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

New CA Supreme Court justice likely to be seated in time for Prop 8 hearing

Barring some unexpected development, recently appointed California Supreme Court nominee Goodwin Liu will likely be seated in time to hear oral arguments in the on-going legal battle over the Golden State’s constitutional ban against same-sex marriage.

The question, though, is if Liu (seen at left) will recuse himself from the hearing. As the Bay Area Reported noted this week, Liu was one of many legal scholars who went public with their criticisms of the political tactics used in 2008 to pass the ban, known as Proposition 8. The anti-gay groups behind the ballot measure are now seeking permission from the state’s highest court to defend it before the federal courts.

They already have begun to criticize Brown’s decision to appoint Liu to the court. An email blast sent out today (Friday, July 29) by California Family Council Research Analyst Rebecca Burgoyne noted Liu’s support for LGBT rights.

“Most troubling is Liu’s support of same-sex marriage and opposition to Proposition 8, which will be before the Court this fall,” wrote Burgoyne.

Late Thursday, July 28 the state court scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Prop 8 case at 10 a.m. Tuesday, September 6 in San Francisco.

The hearing will take place less than a week after the commission tasked with approving Liu’s appointment will hear the matter. It has scheduled the confirmation hearing for Wednesday, August 31.

The state Constitution specifies that a gubernatorial appointment to the Supreme Court is “effective when confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.”  Thus, should he be confirmed that day, Liu will join the court in time to hear the September oral arguments.

During the heated fight over Liu’s nomination for a seat on a federal appellate court, the UC Berkeley law professor won praise from a broad, diverse field of groups. LGBT groups have already endorsed him for the state judicial post.

But he is replacing retired Associate Justice Carlos Moreno, who had been the court’s sole Latino jurist. And Latino groups have begun voicing concerns about the lack of their community’s representation on the state Supreme Court.

It remains to be seen if their complaints will derail Liu’s appointment.

The Commission on Judicial Appointments has asked that all public comment on the nomination be received by 5 p.m.  Wednesday, August 24. Those wishing to address the commission during the hearing must send in their requests by the same deadline.

Comments and speaker requests should be mailed to the following address:

Commission on Judicial Appointments
c/o Chief Justice of California
Supreme Court of California
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco, California 94102
Attention: Ms. AhMoi Kim, Secretary to the Commission

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 29, 2011 @ 11:05 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Deal near on affordable units at Castro project that includes apartments for LGBT seniors

A deal to maintain affordable housing units in a Castro development alongside apartments for LGBT seniors is close to being finalized, the B.A.R. has learned.

Community groups have yet to formally sign off on the proposed agreement for the project known as 55 Laguna, on the site of the old UC Berkeley Extension campus (seen at right). But it is believed the compromise will be approved prior to next week’s Planning Commission hearing August 4.

As the B.A.R. reported earlier this month, Duboce Triangle and Hayes Valley residents, along with housing activists, objected to a plan proposed by developer Wood Partners and the Mayor’s Office of Housing where, rather than build the required 50 affordable apartments on-site, the company would instead pay a $17 million in lieu of fee to help pay for 110-units of affordable senior housing to be built by the LGBT agency Openhouse.

The negotiated agreement now calls for Wood Partners to set aside 32 below market rate units among its 330 market rate units and pay a $6.3 million in lieu of fee that would be used to cover Openhouse’s cost for its ground lease with UC.

The senior housing would remain affordable while the mayor’s housing office would commit to finding the funds elsewhere to buy back the remaining 18 units of below market rate housing in the larger development.

“It does look as if the activists get to declare a victory of sorts at 55 Laguna,” said AIDS Housing Alliance director Brian Basinger, one of the key negotiators of the deal.

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 27, 2011 @ 11:53 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay Games IX lawsuits resolved

Settlements have been reached in dueling lawsuits over who has the rights to stage the Gay Games IX, scheduled to be held in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio in 2014.

“I don’t think all of the parties have fully signed off on all of the paperwork, but yes, it has been settled,” said Chicago’s Kurt Dahl (pictured at right), co-president of the Federation of Gay Games. “The terms of the settlement cannot be disclosed. There are confidentiality agreements all across the board. Basically the lawsuit that was filed by Cleveland Synergy Foundation and the countersuits by the FGG and others will be dismissed.”

Dahl did say the settlement signaled the end of CSF’s efforts to stage the event.

“CSF will not be involved going forward,” Dahl said. “They will not be part of the host organization.”

