Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Spending cap lifted in District 8 supervisor race

The spending cap in the District 8 supervisor race continues to rise as campaign funds flood into the coffers of the four openly gay candidates seeking the seat. Several candidates are well on their way to raising $200,000 for their bids to represent the Castro, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights and Glen Park at City Hall.

For the second time this week the city’s Ethics Commission raised the funding cap in the race after a candidate reporting surpassing the already set limits.

After Deputy City Attorney Scott Wiener reported Wednesday, September 29 that he had collected nearly $168,000 for his campaign, the city agency raised the individual expenditure ceiling for his opponents to $163,000.

The commission had already lifted the cap from $143,000 to $153,000 the day before after both Wiener and local attorney Rafael Mandelman reported raising more money than the lower amount.

Business executive Bill Hemenger and Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Prozan have yet to file reports that they had surpassed the funding limits. Because all four candidates have qualified for public financing, they are required to adhere to the spending limits imposed by the Ethics Commission.

The agency can raise the ceiling in increments of $10,000 based on the sum of opposition spending against the participating candidates and the total supportive funds of the candidate’s opponents.

Candidates are required to inform the agency within 24 hours of receiving contributions or making expenditures that equal or exceed $100,000 and for every $10,000 thereafter. Any person making independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or member communications that clearly identify a candidate in the race is also required to file a “Third Party Disclosure” form within 24 hours each time the person spends $5,000 or more per candidate.

While the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club spent $7,400 for a billboard on Market Street at Sanchez plugging its dual endorsement of Prozan and Wiener in the race, the club was not required to notify the Ethics Commission because the total amount when split between the two candidates was less than the $5,000 threshold.

Today (Thursday, September 30) is the deadline for campaigns to report how much they have raised so far, with their paperwork due to the Ethics Commission by Tuesday, October 5. The next reporting deadline is October 21, and every 24 hours thereafter up to Election Day Tuesday, November 2.

— Matthew S. Bajko, September 30, 2010 @ 1:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

New run of play for students announced

YouthAware Educational Theatre has announced the next round of Outspoken performances as a rash of teen suicides apparently related to anti-gay harassment continues.

Outspoken examines differences in sexual orientation, race, and other reasons many young people feel ostracized in school and in their communities.

The play, which has been presented to California teens since 2004, will tour Northern and Central California schools from October 26 – December 9.

In a statement today [Wednesday, September 29], Equality California said that Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old from Tehachapi, California, died yesterday. He’d hung himself nine days ago because of years of bullying he endured for being perceived as being gay, EQCA’s statement said.

YouithAware is a program of San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theatre Center. Outspoken is approved and sponsored by the San Francisco Unified School District School Health programs for Grades 6-12.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 29, 2010 @ 5:08 pm PST
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Video wasn’t working when gay man attacked on SF bus

A gay man who reported being attacked on a San Francisco Muni bus and said the driver allowed his assailant to continue riding says another problem has come up: The video system wasn’t working.

Larry Richardson, 58, (pictured at right) has said that Muni’s surveillance system was not working during the incident, which appears to be hampering the investigation. Muni has confirmed there was a problem with the video.

As the Bay Area Reporter reported earlier, Richardson said that on August 30, another passenger on the number 33 bus traveling toward his Castro area home repeatedly called him “faggot,” and also grabbed his arm. He said his Muni pass was attached to a rainbow necklace he was wearing and that the assault was unprovoked.

Richardson, who’d been sitting near the front of the bus, said that the driver told the other passenger to get off the bus, but the man refused.

“The bus driver let him stay on,” he said. “He didn’t call the police.”

He has submitted a complaint to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which he provided a copy of to the B.A.R. He said he filed a police report after he got home, but police indicated days later that it had been lost. Two officers were sent to his home to take another statement from him, he said.

Since then, Richardson has said that the FBI got involved because the case is being investigated as a hate crime, but that the federal agency dropped the case because the bus’s camera hadn’t been working.

Officer Albie Esparza, a San Francisco police spokesman, confirmed police were investigating the case and that the FBI had gotten involved, but staff at the FBI’s San Francisco office haven’t responded to messages from the B.A.R. Police have not confirmed Richardson’s remarks about what happened to his original report.

