Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Murder, pedestrian death cases moving in SF court

A decades-old murder and the 2011 death of a gay pedestrian are among the criminal cases making their way through San Francisco Superior Court.

Today (Friday, June 29) the jury trial date for defendant William Payne, 47, (seen at left) was set for August 3. Payne’s been charged with committing first-degree murder during the course of sodomy in the death of Nikolaus Crumbley, 41. Crumbley’s body was found in John McLaren Park in November 1983.

San Francisco police arrested Payne in January 2012 after matching DNA from Crumbley’s body to him. The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office listed the cause of death as ligature strangulation.

Payne is in San Francisco County jail on $5 million bail.

Also Friday, jury selection had been expected to begin in the trial of Gregg Wilcox, 60, but that process will now likely begin next week. Wilcox faces a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter in the September 2011 death of gay pedestrian Bill Cox, 59.

Wilcox had been wearing a walking cast on his right foot when he allegedly struck Cox (seen at right) with his SUV, prosecutors have said.

David Douma, 60, whose home Cox used to visit frequently, said Friday, “A day doesn’t go by that we don’t remember Bill, especially at about 9 o’clock in the morning, when he used to come over here for coffee.” Cox had just left Douma’s home when he was hit. Wilcox is not in custody.

In another case Friday, a jury trial date of August 24 was set for Carl White, 47. White faces felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats, vandalism, and burglary after an April 2012 incident in which he allegedly beat a 33-year-old gay man while calling him a “fucking faggot.” According to San Francisco Superior Court records, the victim suffered bruising to his face in the incident, which occurred on Blythdale Avenue in the city’s Sunnydale neighborhood.

The case, which apparently stemmed from a dispute between the victim and White’s girlfriend, doesn’t include a hate crime allegation.

White is in custody in San Francisco County jail on $50,000 bail.

Finally, a preliminary hearing had been set to start Thursday, June 28, for Douglas Kinder, 61, but that date’s been moved to July 12.

Kinder faces accusations of arson and other crimes after a June 13 incident at a house in the largely gay Castro neighborhood.

He’s been charged with felony counts of possession of an incendiary device, residential burglary, and arson of property. Kinder (seen at left) also faces misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and battery on a police officer.

No one’s been arrested in connection with several arson fires that hit the Castro last year.

Asked if Kinder is suspected of being involved with those incidents, Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said, “We’re exploring all possibilities at this time.”

Kinder is in San Francisco County jail on $400,000 bail.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 29, 2012 @ 6:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gay star of Glee Chris Colfer coming to SF

Gay Glee star Chris Colfer is dropping into San Francisco in July for a book signing.

The 22-year-old Clovis, California native plays out high school chorus singer Kurt Hummel on the popular Fox drama. He will be at the Books Inc. on Van Ness Avenue in late July to promote his new children’s book.

Called The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, the book centers around the lives of twins Alex and Conner. The siblings travel to a foreign land “full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about,” according to a synopsis from the bookseller.

The event costs $18 and begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 25. The store is located at Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness Avenue. Tickets can be bought online and ensures a place in line and a copy of Colfer’s book.

He is the latest Glee cast member to make an appearance in San Francisco. JC Jones, who is a member of the Warblers chorale group on the show, performed on the main stage at Pride last Sunday.

Later this month another Glee alum, Alex Newell, who plays transgender character Unique/Wade, will perform at San Diego’s Pride festival. He will appear in the parade and perform on the main stage during the Saturday, July 21 party.

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


LGBT forum member rants against SFPD change; chief responds

A decision to move the San Francisco Police Department’s citywide LGBT liaison into a district station has upset members of the SFPD LGBT Community Forum. They apparently fear the change will hurt the SFPD’s ability to work with the gay community across the city.

Officer Jennifer Thompson, the LGBT liaison, has been heavily involved in the monthly forums, which started last year after the program was launched by former Police Chief George Gascón. Gascón now serves as the city’s district attorney.

