December 8, 2017

Stonewall Democratic Club applauds Ms. Lopez’s courage in naming the assemblyman who assaulted her, Matt Dababneh (D AD45).

New allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful men are being exposed at a dizzying pace. More than 150 women have testified publically that the California legislature is too hostile and toxic an environment for women to work safely. Alleged perpetrators are free to continue abusing women as victims are bullied into silence lest they risk their careers. It is in this light that the heroism of Pamela Lopez is all the more remarkable. Ms. Lopez recounted in horrifying detail the assault she endured, and the threats she says that Dababneh, chairman of the Assembly's Banking and Finance Committee, made to compel her silence.  While Dababneh has denied the allegations we find Ms. Lopez’s account extraordinarily credible. She was joined at the press conference by Jessica Yas Barker, President of the San Fernando Young Democrats and a former coworker of Dababneh ‘s who quit her job because of his misogynistic behavior.

In the wake of these allegations, Stonewall’s Steering Committee called for Dababneh’s resignation. On Friday, Dababneh announced that he would resign. Stonewall repeats its call for Senator Tony Mendoza, who is also alleged to have acted inappropriately towards women, to join his assembly colleagues Bocanegra and Dababneh in submitting his own immediate resignation.

Stonewall Democrats call on the leaders of both parties to act promptly to purge predators from their ranks and to end a pernicious culture of silence that shames victims and shields influential men.


Stonewall Democratic Club Denounces Sexual Misconduct By California Legislators

November 21, 2017


Inspired by each other, women across the country have bravely come forward to tell their stories, building the powerful #MeToo movement. Victims have spoken out against misconduct by powerful men in entertainment, journalism, business, and politics. Women in California politics are also making their voices heard. Staffers, lobbyists, and politicians working in Sacramento have reported a pervasive environment of sexual harassment and misconduct towards women and a systemic culture of silence that stymies public disclosure.

Two prominent Democratic state legislators are, rightly, undergoing public scrutiny for their alleged behavior: Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). We will not be silent. Stonewall Democratic Club stands with the women who have come forward. The credible claims against these legislators cast serious doubt about their fitness to continue with the duties entrusted to them. Stonewall calls on Bocanegra and Mendoza to immediately resign from elected office.

While a staffer, Bocanegra was disciplined secretly for sexual misconduct, a fact that was withheld from constituents of the 39th Assembly district. In anticipation of new allegations reported in the Los Angeles Times, he released a written statement on Nov. 20, indicating that he will not seek reelection and that he intends to resign, effective September 1, 2018. This half-step does not suffice. Mr. Bocanegra needs to vacate his seat immediately. A man engaging in such conduct should not continue to receive a paycheck and roam the halls of the capitol.

The accusations against Mendoza are also numerous and disturbing. In addition to sexual misconduct there are at least three claims of retaliation against staffers who attempted to bring his behavior to the attention of higher-ups. An external firm has been hired to investigate the charges and steps were taken to remove Mendoza from key committees. Procedural measures will do little to restore confidence in his ability to function credibly under these circumstances. Mendoza’s constituents deserve better, as does the California Democratic Party.

Representing the people of California is a privilege, not a right. Those who use the authority entrusted to them as a license to abuse, harass, or engage in sexual misconduct are unfit to hold public office.




November 8, 2017

Stonewall Democratic Club celebrates the successes of its endorsed candidates, Lisa Middleton and Florencio Briones, in the November 7 elections, as well as historic victories by Democrats nationwide.

Lisa Middleton was elected to the Palm Springs City Council, becoming the first and only out transgender person elected to municipal office in California. Middleton has committed to fight homelessness and to expand the use of renewable energy.

Stonewall member Florencio Briones was elected to the El Monte Unified School District Governing Board. Briones, who received Stonewall’s endorsement, thanked Stonewall for its support and said: “It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing I will represent my community as the first openly gay man on the board of trustees. I look forward to serving my community with honesty and integrity.”

