Saturday, April 30, 2016

Game of Thrones (S6E01): "The Red Woman"

Episode 1 of Season 6 (S6E01) of HBO's Game Of Thrones is titled "The Red Woman." This is the first episode after the traumatic (and deadly) events of "Mother's Mercy" (S5E10) that concluded the Emmy-winning 5th season. This episode is also significant because it is the first one where book readers like yours truly really have no fracking idea what is going to happen on the show because the plot of the series has now moved past the plot of the books written by George R.R. Martin.

Unsurprisingly, the episode begins with a shot of Jon Snow's corpse, confirming what everyone has been saying since last June, that Jon Snow is dead. Interestingly, Castle Black seems eerily quiet, except for a baleful keening (presumably of Jon's direwolf Ghost). We get to see Ghost soon afterwards, along with Jon's closest friends at the Night's Watch, who help Ser Davos take Jon's body to safekeeping inside. Melissandre, the titular Red Woman, stops by and seems shaken by Jon's body, since she says that she had seen him fighting at Winterfell in the flames. (Although after what happened to Stannis and his Army at Winterfell despite the horrific burning of Stannis' young daughter at the stake in (S5E09) "The Dance of the Dragon" episode why would anyone listen to a word this witch says?)

One of the strengths and weaknesses of Game of Thrones is its expansive cast, which animates the internecine plot and complicated storylines. In "The Red Woman" we get updates on all our favorite characters. We see Sansa and Theon survived their jump from the ramparts of Winterfell and are now being chased through a beautiful frozen landscape. Eventually they are overtaken by Ramsay Bolton's men but just when things are looking really bad Brienne and her squire Podrick show up to save the day!

Things are not so happy for other characters we care about. Arya is still blind and is now begging (not very effectively) on the streets of Braavos and being bullied (or trained?) by another girl from the House of Black and White.

Jaime Lannister returns to Kings Landing bringing the body of his daughter Myrcella to Cersei, who takes the news rather calmly. The reason for this is that she believes the fortune told to her years ago by a witch who said she would have three children and that she would see them all die. (Look out King Tommen!) Jaime embraces his sister/lover and bitterly promises to get revenge on everyone who has harmed the Lannisters. ("F*** prophecy. F*** fate. F*** everyone who is not us.")

Queen Margaery is still locked up in the Sept of Baelor, being tortured watched by  Septa Unella. The High Sparrow himself visits and encourages her to confess. Margaery says that she has done nothing wrong, she has nothing to confess (you go, girl, deny everything!) but she does agree that everyone sins. The Sparrow nods approvingly, saying she is making progress but has "many miles to go yet" and tells her nothing about the fate of her brother Ser Loras. (This is not a good sign for the fate of the show's primary openly gay character, in my humble opinion.)

The less said about the Dorne sub-plot the better. The Sand Snakes kill three (very important) dudes.

Back at Castle Black, we see Ser Allister make his case to the men of the Watch why even though he was "loyal" to the Lord Commander, he was instrumental in assassinating him, because Jon Snow was intent on destroying the Night's Watch as it had been for centuries and turning it into something else. He offers amnesty and safe passage to Davos and Jon's friends if they abandon Jon's body and come out of the Lord Commander's office. Davos wisely doesn't trust Allister's word, and sends one of Jon's friends to get support from people who Jon had helped (presumably the Wildlings?)

On Essos, we see our favorite odd couple, the eunuch Varys and the dwarf Tyrion, walking through a curiously empty Mereen, talking about life, the universe and everything. They pass by walls with anti-Mhysa graffiti and then see huge billowing smoke and people running away. Interestingly, they hurry towards the commotion and see that Dany's fleet of ships is entirely on fire. There's no way that the Mother of Dragons is going to invade Westeros from the sea any longer.

