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

Gay CA Assembly candidate Evan Low receives congressional backing

Congressman Mike Honda (left), Campbell City Councilman Evan Low, and Assemblyman Paul Fong.

Congressman Mike Honda (left), Campbell City Councilman Evan Low, and Assemblyman Paul Fong.

Evan Low, a gay South Bay politician seeking a state Assembly seat, has picked up congressional backing for his candidacy.

The Campbell city councilman announced today (Friday, April 25) that Congressman Mike Honda (D-Campbell) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) had endorsed him. Low is considered the frontrunner in the race to succeed his boss, Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), who is termed out of his 28th Assembly District seat this December.

Eshoo and Honda represent much of the Silicon Valley-based Assembly district in the House.

“Campbell Councilman Evan Low has been a wonderful partner in our joint efforts to serve Silicon Valley residents,” stated Eshoo in a statement issued by Low’s campaign. “I am proud to endorse him for the Assembly and I look forward to our continued collaboration.”

Honda added, “Evan Low is a dedicated public servant who has a proven record of delivering for our community. I’m proud to endorse his candidacy and look forward to working together in support of real solutions for California families.”

Low stated that he is “thrilled” to have the two long-serving political leaders’ support in his race.

“Their records of legislative accomplishment and hard work on behalf of our community are second to none. At the Capitol, I look forward to working with them to continue to ensure that Silicon Valley has state and federal governments that are dedicated to supporting our region’s role as the world leader in tech innovation,” stated Low.

Three other candidates are running in the June primary in hopes of representing the district, which covers Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Campbell, Santa Clara, San Jose, Burbank, Cambrian Park, Fruitdale and Lexington Hills.

Fellow Democrat Barry Chang, a Cupertino City Council member is in the race, as are two Republican contenders: Saratoga City Councilman Chuck Page and Michael Hunsweck, a semiconductor chip engineer making his first bid for public office.

The top two vote getters regardless of party affiliation in June will advance to the November general election.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 25, 2014 @ 12:16 pm PST
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SF health officials issue meningitis warning to some gay and bi men, trans women

San Francisco health officials want gay and bi men, as well as transgender women, to get vaccinated for meningococcal disease “if they expect to have close or intimate contact” with gay or bi men who live in or who have traveled from Los Angeles.

On April 2, according to the San Francisco Public Health Department, Los Angeles County authorities reported eight confirmed cases for 2014 “of invasive meningococcal disease.” Four of the cases were in gay and bi men, and Los Angeles’s Health Department has recommended vaccination for all local gay and bi men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitides …. The illness most people are familiar with is meningococcal meningitis, which people sometimes just call meningitis.”

Officials describe the disease as “a rare but serious infection” that “can cause people to rapidly become very ill with high fevers, headache, and stiff neck (meningitis), or high fevers and a skin rash (septicemia).”

Local health officials said in a Thursday, April 24 news release, “In San Francisco, there is no outbreak of meningococcal disease in any group.” However, local authorities “are taking action” in order to encourage vaccination among some people.

Those who develop the symptoms should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. The disease may be fatal or result in permanent brain damage, among other problems.

The disease may be transmitted through sharing drinks, kissing, and sex, among other methods.

Despite the warning, officials stated, “At this time in San Francisco, there is no outbreak of meningococcal disease in any group.”

Vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, but people are encouraged to check with health care providers or go to the health department’s Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic at 101 Grove Street, Room 102.

For more information visit sfcdcp.org/healthalerts.html or sfcdcp.org/meningococcal.html.

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 24, 2014 @ 5:31 pm PST
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Castro area development wins approval from SF planning body

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 4.07.50 PMNational residential builder Greystar has won approval for its 87-unit rental development in San Francisco’s gay Castro district.

The city’s planning commission unanimously voted 5-0 at its meeting today (Thursday, April 24) to grant the developer the permits it was seeking. Greystar has a 99-year lease with the Wong family that owns the triangular lot.

“I think it is a very good project,” said planning commissioner Michael Antonini, who added it will enhance the entrance “to two of the most charming streets in San Francisco Noe and Sanchez.”

