Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Milk club early endorses gay SF college board candidates

SF college board candidate Tom Temprano

SF college board candidate Tom Temprano

The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club has early endorsed a trio of candidates for San Francisco’s college board this fall, including two of the three gay men in the race.

At its meeting Tuesday night (July 19), the progressive queer political club gave early nods to incumbent college board member Rafael Mandelman, the current president of the oversight body who is seeking re-election, as well as non-incumbents Tom Temprano and Shanell Williams.

Mandelman and Temprano are both past presidents of the Milk club and had earned the club’s backing of their previous bids for seats on the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees. Four years ago Mandelman, an attorney, first won election to a seat on the board and is again seeking a four-year term.

In November Temprano, a nightlife promoter and Mission bar owner, 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 and is now seeking election to a full four-year term.

Williams, who is African American and a graduate of City College, works as a community engagement specialist for the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative. She had served on the college board as the student representative for two terms as it battled to maintain its accreditation.

In 2012 the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges threatened to revoke City College’s accreditation, setting off a firestorm of criticism and plunging the school into a crisis it continues to resolve.

Both Randolph and Amy Bacharach, who won the race in 2014 for a two-year term on the board, are now running for re-election this year to full four-year terms.

One of the four college board seats on the November ballot will be open as Steve Ngo has said he will not seek re-election. The deadline for candidates to file is Friday, August 12 by 5 p.m., though it will be extended a week if Ngo, as the incumbent, does not run.

According to elections officials, the three incumbents and two challengers  are so far the only people to have pulled papers to run.

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 20, 2016 @ 2:41 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay SF toxicologist resigns

Dr. Nikolas Lemos (Photo: Facebook)

Dr. Nikolas Lemos (Photo: Facebook)

San Francisco’s chief toxicologist, a gay man, is leaving his post.

Dr. Nikolas Lemos, who’s worked for the medical examiner’s office since 2003, said in an email to the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday night, “The first-ever openly gay chief forensic toxicologist in the world has resigned.”

Lemos didn’t offer more information, saying only, “More details in my resignation letter – I hope you get to access it and read it…”

He didn’t provide a copy of the letter, and he hasn’t responded to requests for further comment.

Christopher Wirowek, deputy director of the medical examiner’s office, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

As the chief toxicologist, Lemos’ job includes testing blood and urine for drugs. Attorneys involved in criminal court cases regularly rely on his office’s reports.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, July 28 issue of the paper.



— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:49 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Trump picks Pence as running mate

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced on Twitter Friday morning that he has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate.

Trump was to have announced his pick at a news conference, but postponed that until Saturday, citing the shocking Bastille Day attack in Nice, France that left 84 people, including 10 children and adolescents, dead.

(Indiana Governor Mike Pence)

(Indiana Governor Mike Pence)

Pence is widely regarded as anti-gay in LGBT and Democratic circles, but in the eyes of the conservative Republican Party base, he’s seen as too soft on LGBT people.

That seemed to be the general assessment of various commentators this week as they imagined the reception Republican and conservative voters might have.

Pence, a former congressman, had himself pondered a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 when he got high marks from conservative organizations.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Pence opposed every piece of pro-equal rights legislation that came to the floor, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He also voted for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. In each of those years, his record on LGBT issues earned him a zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard.

Speaking at an event in Iowa in 2011, Pence suggested that allowing gay couples to marry would lead to an economic meltdown. He told MSNBC that repeal of DADT amounted to trying to “advance a liberal social agenda” and “mainstream homosexuality.”

In 2014 as governor, Pence led support behind a state bill to ban recognition of same-sex marriages. The cut sentence called for also banning recognition of other forms of same-sex relationships, such as civil unions. And in 2015, he supported and signed a bill that would have allowed citizens to discriminate against LGBT people by claiming to hold a religious belief that compelled them to do so.

That law led to a backlash among companies such as Salesforce and others, who threatened to pull business from the state.

As news about Trump’s choice as Pence for his running mate leaked out this week, Bob Vander Plaats, who has headed up anti-gay campaigns in Iowa, told an Iowa television station that Pence will attract evangelicals to the ticket because he is “pro-life” and against marriage for same-sex couples.

But Pence disappointed some conservatives last year when – after first supporting and signing the so-called religious freedom bill – he signed a “clarification bill” aimed at “resolving controversy” and “making clear every person feels welcome and respected” in Indiana.

The Republican convention begins Monday in Cleveland, Ohio. At least one out gay speaker has been announced: Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and a Facebook board member, will address the delegates.

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, July 15, 2016 @ 8:18 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Castro’s Cafe Flore is for sale

The Castro’s iconic Cafe Flore, a popular LGBT hangout for the past four decades, is for sale.

(The iconic Cafe Flore has been put on the market.)

(The iconic Cafe Flore has been put on the market.)

On July 11, the business, including use of its liquor license, was offered for sale for $495,000.

The funky dining and drinking spot, which was awarded best place for lunch and best outdoor patio in the Bay Area Reporter’s Besties readers’ poll this year, has hosted many charity fundraisers and community events, including last year’s 25th anniversary party for ACT UP.

