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

Online Extra: Political Notes: SF board Prez Breed plans supe committee shuffle

by Matthew S. Bajko

Payback could be swift for those supervisors who voted to oust District 5 Supervisor London Breed as acting mayor of San Francisco last Tuesday. Breed could use her power over board committee assignments to diminish the legislative oversight of those supervisors who removed her from Room 200 at City Hall.

(SF Board of Supervisors President London Breed. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(SF Board of Supervisors President London Breed. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The board’s five progressive members, along with more moderate District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, maneuvered to elect Mark Farrell as the city’s interim mayor. Formerly the District 2 supervisor, Farrell will serve through the special election in June that was scheduled due to the sudden death last month of former mayor Ed Lee.

His colleagues chose Farrell to be a “caretaker mayor” since he opted not to enter the mayoral race by the January 9 deadline to file. They had argued it would not be fair to keep Breed as mayor, which she automatically became upon Lee’s death due to her being board president, while she ran to be elected to the position in June.

Supporters of Breed, the first African-American woman to serve as the city’s mayor, were incensed at seeing her replaced with a conservative white venture capitalist. They castigated the board’s decision as racist and sexist. Those supportive of the move stressed it had nothing to do with Breed’s race or gender and was more about maintaining a separation of power between the board and the mayor’s office.

Now Farrell will name his replacement on the board, and the person will need to run in November for a full four-year term. Speculation last week was it could be former District 2 supervisor Michaela Alioto-Pier, who had indicated she wanted to run for her old seat this year.

The musical chairs at City Hall mean Breed will be reshuffling committee assignments among the board members. In an editorial board meeting with the Bay Area Reporter last Thursday (January 25), Breed said she would announce the new committee assignments as soon as the District 2 supervisor is sworn in.

She added she would like for that to happen at Tuesday’s board meeting, citing the same “fake arguments” used against her serving simultaneously as mayor, supervisor, and board president for why Farrell should expeditiously fill the board vacancy.

“That would be the responsible thing to do,” said Breed. “We still have work to do for the city on the board.”

When asked how she planned to work with her colleagues going forward, Breed told the B.A.R. what the city deserves is leaders who “don’t let petty politics get in the way.”

Legislative leaders, however, often use their power over committee assignments to bolster their allies and exact retribution on their political enemies. So it would not be a surprise to see those supervisors who voted for Farrell punished in the committee assignments shuffle.

Breed would not disclose what the new assignments would be for the supervisors. She did allow that she had asked District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, one of the three supervisors to vote against naming Farrell interim mayor, to remain as chair of the powerful budget and finance committee.

And last Wednesday Breed replaced Farrell, who had chaired the land use and transportation committee, with District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai and named District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang as the new chair. Safai and Tang were the other no votes against Farrell.

As for what other assignment changes Breed makes, ones in particular to watch will be for District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, who nominated Farrell to become interim mayor and sits on the budget committee, and District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who accused Breed of being in the pocket of “rich, white men” and chairs the public safety and neighborhood services committee.

Another one to watch is District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, who chairs the government audit and oversight committee. While she declined a nomination to become interim mayor because she is running for the elected position, Kim voted for Farrell to serve as mayor on an interim basis. Breed is also on the committee as is District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, considered a leader of the board’s progressive bloc.

It also remains to be seen where Sheehy, the lone gay member of the board and the first known HIV-positive supervisor, will be assigned. He currently sits on public safety and the rarely convened budget and finance federal select committee.

Last year, he did get named to the expanded five-member budget committee during the final negotiations in June. In an interview Friday, Sheehy told the B.A.R. he hoped to serve on it again this year.

“If President Breed decides the LGBT community doesn’t deserve representation on the budget and finance committee that is up to her to explain to the community while she is out campaigning,” said Sheehy.

Changes could be in store for the powerful rules committee, which Safai chairs and forwards recommended appointees to city commissions to the full board for approval. It currently has a two-person progressive majority with Yee and District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who had put forth Kim’s name to be interim mayor.

The B.A.R. will have more on its interview with Breed in Thursday’s paper.

LGBT groups consider mayoral endorsements
The coming weeks will be busy ones for three of the city’s LGBT political groups as they will be deciding their endorsement in the special mayoral election this year. Along with Breed and Kim the two other leading candidates in the race are former supervisors Angela Alioto and Mark Leno, a gay man who went on to serve in the state Legislature.

The Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, a club mainly for gay Asian and Pacific Islander men in the Bay Area, came out with an early endorsement for Lee’s re-election bid in 2015 nearly a year prior to the election. It is unclear which candidate it will back this year.

