Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

President Obama supports LGBT foster youth in statement

President Barack Obama stops to talk with visiting school children outside the West Wing of the White House, April 29, 2015. The President was returning from a walk with Shanna Peeples, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, when he met the children and their chaperones.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama stops to talk with visiting school children outside the West Wing   of the White House, April 29, 2015. The President was returning from a walk with Shanna Peeples, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, when he met the children and their chaperones.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As California lawmakers debate a bill aimed at providing better protections for transgender foster youth, President Barack Obama has voiced support for policies that protect all LGBT youth in foster care.

The White House issued a presidential proclamation today (Thursday, April 30) recognizing May as National Foster Care Month.

In it Obama stated that, “All young people, regardless of what they look like, which religion they follow, who they love, or the gender they identify with, deserve the chance to dream and grow in a loving, permanent home.”

According to the president’s proclamation, there are more than 400,000 boys and girls in the nation’s foster care system. A disproportionate number are African-American and Native American youth.

More than 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted, and every year, 23,000 young people age out of the system, noted the White House, “never having found the security of a permanent home.”

The country has reduced the number of young people in foster care in recent years, noted Obama, but “has more work to do to ensure all children can thrive in a safe and nurturing environment.”

He added, “At the heart of the American story is the simple truth that all children should have a fair chance at success, no matter who they are or where they come from. Central to this promise of opportunity are the love and support of family — which all girls and boys deserve, but not enough have.”

The proclamation went on to say that no one who wants to care for a foster youth should be discriminated against due to their being a member of the LGBT community.

“With so many children waiting for loving homes, it is important to ensure all qualified caregivers have the opportunity to serve as foster or adoptive parents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,” stated Obama. “That is why we are working to break down the barriers that exist and investing in efforts to recruit more qualified parents for children in foster care.”

In California a state bill that would ensure transgender foster youth are placed in welcoming and affirming homes passed out of its first legislative committee in mid April, as reported in the Bay Area Reporter‘s April 23 issue.

The legislation, Senate Bill 731, is authored by gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by several California LGBT rights groups. A number of professional associations for foster care workers are also backing the bill.

Set to heard next by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill would require caregivers to take a young person’s gender identity into consideration when deciding whether to place them with a foster care family or in a group home, many of which are segregated by gender.

The state Department of Community Care Licensing would also be tasked with developing regulations to implement the bill should it become law.

While there is no statewide data on the number of LGBT foster care youth in California, a 2014 study by the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank at UCLA, found that nearly 7,400 youth, ages 12-21 are in out-of-home care in Los Angeles County any given month, and 19 percent or 1,400 of these youths identify as LGBTQ.

The study also determined that between 1.5 to 2 times the number of LGBTQ youth are living in foster care as LGBTQ youth estimated to be living outside of foster care.

“LGBTQ youth have an estimated higher average of foster care placements, reported being treated less well by the child welfare system, have been hospitalized for emotional reasons at some point in their lifetime and were more likely to have been homeless at some point in their life,” concluded the study, a synopsis of which was included in the Fair Share for Equality report issued by the Equality California Institute, the educational arm of the statewide LGBT advocacy group.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 30, 2015 @ 12:47 pm PST
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Ex-porn actor pleads not guilty in Hi Tops arson case

Troy Collin McCormick. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Police Department.

Troy Collin McCormick in his April 2015 booking photo, courtesy of the San Francisco Police Department

A former porn actor who allegedly started a fire at the gay sports bar Hi Tops recently has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of arson and possession of an incendiary device, and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.

Troy Collin McCormick, 27, of San Francisco, the man accused in the incident, was booked shortly afterward and remains in custody.

Hi Tops co-owner Jesse Woodward said the incident occurred “right after we closed” early last Tuesday morning.

Woodward, who wasn’t there at the time, said McCormick brought “a shopping cart full of garbage, lit it on fire, and put it in front of our doors.” There was no damage to the bar, which is at 2247 Market Street. He said police chased McCormick, who’d made threats in the bar before, to another bar and arrested him.

Ian Armstrong, 27, who splits his time between Maui and Palm Springs said he’s McCormick’s former boyfriend, and they did “webcam modeling” together for a few months, years ago. McCormick has gone by names including Tristian Hawk, said Armstrong, who’s used the name Dmitri Navroska.