In a Thursday, June 28 email, David Morgan, a forum member and owner of the gay bar Kok, wrote, “Chief [Greg] Suhr doesn’t seem to ‘get it’ when it comes to the importance of having a citywide LGBT liaison officer in San Francisco. His awareness of global issues affecting the LGBT’s in San Francisco is disappointing.”

Morgan said his message was in response to reports that Suhr had decentralized the community relations unit and discontinued the LGBT community liaison.

Minutes after the Bay Area Reporter sent Morgan’s email to the SFPD media relations unit for a response, Suhr (seen at left) called.

He said Thompson would remain a community liaison and she’s been “awesome” in the position, but she and other community liaisons will now also have to be available for routine police work. The SFPD has had a drop in the number of officers.

“I got my marching orders from the Board of Supervisors” that “we want our police officers outside being police officers,” Suhr said.

“We can’t have specialists anymore, because we just don’t have the people,” he said.

Thompson doesn’t appear too eager to talk about the matter – she hasn’t responded to an interview request – but Suhr indicated she’s behind Morgan’s message.

“I don’t know why Jen is doing this,” he said, adding there are “a million cops right now calling whoever they can” and saying, “Don’t let them move me out of the Hall of Justice.” He said he thinks Thompson is going to Park Station, which oversees part of the Castro neighborhood and the Haight Ashbury area.

Suhr, who’s been with the SFPD for more than 30 years, added, “Jen and I are good. … I’m a total ‘no harm’ person, and I’ve been a cop for a long time.”

“Change is the bane of a police officer’s existence,” he said.

The LGBT and business forums have been the two most active groups, Suhr said. He said that through the community forums, “My ability to connect with folks in a variety of places in San Francisco other than just Mission has been great,” referring to the SFPD’s Mission Station, where he has been a captain and which oversees the Castro and other neighborhoods. “Now I have friends in Southern, Northern, Park,” and other stations “that are perfectly comfortable calling me up” and telling him what they need.

“It really allows me to go to my folks and say, ‘I got a call from a friend, somebody I know personally and that I trust,'” he said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gay GOPer officially bows out of prez race

Fred Karger officially ended his campaign for president today, having failed to meet his goal of taking part in one of the Republican presidential debates. His quixotic journey for the White House began in March of 2011 when he was the first GOPer to officially enter the race.

The Long Beach resident did make history as the first openly gay candidate to seek the nomination of a major political party as its presidential candidate. And his ultimately fruitless effort to join the major candidates on stage for a debate attracted national news media attention.

A former political consultant at the Dolphin Group, whose clients have included former Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and the senior George Bush, Karger was a master at attracting the press’ attention, even if most considered his bid a farce. He was less persuasive with voters, as he routinely garnered less than 1 percent of the vote during the primaries.

His gay activism was launched in 2006 when he tried to save a gay beachside bar in his hometown. Then during the 2008 fight over Prop 8, the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage, Karger created the group Californians Against Hate.

He has continued to go after the Mormon church for its role in the passage of the anti-gay law. Most recently he released a TV commercial in Utah that asked the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to end its anti-gay attacks.

In a statement Karger released today (Friday, June 29), his humorous side shown once again, as the announcement included the cartoon drawing at right captioned “She’s singing. The Karger for President Campaign is officially over today.”

On a more serious note, Karger called his 2 1/2 years on the campaign trail “one hell of a ride.” He thanked the thousands of people he met across the country, his staff and campaign volunteers.

“Special thanks to the thousands more who shared their stories with me in person, via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Every one of you kept me going,” wrote Karger.

What his future plans are, Karger did not say. But he is not expected to retire from public life or the fight for LGBT rights.

“I plan to rest up for awhile and then I will be back at it to help in the fight for LGBT equality. We will let you know as soon as our exact course is determined,” wrote Karger.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


San Jose DeFrank LGBT center hosts July events, seeks new board members

San Jose’s Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center has a number of special events planned in July as it looks to add more members to its 3-person board of directors. A contingent will march in the South Bay city’s annual 4th of July parade next week, while the facility will open its first art show installation later in the month.

