Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Market Street to stay open at Castro Street Fair

The scene at a previous Castro Street Fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter

The scene at a previous Castro Street Fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Organizers of San Francisco’s 44th annual Castro Street Fair, set for 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. October 1, have announced Market Street will not be included in this year’s festival and instead will remain open.

“In previous years, the fair has taken place along Market Street, between Diamond and Noe Streets,” organizers said in a news release Monday (July 31). “After careful consideration, the Board of Directors decided to forego closing Market Street and instead concentrate the fairgrounds along Castro Street. … Fairgoers can expect to see changes in the location of entertainment areas, as well as food and beverage vendor placement.”

The rest of the footprint remains unchanged. It will be on Castro from Market to 19th Street and on 18th Street from Noe to Diamond.

A donation of $5 – $10 is suggested at the gate. Donations help support local charities.

An updated map of the fair will be available in early August at

The Bay Area Reporter will have more information in the Thursday, August 3 edition of the paper.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 31, 2017 @ 4:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man accused of ISIS support reportedly had eye on SF

An Oakland man who’s accused of attempting to provide material support to ISIS was contemplating San Francisco as a target because of the city’s LGBT-friendly reputation, KQED has reported.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Amer Sinan Alhaggagi, 22, this week. Along with opening social media accounts to promote the terrorist organization, Alhaggagi is also accused of identity theft because he allegedly used a stolen credit card to buy almost $5,000 in clothing, prosecutors said in a news release.

According to KQED, Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Waqar Hasib said at a detention hearing in December that Alhaggagi had exchanged messages with an FBI source in which Alhaggagi pointed to San Francisco as a potential target.

Hasib quoted one message as saying, “I live close to San Francisco. That’s like the gay capital of the world,” KQED reported, citing audio of the hearing that was recently unsealed. “I’m going to handle them right. LOL. I’m going to place a bomb in a gay club. … I’m going to tear up the city. … The whole Bay Area is going to be up in flames. My ideas are genius. LMAO.”

Hasib also said that Alhaggagi’s “plan was to blow up a car bomb at an unidentified gay nightclub in San Francisco,” according to the news station, which also said that Alhaggagi had allegedly considered starting a fire in the Berkeley Hills.

Hanni Fakhoury, an assistant federal public defender who was representing Alhaggagi at the time, “did not dispute the government’s evidence” at the hearing, KQED reported, but he said “the ultimate issue was how much of what his client said was ‘very stupid and very inappropriate and very disturbing puffery and how much of it was actually intended to be acted out.'”

Alhaggagi, who was arrested in November, is in custody.

A judge ordered him detained after Pretrial Services reported that he wasn’t employed, he’d “spent significant lengths of time in Yemen,” and he’d allegedly made statements “regarding plans to flee to Mexico and elsewhere after engaging” in attacks, court records say.

Alhaggagi’s arraignment date hasn’t been set.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 27, 2017 @ 6:01 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man robbed in Castro

A man was robbed in San Francisco’s Castro district early Thursday morning (July 27).

Police said the suspect approached the victim at about 12:30 a.m. at Castro and 19th streets, and they engaged in conversation, police said.

As they walked together, the suspect reached into the victim’s pants pocket and grabbed his wallet. The two briefly struggled before the suspect managed to get the victim’s wallet and cash and fled north on Castro.

The suspect is described as a black male who appeared to be 35. The victim, who’s 42, wasn’t injured.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:08 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Castro rally to protest Trump’s trans military ban

Donald Trump, host of the television series "The Celebrity Apprentice," mugs for photographers at the NBC 2015 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Donald Trump (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

A rally to protest President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday (July 26) at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Trump announced the ban on Twitter Wednesday morning. His move has been widely criticized by officials around the country.

In a statement calling Trump’s ban “vile and hateful,” U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), said, “This morning’s tweets reveal a president with no loyalty to the courageous men and women in uniform who risk their lives to defend our freedoms. This disgusting ban will weaken our military and the nation it defends.”