Paul Rose, a Muni spokesman, said in an e-mail this week, “The battery pack on the camera was damaged. We are working with the police department and FBI to reinterview the operator involved.”

Asked about the incident before this week’s board meeting of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Nathaniel Ford, the agency’s executive director and CEO, said, “Our operators are trained to monitor the safety of our passengers” and are supposed to report problems “immediately.”

Richardson said the man who attacked him was around 50 years old and about 150 pounds. He estimated the man, who was black, was 6 feet 2. He said the man had been wearing round headphones “about the size of softballs,” a white shirt, white tennis shoes, and blue jeans with a black stripe below the knee that had “MF” in white lettering.

Last month, 26-year-old Zachary Davenport said he was beaten by a group of youths who repeatedly called him “faggot” on the J Church near Market and Church streets. A 15-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to felony charges in that case.

Davenport has said that the operator in his case stopped the train. Surveillance footage from the train helped lead to his alleged attacker’s arrest.

Tom Nolan, the agency’s board chair and also executive director of Project Open Hand, has expressed concern about the incidents, and Ford said there will be a full briefing on Muni safety at their next meeting, October 19. For more information, go to

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 23, 2010 @ 5:10 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Supervisor Elsbernd calls Mandelman “most dangerous” candidate running for the board this year

During last night’s debate among the District 8 supervisor candidates, local attorney Rafael Mandelman told the audience that District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd would not be on his list of potential interim mayor candidates because the supervisor has called him the “most dangerous candidate running for supervisor this year.”

Asked if he has indeed said that about Mandelman’s candidacy, Elsbernd told the B.A.R. in an email Thursday, September 23 that he has characterized him in that manner because of Mandelman’s flip-flopping on his Muni reform initiative Measure G.

“I have done so because he has proven himself to be consistently inconsistent. First, he was opposed to Proposition G, the Fix Muni measure, as he stated in his labor council candidate questionnaire; then, he took no position on it as an elected member of the DCCC; and, now, I hear he is telling some audiences he is supporting the measure,” wrote Elsbernd. “What has changed? Does he tailor his answer to his audience? Or do his convictions simply change with the times?”

Elsbernd added that, “Regardless of the explanation, elected officials should have the integrity and courage to stand by their convictions rather than stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.”

He said he has no problems with his colleagues on the board disagreeing with him, but does take issue with elected officials who do not stick to their convictions.

“As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I have a great amount of respect for members with whom I disagree, when they are able to articulate their position, when that position is grounded in their personal principles of governance, and when they have been consistent in these principles.  Supervisor John Avalos is a perfect example of someone like that,” wrote Elsbernd. “I believe members, or potential members who are unable to demonstrate clarity in their thinking or who simply pander to an audience are poor contributors to the Board, and, therefore, to the City. Rafeal [sic] strikes me as someone who would fall in that category more than any other candidate across the City. As such, his potential election is most concerning to me.”

Mandelman was asked about his changing stance on the Muni reform measure at the debate. The main purpose of Measure G, dubbed “Fix Muni Now,” would strip language out of the city’s charter that guarantees Muni drivers are the second highest paid in the nation compared to their counterparts at other transit agencies.

He acknowledged his position on Measure G has evolved over the last year, going from opposing Elsbernd’s measure while the board discussed putting a different measure on the ballot to supporting it after that alternative failed to emerge.

Nonetheless, he did criticize Elsbernd’s proposal as being “too punitive” toward the drivers and questioned if it would be enforceable.

“There are problems with the Elsbernd measure. Now that the Board of Supervisors’ alternative is not on the ballot, I am presented just like any other voter with an imperfect ballot measure and I have to decide yea or nay,” said Mandelman. “Given the fundamental question in that ballot measure – should drivers’ salaries be in the charter or not – I think they probably should not be. But I don’t think taking them out will dramatically change the world or dramatically improve Muni.

“I would have far preferred a broader reform,” he added.

All three of the other candidates in the race – Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Prozan; Deputy City Attorney Scott Wiener; and business executive Bill Hemenger – have endorsed Measure G.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:50 pm PST
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D8 supe candidates name interim mayor options should Newsom resign for Lt. Gov. post

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey as the city’s next mayor? That was one of the politicians mentioned as a credible choice to lead the city in the event of a mayoral vacancy by the candidates running to be the next District 8 supervisor at a debate last night (Wednesday, September 22).

