Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Breed to run against Olague in D5 supe race

Passed over earlier this year by Mayor Ed Lee to fill the vacant District 5 supervisor seat, Fire Commissioner London Breed will run for the office this fall.

Breed, who served on the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commission for six years, plans to file her paperwork with the city’s Elections Department at 11 a.m. Monday, February 27. According to a press advisory, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and San Francisco Board of Education Member Rachel Norton, as well as community leaders from across the district, will join her next week.

Three other people, including City College commissioner John Rizzo, have already indicated their intent to run against District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague, a bisexual Latina sworn into the office in January. The seat became vacant when Ross Mirkarimi resigned to become sheriff.

Andrew Resignato, director of the San Francisco Immunization Coalition, and Thea Selby, founding member and current president of the Lower Haight Merchant and Neighbor Association, have also filed papers to seek the seat.

Breed is a lifelong resident of the district, which is centered in the Haight and Western Addition. In 2002 former Mayor Willie Brown named her the executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex. She would be the second African American woman on the board, joining District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen.

Last year the League of Women Voters of San Francisco honored her as one of its “rising stars.” In 2008 Breed was an Obama delegate at the Democratic National Convention. She graduated from Galileo High School and earned a B.A. in political science from UC Davis.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 24, 2012 @ 5:03 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

LGBT super PAC for Obama hosts SF event

An LGBT super PAC aimed at re-electing President Barack Obama this fall is hosting its first public event at San Francisco’s City Hall Friday night.

Created by a straight woman and a gay man who work in social media for Silicon Valley companies and tech start-ups, the political action committee is focused on harnessing the web and sites like Facebook to motivate LGBT people to vote for the president.

Called the Pride PAC, it quietly launched online earlier this month and its Facebook account already has 1,168 people who have liked the page. The goal is to reach one million people by the summer.

“We are taking the super PAC privilege usually used for corruption and using technology to start a movement…what Occupy doesn’t quite understand,” stated Pride PAC founder Marcus Lovingood, 26, a gay San Francisco resident who is an online media entrepreneur and producer.

Co-founder is Rose Dawydiak-Rapagnani, 24, the daughter of retired San Francisco police officers. An LGBT ally, she is the PAC’s director of social media.

“The reason we formed the Pride PAC is simple: we want to combat the blatant misuse of our election system by using social media to spread awareness and advocacy of the LGBT agenda,” Dawydiak-Rapagnani explained in an email to the Bay Area Reporter this week.

It is a grassroots twist to the more mainstream super PACs being financed by a handful of wealthy business people backing the Republican candidates. Obama himself recently dropped his objections over the secretive shadow campaign groups to allow his administration officials and supporters to fund their own super PAC.

The Pride PAC is operating separate from the official Obama re-election campaign and Priorities USA, the super PAC founded by former Obama aides.

The Pride PAC’s first town hall will be held at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow night (Friday, February 24) on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. The public is invited to attend to learn more about the group.

“We are very excited to launch our initiative at this location because of it’s great history with activists such as Harvey Milk, and many others,” wrote Dawydiak-Rapagnani.

The B.A.R. will have a longer story about the Pride PAC in its March 1 issue.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 23, 2012 @ 5:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Antigay pastor, Newt Gingrich expected at CA GOP confab this weekend near SFO

Antigay pastor, the Reverend Lou Sheldon, and Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich are both scheduled to speak at this weekend’s California Republican Party Spring Convention.

The confab takes place at the Hyatt Regency SFO in Burlingame starting Friday, February 24 and runs through Sunday, February 26.

Gingrich, a one-time frontrunner in the race to be the GOP’s nominee this fall against President Barack Obama, has fallen into third place behind the latest leader of the pack, antigay former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He is expected to address the state convention during Saturday’s luncheon.

Sheldon, (seen at right) the chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, is slated to preside over the Sunday prayer breakfast. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers the Anaheim-based coalition a hate group, and Sheldon is pushing a measure that would repeal a state law requiring the state’s public schools to teach about LGBT history.

