Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 41 / 12 October 2017
 

Daytime drinking hole Lime to close

The Castro bar and restaurant Lime, known for drawing daytime drinkers, is closing.

The business’s Facebook page says, “As all good things must come to an end so is the fate of Lime Restaurant. We are extremely proud of the success that we’ve had and couldn’t thank you enough for all your patronage and support. We are so happy that we could do something great for San Francisco!”

Sunday, June 3, will be the farewell party at Lime, which is at 2247 Market Street.

It’s not clear why exactly the business is closing. Owner Greg Bronstein didn’t immediately respond to an interview request today (Thursday, May 31).

Earlier this year, Lime had to shut down briefly due to apparent tax problems. Records indicate Bronstein has had trouble with the California Board of Equalization and the state Franchise Tax Board. Citing confidentiality rules, staffers at those agencies have previously declined to comment specifically on Lime’s situation.

John Carr, a spokesman for the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said Thursday that he didn’t see any record of Lime closing because of problems with his agency.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 31, 2012 @ 3:46 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SJ officials nix marriage equality proposal

The San Jose City Council Rules Committee has failed to back a resolution calling on Mayor Chuck Reed (seen at left) to support marriage equality.

Councilman Ash Kalra had submitted a proposal for Reed to join the more than 200 mayors from across the United States who have signed a pro-equality statement from the national group Freedom to Marry.

None of the three rules panel members present Wednesday, May 30 seconded Kalra’s motion to send his proposal to the full council for a vote at its June 5 meeting, according to a City Council staffer. Kalra isn’t a member of the rules committee, which Reed chairs.

Committee member Pierluigi Oliverio opted not to support Kalra’s resolution. Oliverio, who represents many of San Jose’s gay neighborhoods and supports marriage equality, is running for re-election against Steve Kline, an out gay lawyer on the June primary ballot.

In a statement Wednesday, Kline said, “Mr. Oliverio’s actions are hypocritical and insulting. Oliverio intends to raise the rainbow flag over City Hall on June 5 Election Day, and his actions today stops the council’s consideration on the most important issue to [the] LGBT community.” Oliverio wasn’t available for comment.

According to Kline, Oliverio proposed to delay the issue to an “undetermined date” and gained the support of Reed and Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, another committee member.

Nguyen, who backs same-sex marriage but opposed Kalra’s resolution, has said, “I don’t want to impose my beliefs on any one individual.” According to a Kalra memo, Councilmen Don Rocha and Kansen Chu co-sponsored his resolution.

Councilman Pete Constant, the fourth rules panel member, was not at Wednesday’s meeting.

Rick Infantino, a gay man who has been pushing people to sign an online petition urging Reed to follow his fellow mayors in endorsing marriage equality, said in an interview Wednesday, “I don’t see how we could proudly raise the rainbow flag at City Hall when we don’t have equal protection under the law. … We’re not even welcomed at City Hall.” Reed recently cancelled a meeting with marriage backers.

Infantino said that the mayor of the country’s 10th largest city “is just ignoring us, marginalizing us, and not even willing to converse with us. He doesn’t want people to know where he stands especially before the election because he has a divisive issue on the ballot regarding pension reform [Measure B].”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:47 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


CA Senate OKs ban on ‘ex-gay’ therapy

The California state Senate has approved a bill designed to limit mental health providers’ ability to engage in sexual orientation change efforts sometimes called “ex-gay” or conversion therapy.

If the Assembly approves SB 1172, authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance, seen at left), and Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signs it, the measure would make California the first state in the country to ban licensed mental health professionals from engaging in such therapy efforts for a minor patient, regardless of a parent’s willingness or desire to authorize participation, according to bill sponsor Equality California.

The Senate voted 23 to 13 Wednesday, May 30, to pass the bill.

“Being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder,” Lieu said in an EQCA statement. “The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”

Opponents of sexual orientation change efforts say the therapy poses risks of depression and suicide, among other problems.

“Too many young people have taken their own lives or suffered lifelong harm after being told, falsely, by a therapist or counselor that who they are is wrong, sick or the result of personal or moral failure,” stated EQCA board President Clarissa Filgioun. “Legislative action is long overdue to end the abuse of sexual orientation change efforts and for the state to fulfill its duty to protect consumers – especially youth – from therapeutic misconduct.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Mental Health America of Northern California, Gaylesta, and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund are also sponsors of SB 1172, according to EQCA.