Speaking of Khaleesi, we follow another odd couple, Daario and Ser Jorah who are trying to track down where Dany flew off on Drogon by following the trail of charred corpses of animals. We don't know how much time has passed since S5E10 but they are starting to worry about what's taking her so long to come back, and wonder if she even has the ability right now to do so, i.e. is she being held against her will. Jorah finally confesses that he, like Daario, loves Dany, but unlike Daario he hasn't shared her bed. (Which is a good thing, because Jorah's case of Stoneman's disease appears to be slowly growing worse, although in its current stage it just looks like a somewhat decorative tattoo.)

Finally we get to see Dany herself, in the middle of a stunningly huge Dothraki camp, a pale, blonde woman in a sea of brown-skinned people, mostly walking on foot or riding horses. She is strikingly different from anyone else there and so the Dothraki men are thinking unclean thoughts and speculating out loud about her physical attributes, unaware that the object of their gaze understands Dothraki despite her foreign appearance. Happily, they take her to the tent of their leader, Khal Moro, who laughs in her face when she declares in flawless Dothraki that she is "Queen of Mereen, Daenerys Stormborn, First of her Name, et cetera, et cetera." The women in the tent take one look at Dany and say "cut off her head" but Khal Moro is intrigued and wants to have this new prize for himself. Dany tells her that he is not the first Khal she has met, and informs him that she is Khal Drogo's widow. "It is forbidden to lay with the widow of a Khal" (which at least calms the fears that the show is going to go direct more sexual violence in Dany's direction). However, instead of raising her status and perhaps getting her a ticket back to Mereen this mean that as the widow of a Khal, she is supposed to go to Vaes Dothrak to live out her days with the other khal's widows. Uh-oh!

The highlights of this episode were:
  • The reveal at the end that Melissandre is really a centuries-old crone was pretty electrifying.
  • Seeing Ghost nuzzling on Snow's corpse and growling to defend it against Ser Allister's men was a highlight.
  • The enormity of the Dothraki camp, and the number of extras (I presume digitally included) still gives the show a scale nothing else on television has.
  • The best line on the show was probably Lord Ramsay Snow Bolton leaving his longtime lover's corpse and saying "She's still good meat. Feed her to the hounds!"
  • The second best lines were the comic relief of Khal Moro debating with his underlings exactly where on the list of the best things in life "Seeing a beautiful woman naked for the first time" should be: second, first or just top five?
  • Podrick feeding Sansa her lines in the oath of service as Brienne pledged her service to her lady was awesome.
The parts of the episode I could have done without:
  •  Dorne. Really? Did they have to kill off Prince Doran, his son Trystane and the fearsome warrior Areo Hotah in 90 seconds. The entire adaptation of the Dorne subplot from the books was just laughably bad on the show, demonstrating that Benioff and Weiss (the showrunners) don't get everything right.
Grade: 9/10.

Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 MADRID: Serena Withdraws, Roger Enters

The 2016 Madrid Mutua Open begins this weekend but the #1 seed will be Agnieska Radwanska since Serena Williams has withdrawn from the tournament due to a high fever caused by the flu.

On the men's side, Roger Federer has added the tournament to his schedule.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 Hugo Awards: The Nominations Are Out!

The nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards were announced today and the sci-fi blogosphere is verklempt about the impact of the execrable Rabid Puppies and ambiguously awful Sad Puppies.
The only category I really care about is Best Novel:

BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
I was able to nominate as well because I was a member of the 2015 Worldcon and these were my picks:
I made these selections because I was pretty sure that Seveneves by Neal Stephenson would be nominated anyway so I put Kim Stanley Robinson in instead. It's pretty amazing that Ann Leckie's Ancillary Mercy continues her success with each book in her Radhch trilogy being nominated for the Hugo award. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

EYE CANDY: Anthony Webster

Anthony Webster is an African-American model. He is on Instagram (@annthonywebsterr). Definitely looks like he qualifies as Eye Candy to me!

