Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Castro area Whole Foods sets grand opening date

Courtesy Whole Foods

Courtesy Whole Foods

The new Whole Foods coming to the Castro’s upper Market Street corridor will be opening its doors in a little over two weeks.

The organic grocery chain announced via its Facebook page this month that the doors to the store at 2001 Market Street (at Dolores across from the Safeway shopping plaza) will open to the public at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, November 6.

The corner store is housed in the new rental housing development with 85 units built by the Prado Group. It recently received a flurry of local blog posts due to the portion of the building known as 38 Dolores having a rooftop butterfly habitat for the endangered Mission Blue and the inclusion of a new mural by noted muralist Mona Caron.

Even before it opens its doors, the new Whole Foods has been sponsoring a number of LGBT organizations. It was a lead sponsor of this year’s Castro Street Fair, is taking part in the 17th annual Art for AIDS event October 25, and is a lead sponsor of Thursday night’s Unmasked gala fundraiser for the GLBT Historical Society.

But the store’s approval in late 2010 was not without controversy, with nearby residents raising concerns about increased car traffic. Its placement on a prominent street corner also led to the push this year to adopt stronger rules against chain stores looking to open on upper Market Street.

— Matthew S. Bajko, October 21, 2013 @ 3:24 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SOMA residents fight over funds for alley project with LGBT history ties

Residents in the eastern part of San Francisco’s South of Market district are fighting over funding for a project to beautify Ringold Alley and resurrect its ties to LGBT history.

The alley, located between 8th and 9th Streets near Harrison Street, was the scene of nightly cruising by men looking to have sex with other men back in SOMA’s gay heyday of the 1960s and 1970s. The street was also home to the first Up Your Alley daytime leather fair in 1985.

Courtesy SF Planning Department

               Courtesy SF Planning Department

For years LGBT SOMA leaders have fought to turn Ringold into a pedestrian-friendly corridor and install public art recognizing the alley’s historical and cultural significance to the LGBT community. The rendering at right shows what the redesigned roadway could look like.

It is seen as a critical piece toward establishing an LGBT cultural heritage district in the area. (Implementation of that project is on hold, as the Bay Area Reporter disclosed last month, due to staffing issues at the San Francisco Planning Department.)

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority unanimously signed off on the alley plan back in 2012. To pay for the work, the project’s proponents had banked on using a significant portion of the $4 million in development impact fees generated by a 408-unit apartment community approved for what is now a Golden Gate Transit bus parking lot at the corner of 8th and Harrison streets.

In May Associated Estates acquired the 3.36 acre site and announced it had entered into a development agreement for the project with Halcyon, the multi-family development consultancy of Richard Lamprecht and Amir Massih. The men had previously worked on the project when it was proposed by the now defunct firm Archstone.

Ground is expected to be broken in March of 2014 to start construction at the site.

Since a portion of the infill housing project fronts Ringold Alley, advocates of the alley redesign had wanted $2 million of the impact fees to be set aside for it.

However, at its meeting in September, the Eastern Neighborhoods Community Advisory Committee that oversees how to spend the funds recommended to award “at least” $1 million toward the alley remodel work, with the most expensive aspect being undergrounding the utility wires.

“We had split it right down the middle will $2 million to the general pot for eastern neighborhoods and $2 million for the immediate area surrounding the development. We were just flabbergasted they would get in to the details on something developed by the Western SOMA Task Force,” said Jim Meko, a gay man who chaired the task force that came up with a new zoning proposal for eastern SOMA adopted earlier this year by the city.

Meko said he “can’t say for sure” what would happen to the LGBT place-making efforts on Ringold if the funding is not increased.

“As the funding shrinks the enthusiasm to do more with that alley will shrink as well,” he said.

Backers of the alley project who are not members of the committee worry that $1 million in funding would mean a very limited redesign for the alley that would not include the LGBT historical place-making that they have advocated to be included. They intend to petition the committee to rethink its funding allocation at its meeting next week.

Meko said he doesn’t expect to see all $2 million be allocated. Instead, “hopefully we can get them beyond that $1 million,” he said.

The oversight body did ask the developer and city planning staffers to return with a revised proposal for the work as well as ideas for additional sources of funding. That presentation is scheduled to take place during the committee’s meeting Monday, October 21.

“The CAC passed a motion of intent to fund the improvements for no less than $1M and asked the project sponsor to return with alternatives including identifying additional funding and/or a lower build option,” wrote city planner Mat Snyder in an email to CAC members and SOMA residents this week announcing the meeting’s agenda. “The Transportation Authority has prepared a memo describing the background and describing the different options that are before you. Planning staff has also prepared a memo to provide a framework regarding in-kind evaluation criteria and the financial framework.”

