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

‘Notorious bully’ pleads not guilty in hate crime case

Arturo Pleitez (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

Arturo Pleitez (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

A San Francisco man with a long criminal history pleaded not guilty this week to accusations that he threatened a lesbian couple and their daughter at a Mission district bakery.

At the arraignment for Arturo Pleitez, 54, in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday, July 31, Assistant District Attorney Karen Catalona called him “an extreme public safety threat” and “a notorious bully.”

Through Deputy Public Defender Michelle Tong, Pleitez pleaded not guilty to three felony charges of making criminal threats. Two of the counts are being charged as hate crimes.

Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said in an interview that the incident occurred Monday, July 28, at Arizmendi Bakery, 1268 Valencia Street. Pleitez allegedly “ran up on” the family, threatened them, and “made disparaging remarks about the victims’ sexual orientation.” Bastian declined to specify what comments Pleitez allegedly made, and he didn’t know the victims’ ages.

Catalona said in court Thursday that Pleitez “targeted two woman because of their sexual orientation and terrorized them in front of their 2-year-old child,” and if someone else hadn’t intervened, the case could have been even more serious.

Catalona said Pleitez is “such a notorious bully” that the San Francisco Examiner wrote about him almost four years ago.

She said he’s had 71 felony contacts and 174 misdemeanor contacts. (There may be multiple contacts for a single arrest.)

While discussing Tong’s request that Pleitez be released on his own recognizance, Judge Tracie Brown said that his rap sheet was “too big for transmission” and she was only able to view his previous cases up through 2007. She also expressed concern about the “nature of the allegations” in the current case.

Tong said that Pleitez had “many, many arrests” with “no convictions.”

She said he also has a probation case from about a month and a half ago for misdemeanor driving under the influence, and another probation case for misdemeanor disturbing the peace.

She acknowledged the nature of the current charges but said, “Nevertheless, they’re words,” and she said although “some of the words” are “offensive,” they don’t amount to criminal threats. Tong also said it had been clear that Pleitez “was probably under the influence” during the incident, saying that his speech had not been clear. She said her client didn’t appear to have any outstanding bench warrants.

Brown grew irritated, saying, “I saw numerous bench warrants,” plus “at least” four felony convictions and three misdemeanor batteries.

“That is of concern to me,” Brown said.

Catalona said Pleitez  is “well known on 24th Street,” and many in the neighborhood “are afraid of him.” Catalona said he’d recently followed a 92-year-old woman.

Court records show problems that other people say they’ve had with Pleitez.

In a request for a restraining order filed in October, a 42-year-old man who lived with his family on the 1300 block of South Van Ness Street wrote that in July, Pleitez “showed up in front of my house, on top of the stars where there was no light. He scared my family and I because he was hiding and once he saw me he told me what he always tells my family and I. that we should leave the neighborhood because we’re Indians and that he is going to kill us.” The man wrote his 3-year-old son “is beginning to get scared.”

A judge eventually granted the order, which is set to expire in December 2016.

“I’m not afraid he’s going to go anywhere,” because he never leaves 24th Street, Catalona said in court Thursday.

“My concern is he’s an extreme public safety threat,” she said, adding that he has two prior state prison sentences.

Pleitez appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs. Brown denied the request for his release and set his bail at $150,000. His next court dates are for a pre-hearing conference August 6 and a preliminary hearing August 11.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 31, 2014 @ 3:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gay activist Dan Choi files paperwork to run for SF college board

Gay activist Dan Choi has signaled he intends to run for a seat on San Francisco’s community college board this fall.

According to the city’s Ethics Commission, Choi, 33, filed his candidate intention paperwork Monday, July 28. The deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers with the city’s Elections Department is August 8.

Choi did not immediately respond to the Bay Area Reporter‘s requests for comment Thursday morning.

Based on the Ethics Commission’s current list, Choi is one of eight people who intend to run for three seats on the Community College Board of Trustees. Two incumbents are among the list, the board’s president, John Rizzo, and its vice president, Anita Grier.