Friday, April 22, 2016

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Newspaper Front Pages Cover Prince's Death

Prince's untimely death yesterday made headlines all over the world. While we remember him, here is my Top 10 list of Favorite Prince songs:

  1. "Adore" from Sign O' The Times
  2. "Kiss" and "Venus de Milo" from Parade: Music from the motion picture"Under The Cherry Moon"
  3. "When Doves Cry" and "Purple Rain" from Purple Rain
  4. "Joy in Repetition" from Graffiti Bridge
  5. "Condition of the Heart" from Around the World in a Day
  6. "Little Red Corvette" from 1999
  7. "Gett Off" from Diamonds and Pearls
  8. "A Love Bizarre" from Sheila E.'s Romance 1600
  9. "Do Me Baby" from Controversy
  10. "When 2 R In Love" from The Black Album and Lovesexy

What's yours?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

SHOCK! Music Legend Prince Found Dead At Age 57

Today is a very sad day! One of my favorite musical artists, Prince Rogers Nelson, was found dead at his home in Minnesota; he was 57 years old. The Internet blew up with the news and even the White House issued a statement from the Obamas on the passing of Prince:
Today, the world lost a creative icon. Michelle and I join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of Prince. Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer. 
“A strong spirit transcends rules,” Prince once said -- and nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band, and all who loved him.
I'm so sad right now (all I can hear is that last 2 minutes of keening Prince does on the extended version of "Purple Rain" on loop in my head! )

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Game of Thrones: Another Teaser For Season 6 (Starts Sunday 4/24 9pm!)

There is a new trailer for the new season (#6) of HBO's Game of Thrones, which starts on Sunday April 24th at 9pm. There are new reports that this season may be the last "full" season of 10 hours, with the producers saying that they think they have about 13 episodes of story left. The television show has progressed further in telling the story in George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice and Fire books than the author has. Season 5 ended with some events that happened in Book 5 A Dance with Dragons and Book 6, The Winds of Winter is nowhere to be seen, although Martin claims that he is working hard on it.

I'm very excited that Season 6 is beginning this weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

QUEER QUOTE: Democrats Praise 4th U.S. Circuit Ruling In Favor Of Transgender Student

The 4th U.S. Circuit has upheld the Obama Administration's Education Department non-discrimination policy in a dispute with a Virginia school district over the rights of a transgender student to access education according to their preferred gender identity. The ruling is in the case of transgender male student Gavin Grimm in his lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board, who has enacted a policy that said that every student had to access restrooms and changing facilities based on their "biological sex at birth" and not their gender identity.

Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed reports:
The decision is a big victory for the Obama administration, which weighed in at the appeals court to support Grimm’s challenge, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has been pressing the case for protecting LGBT people under existing civil rights laws since 2012.  
The appeals court had heard the arguments in January, and Tuesday’s ruling is the first such ruling on the Obama administration’s policy — which it also has advanced regarding the sex discrimination ban under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
Among the states included in the 4th Circuit is North Carolina, which recently passed a law limiting restroom use in government facilities — including schools and universities — to that which corresponds with a person’s “biological sex.” The ACLU, which is backing Grimm’s suit, also has brought suit against the North Carolina law.
The Democratic National Committee sent the following statement praising the ruling:
“This court victory affirms that there is no commonsense reason to bar transgender students from using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity and that doing so is discriminatory and harmful. This ruling sets precedent in five states, including North Carolina, where Republican legislators and the Republican governor have embraced the exact type of discrimination that the court today has overruled. Republican legislators who continue to push anti-LGBT measures and the Republican presidential candidates who fan the flames of discrimination with ignorant rhetoric have been exposed by this ruling for what they’re truly peddling. Just this week, one of the Republican presidential candidates told victims of discrimination to ‘get over it.’ Well, it’s time for the Republican Party to get over their anti-LGBT bias and join the rest of the country in embracing the full equality of every American.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

EYE CANDY: Topher DiMaggio (3rd Time)

Topher DiMaggio has appeared as Eye Candy twice before (July 13, 2015 and January 25, 2016). Like most models these days, he has an active social media presence on Instagram (@thetopherdimaggio). He was apparently born December 27, 1985 but I'm not exactly sure when these pictures were taken. Regardless, he is definitely Eye Candy!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

2016 MONTE CARLO: Nadal Outlasts Monfils To Win Record 9th Title Here

Rafael Nadal's drought maybe over. Taking advantage of the shocking departure of World #1 (and defending champion) Novak Djokovic earlier in the week, the King of Clay was able to win his 28th Masters series event and 9th Monte Carlo crown by outlasting a surprisingly solid Gael Monfils 7-5 5-7 6-0. Nadal had last won here in 2012.

