Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 50 / 14 December 2017
 

Conservatives denounce Ugandan antigay bill

Tom_CoburnAs LGBT Bay Areans held a rally today (Thursday, December 10) to protest a Ugandan bill that would have authorized the killing of homosexuals, conservatives in the United States also voiced opposition to the proposed legislation.

Both Conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn (pictured at right)  and California Pastor Rick Warren came out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

In a statement issued through a gay GOP group, Coburn called the bill misguided and said he feared if it were enacted it would derail efforts to stop the spread of HIV in the African country.

“Over the past two decades, political, religious, and community leaders in Uganda have united to promote a rare, winning strategy against HIV that addresses the unique and common risks of every segment of society.  Sadly, some who oppose Uganda’s common sense ABC strategy are using an absurd proposal to execute gays to undermine this coalition and winning strategy,” stated Coburn, a doctor from Oklahoma. “Officials in Uganda should come to their senses and take whatever steps are necessary to withdraw this proposal that will do nothing but harm a winning strategy that is saving lives.”

In the press release from GOProud, a group for gay conservatives and their allies, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee also spoke out against the homophobic legislation.

“I am deeply saddened and troubled that such blatantly ignorant and hate-filled legislation would see the light of day anywhere in today’s world.  It needs to be stopped in its tracks immediately,” stated Ros-Lehtinen.

On Wednesday Warren posted a video statement on YouTube in which he called the Ugandan measure “unjust, extreme, and un-Christian towards homosexuals.”

Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud, called on President Barack Obama, in Norway today to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, to speak out against the Uganda bill.

“President Obama’s lack of leadership on international human rights issues is appalling. From his refusal to confront the radically anti-gay regime in Iran to his refusal to speak out against this proposed Ugandan law – this President’s silence speaks volumes about his priorities,” stated LaSalvia. “It is time for this administration to stand up for human rights across the globe.  Not another day should pass without President Obama making it clear that he unconditionally opposes this Ugandan law.”

While she did not refer specifically to Uganda, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did say in a speech timed to World AIDS Day last week that the United States government must “stand against any efforts” to discriminate against the LGBT community worldwide.

One of the organizers of the local rally, Gary Virgina, sent out a message early this morning in which he hoped to see a positive outcome in Uganda. He said that LGBT people and their allies, no matter where they reside, must speak out against homophobia and anti-gay laws in any part of the globe.

“We live in a world of many atrocities but we can not let distance or the enormity of an issue lead us to inaction or feeling helpless.  On the contrary, let’s own our power and stand up with PRIDE and demand a STOP to HATE and HOMOPHOBIA everywhere!” wrote Virginia.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 10, 2009 @ 1:44 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Mayor’s gay liaisons to leave end of December

Alex Randolph (right) and Alfredo Pedroza (center), seen with James Oerther, will leave the Newsom administration later this  month

Alex Randolph (right) and Alfredo Pedroza (center), seen with James Oerther, will leave the Newsom administration later this month

The two gay aides to Mayor Gavin Newsom will leave their City Hall jobs at the end of December, the administration announced Wednesday, December 9.

Both Alfredo Pedroza, Newsom’s liaison to Districts 9, 11 and the Latino Community, and Alex Randolph, the mayor’s liaison to District 7, 8 and the LGBT Community, will depart as of December 27 after three years working in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

The two were ubiquitous presences at numerous LGBT events around town. They both sent out emails to friends and colleagues announcing their departures and thanking the mayor for hiring them back in 2006.

“I am extremely honored that Mayor Newsom gave me this tremendous opportunity to serve him and our community every day,” wrote Randolph, who formerly worked on the re-election campaign of District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty. “I saw first hand how committed Mayor Newsom is to ensuring that government has a high level of accessibility and responsiveness to its citizens and I am grateful that I was allowed to play a role in making that happen.”

Pedroza was also effusive of the mayor for giving him the chance to work in city government.

“As a kid born and raised in the Mission and Excelsior Districts I lived it first hand, I just never dreamed I would work in City Hall and get a chance to help change it for the better,” wrote Pedroza.

It was unclear whether the mayor would hire two new people for the positions or delegate the duties to other staffers within the neighborhood services office. The mayor’s spokesman Joe Arellano did not immediately respond to the Bay Area Reporter‘s question.

[Update: Arellano sent the B.A.R. an email to say that the mayor does plan to hire a new LGBT liaison.]

Randolph said he had yet to figure out what his next job will be. But with Dufty already campaigning to be mayor in 2011 and dozens of candidates already running for supervisor next year, there are plenty of opportunities to return to campaign work.

In his email message, Pedroza, who formerly worked as a parks advocate at several agencies, wrote that he looks “forward to working with all of you in the future as I take up my role in the community once again.”

Both said that anyone residing in the districts they covered or are part of the communities they reached out to on behalf of the administration and needs assistance from City Hall can call the main neighborhood services office line at 415-554-7111.