Hennessey (pictured at left) was just one of half a dozen people named as someone who could become the next person to claim Room 200 at City Hall should the current occupant, Mayor Gavin Newsom, win his bid to be California’s lieutenant governor in November.

Should Newsom defeat the current holder of the statewide office, Abel Maldonado, he would resign as mayor sometime in January. It would then be up to the Board of Supervisors to select an interim mayor to serve out the remainder of Newsom’s term, which expires in January of 2012.

While there is some question as to if the current board would select the new mayor or if the decision would be postponed until after the winners of this fall’s even-numbered supervisor races are sworn into office, it has become a topic of debate in the various contests for the board.

During the debate last night with the District 8 candidates at the LGBT Community Center, moderator Melissa Griffin asked all four who they would want to see become the interim mayor.

Deputy City Attorney Scott Wiener named Hennessey as a “terrific choice” to serve out Newsom’s term. He told the Bay Area Reporter afterward that he had not spoken to the sheriff about it but had heard rumors he might be ready to step down from the law enforcement post he has held for three decades.

He also suggested that his current boss, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), or incumbent District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty are all qualified to have the job on a permanent basis.

Herrera and Dufty, who is also gay and termed off the board this year, have already launched mayoral campaigns. Leno has admitted he is interested in the job but has yet to begin raising money.

Local attorney Rafael Mandelman said he could “see the advantages to having a one-year mayor” and called Hennessey “a nice option” for the interim choice.

Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Prozan suggested Ed Harrington, a gay man who is general manager of the city’s Public Utilities Commission, or City Administrator Ed Lee as good picks to serve on a temporary basis. She said she would not support giving the job to a person who intends to run in the general election next year.

“I do not think it is appropriate to give it to a candidate seeking it” on a full-time basis, said Prozan, as it would give them a “huge advantage” in the race.

Business executive Bill Hemenger said he thought District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is “ideally suited for it, at least a year.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:16 pm PST
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Newsom nominates Torres for utilities commission

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has nominated Art Torres, the former California Democratic Party chairman and state legislator who came out as gay during a retirement celebration last year, to serve on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Torres (pictured at left) served more than 20 years in the California Legislature, eight as a member of the assembly and twelve in the senate.

“Senator Torres brings extraordinary experience and accomplishments in environmental, natural resource, consumer and labor issues to the SFPUC as the agency continues its efforts to seismically rebuild our water and wastewater systems and deliver renewable power for San Francisco,” said Newsom in a statement announcing the nomination today [Wednesday, September 22]. “I’m proud to nominate him and grateful for his willingness to serve our City and the SFPUC’s 2.5 million Bay Area customers.”

Among other accomplishments, Torres co-authored California’s landmark Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, known as Proposition 65, to protect California citizens and the State’s drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, Newsom’s office noted in the statement.

Torres also fought against water contamination, pesticide poisoning, and exposure to toxic chemicals and asbestos. His passion to deter pesticide poisoning came from working closely with Cesar Chavez in the early 1970’s as the National Legislative Director of the United Farm Workers Union, according to Newsom’s office.

In March 2009, Torres was unanimously elected statutory vice chair of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, the governing Board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The institute, established in 2005, following the passage of Proposition 71, is charged with allocating $3 billion to California universities and research institutions to support and advance stem cell research. He is a colon cancer survivor and serves on the board as a patient advocate.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 22, 2010 @ 4:03 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Candidates to represent SF District 8 list budget, public transit among priorities

The San Francisco Young Democrats will host its third candidate debate for the four candidates vying to represent District 8 – which includes the Castro gayborhood – on the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, September 22.

Questionnaires completed by the four LGBT candidates – Bill Hemenger, Rafael Mandelman, Rebecca Prozan, and Scott Wiener – are available here.

In the questionnaires, the candidates list their top three policy priorities.

Hemenger wrote about attracting businesses, compensation reform for city employees and contractors, and public safety

The budget was also on Mandelman‘s mind, as were new development and “prioritizing our city’s ‘transit first’ policy through increasing investment [in] public transportation.”

