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

Man robbed at gunpoint in Castro

A man was robbed at gunpoint early Monday morning, August 28, in the Castro district.

The incident started at about 1:20 a.m. when the suspect approached the victim, who was walking on Hartford Street near 17th Street, pointed a gun at him, and demanded his property, police said.

The 24-year-old victim handed over his wallet and cellphone and ran away. The suspect, who’s described as a black male in his 20s, fled the scene in an unknown direction.

No arrests have been reported.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 30, 2017 @ 12:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lesbian named interim ED of Dolores Street shelter group

Moli Steinert. Photo: Facebook.

Moli Steinert. Photo: Facebook.

The group that runs San Francisco’s LGBTQ-welcoming homeless shelter announced Friday that it’s selected a lesbian to serve as its interim executive director.

Moli Steinert will lead Dolores Street Community Services for four to six months as the nonprofit seeks a permanent replacement for Wendy Phillips, who recently resigned to take a new job in Chico, California. Among other programs, Dolores Street runs Jazzie’s Place, the 24-bed, queer-friendly shelter that opened at 1050 South Van Ness in 2015.

Steinert, who wasn’t immediately available for an interview, has more than 30 years of experience working with nonprofits. She once served as executive director of Openhouse, which works with LGBT seniors. Most recently, she worked at SteppingStone Adult Day Health.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 25, 2017 @ 3:44 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF leaders call for love ahead of far-right rally

by Cynthia Laird

San Francisco political, faith, and civic leaders came together on the steps of City Hall Friday (August 25) to unite the city ahead of Saturday’s planned free speech rally by the fringe right-wing Patriot Prayer group at Crissy Field. Hundreds of people filled Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Way (Polk Street) and heard speakers urge city residents to come together.

The Reverend Cecil Williams of Glide United Methodist Church drew cheers as he kicked off the rally, following songs from the Glide Ensemble.

“My voice is fading,” he said, “but that’s not going to stop us. Together we know: love overcomes hate.”

(Students from Ruth Asawa School of the Arts performed taiko drums during Friday's Unite Against Hate rally. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

(Students from Ruth Asawa School of the Arts performed taiko drums during Friday’s Unite Against Hate rally. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

That was the theme expressed in a variety of ways by numerous speakers throughout the 90-minute rally.

The rally was an effort to counter fears of potential violence that neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and others will engage in at Crissy Field. The National Park Service approved Patriot Prayer’s permit Wednesday, and lead organizer Joey Gibson has said through Facebook videos that he’s not about hate. But he arranged for the Oath Keepers, a far-right, anti-government group, to provide security, further sparking concern from city leaders, who want to prevent a repeat of the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia two weeks ago when a white supremacist plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one woman and injuring others.

[Just as this blog was being posted, Gibson announced via Facebook that the Crissy Field rally was canceled and he and others would instead hold a news conference at Alamo Square Park. Gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) issued a statement calling the Alamo Square Park news conference “illegal.” It is in “the heart of a residential neighborhood, and I am deeply concerned it will lead to violence, particularly given how close Alamo Square is to the counterprotest at Civic Center. As a matter of public safety, it cannot be allowed to happen,” Wiener said.]

“It’s been an unsettling past couple of weeks,” said emcee Renel Brooks-Moon, the voice of the San Francisco Giants who served on the advisory panel that picked Terminal 1 at the city’s airport to be named after the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk. “We stand against hate. We love everybody, no matter your skin color or sexual orientation. We are stronger together.”

Senior Rabbi Jessica Graf from Congregation Sherith Israel said that the weekend rallies (another one is planned for Berkeley on Sunday, though the city denied organizers, including trans woman Amber Cummings, a permit) come just as Jews prepare to mark the period leading up to the High Holy Days.

“The ram’s horn sounds, instructing us to wake up,” she said. “We are one people sharing an unshakable belief in society. We will never stop working to ensure basic rights for everyone.”

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), who recently called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, which allows the vice president and two-thirds of the Cabinet to declare a president unfit, was also on hand at the rally.

“Tomorrow, a handful of people on Crissy Field will be espousing hate,” she said. “There’s going to be an army of lovers throughout the city.”

