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

Appeals board delays vote on AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Castro pharmacy plans

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants to consolidate its pharmacy and clinical space in the Castro, but several AIDS organizations are opposed to the plan. (Photo: Matthew S. Bajko)

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants to consolidate its pharmacy and clinical space in the Castro, but several AIDS organizations are opposed to the plan. (Photo: Matthew S. Bajko)

A city oversight body delayed taking action this week on whether it should allow the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to open a new pharmacy space in the Castro or require it to seek additional review of its plans.

As the Bay Area Reporter‘s online Political Notes column reported Monday, the Los Angeles-based agency wants to combine its two San Francisco pharmacies into one location at 518 Castro Street.

The agency operates a pharmacy and HIV testing site at 100 Church Street, adjacent to its Out of the Closet thrift store, which it wants to vacate due to its landlord, Maitri Hospice, seeking increased rent for the space. The matter landed in court last year after AHF stopped paying its rent amid the lease renewal dispute.

AHF also owns the pharmacy at 4071 18th Street, which was formerly known as a MOMS Pharmacy. AHF acquired the HIV/AIDS specialty pharmacy chain in 2012, which it re-branded last year, and now wants to also vacate that location.

City planners initially granted the nonprofit its permits without public review but then changed course and informed AHF it had to seek a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission to proceed. AHF appealed that decision to the Board of Appeals, which ended up voting in March that because the agency operates 28 pharmacies it falls under San Francisco’s formula retail rules and would need to seek approval to open the Castro space.

AHF then told planners it was changing the name of the pharmacy, prompting Zoning Administrator Scott Sanchez to ask the appeals board to grant the permits because the chain store restrictions no longer applied.

That prompted Castro neighborhood groups, upset with the lack of a public process for the project before the planning commission, to file their own appeal. Local AIDS agencies, which have fought with AHF over multiple HIV policy and funding issues, joined in to voice their own opposition to the AHF’s plans.

After addressing the issue for a second time last night (Wednesday, June 11) the Board of Appeals postponed taking a vote on the matter. It asked AHF officials to return at a later meeting with more proof for why their Castro Pharmacy should not be considered formula retail.

The appeals board is expected to return to the issue at its August 20 meeting.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 12, 2014 @ 12:53 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF Pride announces 2014 musical acts, speakers

Organizers of the 2014 San Francisco LGBT Pride parade and celebration have announced the entertainment lineup and speakers for this year’s events, set for June 28-29.

Celebrity grand marshals and special guests this year will include New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock and gay former Congressman Barney Frank, while musical acts such as dance diva Debby Holiday and San Francisco natives The She’s will perform on the main stage.

George Ridgely, executive director of the LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, said in a June 10 news release, “As with each celebration, we are honored to dedicate a weekend of merriment and commemoration to the courageous work of the LGBT community members and supporters who tirelessly advocate for equality and inclusion every day of the year.”

The theme for the city’s 44th annual Pride is “Color Our World with Pride.” The celebration includes more than 20 community stages and venues, and over 230 contingents have registered for the parade.

There is no cost to attend, though a donation of $5 to $10 is requested. Donations from the celebration have helped Pride contribute nearly $2.3 million to nonprofits since 1997.

For more information, visit


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 11, 2014 @ 4:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF archbishop to speak at anti-gay march

(San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is a featured speaker for NOM's March for Marriage. Photo: Courtesy NOM)

(San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is a featured speaker for NOM’s March for Marriage. Photo: Courtesy NOM)

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, is scheduled to speak at the National Organization for Marriage’s march and rally next week in Washington, D.C.

According to NOM’s website, the June 19 March for Marriage lists Cordileone as a featured speaker, along with several well-known anti-gay leaders. On Tuesday the archbishop’s name and photo were briefly removed from the website, but by late Tuesday Cordileone’s photo was back on the site.

On Tuesday, June 10, 87 LGBT leaders and allies signed an open letter to the archbishop, asking that he cancel his participation in the march and rally. Signers of the letter include a who’s who of LGBT leadership: state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco); Assemblymen Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park); and Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos. Business leaders also signed on, including Selisse Berry, executive director of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates.

Allies include Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco’s former mayor, and Eva Paterson of the Equal Justice Society.

The letter, also signed by dozens of religious and faith leaders, makes mention of Pope Francis’s comment from last year, when he said, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

“We respect freedom of religion and understand that you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples,” the letter states. “But the actions and rhetoric of NOM, and those of the event’s speakers and co-sponsors, fundamentally contradict Christian belief in the fundamental dignity of all people.”