Steven “Stu” Gerry, one of the owners, told the B.A.R. in a phone interview that the current partners would also be open to selling an interest in the business to people who could provide the capital to make some necessary improvements.

“Our hope is that Cafe Flore will continue,” said Gerry, who said he was showing the business to three prospective buyers just one day after it was listed. The property itself, owned by J.D. Petras, is not for sale.

“We’re willing to stay on in some capacity” to keep the business operating, said Gerry. “There are all kinds of possibilities” in structuring the deal, he said.

The decision to sell “was a tough call,” he said.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this in Thursday’s paper.

– reported by Sari Staver

— Cynthia Laird, July 12, 2016 @ 3:51 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wiener wants Kim to stop calling for ‘gimmicky, self-serving pledges’

Supervisors Jane Kim, left, and Scott Wiener at an April debate. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Supervisors Jane Kim, left, and Scott Wiener at an April debate. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Gay state Senate candidate Scott Wiener has called on his opponent, Jane Kim, to sign a “Pledge To Stop Demanding Gimmicky Self-Serving Pledges.”

In an open letter today (Thursday, July 7), Wiener, who serves with Kim on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and is running against her for the 11th District seat, refers to a recent request Kim made for Wiener to not “refer to her record or even say her name during the campaign.” Wednesday, she requested Wiener sign a pledge “to discourage outside negative attacks,” Wiener said in an email to supporters.

Wiener referred to Kim’s first pledge as the “Don’t say my name” pledge and said her messages are “anti-democratic and ill-advised attempts to censor the full and informed debate that voters deserve.”

He said her latest demand essentially asks him to “renounce his endorsement by the Democratic Party and by LGBT civil rights groups, by agreeing to pay a penalty if the Democratic Party or LGBT groups send out any voter communication listing their endorsement.”

Wiener also pointed to support Kim has received from PG&E and said as the company’s “favored candidate,” she’s “the beneficiary of a utility that is notorious for last-minute, lavish, and largely unaccountable expenditures to influence election outcomes.”

He then asks her to sign his pledge, which includes the promise to “refrain from feigned pretensions of shock, disappointment, offense, and other expressions of mock moral superiority because” her proposed pledges “are, in fact, political stunts and gimmicks unworthy of the voters.”

In an interview, Julie Edwards, who’s with Kim’s campaign, explained that Kim’s urging of Wiener to discourage outside help comes from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Massachusetts) “People’s Pledge,” which Edwards said has been shown to reduce “the influence of outside spending in elections.”

“To call Elizabeth Warren’s People’s Pledge a gimmick is a remarkable statement,” Edwards said, and shows “how determined he is to run a negative campaign.”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 7, 2016 @ 1:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay man attacked at tent in SOMA


Division and Potrero streets. (Photo: Google)

Division and Potrero streets. (Photo: Google)

A gay man was attacked Monday at his tent in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

The July 4 attack started at about 1 a.m. at Division and Potrero streets after the victim confronted the suspect, “who was being noisy” outside the victim’s tent, Officer Carlos Manfredi, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary.

The suspect called the victim “a derogatory name” and then threw an unknown object at the victim, who’s 42 and “claimed to be homosexual.”

The victim suffered a cut to his right palm that required stitches and was taken to a hospital, Manfredi said.

The suspect was described as a black male ages 27 to 28. No arrests have been made. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

The incident occurred in an area that’s been the site of numerous homeless tent encampments.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 6, 2016 @ 2:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

California has officially broken up with the terms “husband” and “wife”

California is divorcing itself from the terms “husband” and “wife” when it comes to the terminology found in its state codes.

Governor Jerry Brown announced this morning that he had signed into law Senate Bill 1005 by state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). The legislation changes the terms “husband” and “wife” to the gender-neutral term “spouse” in more than a dozen sections of California code.

California Governor Jerry Brown (Courtesy governor's office)

California Governor Jerry Brown (Courtesy governor’s office)

Brown signed the bill without comment. It the first of five LGBT-specific bills to be officially adopted this legislative session.

This past Sunday, June 26, marked the third anniversary since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to stand a lower court ruling invalidating Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban voters adopted in 2008, leading the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

Sunday, which coincided with this year’s San Francisco Pride parade, also marked the one-year anniversary since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all 50 states must allow same-sex couples to wed.

Due to Jackson’s bill the non-gender specific “spouses” found in California codes will also refer to registered domestic partners. The legislation followed on the heels of a number of code language clean up bills that gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) passed in previous years that also did away with gender-specific terminology favoring heterosexual couples.

Jackson introduced SB 1005 not only in response to same-sex couples being able to legally marry in the Golden State, but also in recognition of those couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, that have decided to remain in, or enter into, registered domestic partnerships.

“I’m very pleased this bill has now become law. By removing outdated language from the state code, the law will now accurately reflect the rights of same-sex couples in California and the fact that marriage equality is now the law of the land,” stated Jackson in a statement issued Tuesday, July 5. “This helps ensure the equal and fair treatment of all same-sex couples in California.”

Added Rick Zbur, executive director of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality California, “We are grateful to Senator Jackson and to Governor Brown for making sure all areas of the law reflect reality and respect married same-sex couples.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 1, 2016 @ 11:06 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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