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

Two men robbed with guns in Castro incidents

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

Two men walking in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood were robbed with guns last night (Tuesday, June 16) in separate incidents. Police provided limited suspect descriptions that suggested the robberies may be related, but it hasn’t been confirmed that the cases are linked.

[Update]: Officer Grace Gatpandan, a police spokeswoman, said in an email, “These two incidents are being investigated by separate teams. They’ll definitely look at the possibility of them being related but as of now, no correlation yet.”[End update]

No arrests have been made in either robbery.

The first incident occurred at 10 p.m. at 19th and Hartford streets. Four Hispanic men in their 20s brandished a handgun at the victim and demanded money, according to Gatpandan.

After the victim, 67, refused to give the men his money, he was hit with the gun, and the suspects took his wallet, cash, credit cards, and ID before fleeing the scene. The man suffered a trauma wound to the face and was treated and released at the scene.

A similar robbery happened about an hour and a half later at 21st and Castro streets, just blocks away.

Gatpandan said at 11:35 p.m., three Hispanic men ages 20 to 30 years old approached the victim with a gun and demanded money. The 32-year-old victim refused, and a suspect pistol whipped him and took his wallet and phone, then fled.

The victim suffered a cut to his eye and was treated at California Pacific Medical Center, Davies Campus.

More detailed descriptions of the suspects weren’t provided.

The gun in the second incident was described as a silver handgun with a white handle.

Two other robberies were also reported in the neighborhood in recent days.

At 8:08 a.m. Sunday, June 14, in the 4100 block of 18th Street, near Castro, a 63-year-old man was taking pictures when another man approached him from behind and pushed him over. The victim fell to the ground, and the suspect “forcibly” took his digital camera, Gatpandan said. The suspect ran away and got into a black vehicle driven by another suspect. The suspects fled the area.

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The victim, who suffered a hand laceration, refused medical treatment.

The suspects were described only as black males ages 20 to 25.

At 2:15 a.m. Saturday, June 13 at Octavia and Market streets, a man was walking to the Bart train when another man approached him. The victim, 30, reached into his pocket to get his phone when the suspect “pulled out a knife” and robbed the victim of his phone, cash, and driver’s license, Gatpandan said.

The victim wasn’t injured. The suspect was described only as a white male whose age was unknown.

As with the first two robberies, no arrests have been made in the latter two cases.

Anyone with information in the cases may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line.

The incidents numbers are 150527134 (19th and Hartford), 150527372 (21st and Castro), 150518434 (4100 block of 18th), and 150515985 (Market and Octavia).

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 17, 2015 @ 2:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Pink Party entertainers, beneficiaries announced

Crowds cheered and had fun during Pink Saturday 2012. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Crowds cheered and had fun during Pink Saturday 2012. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Organizers of the Pink Party, the street festival planned for San Francisco’s Castro district Saturday, June 27, the night before the city’s LGBT Pride parade, have announced the entertainment lineup and beneficiaries.

The music lineup will include Disco Daddy, featuring DJ Bus Station John; Hard French, with Tom Temprano and Brown Amy; the Monster Show, featuring Sugah Betes, Sue Casa, and others; and Shawna Virago.

Beneficiaries, who will provide volunteers for the party and share in proceeds from the gate, will include Bay Area Young Positives, the Center for Sex and Culture, and El/La Para TransLatinas.

The Pink Party, which will run from 3 to 8 p.m., takes the place of Pink Saturday, the annual event that drew thousands of people to the Castro’s streets for more than 20 years. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which ran the event for years and own the Pink Saturday name, opted not to produce the party this year, citing concerns about violence.

San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center stepped in to spearhead the event this year, at the request of gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the Castro.

Unlike previous years, when the city declined to provide any direct funding for the party, the city is covering expenses for this year’s event. Rebecca Rolfe, the community center’s executive director, said in an email Wednesday, June 10 that the budget hasn’t been finalized. However, this year’s festival is expected to cost more than the $80,000 needed for the 2014 celebration.