Anyone interested in joining the board has until Sunday, July 1 to submit an application, which can be done online here. The election will be held in September during the board’s annual meeting.

In a notice sent to members Thursday, June 28, the board stressed that the position will require a significant commitment.

“Please keep in mind that this is a working board, not an advisory board. Board members are expected to either fundraise a significant amount of money for the center or volunteer at least 5 hours a week at the center,” stated the email.

One issue that will be a major focus of the board’s attention over the next year is the sale of its building at 938 The Alameda in downtown San Jose. As the Bay Area Reporter reported in late April, the DeFrank property will be put up for purchase in the fall of 2013.

Due to the dissolution of the state’s redevelopment agencies, the successor agency in San Jose is disposing of the redevelopment agency’s assets. The DeFrank leases its building for a $1 a month from the city agency, and its lease does not expire until 2054.

Any new owner is expected to be required to honor the terms of the lease. The sale has been postponed until October of next year to give DeFrank officials time to figure out if they can afford to bid for the property, whose asking price has yet to be determined.

San Jose City Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, who won re-election this month to his District 6 seat, which includes the DeFrank, has pledged his help in ensuring that the DeFrank’s lease is observed. He has also asked city staff to help find a new location for the center if one is needed.

In the meantime, the center is continuing to host various events and activities. Wednesday morning it will march in the city’s 4th of July parade. For info on how to join in, a notice has been posted on the web here.

Then at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 14 in its library, the center will open its first art exhibition featuring the work of local artist Muckers G. Mooderf. An example of his style is in the poster at left.

The opening night event is free, though 25 percent of all purchases will go to the center.

Two weeks later on Saturday, July 28 a spaghetti dinner will be held to raise money for the DeFrank’s LGBT youth programs. The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. and a requested donation ranging from $10 to $20 will be asked based on a person’s ability to pay.

“The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center currently has more going on under its roof than any other time in its 31 year history. This is because we have dedicated volunteers who want to see things happen, so they make things happen,” DeFrank board president Chris Flood wrote in a comment he posted below the April 26 B.A.R. article. “We are not dependent on paid staff, so our potential is limitless. We have friends on the San Jose City Council that want to continue to see us be successful.”

 

 

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


SF vigil for Texas teens shot near Corpus Christi

Organizers are planning a vigil in San Francisco for Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at Jane Warner Plaza Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro after two out lesbian Texas teens were shot over the weekend in a park outside Corpus Christi

Local organizer Jason Haas phoned the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday afternoon with information about the June 27 vigil. Haas said people are asked to bring signs and flowers. He also said that local leaders have been invited to attend.

Mary Christine Chapa and Mollie Judith Olgin

According to a report in the Dallas Voice, Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, was found dead and Mary Christine Chapa, 18, was rushed to a hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery and was listed in stable condition Tuesday.

The lesbian couple had been together about five months. They were found by visitors to Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas at about 9 a.m. Saturday, June 23. Both had gunshot wounds to the head from a large-caliber handgun, the Voice reported.

Police believe the shooting happened around midnight Friday. Portland Police Chief Randy Wright told MSNBC that investigators believe the shootings were committed by a third party but are unsure whether they are related to the young women’s sexual orientation

— Cynthia Laird, June 26, 2012 @ 3:49 pm PST
Filed under: News


Flash mobs, Occupy actions expected at Pink Saturday party in SF’s gay Castro district

Revelers at the 2008 street party

As if hundreds of marching dykes and dancing gay guys taking over the streets of the Castro Saturday evening wasn’t enough action for Pink Saturday, a flash mob and Occupy zaps are also planned to coincide with the mega outdoor party June 23.

The Bay Area Flash Mob group is planning a series of “spontaneous” gatherings throughout the city tomorrow. Dancing to the songs of bisexual singer Lady Gaga, the flash mob will start the day off at 2:30 p.m. in front of the Ferry Building’s clock tower.

