LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The Uptown Interim Height Ordinance should be extended

The current 24-year old Uptown Community Plan and related zoning allow for building heights of up to 150 feet and 200 feet along portions of Washington Street, University Avenue and 4th, 5th and 6th Avenues in Bankers Hill/Park West, Hillcrest and Mission Hills. However, Uptown is not Downtown, and such taller buildings would overwhelm these lower scale, profile and historic character of the Uptown neighborhoods.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Hillcrest could be so much more

I opened my store, Cathedral, in Hillcrest in March of 1995. I chose Hillcrest because of its unique character, diverse clientele, specialty retail and creative restaurants.

Over the past 17 years I have loved being a part of this community. I serve on the board of directors for the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) and chair its Marketing Committee. I have enjoyed what Hillcrest has to offer.

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COMMENTARY: Reflecting on MLK Day about need for LGBTQ justice in the Black Church

Today's MLK Day.

I am proud to count myself among the many people working for social justice today who stand on the shoulders of Martin Luther King Jr.

Too many people think King's statements regarding justice are only about race and the African-American community -- thus excluding the LGBTQ community.

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COMMENTARY: "Pariah" is the story of a sister outsider rarely seen in film

Seldom do I see my image anywhere, especially portrayed in non-stereotypical and non-heterosexist ways on the silver screen. As a matter of fact, if you Google "black lesbians" or "black lesbians in film" you’ll get a plethora of porn sites to visit.

But writer-director Dee Rees’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama "Pariah" gives me a glimpse of my younger self-growing up in Brooklyn.

COMMENTARY: Turning coal into diamonds

Those who think that the Salvation Army will never change its anti-marriage equality status might want to think again.

I recently agreed to attend a lunch meeting with my friend Johnathan Hale, Hale Media's publisher, about which I was quite nervous. We had agreed to meet with a woman who works in a senior staff position with the local chapter of the Salvation Army.

Why the nervous jitters?

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COMMENTARY: Roman Catholic Church ramps up its war against LGBT community

The Roman Catholic Church has been in the news quite a bit lately. At times, it seems like positive change is happening. We saw this recently when, under pressure, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago issued an apology for his comments comparing the LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan. It was a small victory, and was prompted by a large outcry, but gave us a glimmer of hope that the Roman Catholic hierarchy may be slowly coming in line with the vast majority of Catholics who already support their LGBT friends and family.

COMMENTARY: Love and compassion can go a long way in changing hearts and minds

I am pleased to see a story in this week’s LGBT Weekly encouraging members of our local LGBT community to rally in support of the San Diego Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in University Heights, which authorities say has been targeted by several hate-motivated arson crimes.

In the article, community activist and columnist Nicole Murray-Ramirez said that she is working to contribute an additional $5,000 to the reward fund that has been set up to find the perpetrators of the hate crime, from an anti-hate crime fund originally endowed by and for the LGBT community.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A better IHO for Hillcrest

The future of the derelict building across from Urban MOs has finally been determined.

Over the last few years, plans for 301 University have ranged from residential tower, to mixed use residential/retail, to boutique hotel – each with community amenities, extra parking, new residents and an active retail street scene. However, these plans have failed due to differing visions of Hillcrest’s future.

Now, one plan has succeeded: 301 University is to be a Walgreens store.

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COMMENTARY: Black LGBTQs finding their voice for the future

Having voice in the Black community is still an arduous struggle for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) community. As we cross over into 2012, one of our biggest accomplishments in 2011 has been the various ways in which LGBTQ of African descent have employed different public venues to be heard. These following venues will be used as instruments of change in our future struggle.

The court

COMMENTARY: An open letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about military sexual abuse

(Editor's note: This guest commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SDGLN. The authors penned this for wide distribution and is titled "A Call for Fundamental Change: An open letter to the Honorable Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, on the need to fix how rape and sexual assault is handled in the military." In light of the incremental changes announced by the Department of Defense on Dec.