Three retail spaces on the ground floor of the development will front Market Street, while residential units will face Sanchez Street. There will be a rooftop deck for residents and a public bulb out with outdoor seating at ground level along Sanchez Street.

“With the six streets that connect here real opportunity to make a statement here,” said Clark Manus, a co-owner of Heller Manus Architects.

As the Bay Area Reporter had reported on its blog last week, the approval had been expected after Greystar reached a compromise with neighborhood groups and housing activists that had initially raised objections to the project at the corner of Sanchez, Market and 15th streets.

As first proposed, the project next door to the Swedish American Hall would not include any below-market-rate housing on site. Rather than set aside 10 units as affordable housing, Greystar had intended to instead pay an in-lieu fee toward the city’s affordable housing fund.

That decision was met with vociferous objections from nearby residents and housing activists who threatened to oppose the project if it did not include the BMR units on-site. With low-income seniors, youth and people living with HIV and AIDS priced out of the area, the parcel offered a rare opportunity to provide such residents a way to afford to live in the Castro district.

Eventually, Greystar reversed course and not only agreed to include on-site BMR units but also adopted a national LGBT non-discrimination policy covering all of its properties. Those actions cleared the way for the development to win the backing of a number of neighborhood groups.

“I am very happy it will bring so called affordable units to our neighborhood,” said David Troup, treasurer of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, which worked closely with Greystar over the last year and a half to reach the compromise. “Many developers choose to pay the affordable housing fee; while that has benefits to the city, it does nothing to preserve diversity in our neighborhood.”

Greystar’s adoption of the non-discrimination policy set a precedent that gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos hopes other developers will follow. In March Campos introduced an ordinance that would require any national developer wishing to build residential projects with 10 or more units in San Francisco to disclose if they also prohibit LGBT discrimination.

It has yet to be calendered for a hearing, however, before the Board of Supervisors. Campos’ office expects it to take place in the coming months.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 4:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF planning body approves food hall concept for Castro development

Artist rendering of 2175 Market Street

Artist rendering of 2175 Market Street

At its meeting this afternoon, the San Francisco planning commission unanimously approved a food emporium concept for a new mixed-use development in the city’s gay Castro district.

As the Bay Area Reporter had noted on its blog last December, developer Forest City Development intends to house a “market hall” in a single 3,895 square foot space on the ground floor of its new building at 2175 Market Street at 15th Street.

“I am very comfortable and delighted to support this proposal,” said planning commissioner Kathryn Moore.

It is modeled after San Pedro Square in San Jose and the market stalls inside the Ferry Building along San Francisco’s waterfront. A similar proposal is being sought for Twitter’s building at Market and 10th Street.

According to a planning staff report, the “market hall”  concept is aimed at creating “a one stop market place featuring multiple local businesses in a shared space. Similar to the Ferry Building or a European-style market place, the market hall is expected to feature local businesses that complement each other and provide neighborhood serving goods and services.”

The vendors for the space have not been chosen, though a bar is envisioned to take over part of the hall. The developer agreed to a clause pushed by neighborhood leaders to not lease the entire space to one vendor.

“Market halls have proven to be successful throughout the city, country, and the whole world. We think this provides a platform for smaller local businesses to thrive in kiosk sites,” said Katie O’Brien with Forest City Development.

The marketplace could also “function as a community gathering place for the celebration of local culture and products,” added the staff report by planner Michael Smith.

“The project is a unique way to create lower cost business opportunities for smaller local businesses to share overhead costs for a single retail space,” concluded Smith. “The project would provide a distinctive shopping experience that is not currently available within the district.”

In the event that the “market hall” retail concept does not materialize, the developer had sought permission to seek a restaurant to use up to 2,999 gross square feet of the ground-floor retail space. But due to neighborhood concerns, that idea was dropped.

A restaurant, as yet unannounced, has already been approved to move into the corner ground floor space adjacent to the market hall area.

Due to neighborhood concerns, Forest City also agreed not to lease the space to a formula retailer should its market hall idea fail. Its permit includes language restricting such usage for the retail area.