“It’s really, really surprising to me he would do something like that,” he said of the alleged April 21 incident at Hi Tops. McCormick is “more the kind of guy that would leave a bad Yelp review.”

Deputy Public Defender Eric Quandt, who noted last week that he’d just received McCormick’s case, said, “I’m concerned for how he’s doing, actually, and a little bewildered by what’s going on with him.” He indicated that McCormick’s mental health was being evaluated.

McCormick, who entered his pleas Thursday, April 23, had recently been “5150’d,” Quandt said, referring to the process where someone is held involuntarily for up to three days while they’re assessed for psychiatric disorders.

“We were the ones that called the cops on him that night,” Woodward said of that incident, which was in March.

He said the scenario was “the usual. [McCormick] came by and threatened us. We called the cops,” then followed him down to the Starbucks at 4094 18th Street. When police arrived, he said, McCormick “started freaking out.” Officers handcuffed him.

Quandt doesn’t know if McCormick has any history with drugs, and he hasn’t seen any court records showing McCormick has a history of violence. He thinks an alternative court, such as behavioral health court, may be helpful to him.

The criminal complaint against McCormick alleges that he set fire to Hi Tops itself, but as Woodward indicated, “My understanding is the building didn’t actually catch on fire,” Quandt said.

Troy Collin McCormick in an undated photo, courtesy of

Troy Collin McCormick in an undated photo, courtesy of

Armstrong said he and McCormick, who he hasn’t talked to in years, dated for a year or two.

“The thing about Troy is Troy is very calm and very collected,” Armstrong said. “He doesn’t act out. He doesn’t have anger issues.”

However, Armstrong said on “very, very rare” occasions, McCormick would become physically violent. That was “only after drinking a ton” of alcohol, though, he said.

One online reviewer of the couple’s 2011 video “Good Rough Pounding,” in which McCormick chats with viewers while preparing to have sex with Armstrong, described McCormick as an “uber-hot, sweet dom” and Armstrong as “a beautiful puppy.”

The couple are “great performers, who deserve more stars than I can give,” the reviewer – “AdmiringTheView” – said.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Clark was the prosecutor at McCormick’s arraignment, where Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman set McCormick’s bail at $200,000 and ordered him to stay at least 150 yards away from Hi Tops and one of the bartenders there.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 29, 2015 @ 4:56 pm PST
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Two LGBT bills from freshmen Bay Area lawmakers survive committee vote

Assemblyman David Chiu

Assemblyman David Chiu

Two LGBT bills backed by freshmen lawmakers from the Bay Area passed out of the state Assembly’s Accountability and Administrative Review Committee Wednesday.

The first bill, AB 959, is known as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Disparities Reduction Act and is authored by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco). As previously noted by the Bay Area Reporter, it would require a number of state agencies to start collecting demographic data on gender identity and sexual orientation.

The committee voted 8-0, with Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville) abstaining, to send the bill to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Past efforts to pass such a bill ran into Governor Jerry Brown’s veto pen, and it remains to be seen if he has changed his mind this year. In the meantime, local jurisdictions and the state of New York have begun asking LGBT-based questions on forms and surveys.

“We all know this data collection is essential to help the government serve our diverse communities and close disparities” within the LGBT community, testified Chiu, a straight lawmaker who has made LGBT issues a top legislative priority during his first term.

LGBT groups have singled out AB 959 as their top legislative priority this year. The lack of LGBT demographic data hampers their ability to argue for state funding to address disparities in the health and wellbeing of the LGBT community. It also makes it impossible to gauge if state agencies are adequately addressing such needs.

“Our community remains in the shadows, basically invisible in the eyes of state government because our community is not included when important demographic data is collected,” Rick Zbur, executive director of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality California, told the committee members.

Assemblyman Evan Low

Assemblyman Evan Low

The other pro-gay bill that advanced today is AB 1050, authored by gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell). It would ban nonprofits that discriminate based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity from enrolling in the “Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work” program, where the state matches contributions state employees make to various charitable groups directly from their salaries or wages.

