Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Rufus Wainwright to attend fundraiser for SF AIDS groups

Out singer Rufus Wainwright will add some celebrity sparkle to a fundraiser being held in late February to raise money for several local AIDS nonprofits.

Wainwright (seen at left) will attend the opening benefit premiere of David Weissman’s feature length documentary We Were Here on Friday, February 25th at the Castro Theater.

The film looks back at the start of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and was just screened as part of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film is said to be the first documentary to “take a deep and reflective look back” at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco.

The film depicts how those living in the city reacted when AIDS first began killing scores of gay male residents 30 years ago. Among those  profiled is Daniel Goldstein, a founder of Under One Roof, the Castro store that raises funds for numerous local AIDS groups.

The film screening will benefit Project Inform and Shanti. Tickets went on sale today (Monday, January 31) and can be bought online here.

A limited number of $100 tickets for the 6 p.m. VIP reception are available. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. screening and Q&A following the film cost $25.

Look for more coverage of the film in the Bay Area Reporter in late February.

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 31, 2011 @ 2:30 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Bisexual elected president of SF Planning Commission

Christina Olague, a bisexual woman, is once again president of the San Francisco Planning Commission. She had been serving as the oversight body’s vice chair and replaces Ron Miguel in the president post.

The commissioners made the decision at their meeting Thursday, January 27. It will be Olague’s second term as president; back in 2008 she also led the commission, which oversees development projects in the city.

On her Facebook page today (Friday, January 28) she thanked those who had left congratulatory messages and noted the commission will likely have a busy year ahead of it.

“Thanks for all the positive feedback ! I really appreciate it ! It will be an intense year for all of us !” wrote Olague, who was appointed by the supervisors to the planning body in 2004. Her current term expires in 2012.

Projects expected to seek the commissioners’ approval in 2011 include the remodel of  St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission and California Pacific Medical Center’s plans for a new hospital on Van Ness Avenue in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood.

Other projects include the proposed Target on Masonic Avenue and a medical cannabis dispensary in the Castro, which will go before the commission next Thursday, February 3.

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 28, 2011 @ 2:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gov Brown ousts director of CA’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control 

In a move sure to please the city’s nightlife community, Governor Jerry Brown has ousted the director of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and named one of his deputies from the Attorney General’s office to the powerful post.

Former Vacaville City Councilman Steve Hardy (seen at right), whose resume includes a five-year stint as a San Francisco policeman, had overseen the ABC for former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger since 2007.

Hardy’s tenure was widely denounced by San Francisco entertainment officials and venue owners, who accused him and his department of harassing bar and dance club owners, enforcing arcane rules and creating a hostile atmosphere for operators of entertainment venues.

The discord grew so tense that openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) threatened to have the ABC audited.. Leno accused the agency of employing “rogue tactics” against and “running roughshod over” local entertainment businesses.

Hardy, in defending his agency, had told the Bay Area Reporter in 2009 that he and his staffers “are just doing our job.”

The litany of complaints over the years came from the now closed N’Touch gay Asian Polk Street club; the DNA Lounge in SOMA; and 11 live-music venues in the city. The situation led to the formation of a lobbying group for the entertainment industry called the California Music and Culture Association.

Told by email of Hardy’s dismissal by Brown, former San Francisco Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Alan, who is vacationing in Colombia with his partner this month to celebrate their 15th anniversary, wrote back that “You made my day.”

It remains to be seen if Hardy’s ouster will result in a more business friendly approach by the ABC and its inspectors. Replacing him will be Jacob Appelsmith, 47, of Oakland.

Brown today (Thursday, January 27) announced he had named Appelsmith as a senior advisor to the governor and director of the ABC. Since 2008, Appelsmith served as a special assistant to Brown when he was the state’s attorney general and chief of California Bureau of Gaming Control.

Appelsmith previously served as a deputy attorney general, general counsel for the Office of the Attorney General’s personnel and equal employment opportunity matters and lead supervising attorney for the Employment, Regulation and Administrative Section in the Office of the Attorney General. From 1988 to 2004, he was an attorney with Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro.

