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

Gay SF city treasurer launches 2013 re-election bid

Gay City Treasurer Jose Cisneros (left) is joined by his partner, Mark Kelleher, as he files for re-election.

Gay City Treasurer Jose Cisneros (left) is joined by his partner, Mark Kelleher, as he files for re-election.

With the swipe of a pen, gay San Francisco City Treasurer Jose Cisneros made his fall re-election bid official today (Thursday, January 31). The Latino politician is the only LGBT person elected to a citywide position at City Hall.

Joined by his partner of 21 years, Human Rights Commissioner Mark Kelleher, Cisneros filled out the necessary paperwork with elections officials to form a campaign committee and begin raising money.

He plans to host his first campaign event sometime in March.

On Election Night in November Cisneros had told the Bay Area Reporter about his intentions to seek a third term as treasurer.  First elected in 2005, he ran unopposed in 2009 and so far has yet to draw an opponent this year.

Due to a change in local election law that voters approved on the fall ballot, both the treasurer and city attorney elections this November will be for two-year terms. In 2015 the positions will be back on the ballot, when they will revert back to being four-year terms.

As the B.A.R. reported last week, City Attorney Dennis Herrera pulled his papers to seek re-election on Thursday, January 17. He, too, has yet to draw an opponent in the race.

While neither has committed to running in 2015, both Herrera and Cisneros are expected to seek re-election to full four-term years that year.

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 31, 2013 @ 4:12 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay Santa Clara supe pushes LGBT health, youth issues

Gay Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager has called on officials in the South Bay county to tackle several LGBT issues, including expansion of HIV testing and LGBT sensitivity training for juvenile probation officials.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (left) introduced gay Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager at the State of the County Address January 29. First 5 CEO Jolene Smith emceed the annual event.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (left) introduced gay Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager at the State of the County Address January 29. First 5 CEO Jolene Smith emceed the annual event.

Yeager, 60, assumed his second term as president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors earlier this month. One of his first duties in the ceremonial post was to deliver the annual State of the County address, which he gave Tuesday, January 29 and can be viewed online here.

He covered a number of topics in his 26-minute speech, during which he thanked his partner, Michael Haberecht, for his “encouragement and support.”

A San Jose resident and the only out person on the county board, Yeager laid out what he called “ambitious” goals for 2013.  A top concern will be to ready Santa Clara for health care expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act.

He wants the board to hire a lobbyist to focus on health care reform efforts in Sacramento and to extend medical and dental coverage to “all kids in need.”

In terms of LGBT specific goals, Yeager wants the county’s health department to conduct a communitywide health assessment and action plan for LGBT Santa Clara County residents. He also called on health officials to increase the county’s HIV testing services.

Yeager used the speech to announce the launch of a pilot program to offer 500 at-home HIV test kits to people at-risk for the disease. If it is deemed successful, he hopes to see the program be expanded.

“Testing is crucial,” said Yeager, noting that there are at least 3,000 people living with AIDS in Santa Clara County.

Having people know their HIV status, he added, “lessens the likelihood of them infecting others and helps in getting them the treatment they need.”

In April the county will launch a new ad campaign to promote STD testing, especially among sexually active youth, announced Yeager. The social marketing push during STD Awareness Month is in response to the county’s rising rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Another initiative Yeager announced Tuesday was a program to train juvenile probation officers on the needs of LGBT youth in their care.

As expected, Yeager reiterated at the end of the address his plan to seek a third and final term on the county board in 2014 rather than run for a state Assembly seat that year. A spokesman for Yeager had told the Bay Area Reporter in December that his boss had ruled out seeking the legislative post.

“We have very important work to be done here and I would be honored to be part of the team that accomplishes it,” said Yeager.

Yeager’s decision means gay Campbell Mayor Evan Low is certain to be a top contender should he run for the Assembly District 24 seat as expected next year. His boss, Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), will be termed out of office next year.