The project consists of 88 rental units split between two separate buildings on the site of a former gas station with 44 parking spaces. When it opens later this fall, the new building will set aside 27 percent of its apartments as below-market-rate units.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:32 pm PST
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SF gay men’s chorus announces $50K matching grant challenge

653The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has announced a challenge grant of $50,000 to support the San Francisco premiere of an opera called For a Look or a Touch next year, and it requires a 2-to-1 match to receive the funds.

“We are thrilled to have an extraordinarily generous challenge donation from supporters of the arts and SFGMC, Stephen and Diane Sanchez Heiman,” Timothy Seelig, the chorus’ artistic director and conductor, told the Bay Area Reporter.

The funds are to be used for the production and outreach surrounding the debut of Jake Heggie’s opera, For A Look or a Touch, chronicling the incredible true story of a gay couple during the Holocaust. The libretto, by Gene Scheer, is based on the journal entries of Manfred Lewin, who died during the Holocaust, and interviews with his lover, Gad Beck.

Their story was first told in the HBO documentary film, Paragraph 175. As the chorus explained in an email to supporters, “The opera shares a story seldom told: the plight of gay men during the Holocaust. The work refers to the regulation that allowed police to make arrests ‘for a look or a touch.’”

The new musical work will premiere during the chorus’ spring concert in 2015. It will be a co-production between the gay chorale group, the American Conservatory Theater, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the San Francisco Opera. Baritone Morgan Smith is slated to join the 300 men of the chorus for two performances.

The opera will also be performed next year at high schools and other venues as a part of the gay chorale group’s outreach and education program.

The chorus is now trying to match the Heimans’ donation by raising another $100,000 on its own. One of its first fundraising events will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 15 at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty in San Francisco.

In addition to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by chef Jennifer Johnson, the event will feature performances by members of the chorus and opera stars Frederica von Stade, Lisa Vroman, Morgan Smith, and Heggie.

Reservations to attend start at $1,000 a person and must be made by Thursday, May 8th. They can be done online here.

For more information please contact Jon Carroll at (415) 865-3650 x 307 or email him at jon.carroll@sfgmc.org.

 

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:37 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Oakland planning body to vote on proposed gay bar

(Photo: Courtesy Sean Sullivan)

(Photo: Courtesy Sean Sullivan)

Oakland planning commissioners will vote next month on allowing a proposed gay bar to open in the old Ragsmatazz shoe store (seen in the photo at right) in the city’s booming Uptown neighborhood.

As the Bay Area Reporter has noted in previous coverage, Sean Sullivan and his partner, Richard Fuentes, signed a lease for the space at 2021 Broadway in order to open the Port Bar. It is next door to concert venue the Paramount Theater and near the 19th Street BART station.

The couple wants to tap into the East Bay city’s growing LGBT community. Priced out of San Francisco, many LGBT people have looked to Oakland to find cheaper rents and less expensive homes to buy.

According to the bar’s website, the owners are shooting for a summer opening. Sullivan will serve as the Port Bar’s general manager. His bio mentions that he worked for his mother’s party and catering business in New York, where he learned bar-tending skills.

He also co-founded and managed The Vault, an on campus coffee shop that operated out of unused space at Butler Hall at St. Bonvanture University, notes his bio.

Fuentes, who is running for a seat on the Peralta Community College District board, will be the bar’s vice president and director. His bio notes he has five years of experience in retail management.

The planning commission will vote on the bar’s permit request at its Wednesday, May 7 meeting. It starts at 6 p.m. at Oakland City Hall, One Frank Ogawa Plaza at the corner of 14th Street and Broadway.

In an email Sullivan sent today (Thursday, April 24), he asked that the bar’s backers attend the hearing to voice their support.

“I want to show the breadth of support this project continues to demonstrate,” he wrote. “For those missing their dinner hour, food from our dear friends and favorite Oakland Grown business will be provided, Tina Tamale. We are first on the agenda so we hope that you won’t be there very long.”

He signed off on the email with the tagline “Making Oakland a Better Place One Gay Drink at a Time.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man arrested for allegedly using car to hit cops in the Castro

A San Francisco man has been arrested for allegedly using a car to hit two police officers in the Castro neighborhood this weekend.