The position of director of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $150,112. The position of senior advisor does not require Senate confirmation and there will be no additional compensation.

Appelsmith, a Democrat, can expect to face some tough questions from Leno and other senators on how he plans to run the ABC.

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 27, 2011 @ 5:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF’s Edge bar to stay open

The Edge will live after all.

Owners of San Francisco’s Q Bar announced today that they’re buying the other popular Castro neighborhood bar, at 4149 18th Street. The Edge had shut down January 16 after Edge owner Don McMartin failed to negotiate a new lease with the building’s owner, John Tran.

In a statement today,  new owners Rob Giljum, Tim Eicher, and Rob Cotterman credited out mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty for helping to arrange the sale.

“The Edge has been part of our community for almost 20 years,” the owners stated. “The bar has a long reputation for providing a fun place for neighbors and tourists to meet, order a drink from a friendly bartender, listen to great music, and maybe meet a new friend or two. The bar has a long history of supporting and giving back to the community.

We too have been part of this community for many years and understand the importance of the Edge within the Castro Neighborhood.”

The trio also owns Guerneville’s Rainbow Cattle Company in Guerneville, which they purchased in 2005.

The new owners promise events, specials and increased patronage, and to “carry on the Edge’s tradition of supporting and giving back to the community.” They’ll also fix the place up a bit.

“Think of it as a minimakeover as we get ready for the bar’s 20th Anniversary Party in May,” they said in their statement.

They’ll  stay open during remodeling and the bar should be open this weekend, most likely by Saturday, January 29.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Obama appoints out lesbian from SF to commission

President Barack Obama announced today (Wednesday, January 26)  that he’s appointed an out lesbian, former San Francisco Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg, to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The appointment makes her the first out lesbian or gay person appointed to the commission, according to one associate.

Achtenberg (pictured at right) would only tell the Bay Area Reporter, “I cannot talk with you, my dear,” and referred questions to Obama spokesman Shin Inouye. She then said, “Thanks a lot, bye bye,” and hung up the phone.

This isn’t the first time Achtenberg’s been part of a presidential administration.

During the Clinton Administration, Achtenberg served as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  and later as a senior advisor to the secretary of the agency.

Achtenberg garnered more attention than most assistant secretaries when then-Senator Jesse Helms referred to her as “that damn lesbian” and tried to block her confirmation.

Before becoming a public official, she worked for more than 15 years as a civil rights attorney, nonprofit director and legal educator.  She also co-founded the National Center for Lesbian Rights, serving as executive director from 1983 to 1990.

Current NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said in a statement that Achtenberg’s appointment, “is history making.

“Roberta will be the first openly lesbian or gay person appointed to the Commission,” Kendell stated. ” More importantly, her appointment assures that a woman of remarkable intelligence, broad commitment to justice and equality, and a life-long legacy of public service will be there to give voice and representation to those who are denied opportunity, fairness, and equality under the law.”

Inouye said he couldn’t comment on the appointment other than what was in the press release. He said at this point, Achtenberg’s appointment is actually “an intent to nominate. It’s not official yet.”

The position doesn’t require Senate confirmation, but he said some paperwork still needs to be filed.

Among other achievements, Achtenberg, who was a San Francisco supervisor in the early 1990s, also held senior-policy making roles with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the San Francisco Center for Economic Development from 1997 to 2004.

She is currently a member and past chair of the California State University Board of Trustees and serves as vice board chair of the Bank of San Francisco.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 26, 2011 @ 5:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Police boss for SF Mission, Castro areas promotes meetings

photo: SFPD

Castro residents, the captain wants to see you.

Mission Police Captain Greg Corrales (pictured at right) said in his regular newsletter today (Friday, January 21), “Attendance at these meetings has been poor.

“I am trying very hard to improve the turn out for these important meetings, which give you the opportunity to hear what is going on in your district, and to personally tell the captain your concerns,” he wrote.