CSF was award the right to host the quadrennial global LGBT multisport and cultural festival over bids from Boston and Washington, D.C. in late 2009. The FGG then terminated CSF’s license in early summer 2010, citing CSF’s failure to submit required information in a timely fashion. In September 2010 CSF sued the FGG, the city of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Sports Foundation, and Valarie McCall of the mayor’s office to retain the rights to stage the event; and the FGG named Cleveland Special Events Corporation as the new host entity. Thomas Nobbe, a founder of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and an active swimmer and volleyball player, was named executive director of CSE in May.

In the months of preparations for the trial, which had been scheduled for July, allegations were raised by CSF of homophobic behavior and comments by members of the groups that were moving forward with Gay Games IX.

“It’s very important to say that the accusations of homophobia in the straight people that are taking up some of the leadership roles with the host organization are exaggerated and misguided,” said Robby Davis, the FGG officer of development who has helped oversee Cleveland operations. “I have not encountered any disrespect or disregard for LGBT people or blatant homophobia. I see the folks we are working here whether they are out or not to be the most incredible allies. They are so proud that Akron and Cleveland are going to be hosts of these games.”

– by Roger Brigham

— Cynthia Laird, July 25, 2011 @ 4:40 pm PST
Filed under: Sports

Police make arrest in killing of gay man found dead at Buena Vista Park

San Francisco police have charged David M. Diaz, 22, with the homicide of Freddy Roberto Canul-Arguello, 23.

Police homicide inspectors arrested Diaz yesterday (Friday, July 22) at the Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street, according to police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza.

Canul-Arguello, a gay San Francisco man, was found dead at 4:39 a.m., Friday, June 10 at Buena Vista Park. His body had been burned and left either in or near a garbage receptacle. Diaz, of San Francisco, has also been charged with arson.

Esparza didn’t release further details, including how Canul-Arguello was killed. He had last been seen alive near 18th and Castro streets at 3 a.m. the morning his body was found. Friends and family have described him as kind and hard working.

Diaz was booked at San Francisco County jail. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office has not yet charged him with anything. His booking photo was not immediately available.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 23, 2011 @ 2:20 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Time set for HIV prevention funding meeting; complaints continue

The community meeting on HIV prevention funding will run from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday, August 1 at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.

The time had not previously been announced. Organizers are asking people to RSVP beforehand on Facebook.

Providers and public health department officials plan to meet with community members to discuss the drastic changes expected in funding when agencies’ new contracts begin September 1.

Many have been upset by the increased emphasis on testing over health education and risk reduction.

Health department officials have repeatedly stressed the need to cut new HIV infections in the city, explaining that the status quo won’t work.

At a meeting in June, San Francisco HIV Prevention Director Dr. Grant Colfax (pictured at left) said, “Unless we change what we do, we are not going to eliminate new infections because we are in an endemic.”

But providers and others have complained that the shift doesn’t adequately address the prevention needs of young people, women, and others.

In an email blast today, Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center Executive Director Lance Toma said his agency has been negotiating with the health department since March to address claims that prevention officials are ignoring Asians and Pacific Islanders.

“SFDPH continues to assure us that the needs of A&PIs will be met, but we have seen no evidence to support this,” Toma said. “It’s been four months and we have yet to see a concrete plan for reaching A&PIs. A&PIs are affected by HIV, and we need to be included, just like other high-risk communities in the city.”

The wellness center is currently in talks with the health department, Mayor Ed Lee’s office, city supervisors, and the LGBT Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Commission, Toma said. They will present their concerns to the Human Rights Commission on August 11.

In another email blast today, Stop AIDS Project Executive Director Kyriell Noon told community members, “Services that you may have come to count on could be either strengthened, diminished, or eliminated entirely.

“At Stop AIDS, our programming will be changing as well, with an increased focus on testing and linking HIV positive men with care services,” he said. “We will continue to do some of our community building work; however, many of the services we provided will no longer be offered.”

Stop AIDS, probably most popular for the mobile testing RV it runs with the UCSF AIDS Health Project, has also offered programming not directly related to testing. Those services include the Scene, groups for gay, bi, and trans men in their 20s to mid-30s. That program has ended.

Noon said people attending the August 1 meeting would be learning about the city’s new HIV prevention system, hearing from agencies about which services will be available after September 1, and providing their input on how their needs can be met.

In his message, Noon also announced that Tony Koester, program coordinator for the Stop AIDS progam Positive Force, is leaving. Koester said in a message that his partner has accepted a job in Seattle and they’re going to move.

Koester said he’s “leaving with a mixed bag of emotions.” He’s been involved with the agency “in some form or another since 1995,” and the recent years as program coordinator “have been amazing, inspiring, and fulfilling.”

Positive Force is a program by and for HIV-positive gay, bi and transgender men. The aim has been to build community for the thousands of men in SF living with HIV.

