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

Diaz, recently freed in arson case, back in jail on assault, other charges

David Diaz in a January 2015 court appearance. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

David Diaz in a January 2015 court appearance. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

David Munoz Diaz, who was acquitted in 2014 of murdering another man during a sexual encounter in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, and then released from jail in September in an unrelated arson case, is back in custody on suspicion of assault and other charges.

Sheriff’s department records say that Diaz, 27, was booked Tuesday, November 29 into San Francisco County Jail #2. The charges listed are assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury, unlawful use of a badge, false imprisonment, mayhem, battery with serious bodily injury.

Prosecutors have filed a motion to revoke Diaz’s probation from the arson case, rather than pursue new charges in the alleged assault.

Larry Metzger, 58, who was Diaz’s boyfriend, said that he saw Diaz briefly yesterday in the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital after learning that he’d been hospitalized.

Diaz told him that he’d been “hit with a pipe,” Metzger said, but he didn’t have much more information, because police had told him he had to leave.

“He looked pretty bad,” Metzger said. “He had stitches on his forehead.”

Metzger said he didn’t know who had struck Diaz with a pipe or where it had happened.

Diaz is due in court Friday, December 2 for a hearing on the Adult Probation Department’s motion to revoke his post-release community supervision status. He’s being held without bond.

The Bay Area Reporter will post more on this story soon.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 30, 2016 @ 5:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Three violent robberies reported in Castro

Photo: Rick Gerharter

Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco police are investigating three violent robberies that have taken place in the Castro district in recent days.

In one incident, police said, three men approached a 61-year-old man in the 4000 block of 18th Street at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday, November 22, “and asked him if he wanted to buy some property.”

The victim refused, then started to walk away, but the suspect, 31, punched him, took some paper from his pockets, and fled on foot. The suspect was arrested after a witness followed him and told responding officers where the suspect was.

The suspect’s name hasn’t been released.

The victim declined medical treatment.

In another robbery, Monday, December 21, a man was beaten and robbed in the 3500 block of 18th Street.

Police said the incident occurred at 8 p.m. when the 54-year-old male victim was on a bus. A suspect grabbed the victim’s belongings and started to walk away. The victim tried to stop him, but two other suspects punched and kicked the victim before the three attackers fled east on 18th.

The victim, whose backpack was taken, was transported with non-life threatening injuries to a hospital.

The suspects were described only as three 20-year-old black males. No arrests have been reported.

A a third robbery occurred at 2 a.m. Saturday, November 19 at Collingwood and Market streets, police said.

The incident started as the victim, 34, “was walking to his vehicle,” according to police. The suspect “pushed him from behind and knocked him down to the ground. When [the victim] got up, he realized that his cell phone had been stolen.”

The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital. There was no description of the suspect. No arrests have been announced.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 23, 2016 @ 4:53 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Anti-Trump SF artist jailed for ‘racist’ graffiti explains acts

David Chacon. (Photo: Facebook)

David Chacon in a photo posted to Facebook in 2013.

A San Francisco artist who was jailed recently on vandalism and hate crime charges said he’d spray painted a swastika and the words “Fuck white people” on a Bayview district brewery while he was “wasted” and thinking about President-elect Donald Trump.

“It’s not a racist thing, it’s not a hate thing,” David Chacon, 33, said during a jailhouse interview Tuesday, November 22, hours before he was set to be released.

He said he’d been trying to express his feelings, but “it just comes out so horrible. It’s dumb. It’s not helping. … I’m truly sorry. This is definitely something I didn’t want to happen.”

According to police, at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday, November 17, Chacon “was observed spray painting a racist epithet and a symbol on the wall of a business” in the 1400 block of Egbert Street. He then sprayed gold colored paint onto the hood of a parked Toyota pickup truck.” He was taken into custody and charged with felony vandalism and a hate crime enhancement.

Chacon, who’s Hispanic, said he’d had seven shots of whiskey on an empty stomach near the Laughing Monk Brewery, 1439 Egbert, Thursday, and he and a Native American friend “were going off about how Trump won” the presidency. The drinking “amplified my anger about the whole thing,” he said. “…I was not thinking straight.”

He’d also been thinking about friends of his who are also queer people of color and who have expressed anger about white people and gentrification. Asked about his own orientation, Chacon said he’s “not gay. I guess you could say ‘queer,’ but I don’t really do identities, to be honest.”

As for spray-painting the truck, Chacon said, “Did I put something on a truck?” He said he may have painted another swastika.

“If something funky was on the truck, it was probably my doing as well,” he said.

He said that after he made the graffiti, he got into an argument with people from the brewery. He couldn’t remember what was said, but there was “a whole lot of yelling back and forth,” and “I wasn’t making any sense.” Soon, police came, and Chacon said he “surrendered immediately.”

