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

Medical pot proposal cleared for signature gathering

State officials have cleared a proposal to regulate and tax medical marijuana for petition distribution.

Backers of the measure, who include Don Duncan, the California director for Americans for Safe Access, have until July 13 to collect the 504,760 valid signatures they’ll need to get it on the November ballot. The secretary of state issued its approval of signature collection today (Wednesday, February 15).

Americans for Safe Access has been one of the groups protesting the Obama administration’s crackdown on pot dispensaries in San Francisco and other California cities. The organization filed a lawsuit over the federal actions last fall.

Through Prop 215, passed by voters in 1996, state law already allows for use of medical marijuana. Many people say the drug helps ease pain related to HIV and AIDS and other illnesses.

The new proposal would establish a government agency to regulate medical pot cultivation, distribution, and sale, among other provisions. It would also impose a 2.5 percent tax on retail sales. The money would go to administration of the new agency, with the remainder mostly going to medical pot research and grants.

The measure would preempt local rules, except for zoning of dispensaries; require a club for every 50,000 residents unless limited or banned by local initiative; reduce criminal penalties related to marijuana possession or sale; and bar state and local assistance to federal enforcement against medical marijuana.

If state voters approve it, the proposal could result in several tens of millions of dollars in savings to law enforcement agencies, according to state estimates.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 15, 2012 @ 7:18 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Positive Resource Center co-sponsors session on HIV/AIDS, employment

San Francisco’s Positive Resource Center and the California Department of Rehabilitation’s office in the city are sponsoring an HIV/AIDS training session for the workforce development community.

The free event is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 14 in the lower level auditorium of the State Building, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco.

The training will include a consumer panel, HIV education from local health department officials, vocational rehabilitation research, and other topics.

In an email, Positive Resource Center Executive Director Brett Andrews said his agency appreciates “the workforce development/vocational rehabilitation community’s continued interest in learning more about HIV, and how it impacts employment.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 10, 2012 @ 8:02 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sister of Perpetual Indulgence describes robbery attempt, attack

A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence said he was attacked during an attempted robbery this week near San Francisco’s Alamo Square Park.

Matthew Sachs, 25, who also goes by the name Sister T’aint A Virgin, said he was walking up Steiner Street on his way home from the Castro neighborhood at about 10:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 7 when the incident started.

Sachs, who said he wasn’t wearing his Sister make-up and was “just in normal boy clothes,” said at Oak Street he noticed a man standing off to the side.

The man “seemed out of place,” Sachs said, because he appeared to be just “hanging out” and not preparing to cross the street.

Sachs pulled out his keys, put them between his fingers, and got the whistle he carried ready as he continued walking. After about a block and a half, he heard something behind him.

He turned around, and the suspect grabbed his backpack, spun him around, hit him in the face, and said, “Give me your fucking phone or I’ll shoot you.”

Sachs, whose phone had been in his pocket the whole time, froze briefly, and then broke free. The man pushed him up against the wall and started hitting him in the head.

Sachs screamed for help and blew his whistle, and the suspect ran away down Steiner. Sachs didn’t see a gun on the man.

The whistle scared off the suspect, but the poorly lit area was practically deserted, and nobody came to his aid, Sachs said. He called 911, and after police arrived, an officer escorted him home.

Sachs could only tell police that the man was black, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, and wearing a black hoodie and baggy blue jeans.

A full member of the charitable nuns group since 2010, Sachs said that his whistle was part of the safety kit distributed through the Stop the Violence campaign. The effort is part of a partnership the Sisters have with the Castro Community on Patrol volunteer group.

Sachs said that since the incident, “I’m definitely very wary, and have not really felt comfortable leaving the house if it’s dark out at all.”

He said his injuries were mainly a couple bruises on the side of his face and “Physically, I came out very lucky.”

For more information on the safety campaign, visit the Stop the Violence page on Facebook, or the  Sisters’ website. Sachs said they try to keep costs low, “but we can’t do it for free,” and donations are encouraged.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 7:41 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF high school marriages to include same-sex unions

Students at San Francisco’s Galileo High School, including LGBT youth, will be able to marry anybody they want to on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14.

The mock ceremonies, which run from 12:15 to 12:55 p.m., are part of the school’s “G-House Love Fest Day.”