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There’s a suggested donation of $10 for Pink Party, but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. People interested in volunteering may sign up at

A full list of entertainers and beneficiaries is available on the festival’s Facebook page.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 11, 2015 @ 9:56 am PST
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SF mayor welcomes plaintiff in US Supreme Court marriage case

Marriage lawsuit plaintiff Jim Obergefell. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Marriage lawsuit plaintiff Jim Obergefell. Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other officials gathered at City Hall today (Wednesday, June 10) to greet Jim Obergefell, the namesake plaintiff in the same-sex marriage case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lee and others also pledged that even if, as is expected, the court announces this month that gay marriage will be legal in all 50 states, more work needs to be done to protect LGBTs across the country against discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas.

“Your bravery, your courage, and your willingness to take a stand are an example” to everyone who values equality and fairness, Lee told Obergefell.

Obergefell married John Arthur in July 2013. Arthur died about three months later from ALS. The couple’s home state of Ohio has refused to recognize their marriage.

At the event on the mayor’s balcony Wednesday, Obergefell said, “I never thought I would have to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend our marriage,” but “I promised to love, honor, and protect my partner John.”

He added, “Marriage isn’t the end of our battle for equality. … I promise to keep up the fight for the LGBT community until full equality is truly a reality.”

Obergefell is the plaintiff at the heart of the case Obergefell v. Hodges. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case in April.

Chad Griffin, CEO of the national Human Rights Campaign, said at the mayor’s event Wednesday that his organization is working on legislation aimed at protecting LGBTs across the country from discrimination. He didn’t know when a bill would be introduced.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Tuesday, June 16 edition of the online column Wedding Bells Ring.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 10, 2015 @ 4:22 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Victim in ’13 SF Pride shooting agrees to delay in trial

Shooting victim Trevor Gardner

Shooting victim Trevor Gardner

A man who was shot at San Francisco’s LGBT Pride festival in 2013 has agreed to a delay in the trial in his lawsuit against event organizers, acknowledging that June is a busy month for them.

Among other factors in the delay, Trevor Gardner, 25, of Los Angeles, is also recuperating from a surgery related to his injury.

This year’s LGBT Pride celebration and parade are set for Saturday, June 27 to Sunday, June 28.

In his lawsuit filed last may against the city’s LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, Gardner claimed the nonprofit neglected to provide adequate security at the 2013 event. The committee responded through court documents that Gardner had failed “to use diligent care.”

In an application for the delay filed in court Monday, June 1, both sides agreed to continue the trial from October 5 to November 2.

The Pride nonprofit and its workers “would be profoundly burdened in having to sit for depositions during the planning of this event in May and June,” the application says.

Also, Gardner “required surgery on his injury at issue in this litigation” May 19, the documents say, and he needs “at least six weeks to convalesce from his injuries.” Discovery on his injuries will have to take place after he recuperates.

Finally, Gardner’s attorney is supposed to begin an unrelated trial in July.

“Plaintiff and defendant wish to accommodate each of these scheduling matters and to complete all necessary discovery in this matter,” says the application, which Superior Court Judge John K. Stewart granted.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 4, 2015 @ 5:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Transgender Doubtfire arsonist sentenced to probation

Tyqwon Eugene Welch, in an undated photo, has been sentenced to probation for setting fire to the Mrs. Doubtfire house.

Tyqwon Eugene Welch, in an undated photo, has been sentenced to probation for setting fire to the Mrs. Doubtfire house.

A transgender woman was sentenced today (Thursday, June 4) to five years of probation for setting fire to the San Francisco home made famous in the 1993 Robin Williams film Mrs. Doubtfire.

Tyqwon Eugene Welch, 26, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in May to two counts of unlawfully causing a fire to an inhabited structure and one count of possession of an incendiary device. She had previously proclaimed her innocence, saying in a jailhouse interview in March, “I didn’t do any of that stuff.”

Besides probation, Welch’s sentence also includes a year in jail, but because of the time she’s already served since her January arrest, she’s likely to be released today. She’s being allowed to serve her probation in Los Angeles.

Superior Court Judge James Collins ordered Welch, who didn’t make any statements about the fire Thursday, to stay 150 yards away from Dr. Douglas Ousterhout, who owns the Doubtfire home, and others. She also must register as an arsonist for life.

