Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

CA Republican Party endorses gay Assembly candidate Brad Torgan

The California Republican Party has endorsed a gay Assembly candidate running for a seat that includes the LGBT enclave of West Hollywood.

Gay GOPers believe it is the first time the state party has made a pre-primary endorsement for a gay candidate on a state level.

Brad Torgan, a lawyer and a GOP party leader in the Los Angeles area, also secured the endorsement of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County over the weekend. Torgan is the only GOP candidate in the race for the Assembly District 50 seat, which also covers the coastal city of Santa Monica.

“The support of my fellow Republicans is a cornerstone to the coalition I hope to build to represent the people of the fiftieth district,” stated Torgan in a press release. “I will fight for limited government, fundamental freedoms and cleaning up Sacramento not because those are Republican values, but because they are what the people of the fiftieth district, and the state of California, are asking for.”

He is one of seventeen non-incumbent candidates for state Assembly to receive the state party’s nod before the June 5 primary.

“The California Republican Party’s endorsement of Brad Torgan is a significant step for the party as it turn its focus back towards winning elections,” stated Charles Moran, chairman of Log Cabin California. “Log Cabin is proud that the state GOP is backing one of our own members, and that there were no objections to Brad’s support for the freedom to marry for all Californians – a sentiment which is shared by a majority of voters in the fiftieth district.”

Torgan, 50, is chair of the gay Log Cabin Republican’s Los Angeles chapter. The Log Cabin Republicans’ California organization already had endorsed Torgan’s candidacy.

He served as chief counsel for state parks in former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration.

As the Bay Area Reporter‘s Political Notes column noted last month, Torgan could place second in the primary and advance to the general election in November due to a three-way race among Democrats for the seat.

He is trying to get as many GOP voters in the district to the polls this summer, and he could get a boost in that effort if the Republican presidential nominee fight lasts till Californians go to the polls.

Should he survive the primary election, Torgan has little chance of winning in the fall as the district is considered safe for Democrats. Depending on who places first in June, should Torgan land in second, then either lesbian LGBT activist Torie Osborn; Richard Bloom, Santa Monica’s mayor, or Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Rey), who moved into the district to run for the seat, will be the likely winner.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 12, 2012 @ 11:46 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

March 9 fundraiser at Trigger for Senator Leno postponed to April

Apparently state Senator Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) re-election campaign and one of his longtime supporters are having communication problems.

As the Bay Area Reporter‘s online Political Notes column Monday, March 5 reported, the openly gay lawmaker had initially planned to be at Trigger tomorrow (Friday, March 9) for a fundraiser hosted by the gay Castro club’s owner Greg Bronstein.

But an employee with McKinley Pillows, a Sacramento firm working on Leno’s campaign, told the B.A.R. last week that the fundraiser had been canceled following the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s suspension of Trigger’s liquor license along with that of Lime, a nearby restaurant that Bronstein also owns.

The one-day closures stemmed from a tax dispute, and both businesses reopened over the weekend. Late Monday night Bronstein emailed out an invite saying that the event for Leno was still a go.

Not only would Leno be in attendance, according to the email, so would a number of city officials such as Mayor Ed Lee and gay City Treasurer Jose Cisneros.

The B.A.R. contacted Leno’s campaign about the new invite for the party but received no response by press time Wednesday that it was not a go. The most recent info about the event was included in today’s Political Notebook.

Yet at 11 a.m. this morning (Thursday, March 8) Bronstein emailed out another message saying that “due to a last minute scheduling conflict” with Leno’s office, the fundraiser for his re-election bid was being postponed to Friday, April 20th.

“All of us, especially Mark, would like to thank you for your continuing support and understanding and hope that you will be able to attend the rescheduled event,” wrote Bronstein.

Leno will be in town Friday as he is being “hanged at high noon” at John’s Grill. A photo of the lawmaker will be placed on the restaurant’s wall along with other local luminaries in a tradition that dates back 40 years.

The 104-year-old eatery is located at 63 Ellis Street (between Stockton & Powell).

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 8, 2012 @ 6:36 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lee, supervisors to visit districts for budget talks

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and city supervisors will meet with residents in the coming weeks to discuss the city’s budget.

One issue that could come up is  the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act. San Francisco is facing $7 million in cuts from the federal program, and with the city’s own budget problems, it’s not clear whether local officials will be able to fill in the gaps.

The controller’s office is projecting a $170 million shortfall for the fiscal year that begins in July. That figure could grow to $495 million by July 2015.

In a statement today (Thursday, March 8), Lee said, “We need to hear directly from our residents about the issues that matter most to them. We must build a balanced budget that not only ensures that San Franciscans get the city services they need, but one that will set the city on a steady course to fiscal solvency. My goal is to stimulate the local economy, create good jobs, and encourage innovative efficiencies within city departments and programs, and I am eager to share these principles with the public and hear directly from them.

The schedule for the town halls is:

Districts 5 and 6 with bisexual Supervisor Christina Olague and Supervisor Jane Kim
6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 29
Tenderloin Community School
627 Turk Street

Districts 8 and 9 with out gay Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos
6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 4
Horace Mann Middle School
3351 23rd Street

Districts 2 and 3 with Supervisors Mark Farrell and David Chiu
6-7:30 p.m., Monday, April 9
Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center
660 Lombard Street

Districts 4 and 7 with Supervisors Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd
10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 14
San Francisco Zoo
1 Zoo Road

Districts 1 and 5 with Supervisor Eric Mar and Olague
6-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 25
County Fair Building
Golden Gate Park

District 10 and 11 with Supervisors Malia Cohen and John Avalos
10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 28
City Arts and Technology High School
325 La Grande Avenue

The mayor will also begin a series of “Community Coffees” that will last throughout the year where the public can schedule an appointment to discuss specific topics with the mayor in their neighborhood. The first of those discussions will be Saturday, March 10 in District 11.