Also Wednesday, the Senate passed SB 1476, which modernizes state law to ensure that a judge has the option to rule in the best interests of a child by recognizing more than two parent-child relationships, if they apply to that family.

The legislation, which would clarify existing law, would be applied in cases involving both same-sex and straight parents.

Out gay Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who authored the bill, said in a statement, “We live in a world today where courts are dealing with diverse circumstances that have reshaped California families. This legislation gives courts the flexibility to protect the best interests of a child who is being supported financially and emotionally by those parents. It is critical that judges have the ability to recognize the roles of all parents, especially when a family is in distress and a child’s security is a concern.”

The vote was 24-13. The bill goes next to the Assembly.

SB 1476 is sponsored by the Children’s Advocacy Institute and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:02 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Breaking: Court rules DOMA unconstitutional

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the core part of the Defense of Marriage Act, barring federal recognition of marriages of same-sex couples, is unconstitutional.

The panel said that, under simple rational review of the law, the same-sex couples seeking to overturn DOMA, “cannot prevail.” But, the panel also said that the principles of equal protection and federalism implicated together by DOMA “require a closer than usual review based in part on discrepant impact among married couples and in part on the importance of state interests in regulating marriage.”

The panel decided that an earlier 1st Circuit decision on a case challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” “has already declined” to grant “suspect classification” to laws based on “sexual preference.” And the panel said it was neither empowered nor willing to “create such a new suspect classification for same-sex relationships.”

But citing Romer v. Evans and other U.S. Supreme Court precedents, and noting that the denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples married in Massachusetts “does burden the choice of states … to regulate the rules and incidents of marriage,” the court said Section 3 cannot stand.

-Reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, @ 8:38 am PST
Filed under: News


Jury acquits SF man accused of making anti-gay threats

A jury found a San Francisco man who’d been accused of threatening to kill a married male couple while calling them “faggots” not guilty of a hate crime this week.

Maurice G. Carrillo, 38, had been charged with a misdemeanor count of making criminal threats, with a hate crime allegation, along with two misdemeanor counts of violating the victim’s civil rights based on their sexual orientation. The jury found Carrillo not guilty on all counts Thursday, May 24.

According to San Francisco Superior Court records, the charges stemmed from an incident that started at 11:45 p.m. on August 30, 2011.

One of the alleged victims, William R., 53, testified this week that Carrillo approached him and his husband, Alan R., 48, as they were walking their dog near Carrillo’s home and said, “I’m going to kill you, faggots. I’m going to mess you up. I’m going to shoot you. I’m going to kill your faggot partner, and I’m going to kill your faggot dog,” according to Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office.

Witness testimony also indicated that while referring to the victims Carrillo said, “Fuck those white faggots,” Bastian said. He said that Alan R. testified that the incident “was the most frightened he’s ever been in his entire life.”

The men lived near Carrillo on San Jose Avenue, in the Ingleside neighborhood, at the time of the encounter, but they moved away about a month later, according to court records.

The Bay Area Reporter is not disclosing the couple’s full names because they’re victims of an alleged hate crime.

Court records show additional details of the case.

On August 31, the day after the incident, Alan R. filed a request for orders to stop harassment. He reported Carrillo’s alleged comments and wrote, “William and I feel very scared for our safety. I feel Maurice’s action could escalate into an actual physical assault. At the time of the verbal threats, Maurice was confrontational and followed William and I.”

According to the transcript from a September hearing where the couple received a restraining order against Carrillo, he told a judge that on the night he’d allegedly threatened the couple, he’d been drunk and arguing with his girlfriend outside his house.

“There was no reason why they needed to come out that time of night and walk in front of me,” Carrillo said of the couple, the transcript shows. “I never said I’d kill them. I probably said, ‘I’ll kick your ass.’ That’s about as far as it went.”

In court records, William R. stated the he and Alan R. had had problems with Carrillo and his family before, including a 2007 instance in which Carrillo’s father had yelled comments about the couple’s “faggot dog.”