Under the legislation, the thousands of tax-deductible entities participating in Our Promise would have to prove to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board that they have LGBT anti-discrimination policies in place.

“This bill ensures charities participating in the employer charitable giving program are in compliance with non-discrimination law,” testified Zbur. “Our Promise participants would have to submit statements to ensure they are in compliance.”

If adopted, the law would make it impossible for the Boy Scouts of America, for example, to be in the Our Promise program since the youth group bans openly gay people from being Scout leaders.

And anti-gay groups, such as the American Center for Law and Justice Inc. based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which is currently listed on the Our Promise website, would not be allowed to continue in the donation match program unless they have policies in place protecting LGBT employees.

The committee passed Low’s bill 8-1, with Gaines the lone no vote, and it also now will be heard by appropriations.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:22 pm PST
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SF DA honors women who helped in sexual assault prosecution

Sabrina Espino and Grace Golding. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

Sabrina Espino and Grace Golding. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón recently honored a woman who said she was sexually assaulted, along with the woman’s partner, for their assistance in the prosecution of the man accused of the crime.

Grace Golding, 30, and Sabrina Espino, 37, received the recognition as part of the Survivors and Champions Awards ceremony Friday, April 24 at the Hall of Justice.

Gascón called the women “a very inspirational couple” who’d helped with “a very difficult case.”

Arthur Ray Salinas was charged with two counts of sexual assault in the alleged 2013 incident. Details of what had happened weren’t offered Friday.

Jurors eventually acquitted Salinas of one of the charges and hung on the other, with all but one of the jurors thinking he was guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison for failing to register as a sex offender for a previous offense, according to Deputy Public Defender Eric Quandt.

Despite the mixed results, which weren’t mentioned at the ceremony, Golding seemed pleased.

She told the DA’s staff and others gathered, “It’s incredible to be alive.”

Espino told the crowd that in her past experience, “you guys were the enemies.” But since going through the criminal justice process this time, her view has changed.

“People in the county are not the enemy,” she said.

After the event, Golding said, “I had plenty of support, and that’s really what made it easier to go through with [the trial] and stand up for myself.”

“It’s been a long journey,” she said, and there had been “lots of days when I didn’t want to wake up,” but people including Giles Feinberg, the DA’s victim/witness advocate who assisted her and Espino, Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai, who prosecuted the case, had helped comfort her.

Espino said, “It was important for Grace to know her story was believed. … As a lesbian, people don’t believe your story.”

Feinberg told those gathered Friday that the women “showed so much bravery,” and the case had been “an inspiration for me.” He said they were “becoming a voice” for other victims and survivors.

Talai said thanks to Golding and Espino, “there will never be another victim to this man,” and the women’s courage ensures Salinas “will die in prison.”

The women’s bravery “affected me both professionally and personally,” he said.

In an interview later Friday, Quandt said Salinas had failed to register as a sex offender after he moved to California to be near his family. Salinas’ options were limited because of the distance registrants have to maintain from schools and parks, Quandt said.

The failure to register had been “a throw away charge” that the DA’s office had “tacked on,” Quandt said, and “what really counted was whether he committed sexual assault,” which jurors didn’t convict him on.

Quandt expressed many problems with Golding. Among other things, he said, “We had video evidence that contradicted her testimony, and there was no DNA or scientific evidence to support her testimony.” He added, “The one independent witness was a store clerk in a corner store who also contradicted her testimony.”

Quandt said the case “will stick with me for a long time. It really bothers me.”

Salinas was 57 when he was charged in February 2013. Golding and Espino lived in San Francisco at the time but now live in San Jose.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:18 pm PST
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SF begins plans for U.S. Supreme Court marriage announcement in June

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn

San Francisco city officials and LGBT community leaders are planning a celebration at City Hall in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that same-sex marriages should be legal in all 50 states.

Mayor Ed Lee; his chief of staff, Steve Kawa; National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell; and many others seemed optimistic marriage equality advocates will be victorious as they met in the mayor’s conference room today (Thursday, April 23).

The Supreme Court justices are set to hear oral arguments Tuesday, April 28 in the consolidated marriage case from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Marriage is already legal in California and 36 other states, along with the District of Columbia.