To join Lee for the coffee meetings, residents can call 311 and leave their name, contact information, and brief details about what they want to discuss with the mayor. Participants will be selected at random and notified of their appointment the Thursday prior to the meeting.

For more information, visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lime, Trigger open again

The Castro eatery Lime and nightclub Trigger, both owned by Greg Bronstein, are open again.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control suspended liquor licenses for both Market Street businesses Thursday, March 1, apparently because of delinquent tax payments. The state Board of Equalization, along with other agencies, has holds on the permits for both venues.

As of today (Monday, March 5), state ABC data indicated all holds were still in place, but both businesses were open again as of Friday night, March 2. Spokespeople for the tax agencies involved have declined to comment specifically on Lime and Trigger.

In an email blast, Saturday, March 3, Bronstein referred to the closures as “a little hiccup” and said, “Both places are back open as of now and we are eager to show you a great time as always.”

Early Saturday afternoon, a small, noisy crowd stood outside Lime, apparently enjoying the re-opening, as a man nearby asked them to quiet down.

Bronstein didn’t respond to an interview request Monday.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 5, 2012 @ 1:59 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Architect of Prop 8 case named HRC president

Chad H. Griffin, widely considered the architect of the federal lawsuit to overturn Proposition 8, was appointed today as the next president of the Human Rights Campaign.

Griffin (pictured at right), who is openly gay, is a founding board member of the nonprofit American Foundation for Equal Rights. AFER was formed in mid-2009 and it quickly filed a federal lawsuit challenging Prop 8 after the California Supreme Court upheld the 2008 ballot measure that was narrowly passed by voters and defines marriage as between one man and one woman in the state. He helped recruit the two plaintiff couples in the case, known as Perry v. Brown, and was personally responsible for recruiting the high-profile legal team of Theodore Olson and David Boies, according to a news release from HRC. Last month a federal appeals court upheld the trial judge’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.
Griffin, who currently lives in Los Angeles, will remain on the board of AFER.

The HRC board of directors hired Griffin, a national communications and policy strategist, after an extensive six-month search that included the consideration of over 100 diverse and extremely well-qualified candidates from the worlds of business, academia, and activism, HRC’s release stated. Griffin will assume his new responsibilities on June 11. Current HRC president Joe Solmonese will continue to lead the organization until that time. HRC had previously said Solmonese would step down in March. He has been named one of 35 national co-chairs for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

The founding partner of strategic communications and campaign firm, Griffin|Schein, Griffin has taken on entrenched, well-financed interests like Big Tobacco, Big Oil and the far right, and shaped national policy debates around equal rights, clean energy, universal health care, stem cell research, and early childhood education, according to HRC’s statement. He has also led groundbreaking ballot initiative campaigns including the largest ballot initiative ever recorded, Proposition 87: California’s Clean Alternative Energy Initiative; the Proposition 10 campaign, which generates $600 million a year for early childhood education; and Proposition 71, which secured billions of dollars for stem cell research despite the Bush administration ban.

This is a developing story and the Bay Area Reporter will have more soon.

— Cynthia Laird, March 2, 2012 @ 10:02 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

[UPDATED]: Trigger, Lime liquor licenses suspended

Trigger and Lime, two Castro area businesses owned by the same man, have lost their liquor licenses, at least temporarily, due to apparent tax troubles.

A sign at Trigger, which is at 2344 Market Street, says the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has ordered a suspension of the business’s permits.

The order (seen at left) is dated today (Thursday, March 1) and marked “Indefinite.”

The San Francisco bar’s liquor license was set to expire Wednesday, February 29, according to state data. The records show that on April 2, 2008, the state Board of Equalization placed a hold on the license. The sign posted at  Trigger today bears the initials “B.O.E.”

ABC spokesman John Carr said that the state board “asked us to post a delinquent taxpayer suspension notice, so that’ s what we did.” He said when Trigger can sell alcoholic drinks again is up to the BOE.

A BOE staffer said he was prohibited by law from commenting on Trigger.

Trigger owner Greg Bronstein previously refused to discuss his apparent problems with the state board, and he didn’t respond to interview requests Thursday afternoon.

Deckel Israeli, Bronstein’s assistant, said in a recent email to the Bay Area Reporter, “Any alleged holds on our licenses have been resolved.”

Bronstein has gotten into trouble with neighbors and city officials in recent years because of noise from the club, and he’s been working to pay off $50,000 in fines. City staff and area residents recently said that they’re satisfied with changes Bronstein’s been making.


A note at Trigger Thursday night said the bar would open again today (Friday, March 2.)

The liquor license for Lime, another Bronstein business, was also suspended Thursday. A sign similar to the one at Trigger was posted at the eatery, at 2247 Market Street, which is known for drawing daytime drinkers.

According to the state ABC, there are two holds on the Lime license, which was set to expire Wednesday.

One hold is from the BOE. Another is from the state Franchise Tax Board. That hold is dated January 26, 2012.

Denise Azimi, a tax board spokeswoman, said in an email today, “This is a standard procedure for us. We issued 440 liquor license holds within the last 12 months. I cannot speak specifically about the taxpayer in question due to confidentiality laws.”

There was no sign at Lime on Thursday night of when the restaurant might reopen.

A phone number listed on the business’s website wasn’t working Friday morning.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 1, 2012 @ 5:45 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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