Gay board member Lawrence Wong, who is also up for re-election this year, has yet to file to seek re-election. The other current gay board member, attorney Rafael Mandelman, is not up for re-election until 2016.

Since last summer City College of San Francisco has been fighting the termination of its accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The commission also stripped authority from the college’s elected board of trustees and now all power rests with a special trustee, Bob Agrella.

Photo: Steven Underhill

Photo: Steven Underhill

As the B.A.R. noted this week, Choi is now living in San Francisco and has been spotted at several community events. He  ran in this year’s San Francisco Marathon, attended last Sunday’s Up Your Alley fetish fair, and as seen in the photo at right, shared a smile with Sandy Stier, one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, at GLAAD’s VIP kick-off party held Saturday, July 26.

Choi, according to his Facebook profile, studied at City College of San Francisco. He made national headlines in 2009 when, while serving in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer and Arabic language specialist, he publicly came out and challenged the military’s anti-gay policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

That June he served as a grand marshal of San Francisco’s annual Pride parade, marking the first time he had attended such an event.

He was then discharged and lost his effort to appeal the decision. He publicly called on President Barack Obama and Congress to repeal DADT, and his advocacy on the issue led him to, in March of 2010, handcuff himself to the fence in front of the White House.

It was one of several protests where he chained himself to the fence. In 2013 he was convicted on a misdemeanor charge and ordered to pay a $100 fine by a federal court for one of the incidents.

DADT was officially repealed on September 20, 2011.

On his Facebook page earlier today Choi wrote, “A place that was always my home, now my official residence,” referring to San Francisco.

On his Lt. Dan Choi Facebook page, in a July 23 post, Choi wrote that he moved to San Francisco due to one of his “dearest friends,” District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim.

She is the main reason why I came here and it saved my life,” wrote Choi. “Many of you know how rotten my life was during the past years. I trusted few people at times. Jane helped me realize my worth and currency more than anyone.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 11:52 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Oakland Pride to have parade this year

Festivalgoers enjoy themselves at Oakland Pride. (Photo: Courtesy Oakland Pride)

Festivalgoers enjoy themselves at Oakland Pride. (Photo: Courtesy Oakland Pride)

Oakland’s fifth annual LGBT Pride celebration is just over a month away and this week, organizers announced that for the first time, there will be a parade to start the day.

The event bills itself as northern California’s second largest Pride festival and it’s one of the most diverse in the country. This year’s parade and festival take place Sunday, August 31, over Labor Day weekend.

According to an e-newsletter from Oakland Pride, the parade will start downtown at 14th and Broadway and head to the festival site five blocks away at 20th and Broadway, in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. To join a contingent or to register your own, visit http://www.oaklandpride.org/parade_map.

There is no cost to watch the parade, although there will be a VIP grandstand at Latham Square where advance tickets are $5 ($10 the day of the event). Access is free for persons with disabilities.

Admission to the festival, which runs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under. For more information, visit www.oaklandpride.org.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more coverage of Oakland Pride in coming weeks.

— Cynthia Laird, July 29, 2014 @ 11:24 am PST
Filed under: News


Prozan leaving SF DA’s office

(Rebecca Prozan. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(Rebecca Prozan. Photo: Rick Gerharter)


San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Prozan told the Bay Area Reporter Friday that she is leaving the DA’s office and going to Google.

At the tech giant, Prozan will be doing public policy and government relations work, she said.

Prozan, who is a lesbian, has been with the DA’s office for several years; she was brought on board by former DA Kamala Harris and remained in the office with current DA George Gascon took over in January 2011.

Prior to that, Prozan worked in City Hall, serving as a top aide to former Mayor Willie Brown. She also served for a short time as a legislative aide to former Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

At the DA’s office, Prozan had been working with the neighborhood court program and on other matters.

She and her wife, attorney Julia Adams, live in the Castro.

— Cynthia Laird, July 25, 2014 @ 2:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Out SF oversight panel appointees win recommendation from supervisors committee

Dennis Richards (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Dennis Richards (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

An African American lesbian and a gay man up for seats on two powerful oversight bodies won recommendations from a San Francisco supervisors committee this afternoon. They will now be up for confirmation to their seats at next week’s board hearing on Tuesday, July 29.