He also promised, “I have spared no expense in providing delicious refreshments which will delight you and amaze you as they frolic across your taste buds. Starting next Tuesday I will be giving out a door prize, for which I have spared no expense. I hope to see you on Tuesday!”

Mission Station oversees the largely LGBT Castro area, among other neighborhoods. The next community meeting is at 6 p.m., Tuesday, January 25. The station is located at 630 Valencia Street.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 21, 2011 @ 4:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF Pride looking for fundraiser as interim ED

It looks like it’s going to take more than “a glorified fucking office manager” to lead the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee.

That’s how Audrey Joseph, Pride’s main stage producer and frequent critic, recently described Amy Andre (pictured at right), the last executive director.

Pride’s looking for an interim executive director and they recently laid out exactly what they want. Whoever they select will only serve until September 1.

Fundraising will be 60 percent of the job, according to the specifications, which are dated January 10. Among other things, the new leader will be tasked with bringing in $500,000 in cash sponsorship and $1.5 million of in-kind hotels, media, flights, and other necessities.

The new director will have their work cut out for them. The city controller’s office recently revealed that Pride’s board of directors allowed a debt of $225,000 to accumulate, apparently giving total deference to Andre, who said she had an MBA.

Pride’s annual budget is about $1.7 million.

Joseph recently quipped that the only decision longtime board members ever made was “what dress to wear on the float.” Pride Treasurer Jamie Fountain essentially admitted last month that Pride’s longtime board members are incapable of overseeing the group’s finances.

Andre, who was often unable or unwilling to answer questions about Pride’s finances whenever the Bay Area Reporter asked her, announced her resignation in October, about a year after she started in the position. She never told the B.A.R. exactly why she resigned. She didn’t respond to an e-mail today.

Pride also recently lost their corporate sponsorship director, Eddie Valtierra. He quit earlier this month, after less than six months on the job. He’s declined interview requests.

Board Chair Nikki Calma hasn’t said whether Pride has obtained commitments from any corporate sponsors yet. The Pride celebration, one of the world’s largest, is five months away.

The group also owes almost $50,000 to beverage partners, the community groups that sell drinks at Pride in exchange for funding help. Several of them received payments that were thousands of dollars less than they’d expected last year. Pride eventually blamed a “miscommunication” involving Andre for the problem.

Pride now has only two paid staffers. They’re currently on furlough to save money, but they’re supposed to be coming back in February.

The interim director will also work oversee Pride’s seven contractors who do everything from bookkeeping to parade management, seemingly unaffected by the troubles in Pride’s leadership.

The last director did apparently excel at some things. At Pride’s annual membership meeting in September, Andre, who’s salary was $105,000, was lauded for work such as revamping the employee handbook and leading efforts to clean out storage units.

Applicants should send a resume and cover letter to by February 4.

For more information, visit Pride’s website.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 4:28 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF AIDS Foundation moving to new offices

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is moving to a new building at 1035 Market Street, a half block west of its current location, the foundation announced today (Friday, January 21).

The new space enables the foundation to accommodate an expansion of client services, including the recent addition of former clients of New Leaf: Services for our Community.

That nonprofit, which provided mental health, substance abuse, and senior services to LGBTs, shut down last fall.

SFAF will open at the new location on February 1.

“Our address is changing but our mission remains the same – to end the HIV epidemic in the city where it began and, eventually, everywhere,” CEO Neil Giuliano said in a statement.  “Now we’re in a much stronger position to make that goal a reality.”

SFAF will occupy three floors in the newly renovated building in the mid-Market area, bringing together the majority of the agency’s services into one space.

“The open layout of the offices allows for greater collaboration across program and professional staff, which ultimately means higher-quality service and stronger advocacy for our clients,” the group stated.

Giuliano stated that the lease on the foundation’s current space was coming to a close, and they were able to take advantage of cheaper real estate prices (or “leverage the downturn in the real estate market,” as he put it)  to secure the new space.