Prozan lists the city’s budget first. “We cannot continue to cut services that many San Franciscans and residents of District 8 rely on for support, whether it be help with affordable housing, HIV/AIDS outreach, prevention and treatment, help for homelessness and drugs, or public safety,” wrote Prozan.

She also shares some views on crime and public transportation.

Wiener also indicated public transit was at the top of his list, as well as public safety and access to health care.

“San Francisco has been a leader in providing services for people living with HIV/AIDS as well as prevention for those who have not been infected,” wrote Wiener. “We need to continue to prioritize HIV/AIDS funding and access to health care generally.”

The debate takes place in the Rainbow Room of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.

A light appetizer and wine reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the debate starts at 6:30.

The Alice B. Toklas and Harvey Milk democratic clubs, and the Eureka Valley/Castro Neighborhood Association are co-hosting the event.

Melissa Griffin, political reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, will moderate the debate, which will be streamed live on VidSF with commentary by Beth Spotwood, of CBS5’s Eye on Blogs and SFGate’s Culture Blog, and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Pollo Del Mar.

Community members will have the opportunity to meet candidates and join a coalition of neighbors and political junkies for an in depth discussion on the city budget, key district issues, and the city’s future.

SFYD members will vote on endorsements for all candidates at the conclusion of the debate.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 17, 2010 @ 12:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Castro patrollers offer training Saturday

Castro Community on Patrol, a group that works to promote safety and awareness in the Castro and Duboce Triangle neighborhoods, will offer volunteer training Saturday, September 18, at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center (third floor), 1800 Market Street, from 2 to about 4:30 p.m.

The training is offered approximately every two months and is open to new volunteers as well as people wanting recertification.

The first hour covers basic self-defense techniques and what to do when encountering violence, including incidents involving weapons.

In the second part of the session, trainees will decide how to approach different scenarios, such as a home being broken into or an argument that’s about to get physical.

There are currently about 40 active members, and there are an “infinite number” of openings, said Greg Carey (pictured at left), who chairs the patrol. Patrollers work in three-person teams.

“We ask the volunteers to do one patrol a month, but sometimes people do more,” said Carey. “… The more volunteers we have, the more days we can be out on patrol.”

The group patrols primarily on weekends and does random patrols during the week.

Incidents over the summer included a gay man being beaten outside the bar 440 Castro and a fatal shooting at the Pink Saturday party in late June.

For more information about Castro Community on Patrol, go to

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 10:47 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

D8 supervisor candidate Bill Hemenger spins lack of endorsements, opens Noe Valley office

District 8 supervisor candidate Bill Hemenger (seen at right as a young Boy Scout) has turned his lack of institutional support into a campaign attack.

In an email to supporters he sent Monday, September 13, Hemenger ballyhooed that he is “not playing” the endorsement game. And in a dig at his opponents, he claims by not taking endorsements “from any politician, political organization or interest group” he won’t be beholden to “San Francisco’s Political Machine.”

According to the email, Hemenger “has one goal in mind once he is elected: to do whatever is best for the City and its residents. He knows that he cannot do this if his loyalties lie elsewhere – for example, to the entrenched political interests that have wreaked havoc on our city government for too long.”

Yet the business executive – he quit his job at Oracle to run for public office – is relatively unknown within local Democratic and LGBT political circles and was never expected to rack up a significant number of endorsements from politicians, special interest groups and political clubs.

Last year the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club endorsed local attorney Rafael Mandelman, while the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club co-endorsed Deputy City Attorney Scott Wiener and Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Prozan.

Many city leaders had lined up behind the other candidates in the race months before Hemenger had launched his campaign. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Mayor Gavin Newsom are backing Wiener; state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is behind Mandelman; and current District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty endorsed Prozan.

This summer the local Democratic Party chose Mandelman as its number one pick in the race and Prozan its second choice under the city’s ranked choice voting system.

In his message Hemenger wrote that he “recognizes the danger to the democratic process that lies in seeking endorsements from entrenched interests” and noted that his opponents “have done a great job of dividing up among themselves the available endorsements from San Francisco’s political establishment.”

