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

CeCe Peniston to perform at Oakland LGBT Pride

Organizers of Oakland’s LGBT Pride celebration have announced that singer CeCe Peniston, best known for 1991’s “Finally,” will perform at this year’s festival, set for September 2.

Pride board Chair Amber Todd said Peniston will be just one of the headliners.

“We’re still locking down more,” she said. They hope to have the rest determined by the middle of next week.

Todd couldn’t immediately say what total expenses are expected to be this year, or how much organizers have raised.

However, she said, “We’re really excited. This year the city has come on board as an official sponsor.” The city plans to waive at least some of what organizers would owe on fees for permitting, police, and other costs as they arise, according to Todd. Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, has been particularly helpful, she said. Todd estimated the amount donated by the city would reach $10,000 to $15,000, which she called “phenomenal.” The figure couldn’t immediately be confirmed with city staff or Pride’s treasurer today (Friday, July 27).

[Updated 7/30/12: Kaplan spokesman Jason Overman said in an email that police fees are not being waived. He said that in June, Kaplan wrote a budget amendment “that was adopted to allocate a small portion of funds to support street festivals that have a positive impact on economic development.” He said he didn’t have an exact figure on how that would impact each event.]

Todd said the Pride board is looking for volunteers and other support from the community to help “grab the stability we’ve been looking for.” Since 2010, Pride officials have been trying to help raise money for establishing an LGBT community center in Oakland, but they’ve struggled to make a profit.

The theme for this year’s Oakland LGBT Pride is “It’s a Celebration.” The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood, at 19th and Franklin streets. Exit at the 19th Street BART station. For more information, visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 27, 2012 @ 3:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF mayor bashes back at antigay Chick-fil-A

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is jumping on the Chick-fil-A bashing bandwagon due to the fast food chain’s anti-gay ways. He joins a growing chorus of Democratic officials from across the country calling out the company in recent days after its CEO said legalizing same-sex marriage would bring God’s wrath.

On his Twitter feed late this afternoon, Lee criticized the company, which has long been targeted by pro-gay rights activists due to its funneling profits to anti-gay groups.

His first post read, “Very disappointed #ChickFilA doesn’t share San Francisco’s values & strong commitment to equality for everyone.”

That was followed up with, “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”

The nearest location of the chain appears to be northeast of San Francisco across the bay in Fairfield’s Westfield Solano Shopping Center.

On Friday House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) joined in the fray, tweeting that “for the record, I prefer Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

Since the latest controversy broke last week, both Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel have come out against the chain’s plans to open in their cities. And Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney also has gone public with his opposition of seeing a Chick-fil-A open in his city.

This afternoon employees of the Human Rights Campaign protested one of the company’s food trucks parked near its D.C. headquarters.

Meanwhile supporters of the chain, famous for its chicken sandwiches, are planning an eat-in at the company’s locations next Wednesday, August 1.

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 26, 2012 @ 5:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

De La Fuente to challenge Kaplan for Oakland council seat

Seeking to “put to rest” rumors and speculation, Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente announced this afternoon that he will challenge incumbent councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, an out lesbian, for the city’s at-large seat.

De La Fuente has represented District 5, which includes the Fruitvale and Glenview neighborhoods, for 20 years. At a news conference on the steps of City Hall called to make his announcement, De La Fuente suggested that with three new members set to be elected in November, the City Council could be reinvigorated. And he could continue to represent Oakland by winning the citywide council seat.

City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente announces his candidacy for the at-large seat. (photo:Elliot Owen)

“Three new councilmembers will be elected in November and I can tell you we need that change,” he said.

There are open seats in Districts 1, 3, and, with De La Fuente’s announcement, District 5. Two gay men, Sean Sullivan and Alex Miller-Cole, are running among several candidates in District 3, which includes Jack London Square and West Oakland.

Kaplan, the council’s only gay member, was thought to have a smooth path to re-election in November. But that was upended this month when rumors started swirling that De La Fuente would give up his seat and seek the at-large position.

Taking questions from reporters after his prepared remarks, De La Fuente insisted he was not running against Kaplan, and was not seeking to oust her because she is gay.

“I hope people go back to my record,” he said. “I was the first to support domestic partners. I’m not running against anybody.”

De La Fuente said the top issue is public safety. Oakland’s police force has shrunk in recent years as the city has struggled with budget deficits. De La Fuente said that the council should authorize new tools. Those include gang injunctions, which have been obtained in parts of the city but which remain very controversial; curfews; and anti-loitering ordinances.

“Crime and violence are major issues,” he said. He said that the current City Council has been “stuck on philosophical debates” while murder and violent crime continue rising all over the city. As of Monday 63 people have been killed in Oakland, according to his statement.

De La Fuente was joined at his news conference by City Councilwoman Desley Brooks and former at-large councilman Henry Chang. Oakland school board member Noel Gallo, who is running for De La Fuente’s Fruitvale seat, was also in attendance. De La Fuente said he endorses Gallo in that race.

Kaplan fired off her own news release Thursday morning touting the endorsements of Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Nurses Association, and the Sierra Club.