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, August 4, the Positive Force and Positive Health Program will host a meeting in room Q11 at the LGBT center to discuss their new direction. Contact Justin Jones at for more information or to RSVP.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter, Noon said “Positive Force will remain part of our programming for the foreseeable future.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 22, 2011 @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dufty releases recruitment video from Milk

Out mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty released a video this week in which Stuart Milk (seen at left), nephew of slain gay icon Harvey Milk, tells voters, “I’m here to recruit you. I’m here to recruit you to support my friend Bevan Dufty.”

The first line is a reference to the slogan that Milk’s uncle, the San Francisco supervisor who was assassinated in City Hall in 1978, made famous. As the supervisor for District 8, which includes the Castro neighborhood, Dufty held what’s considered to be Harvey Milk’s old seat from 2003 to 2011. Dufty has had Milk’s backing in the mayoral campaign for months.

In the video, released Thursday, July 21, Milk says, “We have to put an openly LGBT person of Bevan’s experience, of his caliber, of his passion, of his wisdom into office.”

Dufty is the only out LGBT candidate in the crowded race for mayor. Milk says electing him in November would reach “far beyond the shores of San Francisco” and extend across the nation.

Milk says Dufty has experience as an administrator, problem solver, and activist, and that with him, voters get “the whole enchilada.”

The video is available at

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:55 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

DADT certifications issued

President Barack Obama met with new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen Friday afternoon and certified repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

[Updated 1:10 pm: The president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs signed the certification, meaning DADT will be repealed in 60 days, or September 20.

“Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality,” Obama said in a statement. ” In accordance with the legislation that I signed into law last December, I have certified and notified Congress that the requirements for repeal have been met. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end, once and for all, in 60 days – on September 20, 2011.

“As commander in chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness,” the president added. “Today’s action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

“I want to commend our civilian and military leadership for moving forward in the careful and deliberate manner that this change requires, especially with our nation at war. I want to thank all our men and women in uniform, including those who are gay or lesbian, for their professionalism and patriotism during this transition. Every American can be proud that our extraordinary troops and their families, like earlier generations that have adapted to other changes, will only grow stronger and remain the best fighting force in the world and a reflection of the values of justice and equality that the define us as Americans,” Obama said.]

The Los Angeles Times and other media reported late Thursday that two Pentagon officials said Panetta (pictured at right) and Mullen would announced Friday that the two can certify military readiness to Congress – one of the stipulations for enacting repeal of the federal law banning openly gay people from service. The repeal law passed in December also requires the president to submit written certification to Congress of military readiness.

After the three submit their certifications, a 60-day clock ticks down before repeal is actually implemented.

The Washington Post noted that Panetta is to be sworn in as Defense secretary, replacing retired Secretary Robert Gates, on Friday at the Pentagon in northern Virginia. ABC News reported that the certification announcement will take place at the Pentagon shortly after Panetta is sworn in.

The White House official schedules indicate that Vice President Joe Biden will swear in Panetta at 11 a.m. and that Obama will meet with Panetta and Mullen at 2:45 p.m. EDT. The White House schedule does not indicate the topic of the afternoon meeting and notes the meeting is closed to the press.

– by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, @ 9:39 am PST
Filed under: News

Jewish museum to host hand-holding love-in

The Contemporary Jewish Museum is hosting a hand-holding love-in this Sunday, July 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in response to two women that were asked to stop holding hands by a security guard at the Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories exhibit last Sunday.

“Given the response to what happened in the gallery last Sunday, we decided to do a hand-holding day,” said out lesbian museum director and CEO Connie Wolf.

Wolf, 51, who has led the CJM for 12 years, wasn’t present when the incident happened, but was stunned by the news of it. She responded swiftly by immediately contacting Guardsmark, the security company that contracts its services with the museum, and informed its management that the security guard’s actions were inappropriate.

The security guards that have worked at the museum (pictured at right) for many years haven’t been an issue in the past, Wolf told the Bay Area Reporter. In spite of never having an incident, Wolf said she requested that Guardsmark immediately begin working on implementing an LGBT sensitivity training program for its staff.

The hand-holding event is taking place during the LGBT Family Morning of Stein program. The morning, scheduled prior to the incident, will feature special art-making activities, tours of the exhibition, and performances by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the Voices Lesbian Choral Ensemble, and the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, said Wolf.

Lisa Finkelstein, director of the LGBT Alliance at the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties, was already planning on taking her niece, Maya, to the exhibit on Sunday, she said.

The special hand-holding event, “ironic beyond my usual experiences at CJM,” she said, only places more significance on the day because Jewish centers such as CJM “sometimes feel like extensions of our own homes or our second homes.”

