Remembering Neil Goodby Christine Kehoe
Neil Good’s run for the San Diego City Council as an openly gay man in 1987 changed my life. But of course I didn’t know that then. Larry Remer once described Neil as “witty and urbane” a description Neil loved so much that he used it in one of his campaign pieces. Neil was truly a funny and fun-loving guy — wanting to be in the middle of everything in San Diego.
He loved Hillcrest and published Uptown a monthly that covered arts, leisure and dining all in Neil’s style — a sort of ’80s version of the swinging bachelor. That’s how we met. He put Uptown together at the offices of the San Diego Gayzette where I was the editor. One night he was talking about running for City Council. I barely knew what that meant, but I was intrigued and told Neil if he were to run I wanted to be involved. He breezed out, and I wasn’t sure he had paid any attention. Turned out he had.
Eighteen years ago, I became Neil’s one and only campaign staffer/manager, volunteer coordinator, receptionist, et al. I was it. But Neil was so capable and so enthusiastic about the race that it didn’t matter. He plopped a computer on my desk at his house, muttered something about “mail merge” and took off. He raised more money than both of his opponents (now, our former U.S. Congressman and former Mayor Bob Filner and former City Attorney Mike Aguirre) had wide support in the business community, especially travel and tourism. Neil bravely faced gay-baiting set-ups at community forums with dignity and grace. I will never forget how much I learned from Neil about our city and community as well as politics.
Although Neil’s loss by 385 votes was a painful defeat, he never let it show. He became more active in the LGBT community after the campaign including helping revitalize San Diego Pride. His death less than two years later was a loss for me and for all of San Diego.
About the author: State Senator Christine Kehoe began her career in politics winning this same seat six years later, becoming District 3’s first openly gay/lesbian representative at City Hall.