Real Estate News
Lorie Zapf follow up
Published Thursday, 16-Sep-2010 in issue 1186
Last Friday, our community got some good news from the San Diego Association of Realtors (SDAR) which decided to suspend its endorsement of Lorie Zapf for City Council. Zapf failed to disclose a number of crippling personal details including her open gay-hatred and her operation of a short sale scam with husband Eric. Zapf is now forced to remove the Realtor thumbs-up from all campaign material and won’t have access to the organization’s PAC funds. Thanks to all who took a moment to contact SDAR, both as Realtors and as clients. Your direct involvement helped immensely. Professional credit is owed to SD City Beat’s Dave Maass and Realtor Pat Flannery from blogofsandiego.com.
Before we uncork the Prosecco in victory, let me offer a more dire reality: Zapf is still on the ballot. We must use all legal measures to ensure her defeat. The best way to start: Write a check to her opponent - our great straight-ally Howard Wayne. His campaign needs phone bank volunteers, precinct walkers, yard sign displays, our votes and our money. Reach the campaign at www.howardwayneforcitycouncil.com If you’re a Realtor and tend to vote per SDAR’s recommendations, know that Howard Wayne has twice-before been endorsed by SDAR. He’s reasonable, balanced and bright.
Lorie Zapf’s dark cloud reminds me of a silver lining I once shared with Randy Laurie, owner of Laurie’s Landscaping NUYRD4U@cox.net. Randy is the consummate friend and as far as human beings go, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one. He just finished an incredible landscape design/installation at the north county home of actor Richard Dreyfuss and wife Svetlana.
In 1993 Randy, I and several friends attended the second GLBT March on Washington. It was late April. Just days before, the National Holocaust Memorial Museum opened to crushing crowds. Without reserved tickets we were relegated to the main and lower level of this emotion-filled testament to the strength of the human spirit. Randy and I beat the rest of our group to the basement where a crew was just setting up to film a sit-down interview. I caught a glimpse of Randy sitting down on the floor in front of the interviewer and her subject. He motioned me over with a look that said “Don’t miss this!” I scurried to join him and soon the room overflowed with the curious. In the darkened space, the camera rolled and our lives changed for the better.
The interview subject was a tidy, debonair man of slight proportions and a bright smile. His name was Gad Beck. He was recording his personal holocaust story as a gay, half-Jewish man. We sat in hushed amazement as Beck described his imprisonment in Berlin’s Rosenstrasse “transit camp.” He and partner Manfred Lewin had been swept up in a Nazi raid of known homosexuals. Rosenstrasse was a hub for deportation to Nazi “work” camps, but by this time in the war, there were no illusions as to the fate of detained workers.
Beck won eventual release through the pleas of his non-Jewish relatives and devised a daring plan to free Lewin. He posed as a Hitler Youth and sprung Manfred. As they made their escape through the streets of Berlin, Lewin suddenly stopped and told Beck that he was returning to the camp to be with his own family, stating that without them he would never be free. They parted amidst hugs and tears never again to know the touch of the other.
Beck immigrated to Palestine, eventually returning to postwar Germany - all the while advocating for GLBT rights. As an old man he was visited one day by the daughter of one of his former captors, an SS guard. She handed him a tattered envelope with his name written on the outside. In it was a lock of hair from his beloved Manfred, collected by the guard and saved for decades in hopes of, in some small way, reuniting the two men he’d seen in love years before.
As Beck told the story, we openly wept. From this upright, aged, wisp of a man I saw real strength; real evidence that love transcends gender, time and all attempts to extinguish it. I have never forgotten his smile and his sense of duty, then or now, to continue our fight.
Lorie Zapf is nothing next to the Nazi genocide. But her hate smacks of the same political expediency that led to the WWII deaths of over 10 million Jews, gypsies, disabled persons, the ill-bred, in-bred and us, too.
We are more fortunate. Our assignment is to stamp out hate in the post-MLK, post-Harvey Milk era. Gad Beck looked Adolph Hitler’s killing machine in the face, witnessed the loss of his true love, and still managed to make great good from great evil. Can we do less with the penny-ante likes of Lorie Zapf?
The San Diego Association of Realtors considers itself a hallmark of tolerance. It’s had an openly-gay president in recent years and so has its umbrella group the National Association of Realtors. But tolerance is no virtue when those haltingly tolerated demand acceptance. Until organizations like SDAR recalibrate their values to accept, rather than tolerate, they will find themselves hopelessly caught in the crosshairs of history - where I assure them they will find no quarter as an awkward vestige of the unenlightened era preceding full equality.