“Everyone needs to feel comfortable, safe, welcome, and respected in our community as it is a core Jewish value to create Shalom Bayit, Hebrew for ‘peace in the home,'” said Finkelstein, as well as Kavod, which means respect for the “rights, dignity, feelings, wishes and abilities of others.”

Finkelstein, who is also a member of CJM, is proudly displayed with her friends and family as a part of “Being Jewish” exhibit that is currently showing, she said.

A special performance of actress Laura Sheppard’s one-woman play, Paris Portraits: Stories of Picasso, Matisse, Gertrude Stein and their Circle, will take place Sunday. The 30-minute performance is based on the new memoir of Stein by Harriet Levy. It begins at 2 p.m. at the museum and is free. Historians Frances Dinkelspiel and Fred Rosenbaum will follow the performance with a discussion, according to a news release sent out by the museum today/

All families are welcome to join the activities.

For more information, visit

Full disclosure: The B.A.R. is sponsoring “An Evening in Gay Paris” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum and SFMOMA on Thursday, August 4. For more info, visit

– by Heather Cassell

— Cynthia Laird, July 21, 2011 @ 3:51 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Brown appoints lesbian student to CSU board

Governor Jerry Brown has appointed out lesbian Jillian Ruddell, 21, of Chico, to the California State University Board of Trustees.

Ruddell, a CSU Chico student pursuing a degree in multicultural and gender studies with a minor in women’s studies, will serve as the student trustee.

In an interview with the Bay Area Reporter today (Wednesday, July 20), Ruddell said she hopes to advocate for students “and keep them confident in the system.”

She also wants to work at keeping education affordable. Many in the state have been outraged over fee increases.

Ruddell noted in her first year as a trustee, she’ll be a non-voting member, but “at this time, I would not support further tutition hikes.” Her term is for two years.

She’s served as the co-president of the PRIDE/Safezone club since 2009 and she co-founded the Chico State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Leadership Conference.

In 2010, she told The Orion, CSU Chico’s student newspaper, that she was involved in activism around sexual assault prevention and awareness, and “informing the campus and community of LGBTQ issues and identities.”

“I do it to create a community that is more accepting and welcoming for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, gender presentation, or life experience,” Ruddell said.

She also said she was trying to start a gender and equity center with LGBTQ and Women’s Center programming.

Along with her other activities, Ruddell was the youngest person to serve as the Associated Students Women’s Center director. She held that position from 2009 to 2011. She’s also been on the CSU Chico President and Superintendent’s list for academic excellence since 2008.

She received the William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustee’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2010.

The trustee position doesn’t require Senate confirmation. The compensation is $100 per diem.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 20, 2011 @ 4:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dozens arrested in anti-police protest that hit Castro

Dozens of protesters were arrested last night (Tuesday, July 19) in an anti-police march that included the Castro and other San Francisco neighborhoods.

The marchers were angered by officers shooting to death Kenneth Harding in the Bayview district Saturday, July 16. Police have said Harding shot at officers first.

Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said that a total of 43 people were arrested in connection with Tuesday’s protest.

Marchers started at about 6 p.m. after gathering in Dolores Park and made their way to the Castro, where they vandalized the Bank of America at 18th and Castro streets. They then traveled to the neighborhood’s underground Muni station, where they threw smoke bombs. They also vandalized the station, Esparza said.

Protesters also threw a hammer at officers as they passed Mission Police Station. No officers were struck or injured.

From the Castro, the marchers traveled down Market Street, disrupting Muni service and other traffic. They eventually made their way to Powell and Market streets.

Two arrests for battery were made, Esparza said. One was after a news media camera operator was assaulted. Another arrest was made for an assault in the Castro, Esparza said.

Esparza didn’t have the names of the people arrested for battery.

He said the Castro assault involved “some kind of physical scuffle,” but he didn’t know the details. He didn’t know which media outlet the cameraperson worked for.

Esparza said he hasn’t been notified of any severe injuries. “I don’t believe anyone was hospitalized or required medical treatment,” he said. He couldn’t disclose the assault victims’ names.

Demonstrators were repeatedly warned to leave the roadway and to return to the sidewalk.  When they refused to comply, officers made numerous arrests, Esparza said.

Of the 43 people arrested, 17 were San Francisco residents. One of the people arrested was from another state, according to Esparza.

Since the arrests were for misdemeanor charges, offenders were cited and released.

Police said this week that an analysis of evidence collected from Harding’s hands revealed that gunshot residue was present on Harding’s right hand.  The residue supports statements from witnesses that Harding held the gun in his right hand as he fired at officers, police said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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