If approved, Bobbie J. Wilson will join the board of appeals as its second LGBT member, while Dennis Richards will join the planning commission as its sole LGBT member.

The rules committee, comprised of Supervisors Norman Yee, its chair, Katy Tang, and David Campos, unanimously voted to “positively recommend” both Wilson and Richards. The trio also unanimously voted to recommend that planning commissioner Kathrin Moore be re-appointed to a four-year term.

“I am very excited today not only about the reappointment of Kathrin Moore, but the two other appointments that have been made by President Chiu,” said Campos, one of two gay men on the board.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted on its blog last week, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu nominated both Wilson and Richards for the board appointed seats on their respective bodies. Because both are direct nominations made by the board president, others cannot apply for the seats.

The planning commission has not had an out LGBT member on it since Christina Olague, a bisexual woman, served several years ago. Olague stepped down from the commission after Mayor Ed Lee appointed her to the District 5 supervisor seat in 2012. She served for the rest of that year, but stepped down after losing her race for a full term.

If confirmed, Richards’ term would expire in July 2018. He will replace planning commissioner Hisashi “Bill” Sugaya, whom Chiu opted not to re-appoint.

“This is the second most important day of my life. The first being my marriage to my husband,” said Richards during his testimony. He pledged to be the board’s “rational, independent, thoughtful voice on the planning commission and am asking for your support today.”

Wilson would be the second lesbian board member on the board of appeals, as Arcelia Hurtado serves as its current vice president. If confirmed, Wilson’s term would expire in July 2018.

“I can guarantee not everybody will like my decisions,” said Wilson. “But I will always be prepared. I will be knowledgeable about the law. I will be compassionate. I will be impartial. I will be intellectually curious so that if someone is having a difficult time telling their story, I can help them bring out that story.”

Of his nominees, Chiu told the rules committee that Richards has “impeccable neighborhood credentials” and that Wilson is “a professional who has had many firsts in her life.” Of Moore, Chiu said she is someone with “tremendous experience in planning and urban design.”

(Bobbie Wilson. Photo: courtesy Perkins Coie LLP)

(Bobbie Wilson. Photo: courtesy Perkins Coie LLP)

Wilson, who lives in Bernal Heights, previously lived in the Castro and Mission neighborhoods. She moved to the city in 1990 after growing up in the Queensbridge Housing Projects in Queens, New York.

She is a litigation partner at Perkins Coie LLP, where she has worked since 2010, according to her resume, which was provided by Chiu’s office. Previously, she was litigation director at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk and Rabkin and was the first African American lesbian partner at the firm.

It was while she was at Howard Rice that she was selected as lead pro bono counsel by the city attorney’s office to represent the city, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, and other officials in the marriage equality litigation.

“I can’t say enough in terms of how impressed I am with her and what an honor it is for us to have someone like her representing us and working with us in partnership,” said Paul Henderson, a gay aide to Mayor Ed Lee who first met Wilson when he worked at the city’s district attorney office.

Gay Perkins Coie attorney and city resident David Tsai, who worked with Wilson, added, “Her type of acumen you need on the board of appeals to understand complex issues in the city and county of San Francisco.”

Richards, the longtime former president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, has long been active in land use issues. He is currently a board member of DTNA, and a member of the Market Octavia Community Advisory Committee.

Richards currently works at Salesforce. He has been a resident of San Francisco for the past 19 years. During his time as president of the Friends of 1800 Market Street, the group led the fight to save the historic Fallon Building, now part of the LGBT Community Center at 1800 Market Street, and secured city landmark status for Harvey Milk’s former camera shop on Castro Street.

District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a gay man who lives in Duboce Triangle, spoke highly of Richards, whom he has worked closely with while in office and when Wiener headed the Castro’s residential association.

“He brings not just values but the knowledge base and skill sets I think to be a fantastic planning commissioner,” said Wiener.

