Tag Archives: Jim Rivaldo

SF: R.I.P. Jim Rivaldo

(As Alex Clemens noted, “We are very, very, very diminished.” – promoted by Bob Brigham)

This diary is cross-posted on Daily Kos.

Today I received word on the local San Francisco community board The Wall that a city legend, gay rights pioneer and one of the late Harvey Milk’s closest confidants, Jim Rivaldo passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 60 after succumbing to liver cancer, a condition he suffered for some time.

In case you haven’t seen the notice on Suspects, word comes that Jim passed away today. Fair Winds and Followings Seas. If anyone has a suitable pic of Jim we can put up please forward.

For those of who are young or fairly new to San Francisco, I found this article in the San Francisco Sentinel that briefly profiled his career.

He was a close friend and confidant of the late Supervisor Harvey Milk, and worked on Milk’s campaigns, which included unsuccessful bids for state Assembly and supervisor before he was elected to the board in 1977. Disgruntled former Supervisor Dan White gunned down Milk and Mayor George Moscone in their City Hall offices November 27, 1978.

He was actually the last person to speak to Milk before he and Moscone were killed. Most importantly, he forged a path for openly gay politicians in both parties.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano read the commendation, which highlighted Rivaldo’s work on the No on 6 (Briggs initiative) campaign, which saw the measure to ban gays from teaching in public schools go down to defeat in 1977.

In a brief interview, Rivaldo told the Bay Area Reporter that the highlight of his career was “my association with Harvey Milk.”

“There’s nobody better,” said Rebecca Prozan, co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, which honored Rivaldo with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was similarly honored by the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, which he co-founded with Milk when it was known as the Gay Democratic Club.

“While he focused much of his attention on LGBT candidates and issues, to far less fanfare, Jim helped elect every African American candidate in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1976 served as treasurer in the campaign that brought us district elections,” Ammiano stated.

Those district elections were abandoned in the aftermath of Milk’s murder, but city voters passed another version of district elections several years ago that remains in place today.

Rivaldo also served as the first openly gay state commissioner, appointed by Milk to represent San Francisco on the North Central Regional Coastal Commission.

“Through Jim’s efforts and leadership, we have the Office of Citizen Complaints, domestic partnerships, and ironically, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian Republican organization, the Log Cabin Republicans,” the commendation states.

In the brief obituary in todays’s Examiner, it was written that he also consulted Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Assemblyman Mark Leno. I never personally met Jim Rivaldo, but I value the wisdom he shared on “The Wall” and any exchange I had with him was a pleasure.

Jim Rivaldo was a treasure in this city, and he will be sorely missed. God’s Speed, Jim.