Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Speier proposes paying back servicemembers discharged under DADT

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) has introduced legislation that would “restore owed separation pay to military service members discharged under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” her office announced Thursday (June 26). Speier’s proposal is known as the Military Separation Fairness Act.

From 1993 to 2010, approximately 14,000 military service members were discharged under DADT, and most only received half their separation pay, according to Speier. DADT, which banned gays from serving openly in the military, was repealed in 2010.

“Thousands and thousands of men and women were discharged from the military under a discriminatory directive that stipulated homosexual service members receive only one half of the separation pay they rightfully earned,” Speier stated. “My bill will require that the rest of these DADT service members who served for six or more years receive the difference between their original payment and full separation pay plus interest within 90 days. First, we unjustly kicked them out of the military and then they received just half of their separation pay. It’s deplorable that this discrimination has been allowed to continue.”

Speier’s proposal has 28 co-sponsors in the House. Backers include the Human Rights Campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union, OutServe/Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and the American Military Partners Association, according to Speier.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 26, 2014 @ 1:10 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wax figure of Milk debuted


Stuart Milk poses with the wax figure of his late uncle Harvey Milk (Photo:Noah Berger/Noah Berger Photography)

A wax figure of slain gay icon Harvey Milk was unveiled Thursday (June 26) at the opening of the Madame Tussauds San Francisco section.

Stuart Milk, Milk’s nephew, was on hand to unveil the figure. Milk’s likeness will be included in a special section of the museum that will also feature Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and other local celebrities.

“My uncle Harvey always talked about being your ‘authentic self’,” Milk said in a news release. “What Madame Tussauds has created is the definition of ‘authentic’. Harvey would have been proud — and tickled — to be honored this way, especially, on the week of Gay Pride in his hometown of San Francisco.”

A Madame Tussauds news release said, “The attraction will celebrate San Francisco’s most loved figures and landmarks through the use of dedicated ‘Spirit of San Francisco’ room. As with all Madame Tussauds, there will be no ropes or barriers so visitors are able to get close, examine and even touch the incredible detail and artistry of these intricate, lifelike wax figures.”

Milk became the first openly gay elected official in both California and San Francisco when he won a seat on the city’s Board of Supervisors in November 1977. A year later he was assassinated inside City Hall along with then-Mayor George Moscone by disgruntled former supervisor Dan White.

The exhibit opens at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Madame Tussauds is located at 145 Jefferson Street at Fisherman’s Wharf.

For ticket prices and other information, visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 25, 2014 @ 7:45 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Police: Castro arson unrelated to other fires

San Francisco police are investigating an arson fire that was discovered early Wednesday morning (June 25) outside someone’s Castro area home in the first block of Diamond Street, but an officer said the fire appears unrelated to other recent blazes in the city.

According to police, the fire department was called to the scene at 12:30 a.m. Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said a resident of the home had placed a box or crate outside that contained wood.

When firefighters arrived, the box was on fire. “The fire damaged the garage door,” said Esparza. There were no injuries, according to a police summary.

Esparza said no suspect description is available, but he added, “Nothing indicates that it’s related” to the fires recently reported in the South of Market neighborhood. Those incidents occurred “geographically in a totally different area,” he noted, and those incidents involved trash receptacles.

Police are seeking the public's help in identifying this arson suspect (Photo: Courtesy SFPD)

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying this arson suspect .(Photo: Courtesy SFPD)

Tuesday, police released a video and photos as they sought the public’s help in identifying the person believed to be responsible for the South of Market incidents.

[Update Wednesday night:] Officer Gordon Shyy, a police spokesman, announced Wednesday that police have arrested the man they believe is the South of Market arsonist. Shyy didn’t provide the man’s name but he said more information would be released Thursday. [End update.]