Low suspended his bid in 2012 when Fong decided to run for re-election. According to the Secretary of State’s office, Low has already formed a 2014 campaign committee.  He reported raising $178,345.06 in 2012, with $140,119.60 cash on hand for future campaign.


— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:47 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man robbed at gunpoint in Castro

A San Francisco resident was robbed at gunpoint Tuesday night, January 29 as he entered the gate of his Castro district apartment building.

Peter Hartikka, 48, said he’d been walking home from the gym at about 9:50 p.m. and checking messages on his cellphone when he heard footsteps behind him.

When he entered the gate of his building, in the 4600 block of 18th Street, he turned around and noticed that another man was trying to follow him in.

The man demanded all of Hartikka’s money, he said. Hartikka tried to slam the gate shut on him, but the suspect forced his way in, told Hartikka he had a gun, and showed it to him.

“He didn’t really point it at me, but he had it in his hand the whole time and made it clear he was going to shoot me if I didn’t cooperate,” Hartikka said.

The suspect was soon joined by another man, and the two took Hartikka’s identification, phone, and messenger bag. The bag included his wallet and credit and debit cards. Hartikka said the men stole about $50 in cash altogether.

The suspects ran away and Hartikka called the police immediately. He was not injured in the incident, but said it was scary.

“It happened so fast I didn’t really know how to react,” he said, but “I didn’t think it was a good idea to yell and scream … the guy had a gun.”

Hartikka said the gun looked like a toy, but he said he doesn’t know much about guns, and “I didn’t want to take any chances.”

He added, “I never think of this part of the Castro as being particularly dangerous, but apparently it is.” Hartikka’s lived in his apartment, which is near Hattie Street, for about two years.

“I’m a little afraid to leave my house now, frankly,” he said.

The man with the gun is white, about 6 feet, and in his mid-20s, with an average to heavy build, a slight moustache and brown, medium-length hair, Hartikka said. He was wearing a flannel shirt or jacket with grey, brown, and other colors. Hartikka said he appeared “unkempt” and may be homeless.

The second man is white, approximately 5 feet 9 inches, and appeared to be about the same age or younger than the first suspect, with an average build, Hartikka said. He had lighter hair that was in a buzz cut.

Hartikka, a member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, said the men “weren’t homophobic at all. They didn’t say, ‘Faggot this,’ or ‘Faggot that.’ … Not all violence is necessarily anti-gay. Some people are just thugs.”

Hartikka posted a note to Castro Community on Patrol’s Facebook page today (Wednesday, January 30). The volunteer patrol group was represented Monday, January 28 as police officials, neighborhood residents, and others met to discuss recent robberies, burglaries, and other crimes in the Castro.

Early Tuesday, another incident occurred in the neighborhood. At 12:45 a.m., according to police, a 25-year-old man was at 15th and Noe streets holding his cellphone when two men jumped him and took his phone. The suspects ran to a parked white four-door sedan, got in, and fled toward Market Street.

Police haven’t offered many details on the suspects except to say they were 20 to 25. A description of a third suspect wasn’t available. The victim wasn’t injured.

The robbery took place about a block away from a January 10 incident in which another man was stabbed in the chest. The 34-year-old victim in that case was hospitalized but has been released.

Police and community groups have released sketches of the suspects in the case. The images and descriptions are available at the Stop the Violence Facebook page.

Anyone with information regarding the January 29 incidents may call the San Francisco Police Department anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to 847411 and type SFPD, then the message. The report number for the 18th Street robbery is 130 083 281. The number for the 15th and Noe streets incident is 130 080 776.

People with information in the January 10 robbery may contact Sergeant Tim Dalton at (415) 242-3000 or the SFPD Park Station anonymous tip line at (415) 731-2865. The report number is 130 027 552.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 30, 2013 @ 7:10 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

EQCA to honor Bratt brothers for La Mission film

Peter and Benjamin Bratt

Peter and Benjamin Bratt

Equality California will honor brothers Benjamin and Peter Bratt for their film La Mission, which the lobbying group calls “an honest depiction of life for Latino LGBT youth in the Mission District of San Francisco.”

