Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Castro car thief found sleeping in stolen Prius

A Toyota Prius. Photo: Toyota.

A Toyota Prius. Photo: Toyota.

San Francisco police arrested a man with a decades-long criminal history Wednesday after finding him asleep in the Prius he’d allegedly stolen in the Castro district.

A man had parked the car in front of his house at Diamond and 18th streets Tuesday and gone to bed, according to police Captain Simon Silverman, who heads Richmond Station, the district where the car was located.

Wednesday morning, an app notified the car’s owner that “his car had been driven around over night,” Silverman said in the latest Richmond Station newsletter. “He tracked the car to El Camino Del Mar and 25th Avenue and called the SFPD. The responding officer found the suspect asleep in the car” at 8:30 a.m. “and arrested him.” The suspect’s name hasn’t been released.

Silverman said the district attorney’s office dismissed the charges against the suspect “and instead filed a motion to revoke his probation.”

The man had been placed on three years probation in June 2013 “for possession of stolen property,” according to Silverman. “He has been arrested over a dozen times since being placed on that probation. He has an extensive arrest record dating back to 1987 with charges including grand theft, robbery, burglary, vehicle tampering, and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age.”

In his summary of the case, Silverman said, “The stereotypical car thief is often caught taking the stolen car on a wild ride, hence the popular bumper sticker ‘Drive it like you stole it.’ It would appear however, that Prius thieves, like their car of choice, are a more sedate sort … or maybe not … .”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 26, 2016 @ 5:06 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ 100th episode party set for Mezzanine

RuPaul

RuPaul

The club Mezzanine is hosting a party Sunday, February 28 to mark the 100th episode of the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Sunday’s event will feature performances by Season 8 contestants Acid Betty, Bob The Drag Queen, Chi Chi Devayne, and several others, along with Season Six Winner Bianca Del Rio and DJ Lady Bunny.

Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show begins at 9. Tickets are $40 to $75.

Many will likely stay home to watch the Academy Awards presentation, which is happening around the same time, but Richard Ferraro, who’s promoting the party, said in an email that organizers aren’t worried that the Oscar broadcast will hurt attendance at their show.

“It’s tough to be up against the Oscars but ticket sales have surprisingly been very strong,” Ferraro said.

The new of Drag Race premieres Monday, March 7 with “a supersized 90-minute episode that unveils a court of cut-throat Queens each competing to snatch the crown and strut away with a $100,000 cash prize and the coveted title of ‘America’s Next Drag Superstar,'” a news release says. “Along the way, they’ll face an unpredictable competition and deliver gag-worthy and jaw-dropping moments as these talented ladies of drag join the fabulous 88 Queens who fought for the crown before them.”

Mezzanine is at 444 Jessie Street in San Francisco.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Workers protest staffing shortages at Zuckerberg hospital

Nurse Sasha Cuttler protests staffing shortages at San Francisco's Zuckerberg hospital Thursday.

Nurse Sasha Cuttler protests staffing shortages Thursday at San Francisco’s Zuckerberg hospital.

Workers at Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center protested this week over staffing shortages, saying hospital practices could harm patients.

Sasha Cuttler, 55, a nurse who’s been at Zuckerberg since working in the inpatient AIDS unit in 1987, was one of the people who protested Thursday.

“We are so proud to work for one of the finest public hospitals in the world that is a leader in LGBT and HIV care,” said Cuttler, who identifies as “drag queen/questioning.”

“This is the people’s hospital and it requires safe staffing to assure that our community leaves the hospital in better shape than when they came in. Many of us are appalled that the City renamed the hospital for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg rather than thanking him and putting his name on a plaque. …We are all paying for the bond that built a brand new hospital. Renaming the front of the hospital Wells Fargo Plaza and the Bank of America Medical Surgical Unit is in shocking bad taste and rewards the banks who profited from bail outs and foreclosing on homes.”

A news release from Service Employees International Union Local 1021 says, “Although San Francisco is on the verge of opening a new hospital building, the health care workers will report on the ongoing and unaddressed issue of understaffing.”

One example the union pointed to is when nurses use a buddy system so there’s someone to cover them when they take legally mandated breaks. This violates staffing ratio laws, according to union representatives.

“During break time, this buddy system could potentially place one nurse responsible for up to 10 patients, depending on the unit they work on,” the news release says.

Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for the city’s health department, which runs the hospital, said in an email, “Nurses are crucial to good patient care, and at the health department we work closely with our nurses in many forums, including regular labor-management committees and during collective bargaining. We will continue to listen to their concerns and address these issues together in those settings.”

Dr. Susan Ehrlich, an out lesbian, was recently named as CEO of the hospital, which is commonly known as San Francisco General. Ehrlich’s first day will be April 25.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:27 am PST
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SF planning commission sends affordable housing density proposal to supervisors

Under the density program buildings, such as the one depicted above, could go from four to six stories in height.

Under the density program buildings, such as the one depicted above, could go from four to six stories in height.

The city’s planning commission sent a proposal to boost affordable housing in San Francisco to the Board of Supervisors after a marathon meeting Thursday.

After taking several votes to amend various sections of the proposal, the commission opted on a unanimous 6-0 vote to forward the program on to the supervisors without a recommendation on if they should adopt it.

It was the fifth time the commission had taken up the program, and tonight’s hearing last nearly six hours. Planning commissioner Rich Hillis said he felt the program would “work better” on wider transit corridors in the city than on narrower residential streets.

Commissioner Michael Antonini expressed his support for the program being adopted.

“We are trying to provide more affordability using the private sector to do it without public funds,” he noted. “No one else is going to be able to afford to build middle-income housing in San Francisco.”

It is unclear if the program will survive review by the supervisor’s progressive majority. It continues to be vociferously opposed by residents in neighborhoods across the city as well as affordable housing activists.

Should city leaders opt not to adopt the local measure, then developers could request higher density in their projects under a state law that allows them to provide less affordable housing in return. The city program would require 30 percent affordability, whereas the state density bonus program calls for 12 to 18 percent affordability in projects.

“We are trying to figure out ways to better utilize under-utilized sites in our part of town along transit corridors,” said District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang, who worked with Mayor Ed Lee’s office and planning staff to develop the program. “I applaud planning staff for the hard work they did listening to the community to make this better.”

The aim of the city program is to allow for “a strategic in-fill approach across the city,” said Gil Kelley, director of citywide planning in the planning department. “I urge you to keep in mind the basic tradeoff here is not to use public subsidy but to harness private investment to get higher affordable units in tradeoff for height and density bonuses.”

Kelley stressed that “the state program does allow people to ask for the same equivalent of bonuses without the same number of affordable units.”

But Lorraine Petty, with San Franciscans for Community Planning, had urged the commissioners to recommend that the supervisors not adopt the proposal and instruct the planning department to go back to the drawing board.

“We are opposed to the density bonus program,” she said. “We do not oppose development. We are very much in favor of building new affordable housing. But a massive new government plan, first and foremost, has to preserve what we already have.”

Some residents have spoken out in favor of the program. They argue it would provide housing for those who are middle income yet can’t afford to live in the city.

“I urge you to support this,” said Noe Valley resident Daniel Camp, who bemoaned the city’s high housing costs mean he is unlikely to ever be a homeowner here. “We are in a crisis level housing shortage.”

As the Bay Area Reporter has noted, the Affordable Housing Bonus Program would award projects that include higher amounts of affordable housing than what is currently required with such development incentives as increased density, heights, and limited reductions in other zoning requirements, according to city planners.

The city’s planning department estimates the program would produce 5,000 permanently affordable units over 20 years without any public dollars and solely through private investment. It is estimated that the program could generate upwards of $99 million in new transportation funding.

The Western Addition, Bayview, and Richmond neighborhoods would be among those most impacted, while several blocks along Castro Street would also be covered. Properties along upper Market Street would not be covered as they fall under the Market Octavia Plan.

In response to public complaints, the program has been amended since it was first rolled out last fall so that it would not cover buildings with rent-controlled units or that are considered to be of historical significance. The commission voted Thursday night to also exclude from the program any project that demolished existing housing units.

And they suggested the program be phased in over time, starting with vacant lots or abandoned gas stations, with planning staff doing a more in-depth review of the other properties eligible for the program that includes community input. That amendment passed 4-2, with commissioners Cindy Wu and Kathrin Moore opposed.

The commission also on a 4-2 vote, with Wu and Moore against, added a design guideline to maximize light and air to the sidewalks and frontages along the streets, including alleyways, of projects given extra density. They also asked planning staff to further look at lot merger rules under the program.

Moore expressed concerns that the new buildings adhere to the design guidelines already in place for the various neighborhoods.

