Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Women leaders rally to keep Breed acting San Francisco mayor

by Cynthia Laird

Women leaders held a rally on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Thursday, January 4, to show support for acting Mayor London Breed and were critical of possible efforts by the supervisors to name a “caretaker” mayor who would not run for election in June.

On Friday, Breed pulled papers to run for mayor in June.

“I’m proud to announce I am running for mayor to lead the city I was born + raised in,” Breed wrote on Twitter Friday. “I’m not a partisan. I’m not an ideologue. I believe in a San Francisco where we succeed as one. Together there is no problem we can’t solve.”

(People gathered on the steps of City Hall Thursday for a rally in support of acting Mayor London Breed. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

(People gathered on the steps of City Hall Thursday for a rally in support of acting Mayor London Breed. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

At the rally, organizers said they wanted Breed to continue as acting mayor.

“It’s a statement about the process,” said Andrea Shorter, a lesbian and longtime activist who sits on the Commission on the Status of Women and helped organize the rally, which drew about 75 people on a rainy afternoon.

She and other speakers said that Breed should continue to serve as acting mayor until the June election. Breed became acting mayor by virtue of her being board president at the time of Mayor Ed Lee’s death December 12. She also remains president of the Board of Supervisors and the District 5 supervisor.

“We are gathered here today not to endorse in the June election,” said Debbie Mesloh, another organizer and former aide to Senator Kamala Harris when she was district attorney. “We’re saying the City Charter is clear and London Breed became acting mayor after the untimely death of Ed Lee. She was elected as District 5 supervisor twice, and elected board president twice.

“There is no reason to depose acting Mayor London Breed,” Mesloh, president of the Commission on the Status of Women, added.

The rally came days before the Board of Supervisors is set to meet for the first time in 2018. It is unclear if the board will vote at its meeting Tuesday, January 9, on appointing an interim mayor or will forego such a decision and leave Breed as acting mayor. Several of the city’s progressive supervisors have publicly questioned whether Breed should remain acting mayor and president of the board, suggesting it would be better to have one person as the city’s mayor and another person as president of the board.

In several interviews with the Bay Area Reporter, the board’s sole gay member, District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, has declined to state his own preference, saying the timing was “too soon” following Lee’s unexpected death.

According to a legal opinion by City Attorney Dennis Herrera that was issued December 12, Breed is the acting mayor and will remain so until the June election, unless the board chooses to appoint an interim mayor. Such a person would need six votes from the supervisors, who cannot vote for themselves.

Charter section 13.101.5(b) empowers the supervisors to appoint a successor to the deceased mayor to serve until the June 5 election, Herrera’s opinion states.

“If the Board of Supervisors does not act to appoint a successor, then the board president continues as acting mayor until the election,” the opinion states.

Last week, Herrera pulled papers to run for mayor, but has not officially entered the race.

Speakers at the rally argued that no caretaker needs to be appointed, that Breed is doing the job, and focused on the part of the charter that made Breed acting mayor.

“I’m here to add my voice in solidarity with our mayor, London Breed. She’s held the city together these last few weeks,” said Janice Mirikitani from Glide United Methodist Church.

She said that she was “personally offended” by the notion of a caretaker mayor “when London Breed has the proven experience, especially for women and poor families.”

“Talk is cheap” when it comes to breaking the glass ceiling, Mirikitani said, adding that she took exception to some who’ve suggested Breed step aside for an interim mayor to “level the playing field” in the upcoming mayor’s race.

And she pointed to the dwindling number of African-Americans who call San Francisco home. Breed is the city’s first female African-American mayor.

“She’s a five-star mayor,” former supervisor Amos Brown told the crowd, adding that Breed “has character … is competent … and has chemistry.”

“She’s no pushover and not afraid to speak truth to power,” said Brown, the longtime pastor at Third Avenue Baptist Church, where Breed is a member.

Sunny Schwartz, a lesbian and criminal justice expert and an official with the city’s probation department, told the crowd that early on she supported gay former state Senator Mark Leno’s mayoral campaign. (Leno announced last May that he was running in a race that was originally to be held in 2019. Lee’s death changed that, and now Leno is running in June.)

“Today is not about Mark Leno or Jane Kim,” Schwartz said, referencing the decision by Kim, the District 6 supervisor, to jump into the mayor’s race. “What this is about is a vibrant, smart leader who is our acting mayor. This is about rallying around out acting mayor. This has dropped in her lap.”

“Let us come together in these next five months,” she added. “Come June, people have a right to elect whoever we want.”

— Cynthia Laird, January 5, 2018 @ 11:51 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Redwood City man denies charges that he exposed himself, offered oral sex to cop

A Redwood City man has pleaded no contest to charges of attempted car theft, indecent exposure, and bribery of a police officer after he exposed himself to two people and offered a cop oral sex on New Year’s Eve.

At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 31, Kevin Frank Adkins, 34, allegedly approached a man who was sitting in his car after delivering a pizza and asked him for a ride to Safeway “so he could buy a cucumber to use [as] a dildo,” according to a summary by San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Adkins’ pants were down and his genitals were exposed, said Wagstaffe.

When the victim refused Adkin’s request, Adkins allegedly got in the car “holding a metal object,” the DA said. After the victim took his keys, got out of the car, and called 911, Adkins “slid over” to the driver’s seat, realized the keys were gone, got out, and walked off, said Wagstaffe.

Twenty minutes later, a second victim was walking his dog and saw Adkins approaching him “with his genitals exposed and carrying a metal object,” according to Wagstaffe. “He called 911 and police arrived quickly.”