The Bratts, who’re natives of the city, are to be recognized with the Allies in Media award at EQCA’s 2013 San Francisco Equality Awards gala February 23 at the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason Street. The event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $350.

Peter Bratt, a San Francisco film commissioner, directed the 2009 movie, which shows a father’s struggles to accept his gay son. Benjamin Bratt, who plays the father, has appeared in several films and TV shows, including Modern Family. The sitcom includes a gay couple.

“Part of my process was talking to a lot of different queers of color, within my family and also within the community,” Peter Bratt told the Bay Area Reporter in a 2010 story about La Mission. “What I found, particularly speaking to young gay men of color, was that when they’re demeaned and sometimes even beaten down, they’re feminized, they’re referred to by derogatory terms for women or women’s body parts. Not only does that speak to the homophobia within the community, but also the misogyny within the community. That combined with the fact that Benjamin and I are both local boys trying to fulfill a dream of making a movie in our own backyard, about our favorite neighborhood in the country, La Mission.”

State Attorney General Kamala Harris is also set to appear at the EQCA gala. Visit the nonprofit’s website for more information.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 24, 2013 @ 4:42 pm PST
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State lawmakers quietly extended county central committee terms to 4 years

In a move that went largely unnoticed last fall, state lawmakers extended the terms for people serving on county central committees, the oversight panels that run local Democratic, Republican, American Independent, and the Peace and Freedom parties.

{4EA2298E-6975-4EC4-90E7-BE51AC63E12D}Due to the switch, those people elected last June to serve on the party oversight panels for two years will now serve for four. They will be up for re-election in 2016.

Lesbian former state Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) introduced the bill, SB 1272, that included the term-limit change. Kehoe (seen at right) was termed out of office last year.

The legislation amended Section 7225 of the Elections Code to read that “at every presidential primary election, a county central committee may be elected in each county.”

Nowhere does it specify that the bill is retroactive to last summer’s election, and it has only been in recent weeks that the effect of the switch has come to be realized by local politicos.

Scott Lay, who tracks the state Legislature for the Around the Capitol website, told the Bay Area Reporter that he was unaware of the change until contacted by a reporter Thursday (January 24). He surmised that the legislation was enacted as a cost-saving measure.

“Since there need not be partisan ballots in non-presidential primary years, SB 1272 will save counties significant money by not requiring partisan ballots simply to elect central committee members. Further, the higher turnout found in presidential primary years will yield more public exposure for central committee candidates,” wrote Lay in an emailed response.

But Tom Temprano, president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, expressed misgivings about the change. He said that he only learned about the term extension at the local Democratic County Central Committee’s meeting Wednesday, January 23.

“I think it is really troubling as a voter to hear you have elected someone for a 2-year term and then to find out without further input from voters who elect those candidates that they have now doubled the length of their intended term,” he said. “I have some serious reservations about it.”

In San Francisco it means that instead of electing new DCCC members in June of 2014 ahead of the even-numbered supervisor races that fall or the mayor’s race in 2015, the current people on the committee will determine endorsements in those elections.

The local Democratic Party’s endorsements are seen as critical support for candidates seeking local offices, as it comes with inclusion on the party’s slate card mailed to voters and access to campaign volunteers. And the term-limit extension now sets up some interesting situations for the DCCC when it comes to endorsing in upcoming elections.

In 2014 both gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos and District 3 Supervisor David Chiu are expected to run for the 17th Assembly District seat when gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) is termed out. Campos and Chiu were elected to the DCCC last summer and will have front-row seats for the panel’s debate on whom to back for the Assembly seat.