“I do caution we do not make this one size fits all,” she said.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:51 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gay man not recommended for SF veterans panel

Gay San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commissioner John Caldera was not recommended for a new term, after the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee voted for three other people to pass along to the full board.

Caldera did not attend the rules committee meeting Thursday (February 25).

(John Caldera. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

(John Caldera. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

There were nine people who had applied for three seats on the panel. Several of them also did not attend the meeting.

After hearing from those candidates who did show up, Supervisors Katy Tang and Malia Cohen voted 2-0 to forward the names of commission President Michael Maffei, Kimberly Flaherty, and William Barnickel to the full board. The supervisors can either approve the recommendation or select different people for the commission seats.

During his comments, Maffei mentioned that attendance has been an issue on the panel and he said he supported a bylaws change or some other mechanism so that the commission can address “those who have a less than stellar attendance” record. He also said the panel wants to do more for homeless veterans and improve relations between the panel, the mayor, and the supervisors.

In addition to helping homeless vets, Maffei said the commission also wants to work on employment and housing issues that veterans face.

Barnickel said that serving on the commission is his “calling,” and also said that mental health is a “huge” concern among veterans.

Flaherty said that housing is her main concern, and noted that she served in the Army from 1987-1990. She currently works at the San Francisco Public Library (she started out as a volunteer and ended up securing a paid position) and attends City College of San Francisco.

“I promise my attendance will be perfect,” she said.

Caldera did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

In another matter before the committee, gay city resident Ken Maley was recommended to the full board for a seat on the Park, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Committee.

Maley, a resident of District 3, said that he has experience working on various park projects, such as landmarking Coit Tower and Washington Square Park. A former member of the San Francisco Civil Grant Jury, Maley said during his time on that panel grand jurors investigated the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and determined that a lot of money was “drained” from projects to cover administrative costs.

District 6 resident Jane Weill was also recommended to the full board for a seat on the park advisory committee.

— Cynthia Laird, February 25, 2016 @ 2:29 pm PST
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Former Milk club prez Tom Temprano officially announces SF college board bid

Tom-Temprano-176Thomas Temprano, a former co-president of the progressive Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, has launched his 2016 campaign for a seat on the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees.

In November Temprano, who goes by Tom, fell short in his bid to unseat gay college board member Alex Randolph, who was tapped by Mayor Ed Lee last year to fill a vacancy. He landed in second place, behind Randolph, in the four-person race.

The Bay Area Reporter’s Political Notebook had reported February 11 that Temprano, a gay man and Mission bar owner, planned to run again this year for one of the four city college board seats that will be on the November ballot.

In an email he sent to supporters this morning (Thursday, February 25), Temprano made it official.

“One of the most important things I learned last year is what it takes to win a campaign. You definitely need to raise money and you definitely need to post signs, knock on doors, and talk to voters,” wrote Temprano. “But the most important thing a candidate can do is bring people together – to unite people around a common goal, and to show people they’re ready to lead the fight to protect the school that we love.”

At least one of the four college board seats will be open as Steve Ngo has told Temprano and others he does not plan to run again.

Both Randolph and Rafael Mandelman, a gay man who is the current president of the college board, will be running this fall for re-election to four-year terms. Amy Bacharach, who won the race in 2014 for a two-year term on the board, is also running for re-election this year to a full four-year term.

Unlike in last year’s race, where he remained neutral, Mandelman has endorsed Temprano’s bid, as has gay former District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty. Tom Ammiano, a gay man and former state assemblyman, and gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos have endorsed Temprano’s campaign, as they did last year.

In an interview Wednesday with the B.A.R. Temprano said because there will be an open board seat this go around, the election should have a different tenor than last year’s when people had to choose sides.

“I think this will be a really different race,” he said. “Personally, I am certainly a lot wiser and more experienced than I was last year.”

Nor is he concerned that voters may not support electing a third gay man to the college board. He noted that many of the district’s students are LGBT and that City College employs many LGBT faculty and staff.

As the B.A.R. has noted, Temprano also pointed to the fact that the number of LGBT elected officials in San Francisco has been shrinking in recent years. In fact, there is a remote chance the November election could result in there being no out supervisor in the city since 1977.

“Kind of speaking to the fact we may have a Board of Supervisors with no LGBT people on it, it is exciting to have LGBT representation anywhere in San Francisco,” he said.