Bastian said no weapons were involved in the August 2011 incident and Carrillo didn’t make physical contact with the couple. San Francisco police arrested Carrillo the night of the encounter, court records show, but he was out of custody at the time of trial.

It’s not clear how the jury reached its conclusion, but Bastian said crimes are often underreported, and “Regardless of the outcome of any jury trial, we would always encourage the public in general to report any crimes.”

Carrillo and San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Prithika Balakrishnan, who represented him, didn’t respond to interview requests. William R. declined to comment on the case, and Alan R. didn’t respond to interview requests.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 26, 2012 @ 4:26 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Federal judge in Oakland rules DOMA unconstitutional

A federal judge in Oakland has ruled the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

In a Thursday, May 24 ruling, Judge Claudia Wilken, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, granted judgment in favor of gay and lesbian state workers who, along with their registered domestic partners, are excluded from equal access to California’s Long-Term Care Program.

Wilken issued the ruling in Dragovich v. CalPERS, a class action lawsuit challenging DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and other federal and state laws that regulate state sponsored long-term care plans.

The laws permit employees and many family members to join the plans but exclude the spouses and registered domestic partners of gay and lesbian workers. Wilken found that the statutory preclusion of gay and lesbian spouses and partners violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

In a statement, plaintiff Michael Dragovich, said, “I’ve been in a committed relationship with my partner for more than 30 years.” The UCSF nurse, who joined the CalPERS plan as a state employee in 1997, continued, “I am so pleased that our relationship will now be treated equally to the committed relationships of my heterosexual co-workers.”

Elizabeth Kristen of Legal Aid Society­-Employment Law Center, one of the groups representing the plaintiffs, stated, “Lesbian and gay couples are entitled to fair and equal treatment from the federal government. Judge Wilken’s ruling ensures that both same-sex spouses and registered domestic partners will be treated fairly with respect to the CalPERS long term-care insurance program.”

Long-term care insurance provides coverage when a person needs help with basic activities due to chronic illness, injury, age, or a severe cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s.

Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), issued a statement today (Friday, May 25) in response to the ruling. Hammill said it’s the second case in which the House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which has been defending DOMA, has lost on the merits.

“Yesterday’s court ruling again affirms that the equal protection of our laws extend to all Americans under our Constitution, and there is no legitimate federal interest in denying same-sex couples the legal security, rights, and responsibilities guaranteed to all married couples,” Hammill said. Wilken found that the arguments of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “taxpayer-funded lawyers did not demonstrate the furtherance of any legitimate federal interest,” he said.

Hammill called on Boehner and other Republican leaders to “stop spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to make arguments that insult millions of Americans and their families, and seek to perpetuate fundamental unfairness and discrimination.” He added, “As progress on marriage equality continues from all corners of our country, this court decision is another step forward in our fight to repeal DOMA and to ensure that every American has the freedom to marry.”

Thursday’s ruling is available at http://www.las-elc.org/news/dragovich-ruling.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 25, 2012 @ 8:50 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


UPDATED: Wiener wades into race for open D7 supe seat, backs Engardio and Garcia

Openly gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener has waded into the race this fall for the open District 7 supervisor seat.

Adjacent to Wiener’s Castro-centric district, the west of Twin Peaks D7 seat is currently held by Sean Elsbernd. The Board of Supervisors’ most conservative member at the moment, by San Francisco standards, Elsbernd is termed out of office this year.

Running to replace him is journalist Joel Engardio, (seen at left) a gay man who would be the fourth out person on the board should he win in November. On his Facebook campaign account today (Thursday, May 24) Engardio announced that he had secured Wiener’s endorsement.

“I’m happy to announce that Supervisor Scott Wiener has officially endorsed my campaign for District 7 Supervisor! We will work well together for San Francisco’s future,” posted Engardio.

The moderate Wiener also informed Board of Appeals President Michael Garcia this week that he was endorsing his candidacy.

“I’m proud to be supporting Mike Garcia for Supervisor. Mike has the character, strength, and experience to be a terrific Supervisor and to represent District 7 well” stated Wiener in an email Garcia’s campaign sent to his supporters.

