Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 49 / 8 December 2016
 

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


Gay former CA Assembly speaker announces bid for Congress

Former Assemblyman John Perez.

Former Assemblyman John Pérez.

Gay former California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), the first LGBT person to hold the powerful leadership position, announced this morning he is running for Congress.

The news came less than an hour after Governor Jerry Brown picked Congressman Xavier Becerra to be the state’s next attorney general. The position will become vacant when the current attorney general, Kamala Harris, is sworn in next month as California’s junior U.S. senator, having been elected last month to outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat.

Becerra’s 34th Congressional District is centered in downtown Los Angeles and covers the gay-friendly Eagle Rock neighborhood. Should Pérez win the seat, he would be the second out member of California’s congressional delegation, serving alongside gay Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside.)

“I’m running for Congress to take these California values and our state’s visionary approach to the national level,” Pérez, 47, said in a news statement. “California needs leadership who will stand up against Donald Trump, but also leadership that will fight for the poor, the middle class, for job creation, and for a vision that can help us win all across the country.”

Becerra, 58, of Los Angeles, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992, most recently as the first Latino member of the Committee on Ways and Means. He earned his law degree from Stanford Law School and had served as a deputy attorney general from 1987 to 1990.

Should the state Legislature confirm him as attorney general next year, he will be the first Latino to serve as California’s top law enforcement official.

“Governor Brown and our state leaders lean forward when it comes to advancing and protecting the rights and interests of the more than 38 million people in California,” said Becerra in a statement released by the governor’s office. “I’m deeply honored by Governor Brown’s confidence in me to serve as our state’s next chief law enforcement officer.”

He added that “it has been an extraordinary privilege to serve my fellow Californians in Congress for the past 24 years, fighting for working families like my parents, and I look forward to continuing that battle as California’s attorney general.”

Brown called Becerra “an outstanding public servant – in the state Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general.” He voiced confidence in Becerra being “a champion for all Californians and help(ing) our state aggressively combat climate change.”

Pérez’s running for the congressional seat is a turn around from just two days ago, when he told Politico that he was seriously considering a bid to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee. In an interview with the political news site, he had said he didn’t “have any plans for elective office, but there have been some conversations where people have tried to get me to explore the chairmanship.”

Termed out of the Assembly in 2014, Pérez lost his bid that year to become state controller. A cousin of former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for governor in 2018, Pérez is a former labor leader and currently serves on the University of California Board of Regents.

He garnered headlines in 2011 for failing to correct reports that he had graduated from UC Berkeley when, in fact, he had dropped out in 1990 after three years. Yet until he won his Assembly seat in 2008, Pérez was found by the San Francisco Chronicle to have allowed biographies of him to say he had earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Bay Area university.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 1, 2016 @ 1:50 pm PST
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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


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