Governor Jerry Brown has called for a special election to fill the seat vacated by Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. On April 3, 2018, voters in the 54th Assembly District will have to choose between Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who currently serves on the Community College District Board of Trustees or Steve Dunwoody, a veterans advocate and former staffer in President Obama’s office who would become the first openly gay Black man to serve in the assembly. This fact causes 2UrbanGirls to double back to a controversial death last year of a gay Black man at the home of a prominent Democrat donor who is also gay and a former donor of Sydney’s.
In July 2017 Gemmel Moore overdosed in the home of Ed Buck, a prominent political donor. Moore lived as an openly gay Black man, who at times resorted to performing sexual favors to survive. Moore kept a journal describing his abuse of drugs and that Buck was the one providing them.
Political Commentator Jasymne Cannick led the charge to encourage prominent Black elected officials to return his tainted money to Gemmel’s family. Between August and October 2017, numerous articles were released updating the public on whether the Black elected officials stood in solidarity with Gemmel and returned their donations to his family to help bury him.
August 17, 2017, Cannick updated her personal website to reveal Congresswoman Karen Bass donated her contribution from Buck towards the cost of Gemmel’s funeral. Bass’ office released a statement the following day condemning Buck and acknowledging the returning of her contribution to Gemmel’s family.
August 31, 2017, Cannick released a partial list of recipients of Buck’s campaign cash, in an article titled “Petition Calls on Democrats to Return Money From Donor at Center of Scandal Involving the Death of Black Gay Man” and Kamlager-Dove’s name was included as having received $500. At the time, she had not returned it.
Another article was released on the Justice 4 Gemmell website October 13, 2017, titled “What Politicians Have Taken Ed Buck’s Dirty Money?” This article was updated to detail the full list of donation recipients and also who returned the money and/or contributed towards the funeral of Gemmel since their names were first listed in August. The article didn’t reflect Sydney returning the money.
The article was updated to include a letter of outrage from LA Councilmember Mike Bonin and noted City of West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico donated $25 of the $38,700 he received from Buck to Gemmel’s family.
Today, 2UrbanGirls reached out to Ms. Kamlager-Dove and asked if she returned the $500 campaign contribution to Mr. Buck to which she replied, “Yes. Last year immediately.”
To date there is neither a record of Kamlager-Dove returning the donation nor a statement condemning the actions of her former donor. She chose to remain silent. Here is a poignant excerpt of Cannick’s article:
The silence from L.A.’s Democratic community on the death of Gemmel Moore and Ed Buck is no better than Black cis folk looking the other way because he was a gay sex worker and the white gays doing the same because he was Black.
The lives of Black queer folks can’t only matter when it’s February, pride season, convenient or popular.
The Ed Bucks of the world win when their money can literally mute an entire political party and it sends a message to victims that their lives are expendable and aren’t worth the bother.
This is why we lose and will continue to lose in 2018. We don’t practice what we preach.
On a side note, Board of Equalization candidate Scott Svonkin hasn’t returned the $1,000 he received from Buck either.
Gemmel’s family continues to fight to have Buck held responsible for his death.