“We are currently engaged in figuring out our endorsement process. We do plan to make an endorsement,” GAPA President Michael T. Nguyen told the B.A.R. last week.

At the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, it remains to be seen if it will line up behind Leno, who traditionally has easily secured its backing. But with his positioning himself as a progressive candidate for mayor, he may not enjoy the same support this year from the moderate political group.

Alice’s political action committee, comprised of its board members and former co-chairs, is meeting this Saturday, February 3, to vote on a mayoral endorsement recommendation. A candidate needs to secure 66 percent of the vote to win a sole endorsement recommendation, otherwise the PAC will vote on making a ranked-choice endorsement.

In San Francisco voters can rank their top three choices for mayor on their ballot. As candidates with the least votes are eliminated, their voters’ second and third choices are tabulated until a winner emerges with 50 percent plus one of the vote.

Whatever the Alice PAC decides, the club’s members will vote to uphold it or reject it at their meeting February 12. It is exceedingly rare, however, for the PAC’s decision not to be approved.

The more progressive Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club had been expected to consider its mayoral endorsement in March. But supporters of Kim put forward a motion at the club’s January meeting to instead move it up a month, to the surprise of the club’s co-presidents.

Those who supported the move argued it would protect the endorsement decision from being hijacked by candidates stacking the Milk club with new members to vote on their behalf. At Milk a candidate needs 60 percent of the vote to secure a sole endorsement from the club, and only those who joined three months prior are allowed to vote.

“We are going to have to begin the process very soon but I have faith in our leadership and our ability to run a fair process,” said Milk Co-President Carolina Morales.

Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/politicalnotes.

Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail m.bajko@ebar.com.

— Cynthia Laird, January 29, 2018 @ 12:07 pm PST
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Marijuana activist Dennis Peron dies

by Cynthia Laird

(Dennis Peron. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(Dennis Peron. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Marijuana activist Dennis Peron, who led the charge for the passage of California’s medical cannabis ballot initiative, has died, according to his friends.

Michelle Aldrich, a longtime friend of Mr. Peron’s, posted a message on Facebook Saturday afternoon (January 27), “I am sorry to announce the passing of a dear friend, colleague, and cannabis hero, Dennis Peron. RIP brother.”

Mr. Peron, a gay man, was a driving force behind California’s Proposition 215 in 1996, which legalized medical marijuana.

The Bay Area Repoprter will have more on Mr. Peron’s passing in next week’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, January 27, 2018 @ 5:49 pm PST
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UPDATED: Leno responds to talk of dual endorsement in SF D8 supe race

Mark Leno speaks with the press following his filing papers to run for mayor. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Mark Leno speaks with the press following his filing papers to run for mayor. Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco mayoral candidate Mark Leno has poured cold water on talk that he will dual endorse in the special election this June for his former Board of Supervisors seat.

Minutes after the Bay Area Reporter had posted a story to its blog Friday afternoon noting that he had so far remained mum on if he would make such a move, Leno broke his silence in a text saying he was sticking to his sole endorsement of Rafael Mandelman in the District 8 race on the June 5 primary ballot, as the Bay Area Reporter had first reported in October.

Mandelman, a gay attorney who serves on the board that oversees City College of San Francisco, is running against Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, a gay married father who is the first openly HIV-positive person to serve on the board.

Sheehy was appointed last January by the late mayor Ed Lee to fill the vacancy created by gay former Supervisor Scott Wiener’s election to the state Senate. He must run in June to serve out the remainder of Wiener’s term through early 2019 and again in November for a full four-year term.

Mandelman has also filed to run in the fall race no matter the outcome of the June election. It is the second time Mandelman has sought the District 8 seat, having lost to Wiener in 2010.

Leno, a gay man who had been appointed a supervisor by former mayor Willie Brown, was the first person to win the board’s District 8 seat, which includes the gay Castro neighborhood as well as Noe Valley where Leno resides, when supervisors reverted to being elected by district in 2000.

It had been expected that Leno would remain neutral in the District 8 contest due to his mayoral ambitions and close ties to both candidates. But unlike Mandelman, who was an early backer of Leno for mayor, Sheehy refused to early-endorse him in the race that had been expected to take place in 2019.

Sheehy had told the B.A.R. he planned to endorse in the mayoral race after his own election this year. His decision paved the way for Mandelman to secure the early endorsement from Leno.