“I definitely sobered up once I got put away here,” Chacon said.

“I did do it,” he said of the graffiti. “There’s no doubt about it. I was caught red-handed.”

Chacon likened Trump to Adolf Hitler and said the president-elect’s bigoted rhetoric has “put a face” to white supremacy in the country.

He regrets the way he expressed himself last week, though, and said, “I’ve got to work on my message big time.”

He also said he doesn’t have anything against Jewish people, and “I really don’t have anything against any race.” Chacon added that he has white friends and he has an ex-girlfriend who’s white. The hate crime allegation has been dropped, he said.

The Bayview is one of the many San Francisco neighborhoods where people have expressed concern that residents who are people of color are being priced out by high-income white people and the businesses that cater to them. Chacon said he doesn’t have anything against the Laughing Monk, though.

“It could have been any brewery, or any businesses,” he said.

Chacon, who indicated he’d pleaded not guilty in this case, said he’s previously been detained for public intoxication. He’d been held on $78,000 bail – a relatively minor amount – but said friends of his had refused to get him out, telling him he needed to think about what he did.

“This whole thing shook my whole life up, and not in a good way,” Chacon said. “…It was a wake up call for me.”

Sheriff’s department records indicate Chacon is out of custody. His next court date couldn’t immediately be confirmed. Calls to Laughing Monk and Deputy Public Defender Phoenix Streets, Chacon’s attorney, weren’t returned Wednesday afternoon.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:57 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gay Berkeley councilman concedes race

Longtime Berkeley City Councilman Darryl Moore conceded his race this week, and will leave the post next month after 12 years.

(Berkeley Councilman Darryl Moore. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(Berkeley Councilman Darryl Moore. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Moore, a gay African-American man, lost to challenger Cheryl Davila, 48.75 to 51.25 percent after three rounds of ranked-choice voting. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters issued its unofficial tally Friday, November 18 and until then, the margin between Davila and Moore had been hovering between 42 and 89 votes, he said in a statement, making the race too close to call.

Moore said he called Davila Monday, November 21 to congratulate her on her victory.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of Council District 2 and the city of Berkeley, a vibrant community of neighborhoods and engaged residents,” Moore stated. “I am proud of my leadership during my time on the council and wish the new council and mayor good luck as they tackle the challenges of our city.”

In addition to Davila, Ben Bartlett and Sophie Hahn were elected as new councilmembers. Berkeley Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguin, a straight ally, will become the city’s youngest mayor, at age 32, and its first Latino mayor when he is sworn in next month.

Davila has some history with Moore. He had appointed her to a city commission and then clashed with her last fall when she called for the city to divest from Israel due to its treatment of Palestinians. He maintained his objection to Davila’s measure stemmed from his belief it was not the right commission to address the topic.

In his statement, Moore said that he will continue his position as a senior management analyst with the Oakland Housing Authority, where he has worked for many years. His future plans for public service are still unclear.

“Serving my community has always been something that has brought me a great deal of satisfaction,” he said in the statement. “I’m very proud of my work on the Berkeley City Council. I plan to take a bit of time to decide where my skills and talents could be utilized to best benefit my community.”

On the council, Moore worked on providing affordable housing, improving academic opportunities, ensuring public safety, advancing Berkeley’s Climate Action goals, and establishing the city as a job creator. His work on the council has been focused on collaborating with his colleagues, the private sector, and the community, according to his statement.

The City Council continues to have out members Kriss Worthington and Lori Droste on it. Moore, outgoing Mayor Tom Bates, and other departing councilmembers will be thanked for their service at the council’s meeting Tuesday, November 29.

Moore, who was the first out African-American elected to office when he won a seat on the Peralta Community College board in 2000, currently serves as board chair of the National Black Justice Coalition.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 11:11 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Finn Town eatery announces Castro opening

Chef Ryan Scott (Photo: Facebook)

Chef Ryan Scott (Photo: Facebook)

The restaurant Finn Town has announced it’s opening at 2251 Market Street in the Castro Friday, December 2.

The eatery, which backers say is inspired by the Gold Rush era when the gay neighborhood was known as Finn Town, will feature the work of chef Ryan Scott, who appeared on the TV show Top Chef. It will combine “contemporary comfort fare with a vibrant cocktail scene,” according to a news release.  

“We wanted to create an upbeat neighborhood atmosphere that visually harkens back to the 1850s when the food was unpretentious and the drinks were strong and satisfying,” Scott stated. “Everything at Finn Town will be made in-house from the Fresno hot sauce on our deviled eggs to the English muffins at brunch and of course, every dessert and a daily bread.”

Ryan is straight but Rick Hamer, Finn Town’s owner, is gay.

Bar offerings will include cocktails, beer, wine, and cider.