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 24, 2014 @ 4:03 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gay rapper Cazwell, dance divas Kristine W and Deepa Soul to headline San Jose Pride

Gay rapper Cazwell

Gay rapper Cazwell

Gay rapper Cazwell, whose 2010 “Ice Cream Truck” music video went viral, will headline the South Bay’s 2014 Pride festival along with dance divas Kristine W and Deepa Soul.

Born Luke Caswell, the performer has made a name for himself with his sexy videos sporting scantily clad men cavorting around him.

Kristine W, born Kristine Weitz, has long been a top talent on the gay party circuit. She broke onto the dance charts in 1997 with “Land of the Living” and recently released a greatest hits album featuring remixes of her top songs.

Deepa Soul’s career was sparked when she met mega DJ and producer Junior Vasquez at the NYC record store where she worked. Born Diedra Meredith, the artist rose to fame with her “Nowhere Love” debut track mixed by Vazquez. Her latest single is “Feva.”

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a May article, San Jose Pride changed its name to Silicon Valley Pride this year and has taken on a more South Bay-wide focus to attract a larger crowd and increased LGBT community interest. Over the last five years attendance at the event has waned as oversight issues have hampered the local Pride committee’s ability to raise sponsorships.

In 2009 organizers scrapped having a parade as part of the Pride festivities. They later cut the number of days for the festival down to one from two.

This year marks the 39th anniversary of the celebration. It’s theme is “Honoring Our Past + Securing Our Future.”

Silicon Valley Pride takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, August 17 at Discovery Meadows, 180 Woz Way in downtown San Jose.

Tickets cost $10 in advance  and can be purchased online, otherwise the cost is $15 at the gate.

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 23, 2014 @ 1:32 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Perez drops controller recount effort

Gay former Assembly Speaker John A. Perez on Friday dropped a partial recount in the state controller’s race, conceding that Board of Equalization member Betty Yee came in second and will face Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin in November.

John Perez (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

John Perez (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

According to KQED, the move came after Perez picked up only a handful of votes in Kern and Imperial counties, two parts of the state where he thought he would get more votes in a recount.

Yee beat Perez by only a few hundred votes in the June 3 primary, coming in second place.

In a statement, Perez said, “There is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end, given the fact that counties must begin printing ballots in the next few weeks in order to ensure that overseas and military voters can receive their ballots in a timely manner.”

[Updated: In a brief interview late Friday afternoon, Yee told the Bay Area Reporter that she was “relieved” the recount had been stopped.

“I’m relieved and thankful and we can begin work on party unity and the November election,” Yee said.

Yee said that Perez was “gracious” in a call to her.

“I did get a call from Speaker emeritus Perez,” she said. “He was very gracious and he offered support.”

As for next steps, Yee said she will continue to gather endorsements and raise money. She said that according to the secretary of state’s website, Swearengin is not accepting campaign spending limits, meaning it is likely the Republican Party will pour money into the race. [End of update.]

California Democrats had been pressuring Perez to end his bid, media outlets reported this week. The state party donated $50,000 to Yee’s campaign earlier this week and endorsed her.

— Cynthia Laird, July 18, 2014 @ 4:44 pm PST
Filed under: News,Politics


Bayview residents, including LGBTs, to meet with police, other officials over violence

Residents of San Francisco’s Bayview and nearby areas are meeting with police and other city officials Saturday, July 19, to call for a “Zero Shootings goal” after a rash of recent shootings in the Bayview and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods that have included homicides.

The scene near a 2011 stabbing (Photo: Earl Thomas/BRITE)

The scene near a 2011 stabbing (Photo: Earl Thomas/BRITE)

The Bayview, which has a reputation for high levels of criminal activity, has also been drawing more LGBT residents who come for the relatively affordable housing prices.

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Bayview branch of the San Francisco Public Library, 5075 Third Street.

Several incidents have shaken the neighborhood, including the July 8 shooting death of a 30-year-old man at La Salle Avenue and Las Villas Court.