So far Wiener has not chosen a third person to support. And his endorsements are un-ranked, meaning Wiener is not designating Engardio or Garcia as his first or second choice under the city’s ranked choice voting for up to three candidates.

The match-up for the seat hasn’t changed since the Bay Area Reporter profiled Engardio’s bid in the March 1 Political Notebook. Only five candidates have pulled papers, so far, to run ahead of the August filing deadline.

The frontrunner, in terms of name recognition and past electoral experience, would appear to be Norman Yee, president of the city’s school board. Others in the race include Port Commissioner Francis “FX” Crowley and businessman Andrew Bley.

Having decided last year to devote himself full-time to his candidacy, Engardio has been hitting the pavement and knocking on doors in the district.

A San Francisco Chronicle City Insider blog post in early March noted that Engardio’s early campaigning has made an impression. The item said the relatively unknown candidate “is getting some attention from city insiders thanks to his smart website and fundraising capabilities.”

By the end of 2011 Engardio reported having already raised more than $22,000. This past May 14 he sent out his sixth mailing to likely voters.

It is a move right of Wiener’s playbook  from his successful campaign in 2010, when he was ever present around D8 canvassing for votes months before election day.

“Knocking on doors does make a difference. Someone I met just sent me this email: ‘I am glad I had a chance to chat with you yesterday. I like what you stand for, and our family will definitely vote for you to be our Supervisor in November,'” wrote Engardio in a Facebook pitch for donations in April.

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 24, 2012 @ 4:53 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF Dems call on DOJ to investigate McDonald case

San Francisco’s Democratic Party has adopted a resolution urging the U.S. Justice Department to review the case of  Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, 23, a Minneapolis transgender woman imprisoned for what supporters call an act of self-defense.

Photo by Leslie Feinberg

According to the resolution, McDonald (seen at left),  “was targeted in a vicious racist and transphobic attack” in Minneapolis in 2011. In the incident, she killed Dean Schmitz with a pair of scissors.

McDonald was charged with second-degree murder, and had faced at least 10 years in prison, but accepted a plea deal May 2 for a second-degree manslaughter charge and an expected maximum sentence of 41-months. Her sentencing hearing is set for June 4.

In the resolution, passed Wednesday, May 23, San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee calls on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials to immediately review the case for possible civil rights violations.

According to Gabriel Haaland, one of the many local LGBT Democratic committee members who submitted the resolution, votes for the proposal were “all yeses,” except for abstentions by Representative Jackie Speier (San Mateo), Senator Dianne Feinstein (San Francisco), and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

A statement from Hennepin County, Minnesota Attorney Michael Freeman’s office said that prosecutors have “received some criticism from the LGBTQ community regarding this case,” but the charges “took into account the evidence in this case; this outcome is an example of the criminal justice responding proportionately to a tragic situation. The plea of second-degree manslaughter is a just resolution.”

McDonald’s local supporters say that the judge in McDonald’s jury trial ruled against admitting evidence that included her attacker’s swastika tattoo and a “lengthy” record of convictions for assault and other crimes.

McDonald is being represented by Hersch Izek, an attorney with the Minneapolis-based Legal Rights Center. Michael Friedman, the center’s executive director, said today (Thursday, May 24) in a phone interview that he didn’t know about the San Francisco Democrats’ resolution.

He said it’s “unusual …  to ask for an investigation into a conviction if the conviction was accomplished as the result of a plea.”

In an email after the Bay Area Reporter sent Friedman the text of the resolution, he said it isn’t “easy to see what the DOJ would actually do or if there is precedent.”

However, he said, “The Legal Rights Center supports any appropriate oversight of prosecutorial discretion in general and, in this instance, to determine if Ms. McDonald’s racial or transgender status (or the combination thereof) created an inequitable approach to charging and/or inequitable consideration of self-defense. There is a widespread problem of prosecutors not having to prove the charges they find most compelling — by overcharging the case so as to bring about pressure for plea agreements — and thereby deny the defendant the constitutional right to a jury on the charge that best fits; this contributes to racial disparities in our prisons. While we cannot speak for Ms. McDonald’s particular motivations for her plea, it is understandable that the San Francisco Democratic Party, and many others, are upset that Ms. McDonald did not have her day in court to defend against manslaughter through a claim of self-defense, the charge that prosecution ultimately insisted upon.”