They also directed people to contact Mike Farrah, director of neighborhood services, at 415-554-5944 or at mike.farrah@sfgov.org.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 9, 2009 @ 3:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man sentenced to life in death of bartender

The man who killed a veteran Tenderloin and South of Market bartender in
August 2006 was sentenced to life in prison Friday, December 4.

Joseph M. Caldwell, 42, who stabbed roommate Rodney Wild to death,
will not be eligible for parole for 56 years, according to a statement from
District Attorney Kamala Harris’s office.

According to the district attorney’s office, Caldwell had stabbed Wild more
than 11 times with a butcher knife during an argument in their Tenderloin
apartment. Wild had called the police at approximately 3:45 a.m., and police
found Wild in a pool of his own blood.

He was declared dead an hour and a half later. The police arrested Caldwell
outside the apartment building, according to Harris’s office.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that at his sentencing last week in Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson’s court, Caldwell said that he
expects to die of AIDS behind bars if he isn’t freed on appeal.
Caldwell also said, “I intend to be buried face down, so all those who had a
hand in my prosecution can kiss my gay white ass,” according to the
Chronicle.

“This defendant mercilessly stabbed and slashed his own roommate to death
with cold calculation,” Harris said in a statement. “The sentence handed
down today reflects the stark cruelty and senselessness of the defendant’s
crime.”

Wild’s last place of employment had been as a bartender at Rich’s Club 93,
located on 9th Street near the corner of Mission Street.

David Kapp, owner of the now-defunct Club Rendez-Vous, told the Bay Area
Reporter
in 2006 that Caldwell had once come into the bar with a hatchet and
chopped up the bar and some tables, then attempted to hurl the hatchet at
one of his bartenders, but missed. Kapp said Caldwell served prison time for
the incident.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 7, 2009 @ 12:10 pm PST
Filed under: News


Castro Gold’s Gym set for total makeover

The owners of the Gold’s Gym in the Castro have begun shopping around preliminary plans to expand the health club and add two floors of rental housing to the building at 2301 Market Street at Noe.

The Jackovics brothers have operated the gym for the last decade and are looking to add a third floor to the workout area as well as expand the women’s locker room area. They have hired the Tsao Design Group to oversee the project.

They are meeting with Castro neighborhood groups to gather feedback on their proposed development for the corner site, located on one of the gateway intersections leading into the city’s LGBT district.

At the monthly meeting of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro Thursday, December 3, Sebastyen Jackovics showed preliminary drawings for the new building but stressed that the development is not set in stone.

“We are here as an open book to share our ideas with all of the neighbors,” he said. “We are here to listen to what you have to say and want to create a design everyone can be proud of.”

The current structure was built in 1963 and the plan is to wrap the addition around the concrete building and keep the gym open during construction. The top two floors would have up to 18 rental units with a separate entrance on Noe Street.The required affordable units would be built on site.

“It is an unfortunate building. It was built like a bomb shelter,” said F. Lee Moulton, the lead architect, of the existing two-floor building.

The gym’s entrance would stay in place on Market Street, while a new retail space would be situated on the corner. No new parking would be added for residents; the underground parking would remain solely for use by gym members.

“The idea is this is an urban area where people can walk and shop,” said Moulton.

At the proposed 65 feet, the design would need a zoning variance as well as other city approvals. A final design is expected to be presented to the Planning Commission sometime in mid 2010.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 3, 2009 @ 6:29 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Activist Karger asks for help with legal costs

kargerA California activist who’s been subpoenaed by Prop 8 backers is asking for help with his legal expenses.

Fred Karger (pictured at right) and friends launched Five for Fred this week. In a Wednesday, December 2 e-mail that asked supporters to “Please get out your MasterCard,” Karger asked for minimum contributions of $5.

“I am truly a citizen activist,” Karger said in his e-mail. “It is just my laptop and me. I am more committed than ever to gathering and publishing information that is essential to a full and fair debate over Proposition 8 and the forces behind it.”

In September, the National Organization for Marriage and Protect Marriage, which raised more than $40 million to pass the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in California, subpoenaed Karger. Through a federal lawsuit, the measure’s backers are trying to end disclosure of all campaign contributions in California.

On the Five for Fred Web site, Karger said that the subpoena calls for him to produce all emails, correspondence, and other information dealing with his activities with Californians Against Hate since January 1, 2008, along with several Web sites.

He noted that they did not request communications related to
www.mormongate.com, which examines the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ support of Prop 8.

The Californians Against Hate site has featured a “dishonor roll” of Prop 8 contributors, and was launched around the same time that Karger called for a boycott of hotelier Doug Manchester. Manchester, whose properties include the Grand Hyatt in San Diego, gave $125,000 to support the marriage ban.

Karger said in his message that Prop 8’s supporters are harassing him, since California and Maine are investigating the National Organization for Marriage after he filed complaints on their campaign reporting practices.

Another California investigation involves a Karger complaint against the Mormons over their campaign reports.

The investigations are ongoing, according to Karger.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:57 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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