For more information, visit www.finntownsf.com.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 18, 2016 @ 6:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man beaten with golf club, bitten in Duboce Triangle attack

The former Home restaurant. Photo: Google.

The former Home restaurant. Photo: Google.

A 24-year-old man who’d been walking with his boyfriend was beaten with a golf club and bitten by another man in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle district Thursday night.

The incident occurred in the 2100 block of Market Street, near the former Home restaurant and a Safeway supermarket, at 10:35 p.m.

The victim and his boyfriend were walking down the street “when for no apparent reason,” the suspect “flicked a cigarette” at the victim, according to Officer Giselle Talkoff, a police spokeswoman.

The victim and suspect got into a physical fight, and the suspect hit the victim “numerous times to the head and body with a golf club,” Talkoff said. The two men “fell to the ground” when the suspect bit the victim’s inner left thigh. The suspect fled west on Market.

The victim’s injuries were considered non-life threatening and he refused medical treatment.

Talkoff described the suspect as an Asian male between 20 and 25 years old.

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


SF planning body approves demolition of LGBT historic site

LGBT advocactes are fighting to preserve the properties at 950-964 Market Street that once housed several gay bars and other businesses with ties to the LGBT community. Photo: Kelly Sullivan

LGBT advocates are fighting to preserve the properties at 950-974 Market Street that once housed several gay bars and other businesses with ties to the LGBT community. Photo: Kelly Sullivan

The demolition of an LGBT historic site in San Francisco to make way for a mega-development is moving forward over the objections of the project’s critics who argue the site should be preserved.

The Planning Commission, at its meeting today (Thursday, November 17) voted 6-1 to approve the project located at 950-974 Market Street, where several gay bars once operated and was part of a well-known gay cruising area in the city’s Tenderloin district.

Group I, a San Francisco-based real estate development company, plans to demolish the existing buildings in order to construct a 12-story, 120-foot-tall building. It would include a 232-room hotel, 244 housing units, ground floor retail, and space for a local nonprofit theater company. There will also be a project off-site nearby with close to 70 below-market-rate units that the developer is helping to pay to build.

The triangular block sits where Market, Turk and Mason streets intersect and straddles both the Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods. As the B.A.R. first reported in February, the building once housed the Tenderloin’s first gay bars and helped facilitate gay and transgender prostitution and hustling in the area.

As detailed in the Citywide Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ History in San Francisco, the Old Crow Bar opened at 962 Market Street around 1935, while the Silver Rail opened at 974 Market Street about 1942. Additionally, the Flagg Brothers shoe store that had occupied 950 Market Street was documented in the report as a well-known gay cruising spot.

Shayne Watson, a lesbian and local LGBT historian who co-wrote the context statement, filed an appeal last winter against the planning department’s initial analysis of the Group I project for omitting the site’s historical ties to the LGBT community. In response, city planners issued a new preliminary mitigated negative declaration for the project in July.

But they concluded that none of the existing structures would qualify for federal or state landmark status due to the extensive alterations made to the buildings over the years. Their second report, however, was also appealed, this time by the Q Foundation, which assists people living with HIV, as well as LGBT seniors, find housing in the city.

The gay-led nonprofit had requested the city’s planning commission require a full environmental impact report be done of the project. It wants the city to take a closer look at if the existing buildings need to be preserved or incorporated in some way into the new development.

Since then the developer has hired Watson to work with an advisory committee on a proposal for memorializing the site’s LGBT history in the new development. In a letter to the planning commission, she supported allowing the project to move forward.

Meanwhile, a separate group has formed to create a special historic district in the area to highlight its LGBT history. Called the Compton’s Historic District Committee, named after a defunct eatery that drew transgender and queer patrons in the 1950s through the early 1970s and was the site of a riot in August of 1966, it is working on submitting an application to the National Register of Historic Places for a historic district that focuses on Compton’s Cafeteria and adjacent important LGBTQ sites.

A photo of what LGBT advocates claim were tunnels that still exist under the Market Street buildings and were used by patrons of former gay bars to allude police raids. Photo courtesy of Nate Allbee via Facebook.

A photo of what LGBT advocates claim were “tunnels” used by patrons of former gay bars to allude police raids that still exist under several Market Street buildings. It was posted to Facebook by Nate Allbee.

One of its members, Nate Allbee, with the San Francisco LGBTQ Legacy Business Coalition, posted to Facebook early Thursday photos showing underground spaces below the building that he claimed where used by patrons of the former gay bars “to hide from police raids, and to move from bar to bar with out being seen.”

The historic district committee had requested that this week’s vote be continued for 60 to 90 days to give it more time to research the buildings’ LGBTQ history and whether their demolition would negatively impact the creation of an historic district in the area.