Members of the gay Log Cabin Republicans from throughout the Golden State will also descend on the Bay Area this weekend for the annual convention.

The local San Francisco chapter is hosting a Castro bar crawl tomorrow night for attendees. It kicks off at 7 p.m. at Toad Hall, 4146 18th Street.

Saturday night Log Cabin’s infamous Hawaiian luau-themed party returns, known to attract even straight conservative GOPers. Everyone is welcome to attend, even if not attending any other events at the convention.

The party runs from 9 p.m. to midnight in the Regency B room at the hotel, located at 
1333 Bayshore Boulevard in 

To RSVP or find more information, visit Log Cabin’s Facebook event page here.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 5:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Mission Street projects re-route bus lines

Infrastructure projects set to take place along Mission Street will re-route several of the city’s most heavily used bus lines over the next six months.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is replacing water mains along the street from 16th to Cesar Chavez Streets. In addition, the Department of Public Works plans to repave the roadway and install new curb ramps where necessary.

A similar project along South Van Ness Avenue and side streets in the area is nearing completion and will soon carry three bus lines that normally run along Mission Street.

In order to accommodate the road work, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is relocating the 14 Mission, 14L Mission Limited, and 49 Van Ness buses from Mission Street to South Van Ness.

To answer residents’ questions and address concerns about the project, openly gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos is hosting a community meeting next week.

It will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1 in Room 211 at the Mission Economic Development Agency, 2301 Mission at 19th Street.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:59 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Family, friends mourn popular Castro resident

Family and friends are mourning the death of a popular gay Castro area resident who put himself through law school by working in many of the neighborhood’s bars and restaurants.

Richard Nelson, 36, was found dead Tuesday morning, February 21, outside his home near 18th and Sanchez streets. The cause of death isn’t known, but those who knew Nelson said that he’d had health issues, and they don’t suspect foul play.

[Updated: A memorial and celebration will be held beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 25, at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, San Francisco. A reception will follow.]

There should be plenty of things to say about Nelson, whom loved ones describe as intelligent, compassionate, and sharp-witted

Richard Nelson, left, with friends Armond Dorsey and Sammy Rodriguez in 2004

Armond Dorsey, who met Nelson at UC-Santa Cruz almost 20 years ago, said he was “numb” over the death.

“Richard was more than my friend,” Dorsey said. “Richard was family to me.”

Dorsey said that he was with Nelson on Monday night, February 20. They had dinner at Harvey’s, where they ran into several other friends that they then spent some time with.

“He was upbeat,” Dorsey said of Nelson. “He was making plans for the future.” He said they’d just returned from Palm Springs earlier in the month – it was Nelson’s  first time there – and Nelson was talking about when they were going to do it again.

Dorsey went home at about 9 p.m., while Nelson planned to go to the Mix, which he visited often.

Dorsey, who’s 37 and lives in Oakland, said other people should be inspired by Nelson.

“He fought really, really hard to just say, ‘No, I’m going to make something of myself,” he said.

Kristy White, Nelson’s niece, also recalled Nelson’s determination.

She described the period when he was attending college in the early 1990s and came out to  his family. At the time, White was a frequent churchgoer.

“I remember very clearly during the time he came out, he wrote me a four-page letter,” White said. “It was a huge concern to him that it didn’t change our relationship. Ultimately, I really didn’t care. In my mind, I loved him anyway. It didn’t matter whatsoever. But for him … I could tell it was something that he poured a lot of himself into.”

Referring to herself and other family members, she said, “It’s kind of like we knew before he told us, so we really weren’t really that surprised.”

She also said Nelson’s family was happy that he’d found his place outside the Central Valley, where “he felt very restricted.”

At 37, White’s a year older than Nelson was.

“We were raised like brother and sister,” White said. “He was like my little brother.”

White lives in the Modesto area and said she saw Nelson several times a year. She said he didn’t expect to have children of his own and doted on her kids.

Even when there weren’t biological ties, it appears that Nelson worked to create family.

Steve Porter, 37, one of Nelson’s housemates, said that Nelson “was always interested in whatever he could do to make life easier for people that he cared about.” He said his friend “always liked to make big dinners for people that didn’t really have family on special occasions,” such as holidays.