Ousterhout performed facial feminization surgery on Welch in 2014. She was unhappy with the results, and in January 2015, she set fire to the front door and garage doors of the doctor’s house, according to Welch’s plea and prosecutors.

In court today, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Clark expressed some concern that Welch would abide by the stay away order.

“There was some letter writing” and “computer work” up until the time of Welch’s May 14 plea, he said, and there’s a need to pay “close attention to whether or not the terms of that stay away order are being complied with,” he said.

Clark’s statement suggested Welch has been trying to contact Ousterhout, but he didn’t provide details of what exactly he was referring to. The district attorney’s office hasn’t responded to a request for more information. Ousterhout, who wasn’t in court Thursday, has previously declined requests for comment.

[Update:] An attorney familiar with the case said Welch sent a letter to Police Chief Greg Suhr, and someone posted negative comments about Ousterhout online. Since Welch has been in jail for five months, it’s unlikely she’s had access to a computer [End update].

When the Bay Area Reporter asked Deputy Public Defender Elizabeth Hilton, Welch’s attorney, after the hearing about what Clark had been talking about, she didn’t answer.

Instead, Hilton made it clear she’s still upset that the B.A.R. had interviewed Welch in jail. Hilton had declined to facilitate such a conversation, which Welch eventually proposed by sending an invitation to the paper via her mother.

“You have a right to interview my client,” Hilton said today, but it was “such a bad thing to do.”

Hilton said she understood the circumstances under which the interview had been conducted, and she started to say something else, but she stopped mid-sentence and walked away.

Hilton has suggested Welch pleaded guilty after previously declaring her innocence in order to avoid more serious punishment.

“Miss Welch considered the serious nature of the charges against her and the risks inherent in trial and decided this was the best resolution in light of those risks,” she said in an email earlier this week.

After Robin Williams’ suicide last August, many people left flowers and messages on the sidewalk and steps in front of Ousterhout’s home, at 2640 Steiner Street in Pacific Heights, to memorialize the actor.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:54 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

In Pride message, CA Senator Feinstein calls for pro-gay marriage ruling

Senator Dianne Feinstein

          Senator Dianne Feinstein

Back in 2004 California’s senior U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein faced criticism from LGBT activists when she spoke out against then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to marry same-sex couples in violation of state law.

Her calling Newsom’s move “too much, too fast, too soon,” led to Feinstein’s being given a Pink Brick award by the city’s Pride committee that June.

Eleven years later Feinstein, in her 2015 Pride month statement, is now calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage across the country. The nation’s highest court, as soon as this coming Monday, June 8, could issue its decision in the marriage equality case known as Obergefell v. Hodges.

“Marriage equality is now the law of the land in 37 states. This month, the Supreme Court could ensure once-and-for-all that legal marriage is available to all loving, committed couples in this country,” stated Feinstein, whose office  issued her statement to commemorate LGBT Pride Month today (Thursday, June 4). “If the court rules favorably, as I very much hope it will, it will send a strong message of equality under the law for married gay and lesbian couples and their children. I believe most Americans now recognize that this is simply the right thing to do.”

Like a majority of Americans, whose support of marriage rights for same-sex couples is now above 60 percent in recent polls, Feinstein’s evolution on the issue has been just as swift. Four years after the first marriages took place in San Francisco, Feinstein appeared in television ads in the fall of 2008 urging Californians to reject Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that defined marriage in the Golden State as between a man and a woman.

“Even when I went into political life, that was the way it was. It takes time,” Feinstein told the Bay Area Reporter in 2012. “I think as you know more people, and know more people who are happily married, our views change.”

Following Prop 8’s  passage, thus reversing the California Supreme Court’s ruling in the spring of 2008 to allow same-sex marriage, Feinstein turned her focus to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. She was one of 14 senators who initially voted against the anti-gay law in 1996.

In 2011 Feinstein introduced in the Senate a version of the Respect for Marriage Act aimed at striking down DOMA. She has continued to re-introduce it, as has its House sponsor Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), in order to see the homophobic law be fully repealed.