Sheehy sides with progressives

Then came the sudden death in December of Lee, resulting in a special election for mayor being scheduled on this year’s primary ballot. Leno quickly announced he would run, and earlier this month District 5 Supervisor London Breed also launched a bid to be mayor. She had become acting mayor when Lee died due to her being board president and had wanted to remain so through the June election.

But at Tuesday’s board meeting Sheehy cast the deciding vote to install Mark Farrell, who had held the District 2 seat on the board, as interim mayor, effectively ousting Breed from Room 200 at City Hall. He sided with the board’s five progressive members who had argued that Breed should not serve as mayor and board president at the same time and that allowing her to do so would be unfair to voters and the other mayoral candidates.

Sheehy’s vote sparked talk that it opened the door for Leno to dual endorse him and Mandelman in the District 8 race, as Breed’s removal as acting mayor is largely seen as benefiting Leno’s mayoral bid. Until late Friday (January 26) it was unclear if Leno would in fact make such a decision.

The B.A.R. had contacted Leno Thursday seeking comment on if he would dual endorse the District 8 candidates. Hours later Erin Mundy, Leno’s mayoral campaign manager, responded, indicating in a text message that the first they heard of such a possibility was by reading it in a San Francisco Chronicle article.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, he’s got long-standing relationships with both Rafael and Jeff. And as you know he’s endorsed Rafael’s candidacy,” wrote Mundy in a texted reply.

Pressed on if Leno was considering a dual endorsement, Mundy replied that Leno was “still with” Mandelman.

After once again contacting Leno Friday morning to see if he had a comment, he texted the paper minutes after the initial blog post went public to reiterate Mundy’s comments.

“Nothing to add to Erin’s comments. I am with Rafael,” wrote Leno in his text.

Mandelman had told the B.A.R. this week that he didn’t know if Leno would dual endorse in the supervisor race and that the two hadn’t talked about it.

As for Sheehy, he told the B.A.R. he wasn’t expecting Leno to change his endorsement.

“I would be very grateful were Mark to do that but I haven’t had a conversation about that with Mark,” said Sheehy.

He also pushed back against headlines in the mainstream press this week that have painted his campaign as being in disarray after he parted ways last week with his second campaign consultant. He said relationships between candidates and consultants are often “fraught” and “tense.”

Rather than look to hire another consultant, Sheehy said his focus is on hiring staff to manage the day-to-day needs of his campaign.

“I am an activist not a politician, so my mind frame on things is different,” said Sheehy. “I am less motivated by the smart moves than I am by the right moves.”

Nor does he think his voting for Farrell cost him the June election.

“I don’t know what the political ramifications for that vote were, but I know it was the right thing,” said Sheehy, adding that, “I don’t think I am going to lose.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 26, 2018 @ 2:59 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Woman arrested in Noe Valley burglary

A 31-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly stealing packages from a Noe Valley residence Thursday.

According to police, the woman, whose name hasn’t been released, entered the common area of the victim’s building at about 11:15 a.m. and took the mail packages. When police arrived, the suspect walked out, but the officers arrested her.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:48 pm PST
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SF police detain man after vehicle collision in the Castro

by Cynthia Laird

San Francisco Police are investigating a vehicle collision Saturday in the Castro district in which a man was detained.

(The van the suspect drove onto a Castro sidewalk, according to ABC7 News. Photo: Courtesy ABC7 News)

(The van the suspect drove onto a Castro sidewalk, according to ABC7 News. Photo: Courtesy ABC7 News)

According to a news release from SFPD, at approximately 3:12 p.m. a van jumped the curb on Castro near Market. The van caused property damage to a building and possibly several parking meters, police said.

The van also reportedly drove erratically in the area of 18th and Sanchez streets. No pedestrians have been reported injured, police said.

SFPD said that the driver, a 70-year-old male, has been detained and he reported non-life threatening injuries. The incident does not appear to be an intentional act and remains under investigation. No cause has been determined at this time, police said.

Acting Mayor London Breed sent out a tweet Saturday afternoon.

“We are aware of the incident at 18th and Castro,” Breed tweeted. “At this point it does not appear to be an intentional act and no one is seriously injured. @SFPD is on scene.”

The businesses affected were identified by ABC7 News as Rossi’s Deli, and Knob’s, a clothing store.

Gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy posted to Facebook that an “out of control driver jumped the curb on Castro Street this afternoon, damaging the sidewalk between Thailand Restaurant and Louie’s Barbershop.”

Sheehy reiterated that the incident, “by all reports, was not terrorism related.”

Anyone with Information is asked to call the SFPD tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.