A statement from the San Francisco Unified School District said the purpose is “to celebrate the day with tolerance toward others, making educated choices around sexual behavior and creating healthy relationships.”

The ceremonies will include an “officiant,” flowers, balloons, and certificates. The day’s being organized by Galileo’s gay-straight alliance and wellness center.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 4:59 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Party, counter actions to mark Valentine’s Day

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan will join with city council members to celebrate the recent Proposition 8 court ruling and marriage equality activists will make their annual pilgrimage to county clerk offices around the state on Valentine’s Day.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan (Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

In Oakland, the mayor and city council members will join community leaders and host a Celebration for Marriage Equality at City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 14. There will be cake and refreshments. The event is free and open to the public. More information is available on the Facebook page, “Overturn of Prop 8 Valentine’s Day Reception.”

The reception will celebrate the February 7 decision by a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that found Prop 8, the state’s same-sex marriage ban, unconstitutional.

Also on February 14, marriage equality advocates with Get Equal, California Faith for Equality, Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, and Marriage Equality USA will hold their annual marriage counter demonstrations at county clerk offices around the state. These are generally peaceful and fun actions, whereby same-sex couples approach the counter and ask for a marriage license. Because same-sex marriage is not currently taking place in California, the clerks turn the couples away, but the demonstrations keep the issue in the public eye and many clerks are supportive. Additionally, because many opposite-sex couples tie the knot that day, it’s also an educational opportunity.

In San Francisco, the counter action will take place at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the East Bay, leafleting will take place at the Walnut Creek BART station (all day) and in Martinez, there will be a counter event from 4 to 5 p.m. People are encouraged to bring balloons, smiles, and friends.

For more information and a listing of activities planned in other cities, visit and click on “Action Center” then “Calendar of Events.”

[Updated: Also, in Berkeley, author Cynthia Chin-Lee will be at Books Inc. Tuesday at 4 p.m. to sign copies of her latest children’s book, Operation Marriage (Reach and teach/PM Press). The story is based on a real Palo Alto family caught in the crossfire of Prop 8. Illustrator Lea Lyon and local leaders will be at the event as well. The book signing is sponsored by Freedom to Marry. Books Inc. is located at 1760 4th Street.
Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of Network Spiritual Progressives and Tikkun magazine, will be on hand to introduce the Defense of All Families Pledge that has already collected around 2,000 signatures.]

— Cynthia Laird, @ 12:33 pm PST
Filed under: News

Mission police station posting online bulletins with more details

The San Francisco Police Department’s Mission Station, which oversees the Castro and other neighborhoods, has introduced a new version of its weekly crime newsletter. The online bulletin includes more detail than what had recently been available in emailed newsletters, and it allow users to post comments. The emailed updates have been discontinued.

The new site follows a change in leadership at the station.

In January, Captain Bob Moser (seen at left) replaced former Mission Station Captain Greg Corrales, who’s been assigned to the SFPD airport unit.

One recent incident listed on the Mission site makes it clear that despite being home to one of the world’s best-known gay neighborhoods, the Mission district isn’t immune to anti-gay hate crimes.

At 9:35 p.m. on January 24, in the 1000 block of Mission Street, a man told police that someone had repeatedly called him “a homophobic slur” and waved a switchblade knife at him, officers reported.

Police found the suspect hiding under a parked vehicle and took the person into custody.

The SFPD hasn’t provided more details, including what the slur was and whether the suspect is male or female. It’s not clear whether the district attorneys’ office has arraigned anyone in the case.

In another incident, at 6:30 p.m. on January 30, in the 4000 block of 18th Street, near Castro Street, off-duty police who wereenjoying a night out at a local establishment” saw someone trying to steal an officer’s “expensive” jacket, police reported. The person attempted to flee, but police chased the suspect down. The almost-thief was booked on numerous felony charges.

Finally, at 12:15 p.m. on January 28 in the 500 block of Castro, a man who claimed to be a plumber told an elderly woman that “she had leaky pipes and they were about to burst,” police said.

The suspect stated that he’d just fixed the neighbor’s pipes. The woman gave him a check for $6,500, but he told her that he needed cash. She got into a car with him.

They headed to her bank, but the suspect told the woman there was too much traffic there, so they went to the Bank of America on Castro.