In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which led to the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages. The court’s decision also resulted in the four conjoined cases – from Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky – that the justices now have before them. Officials from the states are seeking to maintain their bans against same-sex marriage.

Even if the court were to strike down the remaining state-level marriage bans this month, its decision will not end the fight for full LGBT equality, as Feinstein emphasized in her Pride statement.

“Despite the incredible progress, much work remains. In many states, LGBT Americans can be fired from their job simply for who they are,” she noted. “Thousands of LGBT youth are homeless or victims of bullying. And LGBT couples who want to adopt children often face barriers.”

Feinstein added, “We must continue the march toward equality for all and I’m proud to stand with the LGBT community as we move forward.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:09 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Local, state politicos get in the Warriors spirit with friendly wagers

Political leaders from Oakland and California got into the spirit of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers being in the NBA finals by making friendly wagers with their Ohio counterparts.

(Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf)

(Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf)

The Warriors, with the best record in the league and MVP Stephen Curry and All-Star Klay Thompson in the starting lineup, take on LaBron James and the Cavaliers beginning Thursday (June 4) at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.

It’s the Warriors’ first appearance in the finals in 40 years.

Mixing it up from her earlier bets with fellow mayors in the playoff series, in lieu of a friendly wager with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has joined the Oakland-based Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to promote a friendly fundraising competition supporting families in need.

Each food bank has set a goal of $5,000 for the challenge, although there is no limit. The fan base that raises the most funds for its food bank by the end of the series will be declared the winner. The executive director of the food bank that has raised less money has promised to don the opposing team’s apparel and post a congratulatory video on Facebook.

“I’m excited to join the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in a spirited competition designed to bring awareness to the struggle faced by low-income residents in our respective cities,” Schaaf said in a statement.

Officials noted that Oakland and Cleveland both share proud blue-collar roots and passionate sports fans to match.

To donate to Alameda County Community Food Bank (Warriors), visit

To donate to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank (Cavaliers), visit

Every dollar raised will remain local. For every $1 donated, the Alameda food bank can provide $6 worth of food. In Cleveland, the same donation to its food bank provides four meals.

Other political leaders are taking the more traditional approach.

(Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

(Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) has a friendly wager with Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland). If the Warriors win, Fudge will offer Lee chocolates, peanuts, and pastries made in the heart of Cleveland. If the Cavaliers win, Lee will offer Fudge local favorites: Clif bars, Ghirardelli chocolates, Peet’s coffee, and an autographed photo of Curry in an Oaklandish tote bag.

On the Senate side, both of California’s senators have placed friendly wagers with their Ohio colleagues.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) has a bet with Senator Rob Portman (R) – fine California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon against Ohio’s Great Lakes beers ride on the outcome of the seven-game series.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D) has a bet with Sherrod Brown (D). Boxer is wagering Peet’s “Warriors Grounds” coffee and a case of Linden Street Brewery’s “New Oakland Glow” pilsner against beer that Brown will provide from Hoppin’ Frog Brewery.

A news release added that the loser will deliver the bounty to the winner’s office while wearing a jersey from the victor’s team.

— Cynthia Laird, June 3, 2015 @ 7:58 pm PST
Filed under: News,Politics,Sports

Man attacked, robbed at Castro dance club

A man suffered a concussion in an attack and robbery at a dance club in San Francisco’s Castro district early Saturday morning, police said today (Wednesday, June 3).

The incident occurred at 1:15 a.m. May 30 at a club at Market and Castro streets when “an unknown number of suspects approached” the 44-year-old victim, Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

After one of the suspects hit the man “over the head with an unknown object,” Esparza said, the man lost consciousness and awoke to find his cellphone, ATM card, driver’s license, keys, and cash had been taken.

The victim, who also suffered a bruised arm in the attack, took himself to the hospital.

Esparza didn’t share the name of the club where the incident happened, but The Café, 2369 Market, and Beaux, 2344 Market, are both near Castro and Market.

Café staff didn’t respond to requests for comment. Beaux co-owner Tim Eicher  said the incident didn’t appear to have occurred at his club.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information in the case may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 150482817.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:24 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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