Responding police saw that Adkins’ genitals were still exposed and that he was carrying “a large kitchen lighter bent into an L Shape,” said Wagstaffe, who added that Adkins was under the influence of methamphetamine.

Adkins was arrested, and on the ride to the police station, he “several times offered to oral[ly] copulate the officer if the officer would let him go,” said the DA. At the station, Adkins “started masturbating in front of the officer.”

Adkins, who’s in custody on $100,000 bail, pleaded no contest Wednesday, January 3 to felony bribery of a police officer and misdemeanor charges of attempted car theft and indecent exposure in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to seek a state prison sentence. 

Instead, Adkins was ordered to serve 90 days in county jail and placed on three years of supervised probation. He also must register as a sex offender, complete a treatment program, and abstain from drugs and alcohol, among other conditions.

Gerritt Rutgers, the attorney from the county’s Private Defender Program who was appointed to represent Adkins, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 3, 2018 @ 7:10 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man stabbed outside Castro bar

A man was stabbed outside a bar in San Francisco’s Castro district early Sunday, police said.

The December 31 incident started around 1:30 a.m. when the victim exited the bar, which is in the 2100 Market Street, to smoke a cigarette. As he finished, “a homeless person with a blanket cloaked from head to toe made a slashing motion toward the victim’s lower leg,” according to police. The victim, 57, didn’t realize he’d been stabbed until after he reentered the bar.

His injury was described as non-life threatening laceration to his lower leg.

No arrests have been reported.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 6:26 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man pulls out penis, then gun, in robbery at park

A suspect pulled out his penis, then a handgun, in a robbery early Saturday morning at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, according to police.

The incident occurred at 3:30 a.m. at Buena Vista and Park Hill avenues, near the southern edge of the park, which for years has been a popular gay cruising spot.

The suspect, who appeared to be in his 30s, agreed to drive the 29-year-old male victim home, said police. He then took out his penis and told the victim to pay him. When the victim refused, the suspect pulled out a handgun and demanded the victim’s cellphone, wallet, and keys. The suspect fled in an unknown direction.

No arrests have been reported. The victim wasn’t injured. Police didn’t specify where the two men met.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 6:07 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Diaz missing counseling appointments, curfew

David Diaz in his 2016 booking photo. (Photo: SFPD)

David Diaz in his 2016 booking photo. (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

David Munoz Diaz, the San Francisco resident who since 2014 has been acquitted of murdering another man during a sexual encounter, accused of disfiguring another man, and charged with arson in a separate case, has been having problems on probation, a recent court appearance revealed.

In March, retired Superior Court Judge Donna Hitchens sentenced Diaz, 28, to five years probation after he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment in the disfigurement case in exchange for assault and other counts being dismissed. Hitchens warned him that a violation “no matter how minor will result in a prison term.”

Among other conditions, Diaz was ordered to adhere to get mental health counseling, adhere to a midnight curfew, and wear an ankle monitor for up to one year.

At a Friday, December 29 court appearance Assistant District Attorney Andrew Clark objected to Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young’s request for Diaz’s ankle monitor to be removed early.

Diaz has “disengaged with his mental health clinician,” said Clark. “He has stopped going to his appointments and is on the brink of being dropped.” He’s also had nine curfew violations, said Clark.

Young acknowledged that a probation officer’s report included curfew violations, but she said that each time he’d been “less than 10 minutes” late, and his tardiness was caused by his work schedule. Diaz has two jobs, including one at a South of Market pizzeria, she said.

She added that on Thanksgiving night, he was late because he’d been in the hospital.

Reading from report, Young said that Diaz has been reporting to probation consistently, is working three to four days a week, has “stable housing” in the South of Market neighborhood, has cut back on his drinking “considerably,” and has paid $1,000 of restitution.

Diaz’s probation officer stated Diaz’s progress has been “mediocre,” but Young repeatedly said it should be considered “excellent.” She said that it’s rare that she’s had a client who’s been as consistent on probation as him.

Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite said that much of the report indicated Diaz’s progress has been “better than mediocre,” but he said he’s concerned that there was a violation in November from Diaz reportedly failing to charge his monitoring device.

Hite set a date of January 16 so that a probation officer can come to court to discuss Diaz’s case.

Outside the courtroom Friday, Diaz said that he’d been hospitalized in November because he was injured when “somebody tried to steal my car. Two guys tried to beat me up” and stole his phone.

He said police had investigated the incident, which occurred near Seventh and Howard streets. The Bay Area Reporter hasn’t found information from police to confirm that.

Diaz’s probation sentence stemmed from a November 29, 2016 incident in which police said he handcuffed and bit a chunk out of another man’s scalp while impersonating a cop.

Prosecutors alleged that he’d cut and disabled the victim’s tongue, put out one of his eyes, and slit his “nose, ear, and lip.” Both men were hospitalized after the brawl.

Young has attributed Diaz’s problems to late night drinking. She’s also said that in the 2016 incident, he’d been defending himself.

Murder, arson cases

In 2014, Diaz stood trial for the June 2011 death of Freddy Canul-Arguello, 23, in Buena Vista Park. During the trial, Diaz testified that Canul-Arguello had asked to be choked during a sexual encounter and that he’d accidentally killed him.

Jurors acquitted Diaz of second-degree murder but convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, among other charges. He was released in September 2014.

In 2015, Diaz was arrested again for allegedly starting fires in the Castro district. He pleaded guilty in August 2016 to possessing an incendiary device and a count of second-degree burglary. He was released in September after being sentenced to a year of mandatory supervision and being ordered to register as an arsonist for life, among other terms.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 5:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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