The emailed note, which was also posted to his campaign website, goes on to state that “while the number of endorsements that a candidate receives might matter to some voters, Bill and his supporters recognize endorsements for what they really mean. First, they generally indicate the extent to which the candidate has sought favor from a particular political organization or politician or the extent to which the candidate has made promises about what he or she will do once in office. Second, they absolutely act as an impediment to proper, objective, common-sense governing once in office.”

Yet Hemenger has sat down for endorsement interviews with a number of local groups and is seeking the endorsements of media outlets such as The Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Chronicle.

He told the Bay Area Reporter he is doing so because “the media is not hounding you for favors” and that he still wants to meet with the leaders of neighborhood organizations.

His policy could backfire though, as he said he has turned down endorsements from a number of groups who expressed frustration with him for wasting their time.

“They kind of get insulted. At one of these meetings they asked, ‘Why are you  here wasting my time if you are not going to take my endorsement?’ I told them that honestly, it is not anything to do with you,” he said. “It is an across the board statement. I told them why I am here is to educate you about another candidate out there. It doesn’t mean you should not know about another candidate.”

Hemenger is accepting endorsements from individuals, though he has yet to disclose the list on his campaign site.

“The biggest endorsements are the ones from residents. We will have a huge mailer with those endorsements on it that will go out,” said Hemenger, who took out a full-page ad in today’s (September 16) B.A.R. in which he called himself the “common sense alternative” in the race.

While he doesn’t explicitly state in the ad his endorsement policy, Hemenger does call himself “the only truly independent Democrat in the race.”

Hemenger has also opened a second campaign office in Noe Valley at 4128 24th Street between Castro and Diamond. It is in a vacant storefront in an old Victorian. He had already opened an office in the Castro at 2324 Market Street.

“We have more traffic at the Noe Valley office than we do here” in the Castro, said Hemenger. “I probably should have done that one first.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, September 16, 2010 @ 5:30 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Milk club ignores PAC, endorses Adachi and Barnes

Ignoring the advice of its political action committee, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club has endorsed Public Defender Jeff Adachi for re-election this year and is backing gay school board candidate Bill Barnes (pictured at left) along with incumbent Kim-Shree Maufas for re-election.

As the Bay Area Reporter‘s online Political Notes column reported Monday (September 13),  the PAC had recommended that the club withhold its endorsement of Adachi this year and had only recommended that Maufas be endorsed, despite there being three seats on the school board up for grabs this fall.

The backing of Barnes had been expected as he has long had ties to the club. He was unable to be at the PAC’s endorsement meeting over Labor Day Weekend and addressed the club at its meeting Tuesday night in order to gain its endorsement.

He said he was likely helped by the large turnout of many longtime Milk club members at the meeting who were there to celebrate the 80th birthday of Maggi Rubinstein, who has long been active in the progressive political group.

“The Milk Club is more organic,” said Barnes, when it comes to who it endorses and doesn’t always agree with its PAC picks. “The PAC wasn’t the thing driving the discussion.”

Barnes also has been endorsed by the tenants union. Being on the slate cards of both the renter-allied group and the Milk club will give him a leg up in the race, he said.

“I think it is really important. A lot of voters in District 8, for example, are going to be looking at who Milk is endorsing,” said Barnes.

Barnes said he had also urged Milk club members to endorse fellow school board candidate Jamie Rafaela Wolfe, a transgender elementary school teacher. But Wolfe, who also campaigned hard for the endorsement, failed to win the club’s support.

“Because she works for a private school, I think some people had a problem with it,” said Barnes.

The bigger surprise was the club’s decision to endorse Adachi, who has been attacked by progressives and union leaders for pushing a ballot measure that would require city employees to pay more for their pension and health care benefits. Prop B cost him the support of both the local Democratic Party this year as well as the more moderate Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.

Milk Co-President David Waggoner had told the B.A.R. last week that Prop B was a “non-starter” for club members and predicted the PAC’s decision to not endorse Adachi would stand.

But Waggoner said that in the end Adachi was able to win the club’s backing.

The Milk club also voted to endorse community college board member Chris Jackson in the District 10 supervisor race.

— Matthew S. Bajko, September 15, 2010 @ 3:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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