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

Victory Fund endorses 2012 LA Assembly candidate Luis Lopez

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed Luis Lopez (at left) in his bid for a Los Angeles-area Assembly seat in 2012.

Lopez, 38, is one of the first LGBT non-incumbents running for state legislative office next year to be backed by the national group, which helps out candidates raise money and trains LGBT people on how to wage campaigns.

So far there at least three gay men and two lesbians not already in the statehouse seeking Assembly seats next year. In San Jose, openly gay Campbell City Councilman Evan Low and out Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager are running against each other for the 24th Assembly District.

In Stockton lesbian City Councilwoman Susan Talamantes Eggman is seeking the 17th Assembly District. In Santa Monica, Torie Osborn is running for the 41st Assembly District seat.

A founding board member of the Latino LGBT political action committee Honor PAC, Lopez has been with his partner, Hans Johnson, for seven years. Johnson is president of the D.C.-based Progressive Victory, which helps groups increase voter turnout, and attended the White House’s Pride event this week.

Lopez is seeking the state’s 45th Assembly District seat next fall. At one time it had been held by Jackie Goldberg, one of the first out lesbians to serve in the state Legislature. Goldberg is now supporting Lopez in the race.

The district is based in East Los Angeles and parts of the city of Los Angeles and is 67 percent Latino, as currently drawn. There is a sizable LGBT Latino population in East LA as well as pockets of LGBT people in the LA neighborhoods of Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Hollywood.

Under the proposed maps released by the state’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, the new district is expected to cover more of Silver Lake’s LGBT residents and even more Latinos.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 30, 2011 @ 5:47 pm PST
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16-year-old facing attempted murder charges in connection with shooting near SF Pride

A 16-year-old San Francisco boy is being charged with five counts of attempted murder in connection with a shooting Saturday, June 25 that occurred near the city’s LGBT Pride celebration.

In addition to the attempted murder charges, the boy, whose name hasn’t been released because of his age, faces five counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office announced today (Wednesday, June 29).

He also faces three gun charges including possession of a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm. Further details related to his case weren’t released.

An 18-year-old San Francisco man also is looking at charges related to the shooting, which sent five people to the hospital.

Terrell Blay, 18, was charged in San Francisco Superior Court today with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a concealed weapon, carrying a loaded firearm, participating in a criminal street gang, and resisting arrest. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and allegations.

Citing court documents, San Francisco District Attorney’s spokesman Seth Steward said in an email blast that Blay had been found near 7th and Market streets, where the shooting occurred, after a brief chase Saturday.

During the chase, Blay had been observed dropping a gun to the ground, according to Steward. A loaded firearm was recovered from the scene, he said.

Blay’s bail is set at $ 250,000.  His next court date is July 19.

According to police, the incident occurred at about 6:15 p.m. Saturday. A suspect from one of two groups shot several rounds, resulting in five people being struck.

The victims were men aged 17, 20, 21, 45 and 74, police said. All were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

San Francisco police spokesman Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield didn’t know the status of the victims as of Monday, June 27.

He said police believe the shooting was gang-related because members of the gang task force were at the scene and knew both suspects “to be involved in gang activity.” He didn’t know if any of the victims had been attending the Pride celebration.

“As far as we know, this was not related to the Pride event at all,” he said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 29, 2011 @ 5:58 pm PST
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Gay West Sacto Mayor attends WH Pride event

Christopher Cabaldon, the openly gay mayor of West Sacramento, was among the invited dignitaries at tonight’s White House Pride reception.

Posting on Facebook shortly after President Barack Obama addressed the audience, Cabaldon wrote, “Obama showed up and was terrific. Now Biden is here mingling.”

Other Bay Area locals at the June 29 event included gay Berkeley City Councilman Darryl Moore and bisexual activists Lani Ka’ahumanu and Kuwaza Imara.

Other Californians invited to Obama’s third LGBT reception in honor of Pride month included Courage Campaign Founder Rick Jacobs and Bishop Mary Glasspool of the Diocese of Los Angeles. [A full list of attendees has yet to be released by the White House.]

According to the press pool report, the President did not endorse same-sex marriage. He did allude to it several times in his remarks, based on a transcript sent to reporters following the event.

Obama said he is “hopeful” that progress will continue to be made on LGBT rights. And he noted that much of the advancement is being led by “ordinary citizens” and not Washington leaders.