Temprano plans to have a public kickoff event for his campaign sometime in March.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 11:00 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Proposed porn regulations defeated

A scene from Liam Cole's Overload. Photo: via Treasure Island Media.

A scene from Liam Cole’s Overload. Photo: via Treasure Island Media.

A proposal that would have required condoms, dental dams, eye protection, and other barriers in porn movies was defeated today (Thursday, February 18) at a California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health board meeting in Oakland.

At today’s hearing before the agency’s standards board, almost 100 performers, along with producers, doctors, and others spoke against the regulations, according to the Free Speech Coalition.

Eric Paul Leue, the porn group’s executive director, said in a news release, “These regulations were based in stigma rather than science, and would have severely hurt adult performers. This shows what can happen when producers and performers unite. We look forward to working with Cal/OSHA on sensible regulation that respects performers’ choices.”

However, Leue added, “a larger battle” remains.

The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundations is backing a state ballot initiative that would “replicate and amplify the worst parts of the regulations” that failed today, he said. Additionally, AHF’s proposal would allow private citizens to sue porn actors for not using condoms in films.

“This idea – that private citizens can sue adult performers because of actions they disapprove of is outrageous, and would not be permitted in any other sector of our society,” Leue said.  “We will fight this, and this too, we will win.”

An AHF spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter, staff at Cal/OSHA said, “While the standards board voted against adopting the proposed regulation, condoms are still required under the existing bloodborne pathogens standard in California and nationwide. This includes adult films.”

The agency “will continue to enforce existing regulations and investigate complaints in the adult film industry, as it has since 2004.”

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 18, 2016 @ 6:12 pm PST
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Lesbian SF supervisor candidate secures Milk club endorsement

District 11 supervisor candidate Kimberly Alvarenga

District 11 supervisor candidate Kimberly Alvarenga

A lesbian San Francisco supervisor candidate has secured the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club’s early endorsement in her race for the open District 11 seat.

The vote by the more progressive Milk club’s members Tuesday night was expected, as its political action committee had recommended that it support Kimberly Alvarenga in the fall election. A Milk club member since 2008, Alvarenga at one time served on the PAC.

The political director of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, Alvarenga, 46, and her wife, Linnette Haynes, are raising their 3-year-old son, Oziah, in the city’s Crocker-Amazon neighborhood.

As the Bay Area Reporter has noted, Alvarenga would be the first out lesbian to win a district-based supervisor election in San Francisco since 2000, when the city’s 11 supervisors reverted to being elected from districts rather than citywide.

The last lesbian to serve as a supervisor was Leslie Katz, who left the board in 2001 and is now a city port commissioner.

“The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club was founded to support queer progressives for elected office. That is why we felt so strongly about coming out early in our endorsement of Kimberly Alvarenga, a lesbian progressive woman of color and member of our club,” stated Milk club president Peter Gallotta. “We know that Kimberly will be a strong voice for the LGBT community, communities of color, and working families at a time when San Francisco is experiencing increased inequality and unaffordability that is pushing so many of us out.”

Facing off against Alvarenga for the District 11 seat is Ahsha Safai, who worked for former mayors Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom. Since 2008, he has been the political director for San Francisco Janitors Union Local 87. He lives in the Excelsior with his wife, Yadira, and their two children.

In 2008 Safai lost to Supervisor John Avalos, who is barred by term limits from running again for the District 11 seat, which includes the city’s southern neighborhoods of the Excelsior, Ingleside, Oceanview, Outer Mission, and Crocker-Amazon

Among Safai’s LGBT backers are gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, and gay former District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

As for Alvarenga, she also picked up this week endorsements from the California Nurses Association and former Mayor Art Agnos.

“Kimberly is the only candidate we trust in this race to fight for health care for everyone,” stated Zenei Cortez, co-president of the nurses union. “She’ll defend the safety net and hold the healthcare industry accountable for how they behave in our communities.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 17, 2016 @ 3:28 pm PST
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California may ban state-funded travel to states with anti-LGBT laws

Assemblyman Evan Low

Assemblyman Evan Low

A gay California lawmaker wants to ban state-funded travel to states with anti-LGBT laws.

Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) has introduced  AB 1887, which would end state-funded travel to any state with a law in effect that sanctions or requires discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

The announcement by Low’s office this morning (Wednesday, February 17) comes as a number of Republican-controlled state legislatures in the Midwest and the South have moved to adopt a range of anti-LGBT legislation.