According to an October 16 memorandum prepared by Liz Brisson, a county transportation planner, the development team has agreed to cover the $254,000 estimated cost of undergrounding the utilities directly adjacent to 350 8th Street. The remaining costs to underground the rest of the street would be $249,000, states the memo, which could be covered by the in-kind request.

The memo also lists possible funding streams, but none are a guaranteed source of money for the Ringold Alley project. Instead, staff is proposing three funding alternatives for the CAC to consider.

The first would be $1 million for a down-scaled project that would include all the elements in the project including utility undergrounding as originally conceived, except a traditional street rather than a shared street between cars and pedestrians with special paving.

The second would allocate $2.084 million to fund the shared street project as originally conceived with utility undergrounding. And the third calls for up to $2.084 million to fund the shared street project as originally conceived should the remaining funds be provided by an alternative funding source.

The Eastern Neighborhoods CAC meeting begins at 6 p.m. Monday October 21 in Room 431 at the SF Planning Department offices, 1650 Mission Street.

— Matthew S. Bajko, October 18, 2013 @ 5:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Campos holds hearing on AIDS, health care reform recommendations

David Campos (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

David Campos (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The San Francisco HIV Health Care Reform Task Force released its recommendations this week to help ensure people living with HIV/AIDS are able to make safe, secure transitions as the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.

Gay Supervisor David Campos held a hearing Thursday, October 17 to discuss the recommendations.

Campos stated before the hearing, “I am looking forward to hearing the recommendations of the HIV Health Care Reform Task Force and how the Department of Public Health is implementing those recommendations because I want to make sure that no HIV patient gets lost during this historic transformation of our health care system.”

Mike Smith, executive director of AIDS Emergency Fund and president of the HIV/AIDS Provider Network, is a task force member.

“Health care reform will result in better access to care for many people – including those with HIV. But it also includes major changes to the way HIV-related medical care and support services will be funded and delivered,” said Smith in a news release. “Our recommendations call for a transition plan that minimizes disruption in client care and establishes a comprehensive system of care that meets the needs of all people living with HIV in San Francisco.”

With its recommendations, the task force aims to “reduce barriers to timely engagement in quality, affordable, and patient-centered care” and “promote continuity,” among other goals, members said in a statement. The task force is made up of representatives from the city’s health department, HIV service providers, and others.

Task force members are hopeful that while the recommendations are specific to San Francisco, some of the information might be helpful for other local planning efforts.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 17, 2013 @ 4:50 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Supervisor Scott Wiener’s re-election campaign kicks into gear

Supervisor Scott Wiener (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Supervisor Scott Wiener (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

More than a year before he will face the voters in San Francisco’s District 8 to seek a second four-year term, gay Supervisor Scott Wiener is kicking his re-election campaign into gear.

A number of gay nightlife leaders are holding the first major fundraiser for Wiener next week at the Castro gay bar Beaux, which recently re-opened after a major remodel by its new owners. Previously, the Market Street space had been the gay dance club Trigger.

Among those listed as hosts of the casino-themed Monday, October 21 fundraiser, with a suggested donation of $250 for attendees, are Entertainment Commissioner Audrey Joseph; former Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Alan; Jesse Woodard, owner of gay sports bar Hi Tops; Lookout owner Chris Hastings; Larry Metzger, owner of gay bar the Mix; and Tim Eicher, one of the co-owners of Beaux.

The “know when to hold ‘em” titled fundraiser is aimed at the city’s entertainment industry, which has lauded Wiener for championing nightlife issues since his 2010 election to the seat on the board representing the Castro and Noe Valley neighborhoods.

“Scott has shown his support starting just after being elected by ordering the creation of the first economic impact report on SF’s entertainment industry to the addition of a DJ to the list of performers allowed in a Limited Live permitted venue,” wrote Hastings in an emailed invite to the event.

From his push last year to ban public nudity in the city to his legislation this fall to enforce nighttime closure hours at city parks, Wiener has proven to be a lighting rod for criticism among the city’s more progressive camp. His critics are planning to “roast” Wiener at a Monday, October 28 demonstration in front of his Duboce Park home due to his park hours proposal.

But he has also received praise from more moderate voices for his policy proposals. And despite calls to recall him – which went nowhere – and a so far unsuccessful search to find a formidable challenger to run against him, Wiener appears at this point to be the clear frontrunner in the race.

slateHe is getting a boost in visibility this fall from the more moderate Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, which he used to co-chair. Wiener is featured prominently on the club’s slate card, even though he is not on the ballot this November in the local municipal election.

“Our recent marriage victory at the Supreme Court showed, yet again, that electing Democrats matters! I urge you to vote November 5th,” reads part of the quote from Wiener next to his photo on the flier aimed at LGBT voters.

Apart from if he will face a serious opponent, the other question surrounding Wiener’s re-election is if he will serve out a full second term. He is widely expected in 2016 to seek the seat held by gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who will be termed out of office that December.

