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

Homeless memorial set to honor lives lost in SF

Photo: San Francisco Interfaith Council

Photo: San Francisco Interfaith Council

Homeless advocates in San Francisco are set to honor the lives of about 150 homeless people who died in the city this year.

The San Francisco Interfaith Council and the San Francisco Night Ministry will hold their annual memorial at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 21 on the Polk Street side of Civic Center Plaza. People are asked to bring candles.

“Homelessness is arguably the most pressing and visible crisis facing San Francisco,” Michael Pappas, the council’s executive director, said in an email to the Bay Area Reporter. “It is a failure of society that shows no discrimination to religion, gender, race or sexual orientation. In addition to hosting our city’s interfaith winter shelter, this memorial is a sacred and powerful occasion to pause outside in the cold and dampness of the winter solstice, hear the names and pray for [the] precious souls who died on our streets without family or loved ones.”

The interfaith winter shelter serves up to 100 homeless men every night at numerous local churches.

According to city survey estimates, 29 percent of homeless people in San Francisco identify as LGBTQ.

“If the homeless count is accurate and 1/3 of our city’s homeless self identify as LGBT, those in our LGBT community have an even greater and more compelling obligation to gather, remember and support one another in the face of the loss of our own,” said Pappas, a gay man who chairs the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s LGBT Advisory Committee.

As the community prepares to honor homeless people who have died, one organization says that the wait list for homeless people in the city seeking shelter has reached more than 1,000.

“There are 1,009 waiting for a 90 day single adult shelter bed,” Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, announced Wednesday, December 15. “If someone misses curfew, or if one of the shelter beds is set aside for a special population such as Care not Cash, the bed is offered for one night only, usually released late at night. Those on the wait list may try their luck for a one-night bed, or find a friend or family member to let them stay, or find a place on the cold streets or wet parks. Those on the street or in parks are rousted frequently and often given tickets for being destitute.”

In response to emailed questions, Friedenbach said, “Homelessness is an independent risk factor for a number of illnesses, and homeless people themselves are susceptible to increased health problems due to high stress, sleep depravation, unsanitary surroundings, lack of access to hygiene facilities, and a myriad of other symptoms inherent with living without stable housing. Subsequently, they are 3 to 4 times more likely to die prematurely then their housed counterparts.”

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 15, 2016 @ 6:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Saltzman elected president of BART board

BART board member Rebecca Saltzman was elected president of the transit oversight panel at its meeting Thursday, December 15.

(BART board member Rebecca Saltzman speaks at the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club meeting Wednesday. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

(BART board member Rebecca Saltzman speaks at the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club meeting Wednesday. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

Saltzman, a lesbian who represents District 3 (portions of Alameda and Contra Costa counties), sent out a statement saying she was excited about the leadership role. She was re-elected to her second four-year term last month.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the board through the next year, as we take on many big opportunities and challenges,” she said in the statement.

Saltzman said that priorities for the board in 2017 include putting the first of 750 new BART cars into service; issuing the first portion of the voter approved $3.5 billion bond to reinvest in BART’s aging infrastructure; and expanding BART’s work on transit-oriented development, including the opening of a 100 percent affordable housing development at the San Leandro BART station and planning a mixed-use development at the El Cerrito Plaza station. The former station is in Saltzman’s district and the latter is partially in her district.

Other priorities include opening the Warm Springs BART station in Fremont and improving BART stations in downtown Berkeley and El Cerrito Plaza Del Norte.

At an East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club party Wednesday, December 14 celebrating the election victories of several East Bay candidates, Saltzman did not hint she was in the running for the BART board presidency but she did seem excited about the coming year.

“It’s a new day at BART,” she told attendees, who had gathered at the Health and Human Resource Education Center on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland.

In addition to Saltzman’s re-election, new BART board members elected last month include Bevan Dufty, a gay man who is a former San Francisco supervisor; Lateefah Simon, a daily BART rider who is a community organizer and legally blind; and Debora Allen.

Saltzman also thanked the club for its advocacy to get BART to start trains earlier on the Sunday of the San Francisco Pride parade. This year trains began running about an hour earlier than the usual 8 a.m. Sunday start time, allowing parade participants and others to get to the city early.

“It would not have happened without Stonewall advocacy,” Saltzman said.

As president, Saltzman said that she plans to introduce several initiatives to improve workflow and accessibility of the BART board. She wants to reestablish four standing policy committees, bring back evening board meetings, and bring some board meetings to BART stations.