Democrats won sweeping victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and municipal offices coast-to-coast in yesterday’s elections, defeating Republicans who relied on racist and anti-LGBT appeals. Stonewall President Lester Aponte said: "Yesterday, we saw what happens when we Democrats pull together and get voters out to the polls. We have a lot of work to do in the next year to turn America back to a progressive path."

The elections were also marked by historic achievements by transgender Democrats. Joining Middleton as a newly elected councilmember is Andrea Jenkins, an out black transgender woman, who was elected in Minneapolis. Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the nation’s only out transgender state legislator.

Democrats were led to victory by a slate of diverse candidates. Women picked up a majority of the state legislative seats that had been held by Republicans. In Seattle Jenny Durkan, an out Lesbian, was elected mayor. Latinx, Asian-American, and African-American Democrats were also at the forefront of Tuesday’s Democratic successes.

Voters across the nation have sent a message loud and clear: Republicans do not speak for us. America is a diverse country and we deserve diverse leadership. We look forward to Democratic victories in 2018 and 2020 and to the election of even more women, people of color, and LGBTQ progressives in the years to come.




September 5, 2017

The Stonewall Democratic Club condemns the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. Since its inception in 2012, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people who have grown up in America to continue to contribute to the only nation they have ever known.

Stonewall President, Lester Aponte, said: “In the never-ending parade of horrors that has marked Mr. Trump’s tenure in the White House this is one of the most heinous and harmful acts yet. The Dreamers are an integral part of American society. They are our neighbors, our classmates, our co-workers and, for many, our family. There are, of course, many Dreamers who are also LGBTQ. But their plight matters to us, not just for that reason, but because we are all Americans and the cruelty that is being visited upon them affects all of us.”

We call upon Congress to immediately enact legislation protecting the Dreamers from deportation and allowing them to continue working and/or studying in the US. And we urge all Americans to lend them a helping hand. 

The Immigration Legal Resource Center has issued the following Community Advisory for current beneficiaries of the DACA program:…/def…/files/resources/if_daca_ends.pdf

Additional resources are available through immigrant rights organizations throughout the country.


El Club Democrático Stonewall condena la decisión de la Administración Trump de poner fin al Programa de Acciones Diferidas por Llegadas de la Niñez (DACA). Desde su creación en 2012, DACA ha permitido a cientos de miles de jóvenes, que han vivido en los Estados Unidos todas sus vida vivir y trabajar y contribuir abiertamente a la única nación que han conocido.

El presidente de Stonewall, Lester Aponte, dijo: "En el interminable desfile de horrores que ha marcado el mandato de Trump en la Casa Blanca, éste es uno de los actos más atroces y dañinos. Los Soñadores son una parte integral de la sociedad Americana. Son nuestros vecinos, nuestros compañeros de clase, nuestros compañeros de trabajo y, para muchos, nuestra familia. Hay, por supuesto, muchos Soñadores que también son LGBTQ. Pero su situación es importante para nosotros, no sólo por esa razón, sino porque todos somos Estadounidenses y la crueldad con la que se le ha tratado a ellos nos afecta a todos."

Hacemos un llamamiento al Congreso para que promulgue inmediatamente legislación que proteja a los Soñadores de la deportación y que les permita continuar trabajando y / o estudiando en los Estados Unidos. E instamos a todos los Estadounidenses a que les presten ayuda.

El Centro de Recursos Legales de Inmigración ha emitido la siguiente Consulta Comunitaria para los beneficiarios actuales del programa DACA:…/def…/files/resources/if_daca_ends.pdf

Recursos adicionales están disponibles a través de organizaciones de derechos de los inmigrantes en todo el país.



August 25, 2017


In a follow-up to his July tweetstorm, Donald Trump issued a memo on Fri., Aug. 25, ordering the Defense Department to ban recruitment of transgender individuals. He also decreed that the military could not spend money on transitional medical care and gave the Secretary of Defense wide latitude to limit the roles in which transgender individuals may serve, leaving the door open to an outright ban.