It also means that gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener will be serving on the DCCC when he seeks re-election in 2014 to the Board of Supervisors or decides to also seek the Assembly seat. District 11 Supervisor Malia Cohen is in a similar situation, as she won a seat on the DCCC last June and will have to decide in 2014 if she wants to seek re-election or also run for Assembly.

The term extension also gives a leg up to those DCCC members elected from the 17th Assembly District who may be eying runs for the open supervisor seats in 2014 or another elected office on an upcoming ballot. Same for those DCCC members from the 19th Assembly District on the westside of San Francisco thinking of seeking public office.

Several ideas of how to address the switch were floated at the DCCC’s meeting this week. But it remains to be seen if a new election for the 24 seats on the oversight panel will be held prior to 2016.

For now those people who were planning to run for DCCC in 2014 find themselves shut out from seeking an entry way into local politics for three years.

“For young LGBT folks who ran for seats last time around and didn’t make it – and I know there are young LGBT folks who were looking forward to running again next year – now in all likelihood won’t have that opportunity,” said Temprano.


— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 4:14 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

UPDATED: Castro sausage eatery up for a vote

An architect's rendering of the building housing the Castro Country Club shows the exterior of the proposed ground floor restaurant. (Photo: Courtesy Tecta Associates)

An architect’s rendering of the building housing the Castro Country Club shows the exterior of the proposed ground floor restaurant. (Photo: Courtesy Tecta Associates)

UPDATED: A proposal to open a new sausage eatery in the Castro that was up for a vote at the Planning Commission Thursday January 24 was continued to next month. The panel is now set to vote on the project at its February 7 meeting.

Local businessman George “Jorge” Maumer is seeking city and state approval to open The Castro Sausage Grill in the garage space below the Castro Country Club. As part of the plan, Maumer intends to seek a liquor license for the new eatery.

Maumer had been the owner of Superstar Video on Castro Street, which he announced last year he was closing. He bought the property housing the sober space at 4058 18th Street in January 2012 for a reported $1 million.

At the time he pledged to maintain as a tenant the Castro Country Club, which describes itself as “a safe haven for LGBT people in recovery from drugs and alcohol” on its website. The club has been housed in the 1901 Edwardian since April 1983, but after the death of the longtime property owner in 2010, club leaders feared the new owners would evict them.

As part of his application process for the restaurant, Maumer is also seeking the city to legalize the country club’s use of residential space in the building. The nonprofit’s occupation of the second floor would be classified as nonresidential use.

“We feel that both the Castro Country Club and the new restaurant are uses that enhance the vibrant and diverse fabric of this neighborhood,” wrote Ahmad Mohazab with Tecta Associates in a letter to the Planning Commission.

The prospect of having beer and wine sales, as Maumer has proposed, underneath a gathering spot for those recovering from alcohol addictions raised eyebrows when it was first revealed last year. But according to a planning staff report on the project, the department has not received any opposition to the plans.

Leaders of the Castro Country Club informed the Planning Department that they have no objection to the restaurant nor have they taken a formal position on it.

Mohazab told planners that the restaurant is essential for helping Maumer see a return financially in his investment in the property and will help keep the country club’s lease from being unaffordable. Nor did he see having alcohol available on site as problematic.

“The income from the restaurant is the best way to offset the purchase price for the building and the considerable and cost to replace the masonry foundation,” he wrote.

He acknowledged that “at first pass this strikes some an anathema to the perceived mission of the CCC” but noted that alcohol is currently sold within 15 feet of steps of the club.

“Those who abuse alcohol will find a place to do so. Most likely that place will not be in this restaurant, Brandy Ho’s next door, or around the corner at the Fork Cafe or Osaka Sushi,” wrote Mohazab. “Rather, that abuse will be at one of the local bars, or in private. And for those who abuse alcohol in the Castro, it will continue to be important that the Castro Country Club is there, open and available.”

The restaurant would be built into a roughly 1,985 square feet ground floor space with outdoor dining service in the front setback area.