Serving as BART board vice president will be Robert Raburn, an ally of Saltzman’s who was first elected to the panel in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 2:51 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Hearing continued for man accused of putting meth in co-worker’s Snapple for sex

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-4-07-23-pmA preliminary hearing that had been set for Wednesday (December 14) for a Bay Area man accused of putting methamphetamine in a co-worker’s drink to help him “relax and have long lasting sex” has been delayed.

Jose Daniel Calvillorios, 42, of Redwood City, was arrested in August. According to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe’s summary, on August 8, Calvillorios and another man were working at Torres Auto Repair, at 2905 Flood Avenue. At 8 a.m., the victim bought a Snapple from a food truck and started drinking it. During the next 20 minutes, he sometimes left the drink unattended, and then he started “feeling very warm, nauseous, sweaty,” and numb.

He asked Calvillorios if he’d put something in the drink, but Calvillorios “denied it,” Wagstaffe said. At 5 p.m., the man’s condition got worse and he again confronted Calvillorios, who “then admitted to putting something in his drink to help him relax and so it would permit him to have long lasting sex.”

Calvillorios refused to tell his co-worker what he’d allegedly put in the drink. Eventually, the man went to Stanford Hospital and gave the emergency room doctor a urine sample, which showed methamphetamine was in his system.

Another co-worker reported Calvillorios “admitted to putting something in the victim’s drink to relax and have long lasting sex,” but his “motive remains unclear,” Wagstaffe said.

The sheriff’s office arrested Calvillorios and found a “small amount” of meth and a pipe on him.

Calvillorios, who faces charges of felony food tampering, possession of methamphetamine, and posssession of drug paraphernalia, posted a $100,000 bond August 15 and is out of custody. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

Wednesday, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Lisa Novak granted a motion from the prosecution and defense teams to continue the preliminary hearing in order to examine recently received medical records. The next preliminary hearig date, when a judge will determine whether there’s enough evidence to hold him for trial, is set for January 10.

In a brief call with the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday, Edward Pomeroy, Calvillorios’ attorney, wouldn’t discuss evidence or share his reaction to the charges. Pomeroy said he has “no idea” whether Calvillorios is gay.

A man who answered the phone at Torres Auto Repair said Calvillorios doesn’t work there, and he didn’t know anything about the case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 14, 2016 @ 4:59 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Jury sides with San Diego officials in Pride nudity case

A photo used in court shows the rear side of the outfit Will X. Walters wore to the 2011 San Diego Pride festival.

A photo used in court shows the rear side of the outfit Will X. Walters wore to the 2011 San Diego Pride festival.

A gay San Diego resident lost his federal lawsuit against the city and several police officers after a jury determined the public officials had not discriminated against him due to the leather outfit he wore to the 2011 Pride festival.

After five days of testimony, the eight-person jury announced its verdict Tuesday afternoon (December 13). It took just two hours to deliberate its decision.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a story in its December 8 edition, the case had drawn attention statewide as it had the potential to impact how police departments throughout California enforce nudity laws at various community events, such as LGBT pride festivals, and outdoor gatherings.

The lawsuit centered on allegations that San Diego police use different standards when enforcing the city’s rules governing public nudity depending on the venue. It stemmed from an incident five years ago where police cited Will X. Walters for violating the nudity rules while attending that summer’s Pride festival.

Walters’ attorney, Chris Morris, had argued to the federal jury that the police enforced a more restrictive policy at the LGBT event than they did at straight venues like the beach or the annual Comic-Con gathering. Deputy City Attorney Stacy Plotkin-Wolff had countered that police not only had approached other Pride attendees about their outfits but also people at the more straight-oriented events.

“The jury confirmed what we’ve always known, which is that San Diego does not discriminate in its enforcement of nudity laws,” City Attorney’s Office spokesman Gerry Braun said in a statement. “Our office would not tolerate discrimination against the LGBT community or any other group.”

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told the San Diego Union Tribune that she was pleased with the verdict, telling the paper that the jury “confirmed our officers acted appropriately in the way they addressed the municipal code regarding nudity at special events throughout our city.”

In a statement Wednesday in response to the B.A.R.‘s request for comment, a representative for Walters said despite his legal team presenting strong evidence of discriminatory enforcement by the police, the jury was nonetheless “unmoved.”

The press release included the same comment Morris had given to the Union Tribune yesterday, in which he stated he and Walters were “extremely disappointed” with the verdict. But he also said Walters’ lawsuit, nonetheless, would have a lasting impact on the police department.

“Victories are often preceded by defeats,” Morris told the paper. “While we may have lost this battle, I can’t imagine the city will ever engage in this type of unequal enforcement of the nudity statute again in the future.”

Walters has yet to comment publicly about the jury’s decision.