Trump’s directive is unconstitutional and harms our military. It is disruptive to the lives of transgender active duty service members and to the units in which they serve. The military is weakened when its doors are closed to heroic transgender individuals who desire to serve their country.

Stonewall President Lester F. Aponte said, "There is no justification to ban patriotic Americans who are qualified to serve our nation from doing so. Mr. Trump chooses to curry favor with the extreme right without any regard for the incalculable harm it will."

“We're banned from bathrooms, we’re banned from professional spaces, and now we're being banned from the military,” said Ashlee Marie Preston, Stonewall Transgender Affairs Chair.

Military leaders have spoken about the value transgender service members bring to the armed forces. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said, “Thousands of transgender Americans are currently serving in uniform and there is no reason to single out these brave men and women and deny them the medical care that they require.”

Trump’s directive willingly sacrifices the wellbeing of service members and the nation to gain political support from the far right. Stonewall calls upon Congress to take bipartisan and immediate action to protect the rights of transgender service members and to block Trump’s politicized meddling into military personnel matters.

Stonewall also strongly supports legal challenges to this order by transgender service members, including the lawsuit spearheaded by NCLR and GLAD.

A more detailed reaction to Trump’s attack on transgender service members can be found on our Facebook page.



For Immediate Release

August 21, 2017

LOS ANGELES – The Stonewall Democratic Club is saddened by the tragic loss of Gemmel Moore, who died in West Hollywood, and again sends its condolences to his family and loved ones. Stonewall President Lester Aponte said: “Gemmel Moore is not a number. He’s not a statistic. He was a person. He had his hopes and fears, and people who loved him. He was as important as anyone. People are not disposable, and they are not interchangeable. We, as progressives, must never forget that.”  

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating the circumstances of Mr. Moore's death. Stonewall calls for a complete and thorough investigation.  We encourage anyone with relevant information to fully cooperate with law enforcement investigators. And we urge law enforcement to allow witnesses to come forward without fear of prosecution.

Allegations continue to arise relating to Ed Buck’s conduct.  While Mr. Buck is legally entitled to the presumption of innocence, those allegations are horrific and Stonewall condemns anyone who would engage in such conduct.  Previously, Stonewall requested and accepted the resignation of Mr. Buck as a member and from our Steering Committee.





For Immediate Release 

August 12, 2017

Los Angeles, CA--On Saturday August 12, 2017, the entire nation watched in horror as hundreds of our own citizens marched in the streets of an American city carrying Nazi and Confederate flags and yelling racist and anti-Semitic slogans. 

As if this spectacle was not shameful enough, we then watched as those demonstrators engaged in violent clashes with counter-protesters.  Then a car was intentionally driven into a crowd, killing an innocent woman and wounding many others, in what can only be described as domestic terrorism. 

We Americans have come to rely on our leaders, most particularly the President, to provide solace and a sense of direction in difficult times.  We look to them to speak to our sorrows and our determination to do better.  But no such leadership came from the man who today calls himself President of the United States.  Instead, we heard a rationalization that violence comes from “many sides” and a personal defense to the effect that these outrages have been happening “for a long time,” as if his own courting of the White supremacist vote has nothing to do with it.  We are right to be horrified by these events and by Mr. Trump’s dereliction. 

The poisonous ideology that was in the faces of those protesters and in the heart of the man who murdered Heather Heyer with his car is spreading.  It has reached the highest levels of our government and Mr. Trump will not disavow it.  It cannot be dismissed as a fringe movement or a passing curiosity.  As Democrats, we must do more than bemoan the state of our body politic.  We must stand up loudly for the true American values of inclusion and equality.  But we must do more than that.  We must also provide all Americans with a positive vision for the future.  A future for all of us.  It is time, to not just resist, but to show the way to a better future.  As Harvey Milk taught us:  “You gotta give them hope.”