The comment is rather ironic considering the criticism the President, who continues to say his views on LGBT people marrying are “evolving,” has faced since New York State passed same-sex marriage last week

“It’s propelled not by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard and mutual respect.  It’s playing out in legislatures like New York.  (Applause.)  It’s playing out in courtrooms,” said Obama according to the transcript. “It’s playing out in the ballot box, as people argue and debate over how to bring about the changes where we are creating a more perfect union.  But it’s also happening around water coolers.  It’s happening at Thanksgiving tables.  It’s happening on Facebook and Twitter, and at PTA meetings and potluck dinners, and church halls and VFW Halls.

“It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her partner.  (Applause.),” continued Obama. “It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he’s gay, and they say, well, yeah, we knew that –- (laughter) — but, you know, you’re a good soldier. It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person out there know that they’re not alone.  (Applause.) It happens when people look past their differences to understand our common humanity.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 4:52 pm PST
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Leno to receive nightlife award from SF group

Openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) will receive an award from a San Francisco-based group that promotes nightlife and advocates for “the other 9 to 5″ during its one-year anniversary party tomorrow night (Thursday, June 30).

The California Music and Culture Association will present Leno with its “Policy Maker of the Year” award. Openly gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, who holds Leno’s old District 8 seat on the board, will introduce him.

When he served at City Hall Leno pushed to see the creation of the Entertainment Commission and was a champion for nightlife. In Sacramento Leno locked heads with the former head of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and questioned the agency’s heavy-handed enforcement of gay and straight nightclubs.

According to a message posted on its website, the group wrote “What can we say? We love Leno! He’s consistently been there for the nightlife community, seeking to bridge communication between entertainment leaders and (ABC) when regulation was overreaching. When the ABC was regulating infusions – like sangria – as illegal, Leno stepped in and introduced legislation (SB32) to ensure this type of misregulation will not persist.”

Others being honored are Lifetime Achievement winner Warren Hellman, the local financier who produces the annual free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park; The Warfield for Best Venue; Sea of Dreams for Best Event over 5K capacity; and Eye Heart SF’s Streets of San Francisco for Best Event under 5K capacity.

The entertainment association, since formally launching in 2010, has worked to introduce lawmakers with local entertainment officials through informal lunchtime meetings. It has also engaged in debates about policies overseeing entertainment venues, club promoters, and the use of homemade syrups in mixed drinks.

The party will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mezzanine, 444 Jessie near the old Mint building South of Market.

Admission is free to the ages 21 and over event.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:00 pm PST
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Lesbian CA Senator nixes San Diego mayor bid

Lesbian state Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) has nixed running for mayor of her hometown in 2012. Whether she will retire from political life next year remains unclear.

Kehoe will be termed out of her Senate seat but does have two years remaining in the Assembly as she only ran twice for the Legislature’s lower house. Lawmakers can serve a total of six years, or three terms, in the Assembly, and Kehoe already has formed a 2012 Assembly campaign committee.

But were she to run for her old seat, that would mean lesbian Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would need to either step aside, face off against a mentor and ally, or seek Kehoe’s senate seat. Atkins won election to the Assembly in the fall and is in the middle of her first year in legislative office.

Supporters of Kehoe had been pushing her to enter the mayoral race. Lesbian District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, is already running, as is gay Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio. Her decision to nix a bid for mayor, reported last night by the local San Diego newspaper, leaves Congressman Bob Filner the only Democrat in the race.

It could open the door for Dumanis to seek the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s endorsement. It normally stays out of races with more than one out candidate. But if the group determines DeMaio is not a credible contender for mayor, then it could opt to back Dumanis’ historic bid, for she could become the first openly LGBT elected mayor of a major California city.

[Bevan Dufty, a gay man and former San Francisco supervisor, could beat Dumanis to the punch if he is elected his city’s mayor this fall.]

The San Diego Union Tribune report did not cite why Kehoe opted against entering the mayor’s race nor if she had decided to seek her old Assembly seat.

“For the next year and a half I am going to concentrate on the Senate — as I always have,” Kehoe told the paper.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:51 pm PST
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Prop 8 lawyers appeal ruling against their vacate motion

Attorneys for the group behind California’s same-sex marriage ban have appealed a federal district court judge’s ruling that the judge who initially heard the case did not have to recuse himself because he is gay.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California announced today (Monday, June 27) that the lawyers for, which was behind the anti-gay Proposition 8 in 2008, had appealed the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Ware denied their motion to vacate the ruling Tuesday, June 14. He ruled that a new trial over Prop 8’s constitutionality is not necessary because the initial judge in the case, retired U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, had no reason to recuse himself due to his 10-year relationship with his partner, a male doctor.