The letter goes on to explain NOM’s well-documented history of publishing material that “connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest…” It also points out that march co-sponsor the Family Research Council has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Religious leaders signing the letter include the Right Reverend Wendell N. Gibbs Jr., 10th Episcopal bishop of Michigan; the Reverend Cedric A. Harmon, co-director of Many Voices: A Black church Movement for Gay and Transgender Justice; and the Reverend Elder Nancy Wilson, moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.

LGBT community center directors also signed the letter, including Rebecca Rolfe from San Francisco, Leslie Ewing from the Pacific Center in Berkeley, Ben-David Barr from the Rainbow Community Center in Concord; and Lorri Jean from the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Calls to the San Francisco Archdiocese seeking comment on Cordileone’s participation in the march were not immediately returned.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:39 am PST
Filed under: News,Politics

Folsom Street Fair moving over

Folsom Street Fair-goers enjoy the festival. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Folsom Street Fair-goers enjoy the festival. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The Folsom Street Fair will scoot one block to the west to accommodate residents and businesses in the neighborhood, producers of the annual leather and fetish street festival announced Thursday (June 5). The move, in which Eighth Street will be opened up, marks the first change to the fair’s footprint in almost 20 years.

As producers had previously announced, the fair, set for September 21, will also be held a week earlier this year in order to make way for the Oracle Open World tech conference, which starts the last weekend of September and will draw thousands of visitors to the city and clog up hotel rooms.

Organizers noted in a news release that the neighborhood, home to a dwindling number of gay bars, has changed “drastically” since 1995, when the event’s footprint expanded to include Folsom Street between Eleventh and Twelfth streets.

Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of Folsom Street Events, said in the announcement that the board agreed to the move in order to meet three objectives. Those include “improving street traffic around the fair,” “minimizing impact on residential side streets,” and “engaging new community businesses.”

Eighth Street will open up to traffic and producers will be able to “engage fewer residential side streets,” while allowing businesses like The SF Eagle, Sports Authority, and CatHead’s BBQ, which are near the fair’s western end to “participate more actively.” The western boundary of the fair will be at Thirteenth Street, rather than Twelfth Street.

“Getting the Eagle onto the fairgrounds feels especially relevant for many of us in the leather community!” said Moshoyannis.

Board President Phillip Babcock stated, “We don’t want to keep producing the same fair year after year. … We’re excited to try something a little different.”

In an interview, Moshoyannis said organizers hadn’t had any complaints about the fair from residents around Eighth Street, but they wanted to be proactive.

“We’re just always trying to make the fair better and easier, so in looking at the map we supposed that this would be a better solution in terms of trying to minimize residential impact. … We thought things could be even better moving it west one block.”

Richard Park, who owns CatHead’s BBQ, 1665 Folsom Street, with his wife, said, “We’ve always wanted to be part of” the fair, “ever since we started here two and a half years ago. We’ve always been on the outskirts of it and felt a little left out.”

Park said business is already “pretty good” that day. For the restaurant, it’s more about “being part of the community.”

On the other side of the festival, Moshoyannis said, “We’ve gotten some business owners on the side of the fair between Seventh and Eighth that are disappointed the fair is not going to be there anymore. They want the fair to try to come back next year.”

Some businesses may want to be closer to the fair, but Brian Murdy, marketing director for Mr. S Leather, at 385 Eighth Street, said he doesn’t think the move will impact business the day of the fair.

“I think everyone will still make it down to the store,” said Murdy. “We’re still close enough. … I think there’s still a lot of excitement overall, and people want to get off the fairgrounds, too, to kind of get away. That’s what the store actually is, a place for people to get away” and take a break from the event.

For more information about the fair, go to


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 5, 2014 @ 2:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Kaplan jumps into Oakland mayor’s race

(Rebecca Kaplan announces her bid for Oakland mayor on a street corner in East Oakland Thursday, June 5. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

(Rebecca Kaplan announces her bid for Oakland mayor on a street corner in East Oakland Thursday, June 5. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan jumped into the crowded mayoral race this week, releasing a professional looking 30-second video in which she declares “Oakland isn’t ungovernable – it’s just ungoverned.”

Kaplan formally announced her candidacy at a 1 p.m. news conference Thursday (June 5) in East Oakland. She is currently the at-large representative on the City Council and easily won re-election two years ago. She does not need to give up her council seat to seek the mayor’s office.

The only out LGBT candidate in the 17-person field, Kaplan, 43, who once said she would not run against incumbent Mayor Jean Quan, has changed her mind and will seek the city’s top office in November.

At the news conference, held at the trash strewn corner of 92nd Avenue and International Boulevard, Kaplan pointed out that the city had approved money in the budget for blight clean-up but that the jobs had not been filled. She said she is different from the other candidates but acknowledged that some people may have already made commitments to others running for mayor. She said if that’s the case she understood, but asked that she be given consideration as their second choice in Oakland’s ranked choice system.