“Oakland is on the rise,” she said in the statement. “And I’m looking forward to continuing our work to get illegal guns off the streets, create jobs in our city, and revitalize our neighborhoods.”

Kaplan will host a breakfast fundraiser with local business leaders Wednesday, August 1 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Miss Pearl’s, 1 Broadway in Jack London Square. Tickets start at $75. For more information, visit

— Cynthia Laird, @ 3:04 pm PST
Filed under: News,Politics

Free tickets for youth Dis/Connected play

The New Conservatory Theater Center is offering free tickets to Dis/Connected, which premieres Thursday, July 26.

The show, written by local playwright Bennett Fisher, “looks at the dynamics of friendship, peer pressure, diversity, bullying, and growing up in this highly technological age we live in,” according to a New Conservatory email blast.

Dis/Connected is a production of the New Conservatory program YouithAware. The play will target middle and high school audiences and join the YouthAware touring repertory in 2013-14.

Initial performances run Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28 at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 29, there will be a 2 p.m. show.

To reserve a seat, call the theater’s box office at (415) 861-8972 or visit the theater’s website.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 25, 2012 @ 5:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man convicted in pedestrian’s death

A San Francisco jury convicted Gregg Wilcox, 60, of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter today (Thursday, July 19) in the death of gay pedestrian Bill Cox, 59 (seen at left).

Cox died September 6, 2011, hours after Wilcox struck him with his Ford Explorer in a crosswalk at 14th and Noe streets. Wilcox had been driving with his left foot because he was wearing a medical boot on his right foot. He faces up to a year in county jail. His sentencing is set for September 21 in San Francisco Superior Court.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 19, 2012 @ 9:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Public defender, health officials weigh in on police condom policy

An official with the San Francisco Public Defender’s office and the city’s public health director commented this week on the San Francisco Police Department using condoms as evidence of prostitution.

Meanwhile, the international Human Rights Watch organization released a report today (Thursday, July 19) on policies in San Francisco and other cities.

Police Chief Greg Suhr issued a department-wide bulletin last week reminding staff not to confiscate unopened condoms. However, in the document, he repeated remarks he’s made previously that police may still use photographs of condoms as evidence in vice cases.

Bob Dunlap, a felony manager for the public defender’s office, said in an email this week that practice is “contrary to common sense.”

“They’re sending a mixed message,” Dunlap said. “By giving the condoms back they are encouraging sex workers to use them, but by using the fact of possession against them they are discouraging such use.”

Reports of police confiscating condoms have raised concerns about people being less likely to carry them, thereby putting people at greater risk for HIV transmission.

Among other points, Dunlap said, “It’s ironic to prosecute prostitution cases in the name of public health in a manner which creates a much larger public health danger.”

Dunlap also added, “What if a person allowed to keep their condoms is subsequently stopped and searched – can the same condoms be used against them again?”

As Human Rights Watch notes in the report, “Sex Workers at Risk, Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in Four US Cities,” many of San Francisco’s anti-prostitution efforts have been geared toward massage parlors.

Dunlap suggested even if that work is designed to crack down on human trafficking, using condoms to prove prostitution cases isn’t worth it.

A trafficking case “that hinges on the existence or absence of condoms is weak to begin with,” he said. Additionally, he said, “The marginal benefit of the evidence is outweighed by the overwhelming need to stem the flow of deadly disease transmission in places such as this.”

Public Health Director Barbara Garcia also expressed concern about photographing condoms.

In an interview, Garcia initially declined to comment about the bulletin since she hadn’t read it or spoken with police about it, but she said, “I’ll definitely look into it,” and “any time people are afraid of using protective things … that’s a concern.”

However, she said she has “confidence” in Suhr and how the SFPD implements its policy on condoms.

“Our police chief is pretty on the ball when it comes to these kinds of issues,” Garcia said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 9:29 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Anti-gay Capitol Resource group in ‘desperate need’

The head of the anti-gay group Capitol Resource Institute says her organization is in “desperate need” of financial help.

In an email blast Thursday, July 12, Karen England (seen at left), the executive director of the Sacramento-based nonprofit, said, “CRI is going through a very tough time right now and we need your help. The economy has hit our organization very hard. Unfortunately, even though giving is down, our bills have not gone down. We are in desperate need of your financial support. The need is immediate.”

Most recently, England has been best known for backing efforts to repeal the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act, which has also been known as Senate Bill 48 and requires that California school students be taught about the historical contributions of LGBT Americans. Those who want to undo the law have until Monday, July 16 to submit the 504,760 required signatures to the secretary of state’s office for their proposal to go before voters. So far, the anti-gay initiative’s backers haven’t said whether they’ll meet their goal.

Capitol Resource Institute supported the state’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban, which voters passed in November 2008. CRI also sponsors events such as City on the Hill Youth Leadership Conference, which is designed for “young people who cherish life, value marriage and family, and treasure religious freedom need to be able to articulate their values and understand how they can be involved in shaping culture,” according to CRI’s website.