Walker ruled last year that Prop 8 violates same-sex couples rights under the U.S. Constitution. That ruling is now before the appellate court for the 9th Circuit. The three-judge panel has asked the California Supreme Court to advise it if Prop 8’s backers can appeal the ruling under California laws.

The state court is expected to hear arguments in that legal matter this September. Gay rights lawyers have argued only the governor or attorney general can defend the ballot measure, and because both have refused to do so, there is no grounds for an appeal.

The appeals court is expected to issue its ruling sometime shortly thereafter it hears from the state justices. The legal dispute is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case had been known as Perry vs. Schwarzenegger but has since been renamed Perry vs. Brown.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 27, 2011 @ 4:49 pm PST
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Man who painted Harvey Milk overlooking Castro Street faces child porn accusations

The man who painted the image of Harvey Milk on the side of the slain gay supervisor’s former Castro Street apartment is facing child porn accusations by the FBI.

Additionally, San Francisco police announced today (Friday, June 24) that it appears murals the man created around the Bay Area contain “offensive” imagery. At least one of the murals was at a San Francisco school.

Anthony Josef Norris, 46, founded and directed San Francisco’s KidServe, which offered art instruction to Bay Area children. It’s not clear if the agency’s still open. The website’s been taken down.

Norris turned himself in to FBI agents June 2 after he was charged in a federal criminal complaint. The complaint, filed in May in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, alleges that he possessed pornographic images of multiple children. He was released after posting a $200,000 bond.

San Francisco Police Investigations Commander Mike Biel said at a news conference this morning that he had “no idea” whether Norris is gay. Norris hasn’t responded to interview requests. It’s not clear whether he has an attorney.

Police Chief Greg Suhr told reporters that there were “offensive images embedded in some of the murals on city property,” including Sunset Elementary, where tiles have been removed.

He said officials had performed “immediate inspections” of almost 40 murals. He said there were about 100 “inappropriate” tiles at four sites.

Biel said he couldn’t comment on where the other inappropriate tiles had been found in San Francisco. He said the investigation was ongoing. He also said that schools  in Mill Valley, Oakland, and San Rafael were involved. Tiles were being photographed and provided to the FBI, he said.

The tiles were about 1 inch by 1 inch, according to Biel. Some included photographic negatives, and some were drawings. He didn’t provide specifics about what was offensive in the images.

“You would have to get close to the tiles to see the inappropriate images,” Suhr said.

Richard Carranza, deputy superintendent for the San Francisco Unified School District, said officials so far had “no evidence” that “any children were involved with any of these murals. … We have no evidence children were harmed in the development of these murals.”

Suhr said that the school district had done fingerprinting and background checks before working with Norris. Norris had never been arrested in San Francisco, he said.

Castro link

Milk’s old apartment, the side of which bears Norris’s painting, is above what used to be Milk’s camera shop, at 575 Castro Street. The space is now a Human Rights Campaign store. The address is also home to the local call center for the national Trevor Project, which runs a crisis line for LGBT youth.

Norris completed the painting in June 1998. It shows Milk wearing a rainbow flag T-shirt and smiling down on the street.

FBI complaint

According to the FBI complaint, images linked to Norris’s computer included one of a naked, prepubescent boy who was tied to a chair while an adult man fondled the boy’s penis and forced him to perform oral sex.

Another image depicted a boy, apparently an infant, whose anus was being penetrated by a penis. Files found on Norris’s computer also showed a boy who appeared to be 4 to 8 years old lying down with his legs spread while a “foreign object” was being inserted into his anus.

The investigation that led to the complaint began in July 2010, when Internet accounts assigned to Norris were identified as having posted videos depicting the sexual abuse of children to a Usenet newsgroup, according to San Francisco FBI agent Lydia Durben.

An agent assigned to the FBI’s Minneapolis, Minnesota division had observed and downloaded five video files posted by someone using the screen name “Spanky,” she said in the complaint.

The postings were traced to Norris’s home in San Francisco. Durben said in the complaint that she searched Norris’s home this April.

Norris told her his iMac computer contained child pornography, which he admitted that he’d used to download child porn. He said he’d been collecting similar images “for a few years” and had first encountered Internet child pornography 10 years ago, Durben said.