The court is expected to announce its ruling in June. Those gathered at City Hall today expressed hope that the news would come before the city’s LGBT Pride parade and celebration, which is set for June 27-28.

Suggestions for the day of the court’s announcement included displaying flags from all 50 states and a light show in Civic Center Plaza that night.

Kendell, who’s organization is representing plaintiffs in the case before the Supreme Court, backed the idea of encouraging people to come to City Hall “to celebrate and to commit to finishing the job.”

She echoed comments made by Lee, who said even if the court rules in favor of marriage equality, that “doesn’t mean the end of discrimination,” and “we’ve got to move forward on society accepting this.”

“We’re going to have a backlash,” Kendell said. For many people who are poor, transgender, black, and other LGBTs, “this is not going to help you,” and it’s important to have speakers at the event to “make clear” that “we’re not leaving anyone behind.”

Kawa noted one of the main challenges planners face.

“Planning for a date that doesn’t exist yet is a difficult thing,” he said. He added that it’s important to get police involved to ensure safety at whatever event is planned.

But he also indicated he’s confident the mayor’s office will have plenty of help.

“Now you’re being volunteered to help us,” Kawa told the others present, who also included gay Supervisor David Campos, LGBT Pride Celebration Committee Executive Director George Ridgely, and Rebecca Prozan, who’s a lesbian and a former top aide to District Attorney George Gascon who now serves as Google’s public policy and government relations manager.

“We have your names, we have our emails, and we have your phone numbers,” Kawa quipped.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 23, 2015 @ 4:06 pm PST
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Planning body supports Castro district zoning change for office-type businesses

The construction of new buildings along upper Market Street, like Linea seen here, prompted calls for the zoning change.

The construction of new buildings along upper Market Street, like Linea seen here, prompted calls for the zoning change.

Legislation meant to bring stronger public scrutiny of office-type uses taking over ground floor retail spaces in San Francisco’s gay Castro district and along Noe Valley’s commercial corridor sailed through the city’s planning commission today.

The commission voted 5-0 to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt the zoning change. The supervisors are expected to pass it once it is taken up at the committee level in the coming months.

Gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents both neighborhoods at City Hall, introduced the legislation in order to make permanent the interim zoning rule the city adopted along upper Market Street between Octavia Boulevard and Castro Street requiring office-type uses, such as banks and title companies, to seek conditional use permits if leasing sidewalk-fronting storefronts.

The interim rule was put in place in the summer of 2013 in response to a slew of new mixed-use buildings opening along the busy thoroughfare that combined new housing over retail spaces. Castro residents voiced concerns that banks and real estate firms would rush in and crowd out more traditional retailers, leaving dead zones at night and on weekends when they were closed.

With similar concerns raised about the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street, as well as 24th Street between Diamond and Chattanooga, Wiener decided to also extend the zoning rule to those commercial corridors.

At the hearing this afternoon (Thursday, April 23) Wiener aide Andres Power told the commissioners the legislation is about “ensuring our retail corridors remain active.”

Under the new rules, business or professional services wanting to open in a ground floor space on the two blocks of Castro Street, as well as several blocks on 18th Street, would need to seek a permit from the planning commission.

On upper Market Street west of Octavia, limited financial services and business or professional services would need authorization to move into a first story space.

In Noe Valley medical services, business or professional services would need planning commission approval to open in a ground floor retail space, while such uses would be principally permitted in second story spaces.

The planning commissioners recommended that the supervisors also allow them in third story spaces rather than require such businesses to seek conditional use authorization, as the legislation as written currently requires.

“This is good legislation,” said commissioner Rich Hillis, who noted such non-retail uses “tend to be large and dead on the street.”

Hillis suggested that the rule “should be expanded elsewhere” in the city to other commercial corridors.

Commissioner Michael Antonini agreed that the legislation will help “enliven the street rather than having business professionals close at 5 p.m. and have a bunch of dead storefronts here.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:32 pm PST
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‘Pink Party’ new name for Castro street party in June

Pink Saturday drew a crowd in 2011, with the illuminated pink triangle on Twin Peaks in the background. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

Pink Saturday drew a crowd in 2011, with the illuminated pink triangle on Twin Peaks in the background. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

The Castro street festival formerly known as “Pink Saturday” will be called “Pink Party” this year, a planner of the pre-Pride parade celebration told the Bay Area Reporter this morning (Thursday, April 23).