The legal case had wound its way through the courts since 2012, when Walters first filed a complaint against the city, several police officers, and Pride organizers. In March 2013 San Diego Pride’s motion for dismissal was granted, and Walters amended his complaint.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo ruled in the city’s favor, and Walters appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel on the appellate court overturned her decision this past April and sent the case back for a jury to decide if the San Diego police had violated Walters’ 14th Amendment right to equal enforcement of the law.

He had sought unspecified damages for emotional distress, as he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the incident. According to his lawyer, Walters has incurred $1 million in legal fees in pressing his case.

Walters, 35, attended both the 2011 Pride parade and the ticketed festival area adorned in a custom-tailored, fine-leather gladiator kilt and upper-torso leather harness outfit, which included thong underwear beneath. He had worn the same outfit, which cost him $1,000, the year prior without incident.

But while inside the gated festival area’s beer garden in 2011, Walters was approached by San Diego police Lieutenant (now Captain) David Nisleit and told his outfit was not compliant with the city’s dress code because his buttocks were visible. Walters disputed that his outfit was an issue and told the officer to either cite him or leave him alone.

Nisleit then left but returned a short while later with several other police officers and told Walters he was going to cite him for his outfit. Walters claims a female officer then grabbed him from behind and led him out of the beer garden and just outside of the festival area.

Eventually, the police told him they would cite him and he would then be free to go on his way, said Walters. But when he refused to sign the citation without being able to read it, he was arrested.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man beaten in Castro

18th and Collingwood streets. (Photo: Google)

18th and Collingwood streets. (Photo: Google)

A man was left with non-life threatening injuries early Sunday morning after he was beaten in San Francisco’s Castro district.

The assault started at 12:10 a.m. December 11 at 18th and Collingwood streets when the victim was following the suspect in his vehicle, according to police.

After the men stopped their vehicles, the suspect “got out of his car, took out an unknown weapon, opened [the victim’s] door,” and hit him “several times causing injuries,” Officer Giselle Talkoff, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary. The suspect then drove away westbound on 18th Street. The victim, whose age wasn’t listed, was taken to a hospital.

The suspect is described as a black male between 30 and 40 years old. No arrests have been made.

Burglary

In another Castro incident, bags of clothing and a laptop were taken from a home in the 300 block of Sanchez Street Friday morning, Talkoff said.

The burglary took place between 12 and 7 a.m. Friday, December 9 as the victim, 29, slept. He found when he woke up that the items had been taken. A description of the suspect wasn’t available.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:12 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man found dead outside Castro post office

4304 18th Street (Photo: Google)

4304 18th Street (Photo: Google)

A man was found dead with a knife in his chest Monday afternoon outside the U.S. Post Office in San Francisco’s Castro district, according to media reports.

The post office is at 4304 18th Street, near Diamond Street. The medical examiner’s office had not yet received the body as of about 5 p.m., and the person has not been identified.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, December 15 edition.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 12, 2016 @ 6:56 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Wiener introduces first bill on housing affordability

State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced his first bill this week, focusing on housing affordability and accountability.

(State Senator Scott Wiener. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(State Senator Scott Wiener. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Wiener, a gay man, was sworn in Monday, December 5 as San Francisco’s state senator, representing the city and part of northern San Mateo County.

Senate Bill 35 would streamline the production of affordable housing and spur the construction of housing throughout the state. It would also remove local barriers to creating affordable housing, as well as barriers in jurisdictions failing to build housing needed to meet Regional Housing Needs Allocation, or RHNA, goals, according to a news release.

In the release, Wiener said he’d be working with affordable housing organizations, housing advocates, building trade groups, environmental advocates, and others to formulate the bill in the coming months.

“California residents are suffering from high costs of housing, and we need to do more to build homes at all affordability levels,” Wiener stated. “We need to make it easier to deliver the critical affordable housing projects our low-income residents need, and we need to ensure that every city across our state is taking its role seriously in addressing the housing crisis.”

He added that his bill will also ensure that “we are creating jobs that pay a living wage as we build this housing.”

The RHNA is the state-mandated process that sets the number of housing units that must be included, at all affordability levels, in each local jurisdiction’s housing element. Wiener said he intends to set a timeframe by which jurisdictions must meet RHNA requirements, and if after that timeframe, the needs aren’t met, then barriers to housing production would be lifted by the state.

According to Wiener, this would preserve local control options for building housing, provided that jurisdictions work to meet their RHNA goals.

SB 35 also includes a provision requiring prevailing wages be paid to workers building these projects.