Porter, a manager at the restaurant Harvey’s, said that Nelson had recently started running Paul Langley Company, which Porter said owns Harvey’s, Powerhouse, and several other bars and restaurants.

Porter said that Nelson’s background in landlord and tenant rights law made him a “natural fit” for the job. He said that his friend also had experience in other legal areas and once helped him with a family law case.

Dorsey said that he, Nelson, and Sammy Rodriguez, another friend from college, were like the Three Musketeers. Rodriguez quipped that it was an “unholy trinity.”

Rodriguez, who’s 36 and lives in New York City, said that he and Nelson ran the Lavender Lounge, a space for queer youth where they’d watch the TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous and have movie nights. He recalled Nelson’s wit and said it was reminiscent of Sophia Petrillo, the sharp-tongued character played by Estelle Getty on the Golden Girls sitcom.

Rodriguez said that Nelson left UC-Santa Cruz early in the mid-1990s.

Nelson moved to San Francisco and started working jobs at bars including Badlands and Detour, and restaurants like the Patio Café and Nirvana. Eventually, he put himself through UC Hastings School of Law.

Rodriguez said that Nelson was “incredibly social” and “incredibly intelligent,” which apparently were characteristics that were sometimes hard to balance.

“I think he knew oftentimes that he was smarter than a lot of people in the room, and that kind of frustrated him,” he said. “In some ways, he wanted to just relax and to just chill out with all of us.”

Cause of death unknown

Nelson’s loved ones don’t know how he died. A San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office staffer wouldn’t comment on the possible cause.

Porter said that when he was seeing his partner off to work Tuesday at about 7 a.m., police were outside. There was yellow caution tape around the scene and Nelson’s body was covered.

“There’s a lot of questions we’re all asking ourselves right now,” White, Nelson’s niece, said.

Asked about any medical conditions Nelson had, White said there was “nothing that would warrant an early passing, but we will not be able to know the full results of the autopsy for a couple months.”

She said that Nelson had allergies, and had been on a couple different medications, but she didn’t want to elaborate.

Rodriguez said that Nelson had a thyroid problem and had struggled with his weight, and was “not in the best health.” He said that he’d been trying to watch his diet and alcohol intake.

“He had some demons, as we all do, but his intention was always to make piece with them,” he said.

Like others, Porter said that Nelson had been optimistic recently.

He said, “It seemed like with the new year forming, he really had a change in attitude and a change in his habits, and he was feeling pretty good about life, and that’s what makes this all the more tragic.”

Besides his numerous friends, Nelson is survived by two brothers, two sisters, and nieces and nephews.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 22, 2012 @ 9:47 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dolores Park remodel focus of Feb 29 meeting

The public will have a chance next week to provide more input into the proposed changes for Mission Dolores Park, the outdoor green space near the heart of the gay Castro district.

A sweeping remodel (seen in the schematic photo at right) is planned for the 13.7 acre public park, which attracts hordes of gay men to the “gay beach” on sunny days and offers stunning views of downtown and the bay. A new expanded playground area with a nautical theme and slide is already under construction.

And plans call for the demolition of the delapidated bathrooms in the middle of the park to be replaced by two new bathroom facilities. One appears to be built into the hillside near the 20th Street and Dolores Park entrance to the park, according to a recent architectural plan released by the park department.

One idea listed on the plans is to construct a pissoir, an open-air urinal for men. But its location has yet to be decided upon and is not marked on the map of changes that was released.

As the plan, derived from community meetings held last year, is further finalized, park officials are asking once again for the public’s thoughts.

A community open house will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 29 inside the cafeteria at Mission High School, 3750 18th Street. The entrance is on Dolores Street just north of 18th Street.

The public is invited to stop by anytime during the meeting to talk with the project team and learn about the proposal.

For more information visit the projects website here.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 7:17 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Milk club endorses Ammiano re-election bid

The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club this week gave an early endorsement to openly gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

Ammiano is seeking a third and final term in the Assembly this November, and so far, he is running unopposed. He is expected to easily win re-election to his Assembly seat this November.