“In a way, it comes up from the community,” organizer Ruth McFarlane said. “It’s the name everybody uses if they don’t say, ‘Pink Saturday.'”

McFarlane is the programs director for San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center. The center was brought in to plan the event after the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which had run the party for more than 20 years, announced in February that they wouldn’t produce this year’s party. The Sisters cited concerns about violence as a primary reason for their backing out.

The center and other organizers had to choose a new name for the annual party after the Sisters voted not to let the new planners call it Pink Saturday.

This year’s festival, which will draw thousands of people to the Castro, is set for Saturday, June 27.

McFarlane said she’d floated the new name in a conversation with the Sisters, and “I know they’re fine with it, despite its similarity.”

Sister Selma Soul, who coordinated Pink Saturday from 2012 through 2014, confirmed, “We’re fine with that.”

The Sisters plan to put on a new version of Pink Saturday in 2016, in another location.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, April 30 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 10:14 am PST
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SF archbishop to skip DC marriage rally

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will not attend this weekend’s March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., according to a statement released Wednesday by the archdiocese.

(Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone)

(Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone)

Cordileone attended and spoke at last year’s event, sponsored by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. He had been expected to attend the April 25 event as well, coming just days before the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a consolidated same-sex marriage case.

But late Wednesday afternoon, the archdiocese issued the statement saying that Cordileone will “remain home to attend to the pastoral needs of the church here at this time.”

“This year’s march, which will have a religious liberty focus, will be attended by a number of other bishops,” the archdiocese’s statement said. They include Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“These and other bishops will be representing the commitment of the Catholic bishops of the United States to the goods of marriage and religious freedom at the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. this year,” the statement said.

Cordileone has been under intense pressure in recent months. Most recently, 100 prominent Bay Area Catholics took out a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle, urging Pope Francis to appoint a new archbishop. The Bay Area Reporter has twice editorialized for the pope to replace Cordileone.

Cordileone has received criticism for several months for his request to implement new morality clauses to the revised handbook for the San Francisco Archdiocese, of which four Catholic high schools are a part. The clause specifically condemns homosexuality, marriage equality, contraception, ordination of female priests, and assisted reproductive technology such as in-vitro fertilization. He is also in the process of negotiating teacher contracts.

The archdiocese also came under fire last month when it was revealed that St. Mary’s Cathedral for the past two years was regularly dousing homeless people who sleep in the alcoves with cold water from a sprinkler system that was apparently illegally installed and lacks the proper permits. Once it was reported by KCBS, Catholic officials quickly stopped the practice.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 8:37 am PST
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Stabbings, attempted arson hit Castro

A giant rainbow flag overlooks San Francisco's Castro district. Photo: Rick Gerharter

A giant rainbow flag overlooks San Francisco’s Castro district. Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco police have reported two stabbings, an attempted arson, and other incidents in the Castro district in recent days.

The first stabbing occurred at 10:45 p.m. Monday, April 20 at 18th and Church streets, near Dolores Park.

The victim, a 48-year-old man, was walking when he encountered three other men, who “demanded money,” Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

One suspect used a knife to stab the victim in his abdomen and chest and fled, without any money or other items.

The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life threatening stab wounds to his lower chest and abdomen, Esparza said.

The suspects were described only as a white male and two Hispanic males, all in their 20s. No arrests have been reported.

Less than two hours later, at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 21 at 18th and Castro streets, two women at a bus stop were in a verbal altercation “over which bus to take to get back to the Fillmore,” Esparza said.

The suspect cut the victim’s hand with a knife, causing a laceration. The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

The age of the suspect, who hasn’t been arrested, wasn’t known. She was described only as a black female. The victim is 23.

Around the same time Tuesday, there was an attempted arson at a bar in the 2200 block of Market Street.

Arson suspect Troy Collin McCormick. Photo: San Francisco Police Department

Arson suspect Troy Collin McCormick. Photo: San Francisco Police Department

At 12:15 a.m., according to Esparza, a 27-year-old man “had a shopping cart in flames and pushed it against the front door, then he ran.”