Speier recalled that 13 years ago, San Francisco made history when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “We’re often at the forefront of social movement,” she added.

Mayor Ed Lee forcefully delivered the message that those expressing hate are not welcome.

“We’re all here the day before hate shows up on our shores,” the mayor said. “We’re the city of love … I want to say that this city leads with love and compassion. We are and will always be a city of sanctuary. We will resist the wall. We support our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

Board of Supervisors President London Breed told the crowd that San Francisco “will not be defined by the ugliness of others.”

“San Francisco will always be a place of refuge. To those who feel threatened by people who look like me: welcome to America,” said Breed, who is African-American.

Gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) cautioned that hate can appear suddenly.

“I come from the Jewish tradition. In Europe, it all looked good but changed in a minute,” he said, referring to the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust. “We can’t ignore it. This president has let them out of a box. No more KKK, no more Nazis, no more white supremacists. We need to send a crystal clear message that if they come for trans children or trans service members … they have to come through us first.”

District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who was appointed to the board just weeks before Trump’s inauguration, said that as a gay man, a person living with HIV, and the father of a Latina daughter, he and his family felt threatened by the new administration. Sheehy, a former member of ACT UP, said that he wanted to shout the group’s famous slogan, “Act up, fight back.”

“But for tomorrow, their will be more of us than them, and ‘Act up, love back,'” he said, leading the crowd in some chants. “KKK comes to San Francisco.”

“Act up, love back,” the crowd responded.

There was a somber moment when city resident Chris Lejeune took the stage. His younger brother, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, was killed in May when he and another passenger on a Portland light rail train confronted a man who was harassing two teenage girls. One of the girls was wearing a hijab.

“On May 26 I lost a brother, but gained a hero,” he said.

Rapper M.C. Hammer performed a song and made remarks, telling the crowd he felt like he was going back in time.

“I feel like I stepped into a time warp when I read these signs,” he said, referring to many “Unite Against Hate” placards people were holding. “I was born in 1962 and I can tell you first hand that hate is dangerous. Hatred has no place in San Francisco or in the entire Bay Area.

“We can’t sit back and say let them demonstrate,” Hammer said. “We want to introduce them to more love.”

Peninsula candidate takes a stand
Ahead of the weekend rallies, Gary Waddell, Ph.D., a gay man who’s running for San Mateo County superintendent of schools, issued a statement and Facebook video calling on people to remember those killed in Charlottesville: Heather Heyer and two Virginia state police officers who were killed when their helicopter crashed.

“To further honor the memories of those that were lost to the senseless violence, racism, and white supremacy, there are four easy concrete steps we as a community of educators, parents, and neighbors can take with our children,” Waddell said. “First, we can filter the information that they receive in doses that are appropriate for their ages and be honest with them when they ask questions. Second, we can ask questions about how they feel and the questions that they have and engage them in authentic dialogue. Third, we can help them to understand their own agency and ability to respond to injustice in an age-appropriate way, Fourth – and most importantly – we can ensure them that they are loved and safe.”

To watch the video, go to

— Cynthia Laird, @ 3:25 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF public defender’s office releases ‘know your rights’ tips

In advance of a planned free speech rally by the group Patriot Prayer Saturday, August 26 at Crissy Field that city officials fear will attract white supremacists and other far-right supporters, the San Francisco Public Defender’s office has released “know your rights” tips to remind residents of their legal rights if detained or arrested by law enforcement.

(The SF Public Defender's office wants to remind people of their rights if arrested.)

(The SF Public Defender’s office wants to remind people of their rights if arrested.)

“Attending a protest doesn’t mean you give up your right to due process,” Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in an August 24 news release. “In fact, this right is at the core of our national values. WE want to make Bay Area residents leave these actions with both their safety and civil rights intact.”

People who make contact with law enforcement are advised to remain calm and not argue or negotiate as an individual. People should also not touch an officer, the news release stated.

For those who are stopped, detained, or arrested by law enforcement, they should ask if they are free to go, the public defender’s office said.

“If you are not free to go, you should truthfully identify yourself (unless you want to spend extra time in jail),” the public defender office’s news release stated.

People in such circumstances also have the right to remain silent and not answer questions, and have the right to speak with a lawyer. People are also reminded that jail phone calls are recorded.