“The proposed restaurant is not a formula retail use but rather an independent, locally owned business. It is designed to mainly serve residents from the local neighborhood and may create between eight to ten job openings,” states the planning staff report, which recommends approval of the project.

The proposed hours of operation would be from 11 am. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.



— Matthew S. Bajko, January 23, 2013 @ 5:14 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

New traveler’s lecture series launches in SF

Travelers curious about living and working abroad, taking a sabbatical to gallivant around the world, or simply going on a spiritual journey can take their first steps to an adventure at Waypost, a new monthly travel lecture series.

Lee O’Brian, co-founder and co-host of Waypost, will kick off the discussion on January 23 exploring living abroad and the lessons he’s learned with “Expat Life – As Good as it Sounds?”

O’Brian, 37, lived and worked for a decade in four different countries and eight different industries, according to the lecture series website.

O’Brian, a straight man, co-founded and co-hosts Waypost with follow global vagabond Cathrine Lindblom Gunasekara, 29, who was born and raised in Norway. Like O’Brian, she’s lived and worked on three continents and traveled to more than 40 countries.
They have both settled – for the moment – in San Francisco.

Hungry to hear stories from fellow travelers and friends, rather than the more formal travel conversations they created Waypost with the assistance of Jetpac, the iPad app for travel inspiration.

“We are hoping travelers and aspiring travelers will enjoy listening to ‘behind the scenes’ stories and will get inspired to set out on the next journey they’re dreaming of,” said Gunasekara.

The free travel lecture series will be held on a Wednesday each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Stanza Coffee Bar, 3126 16th Street, San Francisco. Space is limited, to RSVP visit
Discussions in the fall will focus on LGBT travel.

For more information, visit

– Filed by Heather Cassell

— Cynthia Laird, January 22, 2013 @ 11:14 am PST
Filed under: News

Supes OK landmark status for gay bar

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved designating the Twin Peaks Tavern to be a historic landmark. The longtime gay bar sits at the corner of Castro and Market streets and was the first known gay bar to feature full length open plate glass windows, becoming a visible beacon in the LGBT movement.

The Twin Peaks Tavern was designed a historic landmark by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The legislation was sponsored by gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener.

“Twin Peaks Tavern has been at the center of our LGBT community for over 40 years,” Wiener said in a statement. “I’m excited to celebrate the historical significance of this iconic bar in the heart of the Castro.”

The tavern was founded in the 1930s. In 1972 it was purchased by two lesbians and began its life in the middle of the Castro and LGBT community.

Jeffrey Green and George Roehm currently own the bar.

“We feel the importance of this action is to preserve this not only for ourselves but for future generations, and not only in San Francisco but as a model for other communities and cities nationwide,” Green and Roehm, who are gay, said in an interview last fall. They added that their spouses are “silent partners” in the bar.

Among the benefits of landmark status, California’s historical building code provides alternative building regulations for permitting repairs, alterations, and additions necessary for the preservation, rehabilitation, relocation, related construction, or continued use of a qualified historical building.

— Cynthia Laird, January 15, 2013 @ 5:28 pm PST
Filed under: News

Blog says Marlena’s buyers will change name

A Hayes Valley microblog reported this morning (Monday, January 14) that a trio of male buyers is the group purchasing Marlena’s, a famous gay bar in the neighborhood a few blocks away from the city’s LGBT Community Center. The post also said the new owners plan to change the bar’s name.

According to Hayeswire, the men in escrow to buy Marlena’s are Matt Conway, Anthony Healy-London, and Josh McAdam. Conway is the bar manager at nearby restaurant Absinthe, Healy-London is a co-owner of the gay-friendly Church Street bar Churchill, and McAdam is close friends with Healy-London, according to the website.

Conway and Healy-London plan to be hand-on owners of the bar, while McAdam reportedly will work behind the scenes.