Anthony Padmore, 30, was taken into custody Monday, April 21 in Oakland and arrested on charges of two counts of aggravated assault with force likely to cause bodily injury, reckless driving causing bodily injury, battery on a peace officer or emergency personnel, and two counts of resisting or obstructing the duties of a peace officer, according to Sergeant Danielle Newman, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department. The officers’ injuries weren’t life threatening, police said.

The Oakland Police Department, U.S. marshals, and San Francisco police were involved in taking Padmore into custody, where he remains “on several warrants, including a parole warrant,” Newman said in an email.

The incident started at about 12:35 p.m. Sunday, April 20 after someone reported a “suspicious person” in the 500 block of Castro Street, according to Newman

Padmore had apparently been standing by some ATM machines at a bank. Whenever people withdrew money and walked away, he “would start fiddling with the machine,” likely trying to take advantage of people who hadn’t closed their transactions, Newman said in an interview Monday, April 21.

“This occurred over a period of time,” said Newman, but she didn’t know how long he’d been there before he was reported to police.

As responding officers spoke with Padmore, “he continued to go into his pockets” and “would not follow their orders to keep his hands out of his pockets,” said Newman. When they tried to search him for weapons, he fled to a car parked nearby at 18th and Hartford streets, according to police.

Newman said the car wasn’t locked when Padmore got to it. When the officers went to the car’s doors to try to get him out, “he started the car and started driving” and performing “different maneuvers” including backing up and turning, said Newman.

In a news release Sunday that was based on “very preliminary information,” Newman said “an officer was dragged by the car.” She said Monday that nobody had been dragged under the car, but she declined to say exactly how the officers were injured because she didn’t have first-hand knowledge of the details.

Padmore, whose identity wasn’t released until Wednesday, April 23, managed to drive away. Police looked for him but weren’t immediately able to locate him.

After they completed their reports on the incident, the officers “transported themselves to a hospital,” said Newman. The officers’ injuries weren’t life threatening, but Newman wouldn’t say specifically what their wounds were.

She wouldn’t share the names of the officers, since they’re crime victims in this case.

Newman said she didn’t believe that the officers, who were in uniform, had brandished any weapons at Padmore, and she didn’t know whether Padmore had had any weapons other than the car.

Police have not released Padmore’s booking photo.

“This is still an open and active investigation even though an arrest has been made,” Newman said in an email Wednesday. An arraignment date hasn’t been set, according to a clerk at the public defender’s office.

 [Update Thursday, April 24]: Padmore pleaded not guilty Thursday to two counts of assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, two counts of battery with injury on emergency personnel, and two counts of threats or force to an executive officer, all felonies; and a misdemeanor count of reckless driving, according to Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. His bail was set at $300,000, and his next court date is May 7.

Deputy Public Defender Seth Meisels said he couldn’t comment on the case because he hasn’t had an opportunity to review the evidence.

Patrick Bowers, 48, said he was tending bar Sunday at Moby Dick, near the corner of 18th and Hartford streets, when he heard tires squeal.

“I looked up and saw tires spinning, coming toward the bar,” said Bowers. He said the car stopped diagonally in the intersection “a couple yards short of the curb.” The car “stalled out,” he said.

“There was a police officer half in the window of the car, struggling with the driver” as the driver tried to restart the car, he said. Another officer quickly joined in the struggle, and they repeatedly yelled for the driver to “get out of the car.”

The officers failed to get the driver out of the car, and he eventually was able to restart it.

“Once he got it started he whipped around again, pointed at the bar, took a hard left and got himself on 18th, driving quickly away,” headed east on Noe Street, said Bowers. “That motion, that jerking away, threw the police officers out.”

As the car jerked into motion, he said, “I think [the officers] landed running a little bit,” letting go rather than hanging on to the driver and the car. One of the officers was “limping,” and “they looked like they’d been roughed up a little bit,” he said. One of the officers “may have been on the ground,” he said, but he wasn’t sure.

Bowers said the incident was “surreal,” and he and others who witnessed the incident “were all a little shook up. It was so out of the blue to see that happen to a couple of SFPD officers. It was a little shocking.” [End update]

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 23, 2014 @ 11:47 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Greystar’s SF Castro area housing project set to be approved

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 4.05.24 PMA formerly controversial housing project in San Francisco’s gay Castro district is expected to sail to passage next week when it comes up for a vote at the city’s planning commission.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a March 2013 article, Castro neighborhood groups initially expressed a number of objections with developer Greystar’s plans for an 87-unit rental development at the corner of Sanchez, Market and 15th streets. The project next door to the Swedish American Hall was set to not include any below-market-rate housing.

