K
Johnny_K

@Oldschool RockerOne look at Oldschool Rocker's facebook photos and you evidently tell that he fucks fat, bull-dikey, musty-pussy lookin' bitches.

egschipske
egschipske

@paullucas714  Hmmm. This comment puzzles me since Vice Mayor Garcia actually made the motion that closed the med pot places down..and it was supported 8-1. I ain't that powerful Paul.

egschipske
egschipske

@tongue_twister_for_t  Never said anything about two women. In fact, Jesus never said anything about the entire topic. Guess he didn't think it was too bad.

SickSnail
SickSnail

@tongue_twister_for_t "I am not being racist or not being hatred here...."

No, but you are doing a great job of being ignorant. And I'm not even remotely referring to your opinion about homosexuality. "
I am not being racist"..... well, duh. There is no reference to race so congratulations. You are not being racist. "not being hatred"..... being hatred? WTF kind of grammar is that, you moron? As if people with your views didn't have a tough enough time towing that line, it will always be an impossible task when they have to drag idiots like you along.

aliberaltexan
aliberaltexan

tongue twister:  You are full of sh*t period.

MaherSawaf
MaherSawaf

Seriously you should try it, you won't regret it ;)

paullucas714
paullucas714

@egschipske 


Gerrie here is your response when I asked you about the comparrison between Liquor Stores and Tobacco Shops in relation to cannabis collectives;

Gerrie Schipske "Until marijuana is made legal and growing is strictly regulated there is no comparison with liquor stores and smoke shops. Go for it. I am out of office in 18 months."
4 minutes ago · Like

This comment was in a thread you and I had on your page some months ago. I find it shocking to be honest. By that logic, until Same Sex Marriage is legal at the federal level but it is legal in CA since the Federal Govt doesnt recognize the legality of cannabis in CA at the Federal Level but it is legal under state law. Am I wrong to thin that in this situation, just as it is with Same Sex Marriage, especially since medical marijuana was brought to  us in the search for compassion for AIDS patients, we should be counting on you to fight for the rights of Long Beach and CA residents to have unfettered access to medical marijauna? And to go even further; shouldnt we feel safe that an elected member of the LGBT community will stand by the rights of CA residents to get unfettered access to medical marijuana? And as  nurse, shouldnt you be a warrior for the rights of seriously ill patients get unfettered access to medical marijuana?

Who the heck are you Gerrie Schipskie? For reals man?

paullucas714
paullucas714

@egschipske@paullucas714 

Gerrie here is your response when I asked you about the comparison between Liquor Stores and Tobacco Shops in relation to cannabis collectives;

Gerrie Schipske "Until marijuana is made legal and growing is strictly regulated there is no comparison with liquor stores and smoke shops. Go for it. I am out of office in 18 months."
4 minutes ago · Like

This comment was in a thread you and I had on your page some months ago. I find it shocking to be honest. By that logic, until Same Sex Marriage is legal at the federal level but it is legal in CA since the Federal Govt doesnt recognize the legality of cannabis in CA at the Federal Level but it is legal under state law. Am I wrong to thin that in this situation, just as it is with Same Sex Marriage, especially since medical marijuana was brought to  us in the search for compassion for AIDS patients, we should be counting on you to fight for the rights of Long Beach and CA residents to have unfettered access to medical marijuana? And to go even further; shouldnt we feel safe that an elected member of the LGBT community will stand by the rights of CA residents to get unfettered access to medical marijuana? And as  nurse, shouldnt you be a warrior for the rights of seriously ill patients get unfettered access to medical marijuana?

Who the heck are you Gerrie Schipskie? For reals man?

paullucas714
paullucas714

@egschipske @paullucas714  

Gerrie, you have done everything in hour power to stymie, hinder harrass, and confound any semblance of a workable scheme to facilitate the obtai8ning of medical cannabis to ALL Patients in your city. That includes those too ill with HIV, AIDS, Cancer, Diabetes etc etc etc. This is especially troubling in light that you are a medical professional. 

Think of it as akin to Marriage equality. Apparently on the books, one can marry a member of the same gender. But at every turn, the states or Federal Govt are in the practice to stymie, hinder harass, and confound the ability of ALL individuals to exercise that right. 

You voted against the dispensaries and worked to shut them all down. Even if it was as slight as turning a blind eye to the civil rights violations and outright fraud conducted by the agents of the city who are under your purview, this is akin to "Silence equals consent". 

In a conversation you and I had, you lamented the perception that the clients of dispensaries are "Stoners" and the operators as "drug Dealers".  Have you  done anything to  facilitate the acquisition of medical marijuana for the community members who are "truly Ill" and In need of Cannabis"? This seems to tbe the mantra of the prohibitionists such as yourself as I always hear from  the plikes of you that you are so in favor and support of those who "truly need cannabis" to use it.

So now my question for you is this; Since youve chosen to throw the babies out with the provrebial bathwater; how the heck do you propose to demonstrate your support for the LGBT community by taking effective steps on behalf of the city in support of the LGBT community to get the medicine they need in their hands without fear of prosecution from the authorities in LB Uniforms or under the cross deputizing of the Federal Agencies you call in like some sort of Pontius Pilot to allow you to wash your hands of this great violation of our rights under state law?

Maybe we should Ask Mellisa Etheridge a cancer Survivor how she feels about supporting your campaign when you have such a horrible track record on the issue of Medicinal Cannabis?

Will you tell her like you told me "oh well, go for it Im termed out anyway". Do you remember telling me that? IN WRITING!!??


 
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