The race could be another gay versus gay political match-up, as gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has expressed interest in running for Leno’s seat. Ammiano will be termed out of office next year.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:16 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF District Attorney launches campaign to warn against immigration fraud

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District Attorney George Gascón (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and others launched a campaign this week designed to warn people about immigration fraud.

“As immigration reform is debated in Washington, D.C., immigrant communities will become more susceptible to immigration fraud and scams,” Gascón said in an October 15 news release. “The best way to protect you and your family from being victimized is through prevention and education. Be a savvy consumer and beware of scammers who take all your money by overstating their ability to perform immigration work.”

One of the nonprofits involved in the campaign is Instituto Familiar de la Raza, which works with many clients who are LGBT immigrants.

Estela Reyes Garcia, the organization’s executive director, stated, “As the Latino community eagerly awaits immigration reform, it’s critical that we forge stronger partnerships among city and community based agencies to ensure that the immigrant community is not exploited in the process of seeking support for themselves and their families.”

The campaign, which will reach out to people who speak English, Spanish, and Chinese, will educate immigrant communities on how to ensure consultants and attorneys are licensed or bonded. The effort will also warn people of scammers who promise they can immediately obtain work permits or U.S. visas or make other claims.

Garcia is a member of the DA’s Latino Advisory Committee, which generated the idea for a public education campaign.

“The committee identified immigration fraud as a major concern because most immigrants are reluctant to report crime, which makes them more vulnerable to would-be scammers,” according to the DA’s office.

Gascón is encouraging people with questions to call his office’s multilingual hotline at (415) 551-9595. All calls are confidential and immigration officials will never be contacted.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 16, 2013 @ 4:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


HBO gay series shot in SF gets premiere date

The cast of Looking. Photo: courtesy of HBO

The cast of Looking. Photo: courtesy of HBO

You can now set your DVRs as HBO has confirmed the premiere date and air time for its new gay series being shot on location in San Francisco.

The half-hour show, called Looking, will have its debut at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, January 19 on the premium cable channel.  It is planned to have an eight episode first season.

The series revolves around three friends in San Francisco “who explore the fun and sometimes overwhelming options available to a new generation of gay men,” HBO said in a press release issued today (Wednesday, October 16) announcing the series’ premiere date.

Created by Michael Lannan and executive produced by Andrew Haigh and Sarah Condon, the show stars Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett. Special guest stars include Russell Tovey and Scott Bakula.

It is the first time a television series has been fully shot on location in San Francisco since the CBS cop show Nash Bridges, starring Don Johnson and Cheech Marin, went off the air in 2001.

Filming of Looking’s first season is expected to wrap in mid November. As the Bay Area Reporter has noted, the show has shot scenes at a number of LGBT businesses around the city, including at the Stud dance club and safe sex club Eros.

The crew has been documented the making of the show via photos posted to its account on Instagram.

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:24 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Milk club gives Campos early nod in Assembly race

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 10.08.28 AMFor the second time this month an out Assembly candidate in the Bay Area has secured early backing in their race from a prominent LGBT Democratic club, giving their campaigns a boost as they raise funds and seek other political clubs’ endorsements ahead of the June 2014 primary.

Last night (Tuesday, October 15) the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club overwhelmingly voted to early endorse gay San Francisco Supervisor David Campos in his bid for the city’s 17th Assembly District seat.

“This seat, which is currently represented by Tom Ammiano, has been a champion seat for the LGBT community for nearly two decades, and we are thrilled to support David Campos in continuing this legacy of queer progressive leadership,” Milk club President Tom Temprano told the Bay Area Reporter following the endorsement vote.

In early October the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club awarded its former chair, Peggy Moore, its sole endorsement for the Assembly District 15 seat next year. The club’s board decided to vote on whether to early endorse Moore or bisexual candidate Andy Katz, an elected member of the East Bay Municipal Utility District, in a race expected to see eight candidates competing in the June primary.

The Milk club’s vote was hardly surprising as the progressive queer political club has had long ties to Campos, who represents the Mission and Bernal Heights at City Hall and is seen as the more progressive candidate in the race.

His opponent, Board President David Chiu, despite often casting similar votes as Campos, is considered the more moderate candidate in the race. To date, they are the only contenders seeking the seat currently held by gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

It was Ammiano, who is termed out of office in December of 2014 and is backing Campos to be his successor, who urged the Milk club in September to give an early endorsement in the race.

The decision to do so comes two nights prior to Campos’ first major fundraiser for his Assembly campaign. His supporters will be gathering tomorrow evening (Thursday, October 17) at Castro bar Blackbird to raise money for Campos’ campaign coffers.