Rather than include 10 units of affordable housing on-site, Greystar wanted to pay an in-lieu fee toward the city’s affordable housing fund.

Neighborhood and housing activists balked, however, warning the company they would oppose its plans if it did not include the BMR units on-site. With the parcel one of the few remaining to be redeveloped along the upper Market Street corridor, it presented one of the last chances to see BMR units become available in the area.

Eventually, Greystar reversed course and not only agreed to include on-site BMR units but also adopted a national LGBT non-discrimination policy covering all of its properties.  In March gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos introduced an ordinance that would require any national developer wishing to build residential projects with 10 or more units in San Francisco to disclose if they also prohibit LGBT discrimination.

In light of the actions taken by Greystar, the project has won endorsements by many of those who initially threatened to oppose it. According to planning staff, only one adjacent property owner has raised objections to the development.

“This project serves as a testament to how community and developers can work together to achieve common goals. Greystar has gained our support by making a commitment to the community to build on-site affordable housing and by instituting the non-discrimination policy,” Pat Tura, president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, wrote in the residential group’s April-May 2014 newsletter. “This happened because the community made it happen and our future corporate neighbor recognized that to be in our neighborhood they had to be a part of our community.”

In his staff report, planner Michael Smith recommends the project be approved, as it “is desirable for, and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood” and “provides needed new housing” to the area.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 4.07.50 PMThe project at 2198 Market Street consists of a new 4- to 6-story, mixed-use building on the existing 18,830-square-foot triangular lot. It is currently being used by the Linnea condo project further north on Market Street to house its sales office.

Along with the rental apartments, the buildings will include 680 square feet of ground-floor office space on Sanchez Street and 5,130 square feet of ground-floor retail space along Market Street. A 2,500 square foot corner space is being set aside for a new restaurant.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 4.06.29 PMThe buildings, ranging in height from 40 to 60 feet tall, will have a mix of one- to two-bedroom units on each floor, with 51 one-bedroom units and 36 two-bedroom units.

There will be 34 off-street parking spaces and 89 bicycle parking spaces within a basement-level garage accessed from an entrance on Sanchez Street. The project will include a new bulb out at the northeast corner of Market and Sanchez streets and new outdoor seating and lighting (seen in the images at left).

Speaking at a Castro merchants group meeting last summer, Greystar’s senior director for western development Victor Gonzalez described the area as a “kind of a no man’s land right now on that whole mid-block stretch.”

Today the intersection boasts a new condo development at 2200 Market Street known as The Century. On its ground floor will be two locally-owned businesses, a Mexican eatery called Bandidos and a new classic arcade games bar.

The Swedish American Hall and its underground club space Cafe du Nord are being revamped by new operators. Kitty-corner at 2201 Market Street are plans to erect a new 6-story building with nine condos over ground-floor commercial space over a basement parking garage.

Across the street from the Greystar property Forest City Development is building 88 rental units (20 of which will be BMRs) split between two separate buildings at the corner of 15th and Market Streets. It was also formerly a gas station.

The site’s 6,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space is being eyed for a restaurant and a food hall. The planning commission is expected to approve a conditional use permit for the project’s “marketplace concept” at its meeting next week.

The reason Greystar’s units will be rentals and not condos is because it is leasing the lot for 99 years from its owners, the Wong family, which had operated a Shell gas station at the site.

In a letter to the planning commission, Stanley Wong noted that his parents, now deceased, had always wanted to see the property be developed. Lacking the finances to do it themselves, the family sought out a developer, he wrote.

“Our parents had once dreamed of developing something significant on their property. They wanted to build something there, that would remain for their ten grandchildren and the generations to follow, to see and be reminded of what honest hard work could accomplish. Our father always said that if you really apply yourself anything is possible,” wrote Wong. “We really wanted to keep the land in our family to honor our parents and the connection they had to this neighborhood, but we did not have the financial means or expertise to develop a quality building.”