— Cynthia Laird, December 9, 2016 @ 4:03 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Study: Shaving pubic hair carries health risks

Most men and women who groom their pubic hair say they do it for health reasons, but there is no actual data to back up that claim. Now new research suggests that shaving down there might nearly double the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection.

blog_shaving

Benjamin Breyer, a urologist at UCSF, conducted a survey in 2013 among a representative cross section of Americans. He used the Knowledge Networks (now GfK), a company that pays people about a dollar to take such surveys.

In all, 7,470 persons (56 percent men, 44 percent women) who completed the survey had at least one lifetime sexual partner; 66 percent of the men and 84 percent of the women reported ever having groomed their public hair using a razor, clippers, waxing, etc.

Groomers of both sexes were younger than non-groomers (43 versus 50 years); were more likely to report at least weekly sexual activity (53 percent versus 43 percent); and have more lifetime sexual partners (16.5 percent versus 13.8 percent), when corrected for age.

Increased frequency of grooming correlated with increased sexual activity and a greater number of partners, as well as a higher lifetime rate of self-reported sexually transmitted infections (14 percent vs. 8 percent). The paper was published December 5 in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Earlier papers drawn from the same survey found that male groomers had significantly more sexual partners than nongroomers (24.4 versus 18.2), numbers that are significantly higher than the six to seven lifetime sexual partners that other studies have found.

Gay/bi men were more likely than straights to groom more than five times a year (42.5 percent vs. 29 percent), while bottoms were more likely to have groomed at the time of acquiring a STI (42.2 percent versus 14.3 percent).

Man is one of the few mammals not covered in fur. Many evolutionary biologists believe pubic hair has persisted because it confers advantages such as reducing chaffing, and retaining heat and sexual pheromones.

The skin is an important barrier that blocks germs from entering our bodies. Shaving, waxing, even clipping can physically damage this barrier and open a window for microbes to get in. That’s why an aftershave lotion stings when applied to newly shaved skin, but not so much later in the day. Breyer attributes much of the popularity of grooming to generational differences and the influence of porn.

He readily acknowledges that this type of study demonstrates association between grooming and increased risk for STIs, it does not prove causation. “It may be related to the mechanism of grooming, or it may be a marker for sexual activity,” he said. The survey did not ask about safer sex practices, which “is a very important piece of the puzzle,” he added.

Breyer suggests that physicians use pubic hair grooming as a marker for heightened sexual activity and a reminder to discuss safer sex with their patients.

He urges patients who choose to groom their pubic hair to do so the day before, or at least a few hours before having sex. That gives the skin time to repair the microscopic wounds that can occur during the procedure. It can help reduce the risk of acquiring a STI.

– reported by Bob Roehr

— Cynthia Laird, @ 2:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


LGBTQ center in Alabama seeks help after losing building to storm damage

Storm damage at Free2Be (Photo: WHNT TV)

Storm damage at Free2Be (Photo: WHNT TV)

An LGBTQ community center in Alabama is homeless after a heavy storm this week wrecked its building.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter, James Robinson, CEO of Free2Be in Huntsville, Alabama, said that the building’s roof collapsed, and with that and the “rain damage, we’ve lost our entire 3,600 square foot office space, with everything.”

A Gofundme site has been launched to help raise $50,000 for Free2Be raise, which provides counseling, advocacy, and other services.. As of Saturday, $1,245 had come in.

“LGBTQ Alabama needs your help!” Robinson said on the fundraising site. “We are the ONLY agency in Alabama that specialized in the provision of FREE therapy to LGBTQ survivors of violence. We help everyone that comes to us.  We need to reopen quickly so that our clients do not go without support.”

The B.A.R wrote about Free2Be in a recent story about the fears LGBTs across the country have with the election of Republican Donald Trump as president. Trump’s victory and strongly anti-LGBT cabinet have stoked worries about loss of funding for LGBT causes, among other concerns.

Robinson told a local Huntsville TV station, “We just moved in here, we moved in September and we were just getting settled and flowing smoothly, and everything, and the staff getting adjusted, we had bought all new furniture. … This is a total loss for us, and right now we’re just planning what to do.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 3, 2016 @ 6:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man hit with bottle in Castro fight

 

Photo: Rick Gerharter

Photo: Rick Gerharter

A 36-year-old man was struck with a bottle during a fight this morning (Friday, December 2) in San Francisco’s Castro district.

The 1:29 a.m. incident occurred in the 400 block of Castro Street when the victim “got into a verbal altercation” with the suspect, a 28-year-old Hispanic male. The suspect “got mad” and struck the back of the victim’s head with a bottle, Officer Giselle Talkoff, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary.

The victim was taken to a hospital with a non-life threatening injury to his face. No arrests have been reported.

Anyone with information in the case may contact the police anonymous tip line at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 160978709.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 2, 2016 @ 2:12 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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