The final came about when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga dispatched Roger Federer 6-4 in the 3rd set but then lost in straight sets to his countryman Monfils in the semifinals. Nadal, on the other hand, took out the reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and World #2 Andy Murray (both in straight sets), in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. It's been well over a year (maybe 2) since Nadal has put together a series of such strong performances in a row against Top 5 competition. Monfils was even more impressive, as he was the only player to not lose a set all week during his path to the final.

Monfils was playing in his 25th ATP tour final (Nadal's 100th) and trying to win his first ATP Masters Shield (and 6th career title). Instead, Nadal won his 68th career title and became the first player to win two different tournaments an incredible NINE different times (he has also won the clay-court grand slam Roland Garros 9 times). Both players are twenty-nine years old.

The two tour veterans put on one of the most entertaining finals of the year to date, sharing 34 breakpoints between them, in a contest which lasted 2 hours, 46 minutes. In the end, though, Monfils simply ran out of gas and Nadal was able to punish his erstwhile rival's lack of energy in the deciding set without conceding a game.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2016 MONTE CARLO: SHOCK! Djokovic Loses To Vesely In 3 Sets

For the first in 2016, World #1 Novak Djokovic finished a completed match not as the victor. It happened in his first match on clay in Monte Carlo (which is basically his home court--he lists his residence there), losing to lefty Czech Jiri Vesely 6-4 2-6 6-4 in just over 2 hours. This is the first time in over 84 matches that Djokovic, 28, has lost to a player younger than he is (Vesely is 22). Vesely is currently ranked #55 and it is the first time Djokovic has lost to someone outside the Top 50 in over 5 years (Xavier Malisse at Queens Club in 2010).

Djokovic was forced by an eye infection to retire in the Dubai quarterfinals, but has won every other tournament he has played in since the 2015 Cincinnati Masters. The Monte Carlo Masters defending champion is now 28-2 for the year. (At this point last year Djokovic was 17-0). This loss on clay must put a damper on his chances of finally clinching the French Open this year, although it probably increases the likelihood that he will play in Madrid. It also gives hope to fans of Roger Federer that maybe this is the year Federer can win in Monte Carlo!

QUEER QUOTE: NC Gov Signs Exec Order To Try To Stem Backlash Against Anti-LGBT Law

Republican Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina is attempting to mitigate the severe backlash that his state has received since he signed into law HB-2, a bill that explicitly discriminates against GBT citizens. On Tuesday he announced that he was issuing an executive order to prohibit discrimination in state employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. But this does not make up for specific ways that the original bill will damage and harm LGBT citizens in North Carolina.

Today's Queer Quote is from Lambda Legal's response to McCrory's action:
The devastating blow of HB 2 will not be fixed by the band-aid of an executive order. While this is an improvement for the state employees it impacts, HB 2’s reach goes far beyond what the executive order addresses and that’s why we are challenging this extreme and discriminatory measure—in order to ensure that everyone who lives in and visits North Carolina is protected under the law. 
HB 2 is an attack on fairness in employment, education, and local governance that encourages discrimination against thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home, and it particularly targets transgender people.
Sorry, Governor. When even your state's Attorney General won't defend your hate measure in court because they think it is flagrantly unconstitutional and you're trying to fix the measure with executive order, don't you think you should just admit you made a mistake and #repealHB2?

