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

SF Yosemite dam measure backers to turn in signatures Monday to make fall ballot

Leaders behind the local voter initiative aimed at removing San Francisco’s reservoir in Yosemite National Park plan to turn in more than enough signatures Monday, July 9 to place the measure on the fall ballot.

Former California Department of Natural Resources Secretary Huey Johnson, who served under Governor Jerry Brown during his earlier tenure in Sacramento, will join Mike Marshall, a gay man who is director of the Yosemite restoration campaign, and supporters at 2 p.m. on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Monday afternoon to announce they have collected 15,000 signatures from San Francisco voters to qualify the Water Conservation and Yosemite Restoration Initiative for November.

As the Bay Area Reporter detailed in a March story about the ballot measure, the aim of the campaign is to remove the city’s drinking water supply held in Hetch Hetchy Valley high in the Sierras and return the land to its natural state. The proposal is fiercely opposed by the city’s political leaders and water agency but has backing from some environmentalists and politicians from other parts of the state.

Under a highly contentious law adopted in 1913 by Congress, known as the Raker Act, San Francisco officials won the right to construct a dam in the pristine valley following the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire. Noted naturalist John Muir waged the unsuccessful fight against seeing what became known as the O’Shaughnessy Dam be built (pictured in photo at left) along the Tuolumne River.

If voters pass the Yosemite measure this fall, then the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission would have three years to come up with a plan on where to store the water currently held in Hetch Hetchy. Then in 2016 voters would be asked to adopt a charter amendment that would implement the plan.

If it does make the ballot, as proponents expect, then it is sure to be the most contentious ballot box fight San Francisco residents have seen in decades.

To read the ballot measure language, visit the website of Restore Hetch Hetchy.


— Matthew S. Bajko, July 6, 2012 @ 3:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Protester works against gay rodeo events

Plans to hold one San Francisco fundraiser related to the Best Buck in the Bay gay rodeo have been postponed and another event has been cancelled, both apparently due to the work of a protester.

Andrew Zollman, founder of the animal rights site, had planned a rally Saturday, July 7 at the Edge bar,  4149 18th Street, in the Castro neighborhood.

But the website for the Bay Area chapter of the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association says the fundraiser’s been postponed. No explanation is given, and organizers didn’t respond to an interview request.

Zollman is upset about what he describes in an email as the “animal cruelty” the rodeo promotes. Among the stunts he doesn’t like are “‘goat dressing’ where panties or underwear are roughly forced onto young goats as quickly as possible.”

In a brief phone interview, Zollman said Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, just up the street from the Edge, has already canceled a July 14 rodeo fundraiser.

Mike Poma, the church’s business manager, confirmed the event’s been cancelled, but he said it was actually going to be a fundraiser co-hosted by the church and the rodeo group to raise funds for Project Open Hand and another charity.

Poma said the church has donated $1,000 to Project Open Hand, which delivers meals to people with AIDS and other illnesses, even though they’ve called off the gathering.

He said that Zollman repeatedly threatened to protest not just the fundraiser, but also masses, “and finally we said, ‘Fine, we won’t do it.'”

The 20th annual Best Buck in the Bay rodeo will be held September 14-16 at Driscoll Ranches, 5460 La Honda Road, La Honda, California. Visit the rodeo’s website for more information.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 5, 2012 @ 4:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

AIDS monument project fails to win SF funds

Backers of an effort to erect an AIDS monument at 50 United Nations Plaza near San Francisco City Hall have failed to secure city funding for the project.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a May 31 article, organizers were seeking $100,000 in funds from the city’s community challenge grant program. The monument idea is meant to honor participants of a decade-long AIDS vigil that took place in the public plaza in front of the federal building at the site.

Last June the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution authorizing the creation and placement of a plaque there to commemorate the ARC/AIDS Vigil, (seen in photo at right) ARC standing for AIDS Related Complex. Two HIV positive men launched the sleep-in, which took place at the mid-Market Street plaza  from 1985 through 1995, to protest government inaction toward the deadly disease.

The action involved thousands of demonstrators over the course of its 10 years and is believed to have been the longest continuously-held AIDS protest in the country. A video about the vigil produced by a local cable show can be viewed on Youtube.

Due to the historical significance of the vigil, the initial plaque idea morphed into building a larger AIDS monument.

The AIDS Housing Alliance committed to raising $25,000 and applied for the city funds through the grant program. But the funding for greening and beautification improvements is extremely competitive with numerous local groups with proposed projects vying for the money.

Based on a press lease Mayor Ed Lee’s office released today (Thursday, July 5), the AIDS monument was not among the 28 projects picked to share in the $832,600 being doled out this year. Brian Basinger, executive director of the AIDS Housing Alliance, did not immediately return a call seeking comment this afternoon.

Despite the funding setback, the ARC/AIDS Vigil’s history will be brought to a wider audience this summer. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ new show called “Occupy Bay Area” will feature several photos of the AIDS protest. It opens Saturday, July 7 in the SOMA museum space and runs through September 16.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:42 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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