A Silicon Valley Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory examination of the computer revealed a link to the Spanky screen name, and references to the file names of some of the videos the Minnesota agent had discovered. The laboratory identified 7,500 files of possible child pornography, the complaint said.

Durben said that  she confirmed that at least 600 of the images found on Norris’s computer depicted the sexual exploitation of pre-pubescent children.

According to the complaint, the laboratory also identified 143 files on Norris’s computer that matched files identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as depicting known child victims.

The maximum statutory sentence for possession of child pornography is 10 years in prison. This case is a continuing investigation being conducted by FBI’s Hayward Resident Agency, which is a part of the FBI San Francisco Division. The case will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California.

Anyone with information regarding the case may contact the FBI’s San Francisco office at (415) 553-7400.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 24, 2011 @ 8:32 pm PST
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Breaking: New York passes marriage equality

New York State on Friday night became the sixth and most populous state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. After a tense several days past the scheduled end of the legislative session, in which it was unclear if Republican leaders in the state Senate would even allow a marriage bill to come up for a vote, the Senate voted 33-29 in favor of the bill. The vote was taken at approximately 7:30 p.m. Pacific time.

The Assembly, which passed its version of the bill on June 15, voted again on Friday, June 24 to approve several amendments agreed to by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) after they met earlier in the week. The amendments passed the Assembly 82-47.

Cuomo (pictured at right), who worked closely with marriage equality advocates and sent an early version of the marriage bill to both houses of the legislature on June 14, is expected to sign the bill. No date was known as of press time. The law will go into effect 30 days after his signature.

[Updated: Cuomo signed the bill just before midnight Friday. Same-sex marriages are expected to begin in 30 days.]

The delay in the Senate vote, which had both marriage equality advocates and opponents on pins and needles all week, was in part because of the desire of some senators to insert additional religious exemptions – but several other contentious issues also occupied legislators in the last days of the session, including rent control and property taxes.

Skelos and Silver met Tuesday with Cuomo and reached tentative agreement on the rent and tax issues, but it was not until Friday that they reached agreement on religious exemptions to the marriage bill.

The original bill sent by Cuomo to the legislature, and passed by the Assembly, said that “religious corporations” and “benevolent organizations” “shall not be required to provide accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.”

The amendments agreed upon Friday added the same exemptions for nonprofit corporations that are “operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious corporation,” as well as employees who are “managed, directed, or supervised by” any of the above types of organizations.

As private organizations, however, religious groups, including charitable or educational organizations that they operate, supervise, or control, are already free from state human rights laws that require only public “accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges” to be open to all.

The final bill contained one other new component: an “inseverability clause” stating that if any part of the marriage bill is found to be invalid by a court of law, the entire bill will be deemed invalid.
Senator Stephen Saland (R-Poughkeepsie), speaking on the floor of the Senate before the vote, explained that the purpose of that amendment was to make sure that religious organizations would not be liable under anti-discrimination laws, and that any conflicts would be resolved in favor of the religious exemptions.

Saland’s declaration that he would vote yes was the first public confirmation that the bill had enough votes for passage. He told the Senate, “I have to define doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality. And that equality includes within the definition of marriage. … My vote is a vote of conscience.”

In the end, Saland was one of four Republicans voting yes. Republican Senators James Alesi (Monroe) and Roy J. McDonald (Saratoga) also voted in favor of the bill, as promised the week before.

One surprise Republican vote was that of Mark Grisanti (Buffalo), who said that although he is a practicing Catholic, “I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage.”

Three Democratic state senators who had voted no on a marriage bill in 2009 – Joseph Addabbo Jr. (Queens), Shirley Huntley (Queens), and Carl Kruger (Brooklyn) – also voted yes.

Senator Tom Duane (D-Manhattan), who is openly gay, spoke to the Senate about his partner, Louis Webre, saying, “Marriage says that we are a family.” The bill, he said, is “going to strengthen my family and all New York families.”

One Democratic senator, Ruben Diaz (Bronx) voted against the bill.

New York is now the most populous state with marriage equality. It joins five other states – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont – and the District of Columbia, in allowing same-sex couples to marry.

With Friday’s vote, the percentage of same-sex couples living in states that allow them to marry has thus more than doubled, from 6.9 percent to 14.3 percent, according to an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey by the Williams Institute of UCLA.