In a letter to Bayview station police Captain Robert O’Sullivan, District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, District Attorney George Gascón, and others, members of the residents group said they’re “extremely concerned,” that the San Francisco Police Department “uses the homicide rate as an unofficial barometer of success in eradicating violence. We propose that the actual number of shootings – whether the target is a person, a building or a vehicle – be used to judge the level of success and that the city adopt a goal of zero tolerance towards shootings citywide.”

The organization proposes an inter-departmental program that would treat “every gunshot and every incident involving an illegal firearm with the highest level of seriousness.”

Components could include putting cameras on city-controlled property, more Shot Spotter gunfire locator units, and a “Commitment to investigate every report of gunfire and Shot Spotter activation as an emergency (even if it’s a gunfight over water balloons),” the letter said.

Tanja Beck, 44, lives in the neighborhood with her partner, Karoline Hochstrat, 50,  and two daughters. Beck owns three homes in the district – she rents out two – and is one of the people who wants to see more enforcement against shooters regardless of whether their victims died.

“I would rather have the police count all incidents in terms of where people were put in danger or hurt, instead of just saying the number of homicides went down,” Beck said in an interview. “That is just a lucky number, I think, because probably some of the shooters didn’t find their targets.”

Acting Bayview Captain Valerie Matthews, agreed with the meeting organizers’ primary goal of having zero shootings.

“Every district in this city should have that same goal,” said Matthews. “You don’t want anyone getting shot.”

She added, “We have redeployed a lot of resources from other districts into the Bayview. We’ve increased our staffing by 25 percent, and they’re here specifically to address all the locations where these shootings and/or homicides have been occurring.”

Matthews said the fact that there hasn’t been a shooting in the neighborhood since July 8 shows that her station’s efforts are working.

However, she said, “Overall, our numbers are lower than they’ve been in many, many years,” but “there’s still work to do.”

So far this year, said Matthews, plainclothes officers in the district “have confiscated over 135 guns.” But she said, “there are probably another 300 in my district that need to be taken off the streets.”

Matthews said police need more anti-violence programs and community participation.

“It’s not all about just putting people in jail. You can’t incarcerate the whole district.”

Barbara Gratta, 53, who has a small winery – Gratta Wines – in her garage, moved to the Bayview from the Castro in 1999 with her partner, Cathy Hansen, 55.

Gratta said violence in the district “goes in waves,” and it’s not as if there’s “a constant warzone out here.”

While the Bayview is home to more African Americans than most other neighborhoods in the city, Gratta, who’s of Italian descent, said it’s always been “mixed,” and when she first moved to the area 15 years ago, “it reminded me very much of the neighborhood where I grew up,” which was a mix of black and Italian.

Beck called the Bayview “one of the last affordable neighborhoods in San Francisco” and also said it has “the best weather in the city,” and when she moved in two and a half years ago from the Bernal Heights district, “all the neighbors came and said hello.”

Some have complained over the years that African Americans are being forced out of the neighborhood.

But Beck, who’s white, said, “I’m in the business of selling homes. Whenever I list a property here, it has nothing to do with pushing out a person. It has something to do with the older generation needing to move on to their next or last destination, and it’s a wonderful time for them to do so and profit from their sale.” She added, “We also have a decent amount of properties” that become available because “the occupant died and the children want to take advantage of their inheritance … The majority of the transactions happening in this neighborhood are people want to leave the neighborhood for their own reasons, and young families want to come in because they can actually afford it here and make this a home.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:12 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Obama to sign orders banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers

President Barack Obama (Photo: Courtesy the White House)

President Barack Obama
(Photo: Courtesy the White House)

In a call with reporters Friday, July 18, White House officials announced that President Barack Obama will sign executive orders Monday, July 21 making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT workers, the Washington Blade has reported.

In a statement, national Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, “With the strokes of a pen, the President will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of LGBT people across the country. Each and every American worker should be judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their sexual orientation or gender identity.” The action helps “send a powerful message to future administrations and to Congress that anti-LGBT discrimination must not be tolerated.”

Griffin also called on Congress “to immediately pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” which would ban employers across the country from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many states still allow companies to fire people based on those factors. LGBT organizations that once supported the non-discrimination legislation have turned against it since an exemption was added that would allow employers to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against LGBT employees.