After stops at Union Square and the Pride festivities Saturday afternoon in the Civic Center, the flash mob should kick off the start of the Pink Saturday party at 5 p.m. at the Castro and Market Street intersections.

Close to 200 people have signed up via the Facebook page. Anyone looking to participate can watch several tutorial videos posted online to learn the dance moves.

Ahead of their actions in Sunday’s parade and a meet up at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon to recall the Compton Cafeteria riot, at 101 Taylor Street at Turk, members of the group Bay Area Occupride plan to take part in Saturday’s Dyke March and are coordinating actions during Pink Saturday.

“We have agreed to volunteer to help the Dyke March with clean up and set up in Dolores Park,” said Craig Rouskey, a San Francisco resident helping organize the Occupride events.

Rouskey did not divulge what, exactly, the group has planned for Pink Saturday. He did note that Occupride reached out to the organizers of the street bash, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, after they expressed concerns.

“The Sisters thought we were protesting them. We are not,” sad Rouskey, adding that after the two groups met they have been talking about having the charitable drag nun group do a blessing at the Occupride action.

A group of ACT UP demonstrators are also said to be planning an action that day in the Castro to raise awareness about cuts to AIDS funding. The San Francisco chapter’s Facebook page says nothing of any action, but does promote ACT UP branded condoms, which likely will be passed out during various Pride events this weekend.

In an effort to tame down the annual Pink Saturday revelry, the Sisters ditched having a main stage this year. Instead, they are bringing in a number of food trucks aimed at giving attendees another option other than just drinking alcohol.

The party is also ending one hour earlier than normal. Police will begin clearing off the streets at 11 p.m. And don’t be surprised to see street-washing trucks quickly roll in blasting water onto the pavement to help clear party-goers out of the Castro.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 22, 2012 @ 1:10 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SFPD urges safety during Pride weekend

The San Francisco Police Department released a statement today (Friday, June 22) urging people to be safe over the city’s LGBT Pride celebration weekend. Parties are being held around the city, including the Saturday, June 23 Pink Saturday festival in the Castro neighborhood and the Sunday, June 24 Pride Parade and celebration, which will draw hundreds of thousands of people to the streets.

“The San Francisco Police Department joins the LGBT community at large in celebrating Pride Week,” stated Police Chief Greg Suhr. “Along with our members, we’re working with many groups in a spirit of cooperation and good-will to make Pride Week 2012 a positive and safe experience for all.”

There will be significant police presence throughout the weekend, with both uniformed and plain-clothes officers on duty to monitor events. In their statement, police remind people that Pink Saturday is an alcohol-free event.

Pride celebrants in 2011

“To assist with this celebration, police officers will patrol the venue and will be alert for persons possessing open containers of, or consuming alcoholic beverages, on streets, sidewalks and parks,” officials stated.

Police advise celebrants to report suspicious people or activity to bar or Pride staff, or officers; keep an eye on your drink; travel in groups; and “Be cautious about leaving a bar or club alone with a stranger,” among other tips.

“A rule of thumb is that, if a person feels ‘unsure’ about another, rely on that instinct and do not go with that person,” police stated.

In a recent interview, San Francisco police Lieutenant Teresa Gracie, the out lesbian who heads the SFPD’s special investigations division, discussed people being reluctant to report crimes, including because they may not trust officers.

“People have different reasons for not reporting. … It’s not necessarily their feeling toward police,” she said. Other reasons could include not wanting to be named in police reports, she said. Crime victims may also doubt that anything will come of reporting incidents.

But Gracie encourages people to report crimes.

“We have to get these people into custody, or someone else is going to be a victim,” she said.

“These situations, a lot of times, become more violent each time,” if, for example, it’s “someone going out there regularly and targeting the gay community.” She said it’s also important for witnesses to come forward with information.