Chiu’s campaign has yet to announce its first fundraising event.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 10:40 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Bike share program headed for SF neighborhoods including the Mission and Castro

9679313455_be65128c4a_zA new bicycle sharing program is headed to several San Francisco neighborhoods, including the Mission and Castro districts.

Late Tuesday (October 15) the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced it was expanding the Bay Area Bike Share program outside of the city’s downtown areas into more residential neighborhoods.

The regional pilot bike sharing program launched in August with 350 bikes and 35 stations in San Francisco as part of a 700 bike and 70 station regional unveiling. They are located throughout South of Market and around the Financial District.

“With the initial roll-out phase of Bay Area Bike Share completed, we look forward to initiating the next phase of planning efforts to bring a fuller and more robust bike share system to San Francisco; continuing the innovative work we are doing to make bicycling an even more attractive mode of transportation,” stated Tom Nolan, a gay man who chairs the SFMTA Board of Directors.

In early 2014 the city intends to install 15 new stations and 150 new bikes. Gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener has been urging the SFMTA to station the bikes for rent in places like the gay Castro district, which he represents at City Hall.

New bike stations are also expected to be installed in Hayes Valley and Mission Bay as part of the expansion next year.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, October 16) SFMTA officials will host an open house to hear from community members on where the new bike share stations should be located in the residential neighborhoods.

“As we work to improve San Francisco’s transportation system for those who live, work and visit San Francisco, residents, businesses and visitors play a huge role in the success of Bay Area Bike Share,” stated SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “This open house is another opportunity for the community to be a part of the program as we look for input on where to expand bike share in San Francisco.”

The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street at Octavia.

— Matthew S. Bajko, October 15, 2013 @ 5:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Community event to focus on housing, HIV care for Latinos

Several AIDS-related nonprofits are gathering community members and city officials to address San Francisco’s housing crisis and how it impacts HIV care and treatment for Latinos.

The event, planned in observance of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, is set for 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, October 15 at Mission Neighborhood Centers, 362 Capp Street, San Francisco.

Guest speakers are expected to include Bevan Dufty, a gay man who serves as director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement for Mayor Ed Lee. Participating agencies include Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, AGUILAS, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation-Latino Programs.

“There is a housing crisis in San Francisco and Latinos living with, and at-risk of, HIV/AIDS are greatly impacted by this situation,” said organizers in a news release this week. “Agencies working on HIV prevention and care with the Latino community are faced with limitations when helping clients access stable housing due to skyrocketing rent prices, closed housing waitlists, long wait lists for rent subsidy programs, and an increase in gentrification of low income neighborhoods.”

As a result, many people are forced to leave San Francisco, which “often makes them ineligible for services” in the city, according to organizers.

Among other risks, people who lack stable housing may have trouble adhering to their medications.

For more information, contact Erick Arguello at (415) 558-8403 or erick@sfaguilas.org.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 9, 2013 @ 3:24 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF supes panel postpones vote on LGBT aging panel vacancy

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ rules committee postponed its vote this afternoon on selecting an applicant for a vacant seat on the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force.

Most of the five applicants for the vacancy failed to appear for the hearing today (Thursday, October 3), while two of the committee members, Supervisors Norman Yee (District 7) and Malia Cohen (District 10), said they had not met with any of them prior to the vote.

14_09_LGBT_Seniors_28_LRGDistrict 5 Supervisor London Breed said she was prepared to recommend that the seat be given to psychotherapist G. Joyce Pierson, (seen at left) who was the project director for the LGBT Elder Law Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“The last time we dealt with this issue we had a number of male candidates and we expressed concern we didn’t have enough women on this committee, ” said Breed. “Pierson seems to be the best candidate for this particular seat. I am happy to continue the item but comfortable moving forward as well.”

Pierson had contacted Yee’s office to inform him she would not be able to attend the hearing. He suggested they not vote on the matter until she could be present, while Cohen asked staff to alert the applicants they need to attend the hearing if they were serious about being named to the panel.

The other applicants are Carla Harris, 50, who identifies as lesbian and is board president of Pathways to Safety; gay AIDS survivor and activist Gregg Cassin; gay lawyer James Wagoner, 57, who is HIV positive and launched the GLBT Seniors Advocacy Project at Bay Area Legal Aid; and Marshall Feldman, coordinator of psychotherapy services at the UCSF Alliance Health Project.

The person who wins the endorsement of the committee must then be approved by the full board. They will fill out the term of the panel’s former vice chair, Jazzie Collins, a transgender activist who died this summer.

The committee voted unanimously to indefinitely postpone the item and for it to be brought back at the discretion of Yee, who chairs it.

As the Bay Area Reporter‘s Political Notebook disclosed in today’s paper, the volunteer body is now expected deliver its recommendations for how San Francisco officials can address the needs of older LGBT residents in March of 2014.

— Matthew S. Bajko, October 3, 2013 @ 2:11 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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