-Lester F. Aponte, President, Stonewall Democratic Club




For Immediate Release

August 8, 2017

Los Angeles, CA -- We mourn the tragic loss of Gemmel Moore, who died in West Hollywood on July 27, 2017, of what the coroner determined to be an accidental overdose of methamphetamine (meth).  We are saddened to see the promising life of this young black man cut unnaturally short.  We send our condolences to Mr. Moore’s family and all who cared about him at this difficult time and hope that they find peace.  This terrible tragedy is a stark reminder of the devastating and deadly effects the use of meth and other dangerous substances are having on our LGBTQ communities, particularly among our youth and communities of color. 

In the wake of this tragedy, there have been allegations made against Mr. Ed Buck regarding the circumstances of Mr. Moore’s death.  We understand Mr. Buck has not been charged with a crime and we cannot comment on those allegations.  They are serious, however.  We have requested, therefore, and accepted the resignation of Mr. Buck as a member of the Stonewall Democratic Club and from the Stonewall Democratic Club Steering Committee.




For Immediate Release

July 26, 2017

Los Angeles, CA -- Transgender service members who have shown their commitment to protecting our freedoms deserve only commendation for their dedication to our country.

In a tweetstorm this morning, President Trump announced that our transgender patriots would no longer be allowed to serve “in any capacity” in the U.S. military. This action is an affront to the dignity of our transgender service members. It is also harmful to our country’s national security interests.

The politically motivated attack on our active service members by Trump and Congressional Republicans reverses inclusionary steps taken by the Obama Administration, which established a policy that service members “can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender.”

The Stonewall Democratic Club stands united against the Trump Administration's discriminatory policies targeting our communities.  Steve Dunwoody, a Senior Advisor to Vote Vets and a member of Stonewall Democratic Club’s steering committee said, “This bigoted attempt to bar transgender Americans from service in the Armed Forces is a smack in the face to the more than 7,000 transgender people currently serving here and abroad. This comes on the heels of the 69th anniversary of the desegregation of the military by President Truman.”

“We're banned from bathrooms, we’re banned from professional spaces, and now we're being banned from the military. The objective of this hate policy is to ban us from every space within society until we cease to exist,” said Ashlee Marie Preston, Stonewall Transgender Affairs Chair.

Stonewall President Lester Aponte said, “The Stonewall Democratic Club condemns this regressive, mean-spirited policy and pledges to fight to reverse it in every way we can.  And we urge our community, and all Americans, to speak out for our transgender citizens, who are daily marginalized, brutalized and rejected.”

The Stonewall Democratic Club demands that transgender service members be allowed to continue their service and, furthermore, insists that the military begin active recruitment of transgender individuals who are willing and ready to serve. We call on Congress to take immediate action to protect the rights of all Americans to serve in our armed forces.  




For Immediate Release

June 28, 2017

Los Angeles, CA -- The Stonewall Democratic Club strongly supports single-payer health care and, in particular, the Healthy California Act, Senate Bill 562.   Support for this legislation will no doubt be a critical factor in many members’ decisions regarding endorsements next year.  We are, therefore, extremely disappointed with the decision by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to keep SB 562 in the Assembly Rules Committee indefinitely rather than allow the full Assembly to vote on that very critical legislation.  At a time when the Republican Congress and President Trump are bent on destroying our nation’s health care system and deprive millions of medical care, it is incumbent on California to lead by guaranteeing its citizens universal health care at long last.  

The platform of the California Democratic Party affirms our party’s commitment to single-payer healthcare:

California Democrats believe that health care is a human right not a privilege. We recognize the health and well-being of Californians cannot continue to be based on arbitrary private and public financial decisions and therefore advocates legislation to create and implement a publicly funded (single-payer), privately delivered, fiscally tractable, affordable, comprehensive, secure, high-quality, efficient, and sustainable health care system for all Californians.  (2016 Platform: Health Care)

SB 562 would fulfill that promise.  We therefore urge Speaker Rendon and Assembly Democrats to move this legislation forward at the earliest possible time. 




PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA - 28 de Junio de 2017                                                      

 El Club Demócrata Stonewall apoya fuertemente el establecimiento de un sistema de cuidado de salud de un solo pagador y, en particular, el Proyecto de Ley Senatorial 562, conocido como la Ley de una California Saludable (“Healthy California Act”).  El respaldo a esta legislación sin duda será un factor crítico en las decisiones de muchos de nuestros miembros en relación a que candidatos van a apoyar  en las elecciones del próximo año. Por lo tanto, estamos extremadamente decepcionados con la decisión del Presidente de la Asamblea, Anthony Rendón, de mantener a el proyecto SB 562 indefinidamente en el Comité de Reglas de la Asamblea en lugar de permitir que la Asamblea completa vote sobre esa legislación tan crítica. En un momento en que el Congreso Republicano y el Presidente Trump están empeñados en destruir el sistema de salud de nuestra nación y privar a millones de atención médica, es la responsabilidad de California ser un líder en al fin garantizar a sus ciudadanos el cuidado de salud universal.

La plataforma del Partido Demócrata de California afirma el compromiso de nuestro partido con el cuidado de salud de un pagador único:

Los demócratas de California creen que el cuidado de la salud es un derecho humano y no un privilegio. Reconocemos que la salud y el bienestar de los californianos no pueden seguir basándose en decisiones financieras arbitrarias privadas y públicas, y por lo tanto abogamos por legislación para crear e implementar un sistema de financiamiento público (“single payer”), que sea fiscalmente manejable, asequible, completo y seguro , de alta calidad, eficiente y sostenible para todos los californianos.

(Plataforma 2016: Cuidado de Salud)

SB 562 cumpliría esa promesa. Por lo tanto, exhortamos al Asambleísta Rendón y todos los Demócratas en la Asamblea a que hagan avanzar esta legislación lo antes posible.


State Senate Candidate Anthony Portantino,
Fierce Advocate for LGBTQIA Community

October 12, 2016

Los Angeles, CA - The Stonewall Democratic Club is pleased to have endorsed State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino for California State Senate early on in the campaign cycle.  While there were many qualified Democrats in this race, he was the only candidate in the race who had decades of history defending LGBTQIA rights in the public sphere.  Anthony Portantino was and continues to be that candidate.

Anthony began his political career serving as a Councilman for eight years in the City of La Canada Flintridge and went on to serve as an Assemblyman in 2006 for three terms (six years).  Now Portantino is competing to become the State Senator from District 25. 

Club President Stephen David Simon had this to say about Portantino, “He has been a bulwark for LGBTQIA rights here in Los Angeles and in the State Legislature, and I know he will continue to be so once elected as a State Senator.”

Portantino has been supporting the LGBT community for many years.  He has successfully authored laws to bring more federal dollars to California to fight AIDS and to streamline the HIV testing process.  Here are three of the HIV Bills he authored that were signed into Law:

AB 2899 HIV AND AIDS COUNSELING - Requires Department of Public Health to develop an HIV counseling program. (This one Law alone has helped an untold number of HIV patients)

AB 221 HIV TESTING: SKIN PUNCTURES - Exempts specified HIV counselors from phlebotomist certification requirements.

AB 2541 HIV: MONITORING AND FUNDING - Helps California draw federal funding by ensuring all cases of HIV are included in names-based conversion.

In addition to these efforts, for the past nine years, Anthony has convened the highly respected San Gabriel Valley HIV Action Summit at City of Hope Hospital. Every year the summit has focused on critical issues facing HIV/AIDS treatment after more than three decades since its discovery. 

6 years ago, he worked with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and authored Assembly Bills No. 144 & 1527 making it illegal to openly carry firearms in the State of California.  He worked with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Gov. Jerry Brown signed these bills into law in October of 2011.  He was able to overcome fierce lobbying efforts by the NRA and he met with headwinds from some of his fellow Democrats.