Current financial information on the nonprofit wasn’t readily available today (Friday, July 13). CRI’s tax documents for the fiscal year ending in 2009 show the group received $282,465 in contributions and spent $280,364. Of that, $145,565 was for publications and media. England’s compensation was listed as $50,380.

Rebekah Orr, spokeswoman for the LGBT lobbying group Equality California, said in an interview, “Realistically, all nonprofit organizations right now are financially challenged. Equality California certainly is not immune to that. I do think, also, [CRI has] been working on a number of initiatives over the last couple years that increasingly are more and more on the fringe of what average voters support. I would hope that if the organization doesn’t survive, that it’s really a statement about a lack of support for their vision of the world, which is fundamentally anti-LGBT.”

This isn’t the first time England has sent a plea for help, and it’s not clear whether Thursday’s message was a routine attempt to rally supporters.

In a September 2010 email blast, England wrote, “This summer has been one of our busiest and most expensive. … Capitol Resource Institute needs your help to cover the expenses incurred while working on your behalf this summer.  We are headed into a very busy fall and need to make sure we are not entering September with a budget deficit.”

England didn’t respond to an emailed interview request this week, but in her message Thursday, she said, “CRI is in need of your donations. This summer has been very difficult for us and now more than ever we need you to express your support for our work through donations. … [W]e are in our hour of greatest need right now.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 13, 2012 @ 10:40 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF to host Olympic viewing parties in August

Bay Areans will have a chance to experience the excitement of the Olympic Games next month at outdoor viewing parties that San Francisco is hosting.

The city’s Recreation and Park Department is organizing two days of events in front of City Hall in the Civic Center plaza that will not only include live telecasts of the games but also skills games, gourmet food options, kids arts and crafts, and other family-friendly activities.

The gatherings are being sponsored by Visa and NBC Bay Area, the national broadcaster’s local affiliate, as well as garbage firm Recology and the Coca-Cola Company’s Live Positively program. Several city agencies are also helping plan the parties.

The events will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 7 and Saturday, August 11.Both days will feature live broadcasts of the 2012 Olympic Games from London.

According to a schedule posted on NBC’s Olympics website, on Tuesday the main events that will be aired at that time on the local NBC station are the women’s semifinal in water polo; qualifying rounds in various track & field events; the men’s 3m springboard semifinal in diving; and a men’s beach volleyball semifinal.

The schedule for Saturday includes the finals in men’s kayak singles, doubles and canoe singles, and women’s kayak singles; the women’s bronze-medal match in volleyball; and the women’s mountain bike event and medal ceremony.

Later that night American David Boudia, seen at left, could be among the contender’s for gold in men’s platform diving. One of his main competitors will be 18-year-old British diver Tom Daley, who has garnered major media attention in Great Britain and has attracted attention in the U.S. for speaking out about being bullied at a teenager.








— Matthew S. Bajko, July 12, 2012 @ 4:24 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lee responds to perjury allegations

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee responded today (Wednesday, July 11) to allegations that he committed perjury during his recent testimony before the Ethics Commission. The panel has been examining charges filed by Lee that suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi committed official misconduct.

“Enough is enough,” Lee (seen at left) stated. “The time has come for Ross Mirkarimi to begin dealing with the facts. The facts are that Ross Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to an act of domestic violence against his wife and he will be on probation for the next three years. His conviction and his probation impair his ability to perform the duties of Sheriff, fall below the standard expected of public officials and constitutes official misconduct.”

He called the perjury allegations “reckless and outrageous” and said his testimony was “entirely truthful and based solely on the facts.”

Lee, who wants Mirkarimi removed from the post that he was elected to in November, said, “It is time for the Sheriff to finally and genuinely take responsibility for his own actions. His own admission of guilt is the basis for his suspension and these official misconduct hearings.”

The allegations first emerged after the San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that out lesbian Debra Walker, a Mirkarimi backer and city building inspection commissioner, said that bisexual Supervisor Christina Olague had told her that Lee asked her for advice on what to do about Mirkarimi. During his testimony June 29, Lee denied seeking advice from members of the Board of Supervisors, and Olague has also denied such a conversation happened, according to the Bay Guardian.

Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, has defended him in the press.

The next Ethics Commission hearing on the matter is set for Wednesday, July 18.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 11, 2012 @ 5:44 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Jennifer Holliday to headline SJ Pride

Jennifer Holliday

Jennifer Holliday, star of the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, will be among the headliners at the 2012 San Jose LGBT Pride Celebration, set for August 18-19, organizers announced today (Friday, July 6).

Holliday, who’ll perform Sunday, August 19, is no stranger to Pride parties. In 2011, she performed at Oakland’s festival.

Other acts set to perform in San Jose are Kat Graham, Kat Deluna, and Tony Moran.

“Of course,” Pride organizers said on their Facebook page, “these are subject to change.”

Organizers of the largest city in the Bay Area’s Pride party have seen plenty of other changes already this year.

Their former festival director quit shortly after he was hired and several board members have resigned in the last few months. Pride officials had planned to bring back the parade, but nixed that idea due to concerns about expenses.

Sunday tickets for Pride are $15. For more information, visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 6, 2012 @ 4:40 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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