Monday, April 11, 2016

EYE CANDY: Daniel Royal Georges (reprise)

Daniel Royal Georges is a trainer and bodybuilder who has appeared as Eye Candy once before (December 21, 2015). He has a great Instagram page (@royalelite_fit) where he shares his progress to "get shredded." His stats are that he's 6-foot-2 and 24-year-old but he says that his weight varies between 200 to 230 pounds, depending on when he's competing in bodybuilding competitions.

I think we can safely say he is phyne at any weight, am I right?

Friday, April 08, 2016

Colombia Joins The Group Of Countries With Full Marriage Equality!

Great news on the international LGBT equality front! The Supreme Court of Colombia has ruled 6-3 in favor of marriage equality.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court voted in favor of legal marriage equality today, in a 6-3 decision, reports Spanish-language Colombian LGBT media outlet EgoCityThe ruling takes effect immediately, meaning same-sex couples can now marry throughout the South American nation.  
The decision was not wholly unexpected, as the court had long been considering a case filed by four same-sex couples who argued that the state was required to provide equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.  
In 2011, the Constitutional Court ordered the national congress to create a law establishing marriage equality by June 20, 2013. Lawmakers failed to meet this deadline, which means same-sex couples in Colombia have technically been able to legally recognize their relationships since 2013, though to do so couples were required to seek out a notary or judge to formally solemnize their commitment.  
Because there was no definitive policy regulating these unions, many same-sex couples were turned away by judges and notaries. Four such couples filed the lawsuit that was decided today, which determines that no judge or notary can legally refuse to marry a same-sex couple.
The Advocate seems to indicate same-sex couples can marry in Colombia now because the ruling should go into effect immediately but that has not been confirmed by other sources.

Hat/tip to Joe Jervis

Mathematical Analysis Reveals TYRION Is Main Character of Game Of Thrones

This is really cool! io9 reports on a mathematical analysis of the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin to demonstrate that the Tyrion Lannister is the actual main character of the series.
After ranking the characters through various methods, the three most common characters that could be perceived as the “main” stars of the series emerged: Sansa Stark, Jon Snow, and—at the top in pretty much every measured regard—Tyrion Lannister. 
It’s not really that surprising—each chapter of a book in the series is told from the perspective of a different character, and Tyrion has the most chapters to his name across the whole saga. 
The type of mathematics being deployed here is called "network science." You can read the text of the original article (titled "Network of Thrones") at Math Horizons.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: In Mississippi, New Law Says Religion Trumps Civil Rights

What a shocker! More bad news out of Mississippi regarding civil rights and the equal treatment of all its citizens. Governor Phil Bryant, A Republican, signed House Bill 1523 into law on Tuesday. The bill, which goes into effect in July, is titled "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act" and purports to provide people with "sincerely held religious beliefs" the right to deny services and public accommodations to certain people. But it is also to support only certain religious beliefs, such as:
The act states that the government cannot penalize an individual, organization, or business for acting according to the following "sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions": that "marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman"; that "sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage"; and that "male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth."
It looks flagrantly unconstitutional as well as discriminatory to me. It will be interesting to see if the response to Mississippi's bill mirrors the negative response North Carolina and Indiana have received for enacting similiarly bigoted legislation.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Fusion Adds Data To #GayMediaSoWhite Discussion

John Walker at the Fusion website analyzed the covers of the magazines of The Advocate, Out and Attitude and produced this useful infographic (seen above) to determine the (lack of) diversity represented therein.