In terms of what people should say, Adachi’s office said they can ask, “Am I free to go?” or state that they wish to remain silent.

Employees of the public defender’s office will wear safety vests identifying themselves as legal observers during Saturday’s action at Crissy Field, which is expected to run from 2 to 5 p.m., according to a permit issued by the National Park Service. Legal observers document and record incidents and the activities of law enforcement in relation to demonstrators, from use of force to denying access to public areas.

As reported in Thursday’s Bay Area Reporter, there are several counteractions planned away from Crissy Field. More information is here.

— Cynthia Laird, August 24, 2017 @ 1:42 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man stabs would-be thief in Dolores Park

A man stabbed a suspect who tried to steal his bicycle Wednesday afternoon in Dolores Park.

In the August 23 incident, which occurred at 4:44 p.m., five suspects attempted to rob the victim of his bike. The victim “pulled out a knife and slashed” the arm of one of the suspects, police said.

All five suspects were detained, but Officer Giselle Linnane, a police spokeswoman, said that they were “released pending further investigation.”

No information was available on the victim.

Concerns about safety in the park have increased in recent weeks, especially after a shooting earlier this month in which three people were injured.

At a Monday, August 21 town hall held to talk about safety in the park, Mission Station Captain Bill Griffin said that since the shooting, police officers are in the park every day, rather than just on weekends. The staffing pattern will continue, said Griffin.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:03 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Castro patrol group offers tips for dealing with Nazis, white supremacists

The volunteer group Castro Community on Patrol is offering tips for a weekend that is expected to draw Nazis, white supremacists, and other anti-LGBT activists to San Francisco.

The group Patriot Prayer is holding a rally in Crissy Field Saturday, August 26, and police and others are preparing for potential violence.

“There have been no credible threats for the Castro, but everyone should be on the lookout for vandalism or other actions meant to target businesses or landmarks in the neighborhood,” said CCOP chair Greg Carey in an email. “When in doubt, call 911 if there are any suspicious activities.”

Carey noted that some people are expected to confront the Patriot Prayer group at Crissy Field, while counter-demonstrations are planned for other parts of the city.

“If you choose to go to Crissy Field, remember that one of the intended purposes of these events is to capture video or still images of interaction with the counter-protesters to use for recruitment purposes,” said Carey. “Even if a person is acting in self-defense, it is possible that the video captured can be edited to make it look like the victim was the aggressor.”

Touching someone, even when provoked, or throwing things, including liquids, may be classified as assaults, said Carey, who also urges caution on using pepper spray.

“Remember that using pepper spray is a crime if not used in self-defense,” he said. “Using it first can result in criminal charges against you.”

City officials had urged the National Park Service not to permit Saturday’s rally, but it was announced Wednesday that the event would be allowed to happen.

In a statement, Mayor Ed Lee said, “The shameful, anti-American trend of hate-filled extremist rallies will unfortunately be allowed to continue this weekend in our city. … Let us show this nation that San Francisco is a city of peace and unity. Do not engage with the members of this group, whose only priority is to incite violence through divisive rhetoric.”

Lee and others are urging people to join gatherings planned for Civic Center Plaza Friday and Saturday at noon.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 23, 2017 @ 12:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man beaten, robbed in Castro

A 38-year-old man was taken to a hospital after being beaten and robbed in San Francisco’s Castro district early Wednesday morning.

Police said the August 23 incident in the 400 block of Castro Street started just after 2 a.m. when two suspects attacked the victim with their fists. They took his wallet from him and left with items from the wallet, although police didn’t say what those items were.

The victim was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The suspects, described as two black males between 20 and 25 years old, fled on foot.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:13 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Three robbed in incidents near Dolores Park, Castro

Three people have been robbed in separate incidents in San Francisco’s Dolores Park and Castro areas this week.

The most recent robbery occurred Wednesday morning, August 16, at 20th and Church streets, near the edge of the park. At about 2 a.m., three men surrounded another man and demanded his backpack. They hit the 34-year-old victim, causing him to fall to the ground, police said. The suspects then fled with the backpack, which contained a wallet, cellphone, and tablet computer.

The victim was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The suspects were described only as Hispanic.