The Blade reported Obama’s action Monday “won’t repeal President George W. Bush’s amendment” to Executive Order 11246, “which allows religious-affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion. … Still, no further exemption for religious entities will be included in the executive order.”

In a news release from the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, the group’s executive director, said, “We are elated at the announcement by the White House that on Monday the President will sign an Executive Order barring discrimination in employment by federal contractors. For far too long, LGBT employees have been subject to open bigotry and negative job actions based on factors that have nothing to do with our ability to do the job. We are confident the President’s leadership on this issue will soon lead us to a day where all LGBT employees are protected from rank discrimination on the job.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Chiu nominates two gays for SF oversight posts

[This post has been updated.]

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu on Friday nominated an African American lesbian and a gay man for seats on two powerful oversight bodies.

(Bobbie J. Wilson. Photo: courtesy Perkins Coie LLP)

(Bobbie J. Wilson. Photo: courtesy Perkins Coie LLP)

Bobbie J. Wilson was nominated for a seat on the board of appeals, while Dennis Richards was nominated for a seat on the planning commission.

The nominations are expected to be heard by the supervisors’ rules committee July 24 and go to the full board for approval July 29. They are both direct nominations by the board president, meaning that others cannot apply.

Chiu praised both nominees, noting that Richards would be the only out person on the planning commission and that Wilson became the first African American and first lesbian partner at law firms where she has worked.

Wilson is a litigation partner at Perkins Coie LLP, where she has worked since 2010, according to her resume, which was provided by Chiu’s office. Previously, she was litigation director at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk and Rabkin. It was while she was at Howard Rice that she was selected as lead pro bono counsel by the city attorney’s office to represent the city, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, and other officials in the marriage equality litigation.

Wilson, who lives in Bernal Heights, previously lived in the Castro and Mission neighborhoods. She moved to the city in 1990 after growing up in the Queensbridge Housing Projects in Queens, New York.

In a phone call Monday, Wilson said that her background would be a good fit for the appeals board.

“The panel deals with all sorts of complex issues,” Wilson said, adding that her legal background is in complex civil litigation.

She also said that she works well with others and has a high work ethic.

“I have, among others, represented the indigent, workers, people of color, LGBT people, and some of the most vulnerable amongst us,” she wrote in her commission application, which was provided by Chiu’s office.

She has been recognized as a “Top 100 Leading Women Lawyer” in California, a “Super Lawyer,” and “IP Star” by various publications.

The Board of Appeals is a quasi-judicial body that provides the public with a final administrative review process for appeals relating to a wide range of city determinations. Wilson will join lesbian board member Arcelia Hurtado, who serves as vice president.

If confirmed, Wilson’s term would expire in July 2018.

Wilson said that after being involved with the marriage cases, she found that she wanted to give back to the community in a different way.

“You should always give back if you can,” she added. “I spent four years on the marriage cases and I wanted to do something different.”

Richards, the longtime former president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, has long been active in land use issues. He is currently a board member of DTNA, and a member of the Market Octavia Community Advisory Committee.

His past community involvement also includes a stint as president of the Friends of 1800 Market Street (1996-2002). The group formed for the historic preservation, landmarking, and rehabilitation of the historic Fallon Building at 1800 Market Street as a part of the LGBT Community Center. According to Richards’s resume, also provided by Chiu’s office, the Friends of 1800 during this time also secured city landmark status for Harvey Milk’s former camera shop on Castro Street.

Richards currently works at Salesforce. He has been a resident of San Francisco for the past 19 years.

In a brief phone call Monday, Richards said he looked forward to serving, should his nomination be approved.

“I’m humbled and incredibly excited and honored,” he said.

Chiu noted that the planning commission has not had an out LGBT member on it since Christina Olague, a bisexual woman, served several years ago. Olague stepped down from the commission after Mayor Ed Lee appointed her to the District 5 supervisor seat in 2012. She served for the rest of that year, but stepped down after losing her race for a full term.

If confirmed, Richards’s term would expire in July 2018.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 1:22 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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