The summary of the data is:
Representation on the cover of Out, June 2011 – May 2016In the past five years, Out has featured 78 people on the cover of its magazine. That figure includes repeat appearances by Dustin Lance Black, Ellen Page, Neil Patrick Harris, and Zachary Quinto. The mag’s upcoming May 2016 issue will feature Troye Sivan, a gay white singer-songwriter from Australia who rose to fame on YouTube.
Sixty-six of those 78 people have been white (85%), and 31 of those white people have been queer and/or trans (40%). Twelve of the 74 individuals featured on Out‘s covers have been people of color (15%), and eight of them have been queer people of color (10%).Representation on the cover of The Advocate, June 2011 – May 2016I was unable to locate cover imagery for the following six issues of The Advocate: September 2011, December 2011, January 2012, May 2012, June 2012, and July 2012. But of the covers I was able to find—excluding the publication’s more abstractevocative cover art—at least 35 people have been featured on the cover of The Advocate over the past five years.At least 10 of those 35 individuals have been people of color (29%). At least eight of those 35 were queer and/or transgender people of color (23%). That includes the mag’s April/May 2016 cover star DeRay Mckesson, a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement who is currently running for mayor of Baltimore.Representation on the cover of Attitude, June 2011 – May 2016Attitude has featured 111 people on its covers in the past five years. That tally includes repeat appearances by Adam Lambert, Dan Osborne, Gareth Thomas, Greg Rutherford, Harry Judd, James Hill, Thom Evans, and Tom Daley.
One-hundred and six of those 111 have been men (95%). The remaining five were women (5%), all of whom were white. (This gender disparity isn’t as troubling as it could be, given that—unlike The Advocate and OutAttitude is specifically marketed to gay men.) No trans or nonbinary people of any race or ethnicity have been featured on the cover of Attitude in that timeframe.
The overall data can be summarized with this final quote of the data analysis is:
By the way, of the 21 people who appeared on more than one of these magazine covers, we found that seven (33%) are straight white cisgender men. Two of the repeat cover stars are queer women (10%), Lady Gaga and Ellen Page. Just one (5%), Michael Sam—who has been seen on both Out and Attitude—is a person of color.

EYE CANDY: Junior Khoza

Junior Khoza is a trainer and model with a popular Instagram account (@juniorkhoza). He's this week's Eye Candy model.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

2016 MIAMI: Djokovic and Azarenka Complete Rare Indian Wells-Miami Sweeps

Djokovic     Azarenka
At the 2016 Miami Open Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka won titles this weekend by defeating their respective opponents, Kei Nishikori and Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets. What's surprising here is that both Djokovic and Azarenka also won at Indian Wells two weeks ago, completing what is known as the Indian Wells-Miami double. Azarenka is the third woman to achieve this (after Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996 and Kim Clijsters in 2005). Of course the primary reason 8-time Miami champion Serena Williams has not completed this task is because she boycotted Indian Wells for over a decade. That being said, Serena did play both tournament this year, and lost to Vika in the Indian Wells final and lost to Sveta in the Round of 16. Azarenka is now 21-1 for 2016 while Serena is 14-3!

The rise of Azarenka back to the top 5 of women's tennis is impressive but what Novak Djokovic is doing is extraordinary. He won his 28th ATP Masters Shield title, which is one more than Rafael Nadal's haul of 27. In fact, Djokovic has reached 11 consecutive Masters Series finals in a row, and compiled a record of 56-2 in that time period. In Miami, Djokovic won his third title in a row and 6th overall (now tied with Andre Agassi), having won in 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He has completed the Indian Wells-Miami double four times!

Friday, April 01, 2016

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Bill Rosendahl, Openly Gay LA City Councilman, Dead At Age 70

Bill Rosendahl, the first openly gay man elected to the Los Angeles City Council, died this week (Wednesday March 30th) at age 70 after a long battle with cancer. Rosendahl was a host of a local public affairs cable television show before entering politics, and was succeeded by his chief of staff Mike Bonin, who wrote the following obituary for his former boss:
Widely known for his beaming smile and a booming voice, Rosendahl befriended both the powerful and the downtrodden throughout his lifetime and during his eight-year stint representing the Westside on the City Council. 
Often called the “Conscience of the City Council,” Rosendahl focused on seeking solutions to the problem of homelessness, promoting mass transit, curbing overdevelopment, and giving neighborhoods a greater voice in city decision-making. He was the first openly gay man elected to the Los Angeles City Council, and served from 2005 to 2013, when he retired to battle a stage four cancer that was diagnosed in the summer of 2012. Toward the end of his tenure in office, he became an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana, which he used to combat the side effects of cancer treatments. 
He will be missed!


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