While measures in Indiana, Washington, and Virginia have been defeated in recent weeks, several pieces of legislation that discriminate against transgender students have been advancing in South Dakota. And a bill in Tennessee giving counselors the right to not see patients based on their religious beliefs is now before that state’s Senate.

The American Civil Liberties Union and LGBT rights groups are also tracking anti-LGBT bills in the state legislatures in Georgia, Florida, West Virginia and elsewhere.

Low’s bill mirrors the actions a number of cities and counties, including San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Clara County, took last year after Indiana lawmakers adopted a so-called “religious freedom” bill allowing Indiana residents and business owners to claim religious beliefs to legally discriminate against gays and lesbians. Due to widespread opposition, especially from business leaders, Hoosier legislators revised the law; an effort this year to pass legislation banning LGBT-based discrimination in the state failed.

“The Golden State has always been a leader in protecting civil rights and preventing discrimination,,” stated Low. “Our zero-tolerance policy says there is no room for discrimination of any kind in California, and will certainly not be tolerated beyond our borders.”

A second bill Low has proposed, AB 1888, would require all institutions receiving CalGrant dollars to certify to the California Student Aid Commission that they do not discriminate on the basis of, among other things, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The law would also prohibit the institutions from seeking a Title IX waiver from the U.S. Department of Education as a condition of receiving state funds.

Low’s office pointed to a recent report by the Human Rights Campaign that found the rate of schools seeking waivers increased dramatically from one school in the nation in 2013, to more than 43 schools in 2015, six of which are in California.

Equality California, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, is backing both of Low’s bills.

“These bills send a clear message that the state of California does not tolerate discrimination in any form,” stated EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur. “Now that the LGBT community has won marriage equality and made so many positive strides in other areas, we are seeing a disturbing trend of our opponents using exemptions based on religious freedom to justify discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas. These bills end state subsidies of educational institutions that refuse to treat all students and employees equally, as well as state-funded travel to jurisdictions that discriminate.”

Both bills will be referred to a policy committee in the coming weeks and will be heard in committee this spring.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:54 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SJ man arrested in sex sting

Gerald McGuire. Photo: San Jose Police Department.

Gerald McGuire. Photo: San Jose Police Department.

A San Jose man was recently arrested after he allegedly went to a park to meet with a police officer who’d been posing as a “juvenile male,” San Jose police said.

Gerald Patrick McGuire, 62, allegedly posted a social media ad seeking a “younger male,” according to a news release from police. A Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force officer who was “conducting online chat as a male juvenile” responded and “had several conversations with” McGuire, who “made several incriminating statements online” directed at the officer. Additionally, police said, he “sent harmful matter to the online account of the male juvenile (Officer).”

Wednesday, McGuire allegedly arranged to meet the boy in Commodore Park, which is in East San Jose. Officers stopped McGuire and detained him, police said. McGuire was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of “sending harmful matter to a minor and contacting a minor with the intent to commit a felony,” police said.

McGuire remains in custody on $75,000 bail, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department. A court date of February 16 has been set. A public defender’s attorney has not yet been assigned to him.

Randy Attaway, a principal at AGC Mechanical in Campbell, California, where McGuire had worked as a purchasing manager, said he was “very disappointed” and “disgusted” about McGuire’s arrest, but “I’m glad that he was stopped.”

Attaway said the news was a surprise to him.

“You would never ever suspect anything,” he said. “There was absolutely no indication” that McGuire would commit such a crime.

McGuire “didn’t appear to be” gay, Attaway said, but “I would have no idea.”

He said McGuire “was let go about a month and a half ago.” There hadn’t been any performance problems or other issues, but “we needed someone to do safety, along with the role he played,” Attaway said. McGuire had worked at the company for “maybe two years.”

A call to a number listed as McGuire’s home phone wasn’t returned Friday.

Officer Enrique Garcia, a police spokesman, declined to say what the statements were that McGuire allegedly made or what the “harmful matter” was. “No new victims” have been reported, according to Garcia.

Anyone with information about the incident may contact San Jose police Detective C. Mendoza at (408) 277-4102. Those who want to remain anonymous may call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (408) 947-7867, or submit a tip online.

Information leading to arrest and conviction may result in a cash reward.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 13, 2016 @ 5:41 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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