Anthony is also a Women’s Rights advocate. As the spouse of a successful businesswoman and the father of two wonderful daughters, Anthony proudly recognizes the accomplishments of successful businesswomen in the 44th Assembly District.  Nearly 500 people attend the Women in Business awards luncheon in what many folks in the 44th AD call the most uplifting event of the year.  Anthony hopes to continue the program upon his election to the State Senate.

Awards he has received for his outstanding work include, 2011 Hero Award - Stonewall Young Democrats, Extraordinary Advocate Award - California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Public Policy Award - Sierra Club - Los Angeles Chapter, and the Distinguished Service Board of Directors Award - Habitat for Humanity - San Gabriel Valley.

For Anthony, the LGBT community has a special place in his heart, making the struggles for equality and acceptance deeply personal. He has fought for each and every member of our community and will continue to do as State Senator.

The State Assemblyman had this to say, “The legislation I’ve authored and the initiatives I’ve championed have all been in the spirit of ensuring that everyone can be included and share in our community. I have been a long-time supporter of the LGBT community and I am proud to work with Stonewall Democrats”.

To learn more about Anthony Portantino please visit his website  


SDC Steering Committee Member Marilyn Grunwald

to be Honored at 24th Annual Access Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Congratulations to Ms. Grunwald! The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Commission on Disabilities are pleased to announce that she has been selected as a 24th Annual Access Awards and ADA25 Anniversary Celebration Awards honoree. Ms. Grunwald was selected by long time SDC supporter Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to receive this special recognition for your outstanding work in the community and commitment to promote equality and improve the quality of life for people living with a disability.

The Luncheon will be held on Monday, October 19, 2015.




(From CA.Gov)

SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments.

Vito Imbasciani, 69, of Los Angeles, has been appointed secretary at the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Imbasciani has been director of government relations at the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group since 2004, where he has been a urologic surgeon since 1997. He served as state surgeon for the California Army National Guard from 2006 to 2014 and as a surgeon in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1986 to 2014. 

Imbasciani is president-elect of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and a member of the California Medical Association Board of Trustees and the California Association of Physician Groups Board of Directors. He earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts degrees in musicology from Cornell University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $188,451. Imbasciani is a Democrat.

Congratulations from all of us at Stonewall!




Stonewall_Democratic_Club_BBQ_Stephen_Simon_Paul_Koretz.jpgWest Hollywood, CA – While the event was primarily a fellowship gathering to enjoy good food and company, the organization chose to also highlight the work of Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz in front of over 50 Stonewall members & elected officials gathered at the West Hollywood Park by honoring Mr. Koretz. Prior to joining the Los Angeles City Council, Mr. Koretz served as a West Hollywood City Councilmember. In 1975, he was the first heterosexual male to join the Stonewall Democratic Club. 

After receiving his Stonewall award, Mr. Koretz stated, “As a proud member of Stonewall, it has been my great privilege to work time and again on countless vital issues that Stonewall has courageously championed, and we have accomplished many significant victories.  Stonewall provides inspiration and profound friendships, and I eagerly look forward to years to come of this cherished partnership.  I will always be grateful for this kind and caring tribute.”

Also in attendance were West Hollywood Councilmembers John Duran, Lauren Meister, and John Heilman.  The event attracted Los Angeles elected officials as well, including Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang, LA City Controller Ron Galperin and LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. Also, Los Angeles Community College Board members Andra Hoffman and Sydney Kamlager attended.

The organization boasted significant sponsorship raising prowess by raising thousands of dollars to support their pro progressive equality agenda.  Major sponsors included U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Eric C. Bauman and husband Michael Andraychak, Garry S. Shay and husband Burt Burlant, along with Paul Dumont and HERE Lounge.

Additional sponsors included State Senator Ben Allen, State Assemblymember Richard Bloom and wife Robbie Black, Ed Buck, West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath , West Hollywood Councilmembers John Duran, John Heilman, and Lauren Meister, LA City Controller Ron Galperin, Todd Elliott Esq., LA Community College Board member Andra Hoffman, Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz, and Stonewall’s Programming Committee Chair Jane Wishon.


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