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts), who chairs the LGBT Equality Caucus’s Transgender Equality Task Force, stated, “When our bravest men and women raise their hand and volunteer to defend our nation, they defend all of her people. … Our soldiers do not discriminate. They do not offer to pay the ultimate sacrifice to protect some lives and not others. Their government owes them that courtesy – that decency – in return.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy issued a statement that said, “This nation’s guiding principles promise equal protections and rights for everyone, which includes the honor of joining the military and sacrificing for one’s country. These are brave, honorable individuals who seek to serve their country by putting their lives on the line in defense of others. To deny them those rights based on their gender identity is bigoted and marks a betrayal of American values. In San Francisco, we will continue to practice compassion, empathy and inclusiveness, while offering full protections for every one of our residents. We will always fight for the rights of our transgender community.”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 26, 2017 @ 1:17 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sheehy, Ronen push for Milk Terminal at SFO

Gay San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and his straight colleague, Supervisor Hillary Ronen, on Tuesday said they would push for Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport and the airport access road to be named after gay slain supervisor Harvey Milk.

(Two San Francisco supervisors are pushing for Terminal 1 (shown here as an artist rendering) at San Francisco International Airport be named after slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk.)

(Two San Francisco supervisors are pushing for Terminal 1 (shown here as an artist rendering) at San Francisco International Airport be named after slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk.)

Ronen was set to introduce legislation at the board’s July 25 meeting to begin the name change process. Her predecessor, gay Supervisor David Campos, had originally come up with the idea of naming the entire airport after Milk in 2013, but the project lacked support. He and Mayor Ed Lee later agreed to a compromise that would see a terminal named after the gay rights leader, but Campos was termed out of office before a committee could meet and decide which terminal should carry Milk’s name. (The panel sat dormant for years because the mayor wouldn’t name his five appointees. He did so earlier this year, and the committee had three months to vote on a recommendation.)

In a news release Tuesday, Sheehy said that naming Terminal 1 after Milk would be his top LGBT legislative priority. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a story last month, the Airport Facilities Naming Advisory Committee unanimously recommended Terminal 1 and the access road be named after Milk.

“Forty years ago this November, San Franciscans sent a historic message – voting in progressive mayor George Moscone and electing Harvey Milk as our city’s first gay supervisor,” Sheehy said in a statement. “Their legacy endures and in these dark times, Harvey’s message of hope resonates more than ever.”

Milk and Moscone were assassinated by disgruntled ex-supervisor Dan White in November 1978, just a year after the election.

Sheehy said that last week, he sent a letter to SFO officials asking for specifics on how the name change could be accomplished.

The airport advisory panel’s June decision was expected, since the committee members at their first two meetings had indicated they would select Terminal 1 as their preferred choice. A consensus had also quickly emerged behind the road naming idea, first broached by Jim Lazarus, the senior vice president for public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

“We need to consider the airport access way,” said Lazarus this week, noting that the terminal naming idea is still controversial and the road naming could be an acceptable alternative.

Designating the first of the airport’s four terminals after Milk could present a unique marketing opportunity, panel members had indicated, since Terminal 1 is currently undergoing a $2.4 billion remodel that will be unveiled in stages through 2024 and draw years of media coverage. They also had noted that christening the airport’s access road as Harvey Milk Way would mean all four of the terminals, as well as the airport itself, would be attached to the former supervisor’s name.

In May, airport commission President Larry Mazzola sent the naming committee members, the supervisors, and mayor a letter expressing his opposition to its naming a terminal after Milk. Four years ago the airport’s board created its own policy for naming areas of SFO, with one criterion being the person had to have a direct connection to the airport, noted Mazzola. Unsaid but suggested by his letter was that Milk did not.

“I’m confused and frustrated that the board would spend time and resources on a duplicative policy body, overriding the hard work of our committee without ever consulting our committee, and believe the board committee’s mission to recommend a terminal be named at (SFO) flies in the face of the established Airport Naming Policy,” wrote Mazzola.

Mazzola has not changed his mind. He told the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday that the supervisors should adhere to the airport’s naming policy.

— Cynthia Laird, July 25, 2017 @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Two robbed in Castro incidents

One man was abducted and robbed and another was held up at an ATM in separate incidents early Sunday morning in San Francisco’s Castro district.

In the first incident, the victim was walking near 17th and Noe streets at 1:30 a.m. when the suspects’ vehicle approached him. One suspect demanded the victim’s money, but he said, “No,” according to police.

Another suspect got out of the vehicle and forced the victim to get into the backseat, police said. The suspect then drove the victim several blocks to an ATM, but the victim still refused to hand over his money.