A DOJ spokeswoman couldn’t immediately comment on the likelihood of the department investigating the case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Celebration of life planned for Martell

A celebration of the life of Brandy Martell, the transgender woman recently shot and killed in Oakland, is planned for Friday, June 1.

The event, organized by TransVision and Tri-City Health Center, will run from 8 to 10 p.m. at Oakland Peace Center, Fellowship Hall, 111 Fairmont Avenue, Oakland.

Martell, 37, (seen at left) was sitting in her car with friends around 5 a.m. Sunday, April 29 when a gunman opened fire on the car. Martell died several minutes later. The motive isn’t clear.

Officer Johnna Watson, a spokeswoman for the Oakland Police Department, said Tuesday, May 22, that there have been no arrests.

Watson also responded to a report from Tiffany Woods, who’s the coordinator for TransVision and who had worked with Martell, that witnesses had identified a suspect through a photo.

“A photo lineup was not done,” Watson said. “There was some information received that there might be a possible identification on a person involved. Investigators followed up with that lead, and that lead did not turn out to be an identification of the suspect. Investigators are still actively following up on additional leads, and they’re looking for any additional information from the community.”

People who were in the car with Martell when she was shot didn’t respond to interview requests for this story.

Watson declined to provide any details on leads investigators are pursuing.

A reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest or conviction in the case is being offered through Crimestoppers.

Law enforcement officials and Martell’s mother have said her legal name was Milton Massey Jr., though California Department of Motor Vehicle records indicate she’d changed her name to Martell.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the Oakland police patrol desk at (510) 238-3455.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 23, 2012 @ 3:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Pelosi Harvey Milk Day statement inaccurate

Last year it was California Governor Jerry Brown who erred with his facts when proclaiming today, May 22, Harvey Milk Day.

This year it is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), whose official Milk day statement contains the same erroneous claim that Brown made in 2011.

In his proclamation declaring May 22 a day of special significance last spring, Brown’s statement had said that “In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man in the history of the United States to be elected to public office.”

In her videotaped statement released this morning, Pelosi says, “Harvey Milk was special in many respects, including that he was first: the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States.”

In fact the country’s first openly gay man to win elective office was Minnesota State Senator Alan Spear. Having first won election in 1972, Spear came out in a newspaper interview in 1974.

Spear easily won re-election in 1976, a full year prior to Milk’s historic win in San Francisco, making him the first out person in the city and the state of California to be elected to public office.

After the Bay Area Reporter pointed out the mistake to Pelosi’s office, her spokesman Drew Hammill responded in an email that, “We are aware. Milk was first non-incumbent openly gay man elected. That was too wordy.”

Brown did get his facts correct this year. Perhaps it is no coincidence that  his proclamation decreeing today Milk Day starts right off by clarifying last year’s mistake.

“As one of the first openly gay politicians to hold office in the United States, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is remembered as a hero in the movement for acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” starts off the proclamation. “His courage in facing a hostile public and his insistence on being treated the same as anyone else contributed greatly to the advancement of this cause. Milk succeeded because he was not just a gay leader but a champion for his district, a brilliant coalition builder and community organizer who brought the real concerns of ordinary people to city hall.”

Pelosi, who was honored Monday for her 25 years of serving in Congress with having a street in Golden Gate Park named after her, posted her video message about Milk day to Youtube and it can be seen here.

Despite flubbing Milk’s place in LGBT electoral history in her taped message, Pelosi reiterates the need for lawmakers to ban workplace discrimination against LGBT employees and repeal the federal ban against same-sex marriage known as the Defense of Marriage Act.

“Many of us share the beautiful memory of when Harvey Milk was sworn-in as Supervisor and said his victory signaled ‘a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward…and that the doors are opened to everyone.’ Harvey’s public service ushered in a new era compassion, justice and opportunity – as he said, for everyone,” Pelosi says in the video. “His legacy lives on today – through the efforts of his nephew, Stuart Milk, at the Harvey Milk Foundation, and through the campaigns of activists and advocates in California and across the country.”

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 22, 2012 @ 1:06 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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