[Update Thursday, June 26:] Police announced the man arrested is Anthony Bejarano, 47, of San Francisco. Bejarano was arrested on the 200 block of Harrison Street Wednesday night and is in “San Francisco County Jail facing six felony counts of arson including arson of an inhabited structure,” Sergeant Danielle Newman, a police spokeswoman, said in a news release. “Bejarano is suspected of committing at least four arson fires in the South of Market Area.”

Newman thanked the public for quickly sending tips and added, “The tips we received resulted in the arrest of a dangerous arsonist believed to be responsible for fires set inside of an occupied building last week.” Police have not released a booking photo [End update.]

“Several of these events have involved construction sites, occupied buildings, and garbage receptacles,” Sergeant Danielle Newman, a police spokeswoman, said in a news release. Police have released a video and three photos of the suspect. No new information was available as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Esparza.

“We’re just hoping that the video helps develop some leads and identify who this person is,” he said.

Anyone with information on the South of Market fires is asked to contact Inspector John Miller of the Arson Task Force at (415) 920-2944.

Tips in the South of Market or Diamond Street incidents may be offered anonymously by calling (415) 575-4444 or texting a tip to TIP411. Type “SFPD” in the subject line and then the message.

The police incident report number for the Diamond Street fire is 140 525 267.



— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 4:26 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Zoning change introduced to smooth path for new SF gay club

SF Supervisor Jane Kim hugs drag queen Heklina.

SF Supervisor Jane Kim hugs drag queen Heklina. Photo courtesy of  Fabian Echevarria (FBFE).

Two weeks after she faced public pressure to address a zoning impediment that a proposed gay nightclub was facing, San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim introduced a regulatory fix this week to resolve the problem.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in its June 12 Political Notebook, a group of LGBT investors is in escrow to buy the former Oasis nightclub at the corner of 11th and Folsom streets in the city’s South of Market neighborhood. One of the lead partners in the deal is drag queen Heklina, who plans to revive her weekly Trannyshack drag cabaret shows at the space, albeit under a new name.

Although the Oasis site is included in the entertainment corridor created on 11th Street between Folsom and Harrison streets, it is currently zoned to be operated solely as a bar and not as an entertainment venue. Thus, Heklina, whose given name is Stefan Grygelko, and her partners would be barred from having live performances or hiring a DJ for the space.

Upset at what they felt like was Kim’s slow response in addressing the matter, the investors went public with their grievances on social media platforms in early June. Kim, whose District 6 seat covers SOMA, told the B.A.R. at the time she was surprised by the complaints as her office had been working on the issue with neighborhood leaders and the city attorney’s office.

This week Kim made good on her promise to submit legislation to remove the zoning obstacles impacting Heklina’s plans for the Oasis venue.

“Introduced legislation this week which will permit future permanent home for Heklina & Trannyshack- currently 18 years strong! Can’t wait to see it turn legal (21!) at its new home on Folsom/11th,” wrote Kim in a post on her Facebook page this afternoon (Wednesday, June 25).

According to the legislative fix Kim has proposed, the city would delete a zoning prohibition against a non-residential use exceeding 25,000 square feet in the area where the nightclub is located. It would also authorize a nighttime entertainment use in that part of SOMA within 200 feet of any property within a Residential Enclave or Residential Enclave-Mixed District where a nighttime entertainment use existed within five years prior to an application to re-establish the use.

The Planning Commission must first vote on the proposal before it is heard by the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee. It would then be submitted to the full board for a vote.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:07 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man sentenced to prison for 2012 Castro carjacking

Antoine Dilworth (Photo courtesy SFPD)

Antoine Dilworth (Photo courtesy SFPD)

A gay San Francisco man who recently pleaded guilty to carjacking another man in the Castro in 2012 was sentenced this week to five years in prison.

According to court testimony not long after the carjacking, the July 2012 incident started after Antoine Dilworth, 30, approached the victim, who was then 27 and had just left the gay nightclub Badlands. The man, who the Bay Area Reporter isn’t naming because he’s a crime victim, reluctantly agreed to give Dilworth a ride, and when he tried to drop Dilworth off a few blocks away near Beck’s Motor Lodge, Dilworth stabbed him and took his car. Dilworth was arrested soon thereafter.