Another robbery occurred at 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, August 15, when two men approached another man while he was walking near 17th and Church streets, which is a block away from the park.

One suspect held a gun up to the victim and demanded the victim’s backpack. The second suspect searched the victim and took the backpack, which contained a wallet, cellphone, and pocket knife, according to police. The suspects then fled the area.

The victim, who’s 28, wasn’t injured.

Police said the suspects were described as Hispanic males between the ages of 20 to 25.

The third robbery happened later Tuesday morning, at 3:50, when the suspect came out of a business in the 300 block of Castro Street and hugged the victim, who’d been standing outside.

Police said the suspect groped the victim, pulled the wallet from his pocket, stole money, and fled. The victim found his wallet with the money missing.

The suspect was described as a 30-year-old black male.

The victim, 38, wasn’t injured.

No arrests have been reported in any of the incidents.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 17, 2017 @ 11:08 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Outgames audit released

by Roger Brigham
An official summary of the long-awaited city audit of the 2017 World Outgames that were canceled at the last minute in May was presented to Miami Beach Commission Tuesday, revealing that organizers had spent almost half ($600,000) of the money the event raised on advertising, promotional fees, and consultants. The summary said that Ivan Cano, the vice president and chief executive officer, was paid almost $107,000 for consulting fees.

Ivan Cano

Ivan Cano

Overall, the audit report stated, almost $1.4 million of the trimmed-down $2.4 million budget flowed into Outgames accounts but only $7,000 was left.

“It became apparent that the general ledger was not necessarily accurate as it was found to contain incorrect check numbers and disbursement classification errors,” the audit report said. “Compounding matters was the lack of sufficient, complete, and organized documentation.”
The audit has been given to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and Miami Beach Police Department for further investigation into what, if any, criminal charges should be filed. (See July 6, 2017 JockTalk, “Outgames: A fine mess.”)

Numerous creditors still have not been paid substantial amounts. Sales manager Justin M. Wyse of the South Florida Gay News, one of the few publications to have been actively reporting on the event’s collapse, told the Bay Area Reporter, “They neglected to pay for the contract of advertising they agreed to. They owed us $2,000 for the contract and failed to list us as an event sponsor as agreed upon digitally and in print.”

Sports participants had already paid about half a million dollars by the time Outgames sports program, with three exceptions, was abruptly canceled while hundreds of athletes were still en route. Not only were they out registration and travel costs, many said they are stuck with hotel bills they had already paid when they booked their accommodations through the Outgames website.
Aquatics, western dance, and soccer were all held as scheduled, as were conferences and cultural events, but the rest of the sports were eliminated without notice. Ultimately Outgames spent less than $66,000 on sports.

Auditors reported Outgames spent $296,498 on promotional advertising and $330,218 on consultants. On the two non-sports programs that were successfully held, Lynare Robbins was paid $69,400 to produce the human rights conference and Carol Coombes $57,344 to produce the cultural program.
Activist Justin Bell said his promotions company, Lion Company, received more than $140,000 from Outgames before withdrawing in late 2015 because of delinquent payments, one of which was more than 200 days past due.

The first World Outgames were held in Montreal in 2006 and lost more than $5 million Canadian. The last two World Outgames were held in 2009 in Copenhagen and 2013 in Antwerp. The North American Outgames, a smaller continental event, was canceled last year by host St. Louis. Winnipeg, the host for the 2020 North American Outgames, dropped it following the announcement of the Miami cancellation, saying the brand name is now too toxic to be of value. [See the Jock Talk column online.] Former presidents of the Gay and Lesbian Sports Association have called for the licensing body to put an end to the World Outgames and disband.

— Cynthia Laird, August 16, 2017 @ 10:51 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Woman’s purse stolen in morning Noe Valley robbery

A woman was robbed of her purse in San Francisco’s Noe Valley Thursday morning.

According to police, the incident occurred at about 9:45 a.m. near 24th and Guerrero streets.

The 28-year-old victim was sitting outside a café with her purse next to her when the suspect threw water at her face, then took her purse, police said. The suspect fled the scene in a car.

The victim, who lost cash as well as her purse in the incident, wasn’t injured.

The suspect was described only as a black male in his 20s.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 11, 2017 @ 11:35 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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