That sentiment was similar to her mayoral bid in 2010 when she and Quan each asked the other’s supporters for their number two vote on Oakland’s ranked choice ballot. The strategy turned out to be a successful effort to block candidate Don Perata, although Kaplan came up short in that race.

Kaplan also faced questions at the news conference that she is too nice, a criticism echoed in other news accounts. Kaplan said that she would be able to make the “tough decisions” as mayor and has voted on difficult issues before, such as her vote to keep police officers during a city budget battle a few years ago.

Regarding Oakland’s troubled police department. Kaplan said that officers who are over-worked and stressed out are more likely to make mistakes than those working at a fully staffed precinct. She would make proper staffing at OPD a high priority.

In the video, Kaplan says that the city “needs strong, stable leadership – for safe neighborhoods, for local jobs, and for a fresh start for our city.”

It remains to be seen how Kaplan’s entry into the race will be received by the city’s large LGBT community. Gay Oakland Port Commissioner Michael Colbruno, who supported Kaplan four years ago, is backing Quan this time. But judging from Kaplan’s Facebook page, a number of LGBT people have “liked” her announcement.

Kaplan enjoys high name recognition in Oakland, something that many of the mayoral candidates lack. A poll last November by the pro-business Jobs and Housing Coalition showed Kaplan leading the field with 26 percent – 6 points ahead of Quan and roughly 10 points ahead of San Francisco State professor Joe Tuman and Councilwoman Libby Schaaf.

Other mayoral candidates include city Auditor Courtney Ruby, Oakland Port Commissioner Bryan Parker, and civil rights attorney Dan Siegel, who used to be an ally of Quan’s but broke with her over the mayor’s handling of Occupy protesters three years ago.

Last month, Kaplan became engaged to her partner, Pamela Rosin, owner of Awakening Presence Somatic Counseling in San Francisco’s Castro district. Kaplan’s spokesman, Jason Overman, said a July 26 wedding is planned.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:37 am PST
Filed under: News,Politics

Gay attorney David Waggoner a step closer to running in SF D8 supe race

David Waggoner (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

David Waggoner (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Gay attorney David Waggoner is one step closer to announcing a run against gay San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener this fall.

For nearly a year Waggoner has considered entering the race but remained noncommittal about a candidacy as pressure mounted among progressives to recruit a formidable challenger to the moderate Wiener.

With the June 10 filing deadline fast approaching, Waggoner pulled papers with elections officials May 30. In a phone interview with the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday morning (June 3), he indicated that he will likely enter the race.

“If I had to make a decision right now, I would say I am a candidate,” said Waggoner.

Yet the nonprofit lawyer could still opt against taking on Wiener, especially if Sara Shortt, a lesbian and executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, enters the race.

In recent weeks calls have grown for Shortt to run for the District 8 seat, which covers the gay Castro district, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park. Shortt did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday morning on her intentions.

If Shortt decides to run, Waggoner was uncertain if he would also enter the race. One concern is that if Shortt and Waggoner both run against Wiener, they would divide the progressive vote. Under the city’s instant voter runoff system, a progressive split could give Wiener an advantage.

Wiener is already seen as a formidable opponent who will be well-funded in his re-election bid. Current political wisdom says that Wiener, due to his incumbent status and proven success on the campaign trail, will be hard to defeat.

A few critics of Wiener have indicated they intend to run against him, including nudity activist George Davis and gay activist Michael Petrelis. A more recent entrant in the race was Simon Timony, who won accolades for trying to protect a Muni bus from rioters following the San Francisco Giant’s World Series win in 2012.

The results of today’s primary race for a state Assembly seat between San Francisco Supervisors David Chiu and David Campos could also impact Waggoner’s decision on running for supervisor. Campos, who is gay, has been hit by supporters of Chiu, who is straight and has considerable support among the LGBT community, for his voting not to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges stemming from an incident involving his wife in 2011.

Waggoner served as Mirkarimi’s attorney as he fought the charges, and the issue is sure to be a line of attack against him if he does run for supervisor. Wiener, who is supporting Chiu for Assembly, voted to remove Mirkarimi as sheriff.

If the issue dents support for Campos, who has been aggressive about turning out his supporters to the polls today, it could sway Waggoner against entering the supervisor race.

Others argue Waggoner’s role in the political scandal that transfixed the city for the better part of a year could actually be a benefit to him. Writing on his blog Petrelis noted that “given the wall-to-wall local media coverage of the Mirkarimi mess and David’s legal representation of him, I’d say he has the best name recognition of all District 8 challengers.”

Waggoner said he is likely to make a final decision about a candidacy later this week.

“I just want to make sure it is right for me to run,” he said.


— Matthew S. Bajko, June 3, 2014 @ 11:13 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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