In January, Dilworth pleaded guilty in exchange for an aggravated assault charge being dropped.

Tuesday, June 24, San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Collins ordered Dilworth, whose full legal name is Antoine Joulent Tooks-Dilworth, to serve five years in state prison. Collins granted 711 days time served and 106 days for conduct credits, so Dilworth could end up serving less than 3 years in custody.

However, he’ll also have a strike on his record, meaning punishment for any future crimes would be enhanced.

The victim wasn’t in court, but Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai said the man “is 100 percent on board with the plea.”

Dilworth, who’s been in custody since his arrest, didn’t make a statement, but he smiled as he entered the courtroom.

His fiancé, Kochise Jones, 22, was in court for the sentencing. Asked outside court about the sentence, Jones said, “It is what it is,” and there isn’t anything “we can really do about it.”

Jones said he doesn’t think Dilworth is guilty of carjacking. Among other problems he had with the case, he said it didn’t make sense that Dilworth would steal the victim’s Toyota Corolla when he and Dilworth already had a Mercedes-Benz.

Dilworth suggested in a recent interview that he was innocent in the 2012 case and said he pleaded guilty because his attorney, Erin Crane, had said she wasn’t confident they’d win if they went to trial. Crane had also said the judge wasn’t likely to find grounds for him to get another attorney, according to Dilworth.

In response, Crane told the B.A.R., “I’m going to ask that you not speak to him again, because he’s represented by council. I have no comment to make about the case.”

Dilworth has an extensive criminal history that includes a carjacking charge, and he has spent time in prison before, according to an interview with him and court records.

In Dilworth’s previous carjacking case, he eventually pleaded guilty to auto theft in exchange for other charges being dismissed, according to court records, and in March 2006, he was sentenced to more than two years in state prison.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:53 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yee’s lead grows over gay opponent in CA controller race

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 11.13.35 AMA little more than a week before the final local election results are expected in, a gay candidate for California controller continues to fall further behind the current second-place finisher.

The nail biter of a race has transfixed political watchers as new tallies continue to trickle in weeks after Golden State voters went to the polls June 3. And in recent days talk has turned to the possibility of one of the candidates seeking a recount once election officials post the final results in mid July.

Under California’s open primary system, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November.

Based on the latest returns, posted at 10:40 a.m. this morning (Wednesday, June 25), Betty Yee, a Democrat who represents the Bay Area and northern California on the state Board of Equalization, has an 857-vote lead for second place. Her total vote count now stands at 877,220.

Stuck in third, where he has remained since last Thursday after holding on to the second place position for several days last week, is gay Assemblyman John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles). His vote count now stands at 876,363.

The winner of the Primary contest continues to be Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, whose top place finish is holding steady with a total vote count now of 1,000,579.

In fourth is Republican candidate David Evans, who had briefly held the second place slot on Election Night. His vote count now stands at 848,809.

Perez, the first out LGBT person elected to the powerful Assembly speaker post, which he resigned from last month, is holding out hope that he will advance to the fall election and be the first out candidate to win a statewide seat in California.

Yee, meanwhile, is gearing up for this Sunday’s LGBT Pride parade in San Francisco, in which she plans to march.

County election officials have until Friday, July 4 to send their final vote counts to the Secretary of State’s Office. The state agency must complete its review of the counties’ Primary results by the following Friday, July 11.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 11:15 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay CA controller candidate drops down to third as more votes are tallied

1278105_540916365988024_1040107362_oA day after he saw his hold on second place widen, a gay candidate for California controller found himself back in third, according to unofficial returns Thursday afternoon.