All eyes now turn to neighboring New Jersey, where Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), the state’s only openly gay legislator, introduced a marriage equality bill June 13.

When it became clear Friday night that New York would pass marriage equality, Garden State Equality and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund issued a statement saying, “Soon there will be a major announcement” regarding marriage equality in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Supreme Court in June 2010 refused to hear a case that claimed the state’s civil union law did not provide full equality. It said the case must first go through the trial court process – making such a process the likely next step for advocates of marriage equality.

– by Dana Rudolph

— Cynthia Laird, @ 7:51 pm PST
Filed under: News

Celebrity SF gay pastry chef, international Asian singers shine at SF federal Pride event

Local celebrity gay pastry chef Yigit Pura (seen at right) and international Asian singers Divo Bayer and Miriam Pantig added some star power to this year’s Pride event hosted by several federal law enforcement agencies.

This morning’s celebration at the Philip Burton Federal Building was the second year the San Francisco Multi-Agency LGBT Pride Committee hosted an event in honor of Pride Month.

Agencies taking part included the Department of Justice; U.S. Pretrial Services; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the General Services Administration.

The 30-year-old Pura, who is from a Turkish family and grew up in Novato north of the city, dazzled the 75 people in attendance when he went off script and told some racy jokes, let slip a swear word, and twice noted that he is single.

“People should never put a pastry chef in front of a large group of people. There are kitchen walls for a reason,” said the cherubic-faced Pura, who is a celebratory Grand Marshal in this year’s Pride parade and will be joined by his lesbian older sister Sunday. “I walked in to the federal building as a single, gay man and I was not frisked once. I am very disappointed.”

Pura is the executive pastry chef for Taste Catering and Event Planning and is opening his own patisserie in Union Square. He became an international sensation last year when he appeared on and won Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts.

He said he is humbled to be honored by the local Pride committee and will be living out a boyhood dream “of wearing a tiara. Eat your heart out mom!”

On a more serious note, Pura discussed how he was called a “faggot” growing up and how his high school was a “racist, conservative” environment. One classmate who came out was beaten so severely he was in a coma for two days, said Pura, and his school principal blamed the students’ parents for the attack.

Having recently spoken at a summit for LGBT Bay Area youth, Pura said he was astonished to see pro-gay posters on the walls of the host high school and see so many youth not only out but proud to be queer.

“It gives me great hope for the LGBT movement,” said Pura, who receives hundreds of Facebook messages from LGBT youth thanking him for being a role model.

He recounted how a woman came up to him at the gym to tell him she and her husband knew their son was gay. But he didn’t have the courage to come out until watching Yura compete on the cooking show.

The woman told Yura that her son, “when you won, he turned to us and said, ‘I am gay. Will you please love me?'” For his part, Yura said, “There really is a dialogue to be had here. Even if you talk to just one person.”

Philippines singing sensation Divo Bayer (seen at left) told Pura that he was a fan after seeing him on the Bravo show. Despite the lackluster acoustics from performing in a ceremonial courtroom, Bayer knocked out two songs – an opera piece and Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.”

“Actually, it is my secoond time,” singing in a courtroom, said Bayer, who will be performing at 4 p.m. on the API Stage at Pride Sunday.

Miriam Pantig (at right) told the audience that the most important letter in her name is the “g.”

“Don’t ever remove the g,” she joked before singing a rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 4:31 pm PST
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Berkeley councilmember headed to DC

Berkeley City Councilman Darryl Moore has been invited to the White House for the LGBT Pride celebration with President Barack Obama scheduled for June 29.

The openly gay Moore is also board chair of the National Black Justice Coalition, the leading national black LGBT civil rights organization.

Moore (pictured at right) will join Bay Area bisexual activists Lani Ka’ahumanu and Kuwaza Imara at the White House event.

In a statement sent to the Bay Area Reporter after the paper went to press, Moore said that he is looking forward to the White House celebration.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to celebrate LGBT Pride Month with a president that has made so much progress in the fight toward LGBT equality,” he said.

Moore pointed out that last year NBJC was one of the groups pushing for repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Obama signed legislation last December repealing the ban. The implementation process is ongoing and expected to be final later this year.

NBJC is also fighting the Defense of Marriage Act and is actively engaging the administration on key LGBT issues such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and HIV/AIDS.

Berkeley’s other openly gay councilmember, Kriss Worthington, is expected to have a contingent in Sunday’s San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 2:32 pm PST
Filed under: News

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