When the suspect told the victim to empty out his pockets, he gave him his cash, cellphone, and keys. The suspects fled in their light-colored, four-door vehicle, and the victim later discovered that his truck had been stolen, according to police.

The suspects are described as a Hispanic male between the ages of 25 and 30 and a Hispanic female who appeared to be 28.

The victim, who’s 29, wasn’t injured. No arrests have been reported.

The second incident occurred at about 2:20 a.m. Police said the victim was getting money out of an ATM in the 2300 block of Market Street when another man approached him from behind, “simulated a handgun in his jacket,” and demanded the victim’s money.

The victim complied and the suspect fled in a yellow taxi that was last seen traveling eastbound on 16th Street.

The 25-year-old victim wasn’t injured. The suspect is described as a black male who’s between the ages of 35 and 40.

No arrests have been reported.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 24, 2017 @ 4:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Former B.A.R. staffer robbed in Tenderloin

Dennis Conkin (Photo: Facebook)

Dennis Conkin (Photo: Facebook)

A former Bay Area Reporter writer was robbed last Thursday night (June 29) in the Tenderloin.

In a Facebook post, Dennis Conkin, 63, who uses a wheelchair, said he was leaving the Vietnamese restaurant Tu Lan, 8 Sixth Street, when a woman who’d been harassing and “lying in wait” for him grabbed at the food he had in a Trader Joe’s bag.

Conkin said he told her, “Get away from me, bitch,” and someone from the restaurant came out and asked her what she wanted.

The woman then “followed me down the street and said you can’t call me (the N word),” said Conkin, who denied using the slur.

The woman pepper sprayed him in his eye, then followed him down Stevenson Alley. Another woman grabbed his hair “and started yanking my head back,” he said, but “I grabbed for her hand and got it.”

The first woman started hitting him, so he grabbed her shirt, said Conkin. As he did that, he was pulled out of the wheelchair.

Conkin screamed, and the woman grabbed the Target bag he’d been carrying and ran away. He went back to his home, which is two blocks from the scene, and someone called police and an ambulance.

In an email to the B.A.R., Conkin said that the thieves stole a Target bag that held his art supplies, Valium, and laxatives. He’s also missing $100, which he suspects fell out of his pocket “during the melee.”

“I do hope they thought the clear, lemon-flavored liquid in the bottles was a soft drink and enjoyed it,” he said in his Facebook post. “It was a strong, always works laxative.”

Conkin said he suffered an abrasion on his head where he hit the sidewalk when he came out of his wheelchair.

“Even though I love Tu Lan’s  shrimp fried rice, I won’t be going out to get it in my wheelchair by myself after dark anymore,” he told the B.A.R. “I’m not a young queen.  I’m a geezer and disabled.  What was I thinking? It was pretty awful. Pepper spray burns and fists hurt.”

Police said the incident occurred at about 9 p.m. They described the suspects only as two black females. One appeared to be 60 and the other was in her 20s.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 6, 2017 @ 1:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Woman robbed at gunpoint in Dolores Park

Two men with a gun robbed a woman in San Francisco’s Dolores Park Saturday night (July 1).

According to police, the woman was sitting in the park with her boyfriend at about 7 p.m. when the two suspects approached them. One suspect, a Hispanic male who appeared to be 20, brandished a gun, then put the weapon in the woman’s purse and handed it to the other suspect, an 18-year-old Hispanic male.

Both men fled in different directions. The teen was taken into custody on 18th Street. His name hasn’t been released. The other man wasn’t apprehended.

The victim, 25, wasn’t injured. Her purse and wallet were taken, but the purse was recovered.

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

Gun, knife used in Castro robbery

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 11.57.51 AM

18th and Church streets (Image: Google)

Two men used a handgun and a knife early Thursday morning (July 6) to rob a woman in San Francisco’s Castro district.

The 1:15 a.m. incident at Church at 18th streets started when the two suspects approached the woman and tried to take her purse, police said.

“A struggle ensued,” police said, but after the men “brandished their weapons” and demanded the woman give them her property, she complied. The suspects then fled north on Church.

The woman, who’s 25, and the 22-year-old man who was with her weren’t injured. Her purse, passport, cellphone, tablet, and credit cards were taken.

The suspects were described only as Hispanic males. One is 20 to 30 years old, and the other appeared to be 30.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:54 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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