The suspect told the victim that he’d wait around the corner while she went inside. When the woman tried to withdraw the $6,500, the teller called the police. Officers couldn’t find the suspect.

To sign up for the newsletter, visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 9, 2012 @ 3:46 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Palo Alto school musical depicts “obnoxiously” gay prom queen hopeful

Palo Alto high school students are preparing a musical with an “obnoxiously and provocatively gay” main character.

Out! the Gunn High School choir and staff musical for 2012, starts at 8 p.m., Thursday, February 9 at Spangenberg Theatre, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto.

According to an email blast from the school, the show is set in Decent, Oklahoma, which “seems like the ideal place to live until a high school senior boy named Chives starts rocking the pedestal by running for prom queen.”

Through “outrageous” antics, Chives, described as “gender bending” and “flamboyant and in-your-face” works toward his goal, the school says.

Even his best friend, Maddy Murphy, “argues that people are angry with Chives not because he’s gay but because he’s obnoxiously and provocatively gay.”

Chives bets Maddy that if she were gay, “no one would like her, either.” She takes him up on it and “What follows is a comedic roller coaster ride of tap dancing ranchers, Ellen DeGeneres leading a gospel choir and a potent test of the power of gay-dar.”

The result isn’t what Maddy expected, and the two friends learn a lesson “filled with pain, joy and the realization that, despite all the challenges of adolescence, it really does get better.”

The last line refers to the “It Gets Better” video campaign, which columnist Dan Savage launched after several youth who’d experienced anti-gay bullying killed themselves.

In 2009, some Gunn students committed suicide by placing themselves in front of trains. It’s not clear if any of the deaths were related to anti-LGBT bullying, and the school’s email doesn’t spell out what motivated it to perform a gay-themed musical.

Palo Alto, which is about 40 minutes south of San Francisco, is home to several high tech companies and Stanford University.

Tickets for Out! are available online at Prices don’t appear to be listed.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 8, 2012 @ 8:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SJ Pride hosts event with board, new festival director

The San Jose LGBT Pride Board of Directors is inviting community members and potential corporate donors to meet them and their new Festival Director Dane Dugan (seen at left) at a downtown nightspot next week.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, February 7, at Fahrenheit Restaurant and Lounge, 99 East San Fernando St., San Jose.

The South Bay city’s Pride organization has struggled to attract visitors to its main August event and has also had financial troubles in recent years. Corporate donations will likely play a large role in paying for this year’s festival, which is set for Sunday, August 19.

For more information, visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 3, 2012 @ 6:49 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Finances improve for Metropolitan Community Church-SF

After a year in which Metropolitan Community Church-San Francisco struggled to pay bills, the Castro spiritual center’s financial situation has improved, a church official said this week.

MCC-SF, at 150 Eureka Street, finished 2011 with a surplus of $5,409.07, board co-lay leader Kristine Poggioli said. They have no debt.

“We are in the black,” Poggioli said. “Hallelujah!”

Poggioli attributed much of the surplus to the “Miracle on Eureka Street” campaign. That effort raised $63,000, and they plan to do a similar drive this spring.

In the “Miracle” project, people purchased engraved yellow bricks (such as the ones seen at left) that have been placed in the sidewalk in front of MCC-SF. The church had to repave the sidewalk because overgrown tree roots had burst through the concrete, and the city ordered them to fix it.

Poggioli said that financially, the church has “only had one very bad year,” and that was 2011, when “we were absolutely behind every month.”

“I’d say the brick road pulled us out for this year,” she said.

Poggioli said the situation also looks good for 2012.

The church hoped that people would pledge $200,000 in the fall of 2011 for this year. She said contributors have promised to provide $193,822, just short of their goal. She estimated the budget for this year would be $240,000.

Poggioli said that in the next couple of months, the board wants to focus on community outreach.

Attendance has been down in recent years. In 2010, MCC-SF drew an average of 1002 people per month. Last year, that number had fallen to 910.

Ideas for boosting attendance include surveying members on what drew them to the church; and holding services for people of different faiths, including Catholicism and Buddhism.

MCC-SF will be hosting forums from 2 to 4 p.m. on February 19, March 4, and March 25 to discuss what people want out of the church.

The church has a vacancy for a new board member. Applications are due Sunday, February 5.

For more information, including the board application, visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 2, 2012 @ 4:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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