Doing HIV/AIDS awareness work in Florida
My Dad and I fishing on Barnegat Bay in NJ.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York. Both of my grandfathers came from Italy (one from Torino and one from Naples) to New York in the beginning of the 1900s. One of my grandmothers is Austrian-Jewish and the other one Ukranian. So my ethnicity is Italian, Ukranian, Austrian-Jew. Not a common mix, but in Brooklyn, not an oddity either.
My mother is a retired Public Health nurse and my father a retired cook who worked on tugboats and oil tankers out of New York Harbor in United Marine Division Local 333. I grew up in a small town in South New Jersey called Forked River. My parents worked hard to send me to college.
I have lived in SF for 10 years and in District 5 for five years. I have a Bachelor's in Business Management from Richard Stockton College of NJ and a Master's in Economics from Florida State University.
CAREER - Public Health/Education
After graduating from Stockton College I moved to Florida and got a job at a local Health Department as an HIV/AIDS Health Educator. This is where my love for education sprouted. At this time in Florida, there was still a lot of ignorance regarding HIV/AIDS. There were cases of people's homes being burned down because they were infected. I worked hard to educate people about the disease and humanize the people who were living with it.
In Florida, I was a Public Assistance Specialist and determined people's eligibility for public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid. I also worked as a Program Manager marketing the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides affordable health insurance to children from lower income families, and worked for Planned Parenthood in West Palm Beach as a sexuality educator for incarcerated youths.
In graduate school I worked for the Office of Communications for the State Department of Health and had the privilege of working on press conferences for the late Governor Lawton Chiles, who was an old style Democrat in a state that was moving Republican. Governor Chiles beat Jeb Bush to win his final term as Governor and dedicated the term to improving the lives of children in Florida. I went on to teach economics as an adjunct instructor at Indian River Community College.
When I moved to San Francisco, I took a job as the Director of the San Francisco Immunization Coalition (SFIC) working to educate San Francisco residents about diseases like pertussis, meningitis, measles and on the immunizations that prevent these diseases. As Director, I helped champion the use of the California Immunization Registry, which is a central computerized database of immunization histories. This allows a more mobile immunization record for the population, improving the safety and efficacy of immunizations for children in the state of California.
During my tenure at SFIC, I have worked hard to educate and raise awareness about pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough. In 2005, a baby in San Francisco died from whooping cough. The baby caught the preventable disease from his mother. After learning of this death and seeing a resurgence in the disease, in 2008, I started the San Francisco Pertussis Task Force to prevent needless deaths like this one from happening again in our city. I also Chair a Statewide Pertussis Task Force. I worked with the mother who lost her baby to get her tragic story out, including working with all of the birthing hospitals in San Francisco to educate and immunize parents of newborns. I have been a major advocate for a better, longer lasting, pertussis vaccine.
While working at SFIC, I have helped establish and maintain a successful eight -year partnership with the San Francisco Giants. In 2006, SFIC brought immunization advocate and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to a Giants' game to raise awareness about immunization and the diseases it can prevent.
In general, I am passionate about prevention and public health.
Maya Angelou said, "I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." I believe this to be true. I have always been involved in the community.
In Florida, I was a Big Brother in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
When I moved to San Francisco, I wanted to find out more about homelessness and what we could do to find a solution and alleviate the suffering of our homeless people. I became involved with North Beach Citizens (NBC), a homeless support organization founded by Francis Ford Coppolla. NBC's model is to treat the homeless as citizens of the neighborhood and utilize former homeless citizens in the program. This is a great approach which can be replicated to our neighborhoods in District 5. I have also been involved with the St. Vincent DePaul Society helping to cook dinner for the homeless every Thanksgiving.
Protesting the butterfly ballot in West Palm Beach.
In 2000, I was one of dozens of people in Florida protesting the butterfly ballot debacle and the Presidential election and Supreme Court appointment of George W. Bush.
In 2003, I was arrested, along with many other San Franciscans, protesting the War in Iraq. I am proud of the fact that I got arrested protesting an illegal, unjust, and costly war. I proudly keep my arrest citation.
Also in 2003, I volunteered for the grassroots campaign to Elect Matt Gonzales for Mayor.
In 2004, I made many trips to Nevada and worked hard campaigning for John Kerry, against George W. Bush.
In 2008, I helped phone bank and canvass for Barack Obama.
In 2011, I volunteered in the District 5 Supervisor office of Ross Mirkarimi. This allowed me to see firsthand the issues that are important in the District and the City.
In 2012, I ran for Supervisor of District 5 in San Francisco.
I feel it is important to mention my hobbies on this page because they are very much about who I am. I believe strongly in balance between working life and personal life. These activities have allowed me to take advantage of many of the characteristics that are unique and great about living in San Francisco and being active is an important way to stay healthy: physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I am a musician (drums, bass, guitar). While I have not made it my career (which is hard to do in our economy) I have been very active in the music scene in San Francisco, playing in many local venues and understanding the challenges that artists are faced with here. I have been in five musical projects in San Francisco: the Interchangeable Hearts, Pillow Pusher, Rocket Culture, Pono (currently) and Thrillouette (currently).
I am a passionate surfer (Ocean Beach, Pacifica, Bolinas), fisherman, a foodie - as many in my beloved city are, home brewer, a seven-time Burner, and play softball and basketball in San Francisco leagues.
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