The results in the close contest have seesawed between gay Assemblyman John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), in photo at left, and Betty Yee, a Democrat who represents the Bay Area and northern California on the state Board of Equalization. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in an article in the June 19 issue today, Perez had been holding on to second place in recent days.

Since placing second on the night of the June 3 primary, Republican candidate David Evans is now lagging behind in fourth place. Evans lives in California City in Kern County and is the vice present and chief financial officer of Boardwalk Motor Car Group in Redwood City.

Meanwhile, Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin continues to hold on to first place in her bid for the relatively unknown controller position. Under California’s open primary system, the candidates with the top two vote totals, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election in November.

22_14_Political_Notebook_25_MED1_YEEAccording to the latest vote count, posted by the Secretary of State’s Office at 4:40 p.m. today, Perez had fallen to third place with 870,217 votes. Yee, in photo at right, had bounced into second place with 870,535 votes, giving her a 318-vote lead. The two Democrats are now at a 21.8 percent statistical dead heat in the race.

Evans continued to trail in fourth place with 839,644 votes. Swearengin continued to hold a comfortable lead for first place with 988,198 votes.

Perez, the first out LGBT person elected to the powerful Assembly speaker post, which he resigned from last month, would like to be the first out candidate to win a statewide seat.

If he does, he would be only the second known LGBT person to hold one of the state’s eight constitutional offices. The first is believed to be Tony Miller, a gay man and Democratic lawyer who was appointed to the vacant secretary of state position in 1994.

Miller, however, lost his bid for a full term, and in 1998, he again came up short in his bid for lieutenant governor.

County election officials have until Friday, July 4 to send their final counts to the Secretary of State’s Office. The state agency must complete its review of the county results by the following Friday, July 11.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 19, 2014 @ 6:26 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF bike shop owned by trans woman seeks public’s help to win funding

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 5.36.58 PMA transgender owned bike shop on San Francisco’s Treasure Island is seeking the public’s help to win funding from Wells Fargo.

Owned by Tammy Powers, a female-to-male trans woman, the store is called the Tran’s Bay Bike Shop, a play on words of local references to such things as the transbay tube used by the public transit agency BART.

Powers opened her bike shop over a year ago and, last fall, received a shout out on Twitter from trans activist Janet Mock. Powers not only sells and repairs bikes but also rents out bicycles to tourists.

“I’m an expert mechanic and technician, and we sell, rent and trade the highest quality bicycles for everything–from the hobbyist to the professional–it’d help me out too if you took a trip to beautiful Treasure Island for superior bicycle rental, repair or service,” wrote Powers on a page she created last September on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.

She is seeking funding to expand and hire more employees, especially other transgender people. As such, Powers has entered a contest for small business owners sponsored by Wells Fargo bank.

The Wells Fargo Works Project is specifically for small business owners in the United States. According to the project’s rules posted online, the goal is to select five small business owner winners from a pool of 25 finalists, all of whom will each receive $1,000.

The five winners will each receive $25,000 for their business and business mentorship tailored to their specific business needs. Wells Fargo will also donate $5,000 in their name to a local eligible nonprofit organization in their community.

To view Power’s video entry to the contest and to vote for her business, visit here. The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Monday, June 30. The finalists will be notified by July 21 and grand prize winners will be notified in early September.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 6:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

CA Supreme Court justice who voted against same-sex marriage to retire

jc_marvinbaxterCalifornia Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter, who six years ago voted against allowing same-sex couples to wed, announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to his seat on the state’s highest court this fall.

Rather than go before voters in the November 2014 general election, Baxter will conclude his current term of office and retire on January 4, 2015, after 24 years on the Supreme Court and 32 consecutive years of public service.

“I have been privileged to have such an interesting and fulfilling career in the law, serving as a deputy district attorney, in private practice, as Appointments Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian, and as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court,” stated Baxter, 74, in an announcement released by the court this morning (June 18). “It is a great honor to have served on the state’s high court since 1991. With three Chief Justices, twelve Associate Justices, and excellent staff, I have been able to contribute to its substantial body of opinions and case law.”