For more information, visit www.sf-police.org

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:11 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Pelosi, Honda to appear at SF Pride events

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and South Bay Congressman Mike Honda are attending Pride events in San Francisco this weekend.

Neither will be in the actual parade, though, as only local and state officeholders are expected to march up Market Street this year, according to a parade contingent list San Francisco Pride officials posted online.

The highest-ranking politicians scheduled to appear in the parade, based on the list, are state Senators Leland Yee (contingent #13) and Mark Leno (contingent #15), who is gay. The two Democrats are from San Francisco.

The Democratic House leaders have long been champions of LGBT rights. Honda (D-Campbell) has taken a leadership role on Capitol Hill in pushing for pro-LGBT immigration laws.

Celebrating 25 years in office, Pelosi (D-San Francisco), seen at right, has promised to pass federal workplace protections for LGBT employees should Democrats retake the House this fall and re-elect her as House Speaker. She also has pledged not to defend the federal ban against same-sex marriage, which Republican House leader John Boehner has been doing in a number of lawsuits before federal courts.

In a rare Pride weekend appearance, Pelosi will join a number of local elected officials Saturday, June 23 for the commemoration ceremony of the pink triangle installation atop Twin Peaks. Pride celebrity grand marshal Dot Jones, who grew up in the Central Valley town of Hilmar near Turlock and plays Coach Shannon Beiste on Glee, will read a brief history about the gay pride symbol. The event starts at 10:30 a.m.

Usually out of town during the annual LGBT celebration, Pelosi last rode in the Pride parade in 2001. In 2010, during her historic term as House speaker, she taped a video message that was shown via large jumbotron screens flanking the main stage during the festivities in the Civic Center.

Honda, seen at left, is the featured speaker at this year’s Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Pride Breakfast Sunday, June 24 before the start of the parade. Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, he is one of the leaders of the Asian American Pacific Islanders for Obama 2012 re-election campaign committee.

Also expected to attend the breakfast are Mary Jane Stevenson, the 
Obama For America California state director, and Peggy Moore, an out lesbian who is the 
Obama for America California political director.

This year’s breakfast fundraiser is being billed as the biggest ever and has raised more than $16,500. Only a few tickets, which cost $95 for the general public, $65 for Alice club members, are left. They can be purchased online here.

The early morning political hobnobbing begins at 7:45 a.m. at Yank Sing at the Rincon Center, 
101 Spear at Mission Streets. 
The program begins at 8:15 a.m.

 

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 21, 2012 @ 5:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF LGBT leaders raise $ for Obama Thursday

LGBT electeds from San Francisco will be among the featured guests at an Obama re-election fundraiser Thursday, June 21 hosted by criminal justice attorney and former Police Commissioner David Onek (in photo at right) and his wife, Kara Dukakis, at their Bernal Heights home.

The $100-a-person event is being co-hosted by Gen44, the Obama campaign’s fundraising arm aimed at people under-40.

Among the local Democratic officials expected to attend are gay state Senator Mark Leno and gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, gay Supervisors David Campos and Scott Wiener, and bisexual Supervisor Christina Olague.

They will be joined by straight board colleagues Supervisors John Avalos, Carmen Chu, Malia Cohen, and Jane Kim.

“Many of you attended our Obama events in 2007 and 2008. That same level of commitment is needed — from all of us — to ensure victory in 2012,” Onek wrote in an emailed invite sent out tihs morning (Wednesday, June 20). “The stakes could not be higher. Now is the time for all San Francisco Democrats to unite around the President!”

The event comes a day after gay conservative group GOProud announced Wednesday, June 20 that it had endorsed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“The Board of Directors of GOProud voted to enthusiastically endorse Governor Romney’s candidacy for President,” stated Lisa De Pasquale, interim GOProud board chair.  “GOProud is prepared to commit significant resources to help make Mitt Romney the next President of the United States.”

To RSVP online for the Obama fundraiser, and the location and time of the event, visit here.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 20, 2012 @ 11:40 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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