The progressive queer Democratic Club voted to give its backing to Ammiano at its membership meeting Tuesday, February 21.

The progressive state lawmaker (seen speaking in the photo at right) grabbed headlines last month when he took part in an event with religious leaders to call for reforms in how the state participates in the “Secure Communities” or S-Comm deportation program.

One of his signature bills this legislative session is AB 889, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. It would provide more than 200,000 domestic workers in the state with overtime protections, inclusion in workers’ compensation coverage and the right to meal and rest breaks – protections already given to almost every other worker in California.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 6:16 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Oakland event celebrates new HIV campaign

Alameda County health officials have teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to celebrate the launch of a new advertising campaign focused on getting sexually active black gay and bisexual men to regularly test for HIV.

A free public event will be held Thursday, February 23 in Oakland to explain the goals behind the ads and introduce several of the people who helped create them.

A story in the Thursday, February 16 issue of the Bay Area Reporter described the new campaign, dubbed “Testing Makes Us Stronger.” The ads were rolled out at the start of February and feature both single black men and male couples.

It is the latest iteration of the CDC’s broader Act Against AIDS initiative that began in 2009, which marked the first time the federal agency had specifically focused on gay African American men.

The $2.4 million advertising campaign is running in gay and African-American neighborhoods in six cities where black gay and bisexual men are at greater risk of contracting HIV. In addition to Oakland, the other cities include Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

At next week’s event speakers will include Rashad Burgess, the chief of the capacity building branch division of HIV and AIDS prevention at the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, and Kabir Hypolite, director of the Office of AIDS Administration for the Alameda County Public Health Department.

Also on hand will be out HIV positive photographer Duane Cramer, who helped develop the campaign.

The event takes place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. February 23 at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, 695 14th Street in downtown Oakland.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 17, 2012 @ 2:56 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Free SF park shuttle stops at AIDS memorial

San Francisco visitors and residents can once again hop onboard a free shuttle to see various sites within Golden Gate Park, including the country’s only federal memorial for those lost to AIDS.

The city’s Recreation and Park Department is launching the shuttle service this weekend, and one of the stops is the AIDS Memorial Grove (seen at right). The 7.5 acres of green space in the secluded deLaveaga Dell was officially designated a national memorial in 1996.

Other Golden Gate Park destinations the shuttle makes stops at include McLaren Lodge, Koret Children’s Playground, Conservatory of Flowers, de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Rose Garden, Stow Lake, the Bison Paddock, and the two windmills near Ocean Beach.

The shuttle runs between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. every 15 to 20 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays as well as all legal holidays. It makes its first trip this Sunday, February 19 and will run throughout the spring and summer months.

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

SF DA: Won’t seek death penalty in cases

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon told reporters today that he would not seek the death penalty “in any case.”

The issue was raised by the Bay Area Reporter during a Q&A with reporters at a biannual press breakfast Gascon hosted at Delancey Street Restaurant.

SF DA George Gascon (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Earlier this month, defendant William Payne pleaded not guilty to the 1983 murder of Nikolaus Crumbley. During a court appearance February 2, Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart said that the murder charge against Payne could be altered to reflect that it occurred during the course of sodomy, which would make Payne a candidate for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

At the time, Swart said he did not know if the DA’s office would alter the charge but said that if it became a capital case it would go before a committee in the DA’s office. The decision to seek the death penalty would ultimately be made by Gascon.

Thursday, Gascon was asked about the Payne case.

“We’re not going to be seeking the death penalty,” Gascon said.

Asked to clarify if he was just referring to the Payne case, Gascon said his office would not seek the death penalty “in any case.”

“It would be life without parole,” he said of the severest penalty his office would seek in applicable felony cases.

During his 2011 election campaign, Gascon said that he’s “not a believer” in the death penalty but did not specifically rule out applying it in cases.

The B.A.R. will have more on the Payne case in next week’s edition.

— Cynthia Laird, February 16, 2012 @ 3:53 pm PST
Filed under: News,Politics

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