In 2008 Baxter was part of the dissenting minority in the case known as In re Marriage Cases, the 4-3 decision legalizing marriage equality in the Golden State.

That ruling was later overruled by voters when in November of 2008 they passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage in California as solely between a man and a woman. In May 0f 2009 Baxter joined with the majority in the 6-1 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of Prop 8.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a 2009 article, the back-to-back marriage equality rulings sparked debate on whether to campaign against those justices who did not rule in favor of same-sex marriage.

Baxter’s decision to retire leaves his fellow justice, Kathryn Werdegar, as the lone member of the court to be on the ballot for re-election this fall. Werdegar joined both of the majority opinions that allowed same-sex marriage and upheld Prop 8.

By waiting to retire until January, Baxter is leaving it up to the next governor to replace him on the court. It is widely expected that Governor Jerry Brown will easily win re-election to an historic fourth term this November against his Republican opponent Neel Kashkari.

If he does, Brown, a Democrat, will have his third chance to reshape the state’s highest court. Five of the six current members – there is one vacancy – on the court were appointed by former Republican governors.

In 2011 Brown named Goodwin Liu to the state’s supreme court. He has yet to name a replacement for former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Joyce Kennard, a Republican appointee who retired April 5 on the 25th anniversary of her appointment.

Many expect that Brown will appoint the first out LGBT person onto the California Supreme Court, with speculation largely centered on his naming Jim Humes to one of the vacant seats. Brown’s appointment of Humes in 2011 as an associate justice of the state’s First District Court of Appeal’s Division Four marked the first time an openly gay justice was appointed to the California Court of Appeals.

The San Francisco resident had been a close aide to Brown, serving as the governor’s executive secretary for administration, legal affairs, and policy. Prior to that Humes had served as the chief deputy in the attorney general’s office when Brown served as California’s attorney general from 2007 to 2011.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 18, 2014 @ 11:46 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay-owned SF jam company competing for Whole Foods grant

Jam maker Jake Blaine shows off his homemade wares. (Photo courtesy Jake's Castro Kitchen)

Jam maker Jake Blaine shows off his homemade wares. (Photo courtesy Jake’s Castro Kitchen)

A gay-owned San Francisco jam company is competing for a grant from the Whole Foods store in the city’s gay Castro District.

Jake’s Castro Kitchen, which was featured in this week’s BARtab article about the weekly Community Pop-Up Market in the Bayview, is one of three locally-owned food vendors chosen to compete in the grant contest. Whole Food’s Local Foodmaker Grant program is done in conjunction with Working Solutions, a local nonprofit that offers micro-loans to small businesses.

The public is invited to vote for their favorite via Facebook, and the winner will receive 5 percent of sales on July 2 at the Castro Whole Foods at 2001 Market Street. A link to the voting page online can be found on Jake’s Castro Kitchen’s Facebook page here.

Jake Blaine launched his jam-making venture last year and conjures up more than two dozen products, from jellies to chutneys, in his home kitchen. (He and his partner, Clint Higgins, had been living in the Castro when he launched the line but now live near City Hall in the Mid-Market neighborhood.)

As of Friday afternoon (June 13) Jake’s Castro Kitchen was in second place with 90 votes. In first was Yum Yum Tonics, with 121 votes, and in third was Eji’s Ethiopian, which had just 11 votes. Voting ends on June 19.

“We found out that you can vote once a day on both your computer and on your phone. So PLEASE make sure you vote for Jake’s Castro Kitchen TODAY,” reads a message from Jake’s Castro Kitchen on its Facebook page. “We really need your help. This grant will help us in many different ways and open a lot of opportunities for us.”

The Bay Area Reporter’s Business Briefs column in the July 10 issue with have more on Blaine and his company as it looks to expand into more retail locations.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 13, 2014 @ 4:02 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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