The neighborhoods around SFAF’s offices are home to some of the city’s poorest residents. The city is attempting to revive the mid-Market area, which features a mix of low-price clothing shops and restaurants alongside many abandoned storefronts. SFAF’s new space is next to a new beauty school, while the huge Market Street Cinema strip club is just a few doors down.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 10:12 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ammiano to introduce crime lab bill

Out gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) announced today (Thursday, January 20) that he’ll introduce two bills to improve California’s criminal justice system.

One of the bills is inspired in part by Rudy “Ruby” Ordenana (pictured at right), a transgender woman who was found dead in 2007. The San Francisco Police Department’s crime lab didn’t process DNA from the case until nearly two years later. The evidence was matched with Donzell Francis, 42, whom law enforcement officials suspect went on to assault three transgender women after allegedly killing Ordenana.

Quintin Mecke, a spokesman for Ammiano, said in an e-mail, “Ruby’s case was certainly a motivating factor for the bill along with the long list of related issues facing SF’s crime lab.”

Among other problems, a crime lab worker was suspected of stealing cocaine from the unit.

Ammiano’s bill would create a statewide forensic oversight body that would craft uniform procedures and standards for crime labs throughout the state.

The companion bill would develop guidelines for policies and procedures for the collection and handling of eyewitness evidence in criminal investigations by all law enforcement agencies operating in the state.

“The problems with San Francisco’s crime lab are just the tip of the iceberg both here and across the state,” Ammiano said in a statement. “Without effective oversight to guarantee the integrity of evidence and standard procedures for eyewitness identification, we put both victims and the accused at risk.  Our criminal justice system must reflect our society’s values and ensure that the end result is real justice for all involved.”

In December 2009, a jury found Francis guilty of charges including forcible oral copulation and robbery of a transgender woman. He was sentenced in January 2010 to 17 years and eight months in state prison for that case, which also stemmed from 2007.  As of this month, he remained in custody in San Francisco County jail.

In December 2010, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that includes a call for DNA collected in sexual assault cases to be tested within two weeks.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 20, 2011 @ 3:03 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

GetEqual co-founders making changes

The co-founders  of GetEqual, the national group that helped get the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bill passed, are making some changes.

In an e-mail blast Wednesday, January 19, co-founder and Director Robin McGehee (pictured at right) announced that she’s returning to her job as a college professor but will remain as director. She didn’t say whether she would still get paid by GetEqual. Her salary has been $89,000.

Co-founder Kip Williams will continue organizing with GetEqual but will be going to graduate school, McGehee said. Williams didn’t respond to an e-mail asking whether he’ll still be paid for working with GetEqual. Williams’s most recent salary with the group had been about $58,000.

While working for DADT repeal, GetEqual made a name for itself by taking actions ranging from chaining themselves to a White House gate to crashing pricey Democratic fundraisers where President Barack Obama was present.

Congress finally passed the legislation in December, and Obama signed it December 22.

McGehee said the group’s run out of the money that Jonathan Lewis, the son of one of the founders of the Progressive auto insurance group, had provided them to get started in March.

In an October interview, GetEqual Manging Director Heather Cronk, who’s salary has been $70,000, estimated Lewis had contributed $400,000, “certainly no more than $440,000.” GetEqual’s budget has been around $500,000. The group has also worked to raise funds through e-mail blasts and its website.

In her e-mail, McGehee said GetEqual’s raising money to support three full-time regional field directors, a managing director, and state-based organizers.

“While others might have decided to spend the past year fundraising, we chose to focus on organizing and I look back with no regrets in that decision, based on our ability to help push for legislative change,” McGehee said in her e-mail.

It’s not clear if the field directors have been hired yet. The e-mail doesn’t say who any of them are or how much they’ll be paid. McGehee didn’t respond to an interview request.

McGehee said in her e-mail that the field directors will identify, train, and organize state leads “who will both proactively and reactively work with regional state coordinators to build a movement of people in each state who will be poised to take action locally and will be tied together by a national narrative.”

She didn’t say what’s happening with Dan Fotou, GetEqual’s direct action strategist, or Michelle Wright, their campaign associate.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:26 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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