After being introduced to Greystar, wrote Wong, “things just felt right. They shared the same values that our father saw as being important – honesty, integrity, and the ability to work with people.”

The Planning Commission hearings on the Greystar project and Forest City Development’s market hall will take place Thursday, April 24. The meeting begins at noon in Room 400 at City Hall.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 18, 2014 @ 4:24 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Milk club early endorses transgender SF school board candidate

School board candidate Jamie Rafaela Wolfe (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

School board candidate Jamie Rafaela Wolfe
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

A transgender school board candidate picked up early backing this week from San Francisco’s progressive LGBT political club.

Jamie Rafaela Wolfe, who lost her first bid for a school board seat in 2010, is again seeking to join the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education this fall. She won an early endorsement Tuesday night (April 15) from the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, on whose board Wolfe previously served.

“Earning the vote for early endorsement of my campaign for school board left me immensely excited and honored,” Wolfe, 36, told the Bay Area Reporter via a Facebook message. “This is a rarity in politics and one which I will carry with integrity. Thank you Milk Club!”

A behaviorist and floor manager at Oakes Children’s Center Inc., a nonprofit that provides educational and therapeutic services to children with emotional and developmental issues, Wolfe has also been a lead organizer for the annual Trans March during Pride weekend.

Milk club Co-President Laura Thomas told the B.A.R. that the group’s members are “delighted” to back Wolfe’s candidacy.

“She’s been a leader in the Milk Club as well as in the community. We are proud to be able to support transgender candidates for office such as Jamie,” Thomas wrote in an emailed reply. “We know that Jamie will work hard for a better education for all San Francisco kids. In particular, we believe that trans young people in our public schools deserve a role model like Jamie on the school board. We look forward to campaigning with her and will work hard to get her elected in November.”

Three school board seats will be on the November ballot, with at least one an open seat as current member Kim-Shree Maufas will not be seeking a third term. Another incumbent board member, Hydra Mendoza, has yet to announce if she will seek re-election while Emily Murase is seeking re-election to her seat on the school board.

The local Board of Education has not had an out LGBT member since early January 2009. So far two out candidates have declared bids for school board this year.

In addition to Wolfe, Mark Murphy, 48, a communications and marketing consultant whose husband is an elementary school teacher in the district, is also running.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 16, 2014 @ 2:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


CA Assembly passes syringe access bill

Assemblyman Phil Ting (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Assemblyman Phil Ting
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Legislation designed to cut HIV transmissions by allowing California pharmacists to sell syringes over the counter to adults passed the state Assembly Thursday, April 10 and is headed to the Senate.

Assembly Bill 1743, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would permanently give pharmacists the choice to sell syringes to adults without prescription if the pharmacists meet requirements for providing information about safe disposal and other conditions.

AB 1743 passed by a vote of 46 to 26. If the bill isn’t enacted, most pharmacists will lose this choice at the end of the year. Only pharmacists in 15 counties and four cities, including San Francisco, would still be able to sell syringes over the counter, with conditions, according to Ting’s office.

“Nearly all of the 50 states have adopted this policy,” Ting said in emailed comments to the Bay Area Reporter. “California was late to join this consensus among the states only in 2012, albeit temporarily. We cannot get even further behind the curve. Without this bill, most of California will not have safe syringe access and lives will be at risk. HIV and hepatitis don’t respect the boundaries of our local communities. … We have a decisive consensus in the medical field behind this bill. Needles may make people uncomfortable but there is no need to fear this bill.”

Sharing used needles is the most common way hepatitis is spread and the second most common cause of HIV and hepatitis B, according to Ting’s office. Besides California, 48 states currently allow syringe sales without a prescription.

Ting’s bill has local support, including from San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano, which has been distributing clean needles for years.

“AB 1743 will help thousands of people throughout the state and reduce the burden of HIV and HCV on our public health system,” Giuliano said in a news release from Ting’s office. “As operator of one of the oldest and largest syringe access programs in the country, we know the significant impact that access to sterile syringes can have in preventing blood-borne illnesses like HIV and HCV among people in our community at high risk for infection.”

More information on the bill is available at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

 

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 11, 2014 @ 1:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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