But the planning commission voted 4-3 to take up the matter this afternoon. And after a lengthy hearing, the commissioners decided to approve the project with a recommendation planning work continue to work with the project architect to tweak the design, though its decision is expected to be contested when it reaches the Board of Supervisors.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this issue in next week’s paper.

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 17, 2016 @ 8:33 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF Gay Mafia plans takeover of Marina bar

The SF Gay Mafia at the Pilsner Inn in 2015. Photo: SF Gay Mafia.

The SF Gay Mafia at the Pilsner Inn in 2015. Photo: SF Gay Mafia.

With increased concerns about LGBT safety after Republican Donald Trump’s election as president, the group San Francisco Gay Mafia announced Thursday that it plans to take over a Marina district bar at 8 p.m. December 3.

Through its events, the Mafia, which was founded in 2014 and consists of about 230 people in their 20s and 30s, “crowd a bar that typically sees a more heterosexual attendance,” a news release explained.

The bar selected for the event hasn’t been disclosed because the group wants to “surprise the bar.”

“In the wake of the Nov. 8 election, many in the gay community nationwide have expressed fear over being confronted by President-Elect Trump’s anti-LGBT supporters,” the group said. “Reports have surfaced of gay men and women being called names and physically attacked. The SF Gay Mafia is here to say we are not afraid, and we plan on doing that in a peaceful, fun way.”

Mafia leader Saul Sugarman stated, “It’s not a protest. We’re going to show up as a big gaggle of glittery nonsense and feel comfortable to be silly and loud because there are so many of us. Now more than ever I think LGBT people should be going outside their comfort zone and making our presence seen and felt.”

Group leader Jason Lamb added, “I think it’s important that we are neither overreacting nor apathetic. We have to continue moving forward with our dreams and vision for a healthier and more inclusive world.”

The Mafia last drew attention in February, after it took over the Marina’s HiFi Lounge, 2125 Lombard Street. Jeffery Lafayette, a gay city resident, reported that several men had attacked him and called him a “faggot” outside the bar.

Max Young, the HiFi’s owner, told the Bay Area Reporter just before the Mafia gathering at his bar, “We invited them. … We think that’s a great thing.”

No arrests have been reported in Lafayette’s case.

For more information about the December 3 event, visit the Facebook or Eventbrite pages

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 4:12 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man shot in Castro

 

Photo: Rick Gerharter

Photo: Rick Gerharter

A man was shot in San Francisco’s Castro district Tuesday night, according to police.

At 7:57 p.m., the city’s Shot Spotter system detected at least one gunshot near Hancock and Church streets. Witnesses saw a vehicle parked on the street, “heard a verbal commotion, and hid,” police spokeswoman Officer Giselle Talkoff said in a summary. When the witnesses looked again, the vehicle wasn’t there.

The 20-year-old victim, whose gunshot wound was considered non-life threatening, was taken to a hospital.

No suspect description was available.

Anyone with information in the case may contact police anonymously at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 160 931 672.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 16, 2016 @ 4:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


CA attorney general, schools chief address safety after Trump victory

Kamala Harris. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

Kamala Harris. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

California Attorney General and U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris and schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Thursday released statements about hate crimes and safety.

People across the country are expressing concerns about violence against LGBTs, immigrants, people of color, and others since Republican Donald Trump won the presidency this week. Several attacks have been reported, including in the Bay Area, where a San Jose State University student reported that someone grabbed her by her hijab and pulled her backward Wednesday.

Harris issued a bulletin to California’s law enforcement agencies outlining the state’s hate crime laws.

“Local California law enforcement agencies have reported an uptick in threats of hate crimes and other violent extremism,” Harris’ office said. “As a result, the bulletin encourages state and local law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant and respond appropriately to suspected or actual hate crime activity.”

The bulletin includes statistics from the state’s 2015 hate crimes report showing hate crime events increased from 758 in 2014 to 837 in 2015. Most of the increase is attributable to incidents involving religious bias.

“We must protect all Californians from acts of hate and bigotry and when an individual is victimized because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, we must act swiftly to ensure justice and accountability,” Harris stated. “Hate crimes are serious crimes that may result in imprisonment or jail time for offenders.”

Torlakson, the schools chief, issued a statement to reassure public school students that they’re safe. In San Francisco Thursday, about 1,000 schoolchildren marched to protest Trump.

“I know that the outcome of the recent presidential election has caused deep concern among many students and their families,” Torlakson said. “The nation maintains a strong tradition for the peaceful transition of power. And I want to let all of California’s 6.2 million public school students know that keeping them safe from discrimination and bullying at our great state’s 11,000 public schools is a top priority. … California already has, and will always maintain, strong legal and state Constitutional protections against any and all kinds of discrimination, regardless of a student’s race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 11, 2016 @ 11:50 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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