Marlena’s owner Garry McLain
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

As the Bay Area Reporter reported last week, proprietors Garry McLain, better known as Absolute Empress XXV of San Francisco, Marlena the Magnificent, and his business partner, Janice Buxton, entered into escrow with the buyers Friday, January 4. Due to their being in their 70s, McLain said it was time to sell.

If the sale goes as planned, the new owners would close the bar sometime in March for several months to remodel it and bring it up to current state and city codes.

Buxton and her now-deceased husband, John, opened the bar in 1978 as the Overpass. In 1990 McLain came on as a co-owner of the bar while he was the reigning empress and it was renamed Marlena’s.

As the story noted, McLain said he was unsure about the name remaining the same but that the new owners, who declined the B.A.R.’s interview request made through McLain, wanted to maintain the bar as a hangout “welcoming to both gay and straight” patrons.

The neighborhood website said that it received a message from Healy-London confirming that the trio plans to drop the Marlena’s moniker for the bar but do not have a new name as of yet.

Healy-London is quoted as saying that, “We are in discussion with Marlena/Gary about what of the Marlena’s traditions will continue. We understand what Marlena’s has meant (and continues to mean) to this neighborhood and we are sensitive to that in our decision-making process. We are really excited to be joining a neighborhood that we already love and know very well.”


— Matthew S. Bajko, January 14, 2013 @ 2:46 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Out SoCal ex-lawmakers announce new roles

Two out former southern California lawmakers are starting off 2013 with new roles.

Former state Senator Sheila Kuehl. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Lesbian former Democratic state Senator Sheila Kuehl announced Thursday her bid to return to elective politics. She is seeking an open Los Angeles County supervisor seat, becoming a political candidate for the first time since 2004.

The first out lawmaker to serve in California’s legislature, having won an Assembly seat in 1994, Kuehl was termed out of the state Senate in 2008. At the time it was widely known that she was eying a run for Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s seat in 2014, when he will be termed out of office.

Thursday, January 10 Kuehl made her bid for the Westside supervisorial district official, according to local media reports. This month Kuehl plans to set up a campaign committee and begin raising money. Veteran political consultant Parke Skelton reportedly will be her campaign manager.

“I see the next year and a half as not only a campaign, but as a deeply educational time for me,” Kuehl, a Santa Monica resident, told the Los Angeles Times.

The paper said that former Santa Monica councilman and Kennedy family member Bobby Shriver may also seek the seat.

Kuehl played Zelda Gilroy in the long-running 1950s TV show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Since leaving public office, she has written about the state budget at her website, launched her own consulting firm, and was the founding director in 2010 of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College.

This week former gay Republican San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio (seen at right) announced he had been hired to head two lobbying efforts, giving him dual platforms to remain in the public’s eye as he ponders a future political bid.

Not only did he lose his bid to be San Diego’s mayor in November, but DeMaio also stepped down from the City Council due to his decision to seek the higher office instead of re-election to his council seat.

One of his new roles is that of chairman of the California Reform Council. A Los Angeles-based project of the Reason Foundation, the council is launching a “Reform Agenda” aimed at finding ways to balance the state budget without raising taxes.

It will also push for improvements in the transparency, performance and accountability of state government in Sacramento. A key concern that DeMaio plans to focus on this year is pension reform, the goal of which is to use San Diego’s pension reform measures as a template for the state.

The second initiative will focus on San Diego. DeMaio is launching Reform San Diego, a research and political advocacy group whose main priority will be the city’s finances.

The group will re-launch the “San Diego Citizens Budget Project,” which DeMaio led in 2003 as the city was facing a fiscal crisis. Those efforts led to his successful campaign for a seat on the city council in 2008.

“I’m excited to take on these two new roles that allow me to continue to shine a big light on state and local government and hold both accountable to taxpayers,” stated DeMaio in a release announcing his new jobs.



— Matthew S. Bajko, January 11, 2013 @ 2:59 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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