Officers later arrested the man, whose name wasn’t available.

[Update Thursday, April 23:]

The incident occurred at the gay sports bar Hi Tops, 2247 Market Street.

Esparza said that Troy Collin McCormick, of San Francisco, was booked on arson charges and resisting arrest. He’s currently in custody.

Hi Tops co-owner Jesse Woodward said the incident occurred “right after we closed on Monday,” when staff were cleaning the bar.

Woodward, who wasn’t there at the time, said McCormick brought “a shopping cart full of garbage, lit it on fire, and put it in front of our doors.” There was no damage to the bar.

Police chased McCormick to the nearby Mix bar, at 4086 18th Street, where they arrested him, Woodward said.

He said McCormick has been to Hi Tops “often,” and he’s personally met him.

“We’ve never done anything to him,” Woodward said. Since he first visited the bar in February, “he just keeps coming and keeps threatening us. We stopped him from coming in months ago,” and staff has called police “every time” he’s shown up, but “he would keep coming back and making threats.”

McCormick once threw a glass at a bartender, and he’s said “he was going to drive a car through the bar,” Woodward said.

He doesn’t know why McCormick has problems with his bar, but he suspects McCormick is “a little bit mentally disturbed.”

The bar’s staff has tried to get a protective order, but “it was a little more complicated than we thought,” Woodward said. However, “the police are going to help us get a restraining order now that he’s in custody.”

McCormick’s comments haven’t been homophobic, Woodward said, and “I have no idea if he’s gay.” Nobody was injured in the incident.

He’s heard that McCormick’s gone to the Café nightclub, at 2369 Market Street, before, “and bugged them.” That bar “had to kick him out,” Woodward said.

A spokesman for the Café didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

A man who answered the phone at the Mix said he didn’t recognize McCormick’s name.

Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said McCormick is being charged with arson, possession of an incendiary device, and resisting arrest. His arraignment is expected to be Friday, April 24 [End update].

The fight over which bus to take wasn’t the only incident at 18th and Castro this week. At 3:45 a.m. Monday, a man was robbed there.

Esparza said the incident started when the suspect approached a 40-year-old man from behind, “knocking him to the ground.” He took the victim’s wallet, cash, and credit card, and fled.

The victim suffered scratches to his hands but refused medical treatment.

No suspect description was available, and no arrests have been reported.

Finally, at 11:15 p.m. last Friday, April 17 in the 400 block of Castro, a 33-year-old man was hit by a Honda Accord after he walked into the street, outside the crosswalk.

The pedestrian had non-life threatening swelling to his head and a cut, and he was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

The car’s driver, 28, was not arrested.

Anyone with information in any of the incidents may call the San Francisco Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line.

The incident numbers are: Stabbing at 18th and Church – 150346564, stabbing at 18th and Castro –150346730, attempted arson on Market – 150346655, robbery at 18th and Castro –150343623, and pedestrian struck on Castro –150337228.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 22, 2015 @ 5:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Former B.A.R. reporter killed in Sacramento

A former freelance reporter for the Bay Area Reporter was killed near his Sacramento home early Wednesday.

(Former BAR freelance reporter Daniel James Aiello. Photo: Courtesy Aiello's Facebook page)

(Former BAR freelance reporter Daniel James Aiello. Photo: Courtesy Aiello’s Facebook page)

The Sacramento Coroner’s office late Friday identified a man found near his home as Daniel James Aiello, 53.

Sacramento police have arrested two people in connection with Aiello’s April 15 death. Police have classified the killing as murder.

Police said Thursday that Kyle Fletcher, 35, was arrested on suspicion of murder, robbery, and burglary. A second suspect, Sabrina Ahrens-Gravelle, 39, was also taken into custody on suspicion of burglary, according to Officer Traci Trapani of the Sacramento Police Department.

Aiello wrote for the B.A.R. for many years. He extensively covered the Proposition 8 campaign in 2008, focusing on the Mormon Church and the Yes on 8 campaign. Prop 8, California’s former same-sex marriage ban, was struck down on a technicality by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in next week’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, April 17, 2015 @ 6:30 pm PST
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