— Cynthia Laird, January 20, 2018 @ 5:44 pm PST
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Man arrested in Castro robbery

Andre Sherman in a 2012 booking photo (Photo: SFPD)

Andre Sherman in a 2012 booking photo (Photo: SFPD)

A 61-year-old San Francisco man is in custody after he allegedly robbed another man early Wednesday morning in the Castro district.

According to police, the  incident occurred just before 2 a.m. at Castro and 18th streets. The victim, 31, was talking to the suspect , identified as Andre Sherman, when Sherman allegedly pushed him “up against a pole and held onto him while going through his pockets,” police said.

Sherman then allegedly stole the victim’s cellphone, ran into a nearby cab and fled. A witness called police and gave a description of the cab. Police responded, arrested Sherman, and recovered the cellphone.

Sherman is being held without bond in San Francisco County Jail #2 on suspicion of robbery, false imprisonment, false identification to a peace officer, possession of narcotics paraphernalia, and probation violation.

Sheriff’s department records indicate he’s been on probation for stealing a car, and his previous charges also include petty theft. His arraignment date for the new charges wasn’t immediately available.

Asked in a brief jailhouse interview Wednesday afternoon whether he’d robbed anyone, Sherman said, “Of course not.” He said that he’d had a friend’s phone. He also denied pushing anyone.

“I never manhandled anybody. … I didn’t take anyone’s phone,” said Sherman, who sat hunched over and kept his head turned away during much of the interview. He mostly spoke slowly and was sometimes unintelligible.

In February 2012, Sherman pleaded no contest to misdemeanor grand theft as part of a plea deal stemming from an incident the previous month. In that case, four off-duty police were at gay Badlands bar in the Castro when Sherman took one of their jackets – a $550 Juicy Couture garment – and left.

The officers pursued Sherman, who’s also known as Undra Sherman, and he was eventually apprehended about half a block away, police said at the time. He received a suspended imposition of sentence with one year of probation in the case, in which he was initially charged with felony grand theft of property and receiving or buying stolen property.

In 2015, a man posted a video to YouTube, apparently of Sherman, with a comment that said Sherman “is a career criminal that stocks and robs drunk people I have personally witnessed him stealing from several customers. DA and police have done little to help.” The man’s Facebook profile says that he’s a bartender at the gay bar Toad Hall and a former Badlands bartender.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 17, 2018 @ 10:25 am PST
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Cher to headline Sydney Mardi Gras celebration

by Heather Cassell

Gay icon Cher is set to headline the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras party March 3.

U.S. fans can try and get tickets as an additional number go on sale Tuesday, January 16.

Late last month, the pop superstar caused a stir among gay fans with a tweet featuring rainbow, sparkling hearts, stars, bees, and kiss emoji topped off with the hashtag #putsomeshrimponthebarbie, “Ok … you boys know where I’ll be in March.”

(Cher will headline the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Photo: Machado Cicala Morassut)

(Cher will headline the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Photo: Machado Cicala Morassut)

Organizers, however, didn’t confirm the 71-year old Grammy award-winning singer’s tweets until January 11.

In the meantime, fans rushed to grab tickets, selling out the event within hours, organizers told the media.

Last year, Mardi Gras welcomed an estimated 250,000 spectators from around the world. More than 12,000 people took part in the annual parade, according to a 2017 news release from the organization.

Ticket sales for various events were already reaching unprecedented numbers back in November due to Australia’s marriage equality win, Terese Casu, CEO of Sydney Mardi Gras, told the Bay Area Reporter last month.

Event organizers issued a statement after confirming Cher would perform.

“Cher has established herself as an influential, hard-hitting voice in global politics, and throughout her career has been at the forefront of LGBTQI campaigns and numerous charities,” Casu stated. “Cher represents the same unapologetic and fearless freedom that makes the LGBTQI community so enduring and strong – positioning herself as a true gay icon.”

Cher’s chart-topping hits span five decades from “I Got You Babe,” a duet with her then-husband, the late Sonny Bono to “If I Could Turn Back Time,” and “Believe.”

The multi-talented artist also garnered a best actress Oscar, three Golden Globes, and an Emmy Award.

Organizers said that additional tickets will go on sale Tuesday, January 16 at 3 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time). Tickets, $86 – $199.88 (AUD 108.70 to 252.45), will be limited to two per person.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a 16-day festival from February 16 to March 4, filled with a variety of events including educational talks, arts, sports, and, of course, parties featuring top DJs from Australia and elsewhere.

Casu expects many visitors from around the world – especially, Canada, Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom – to celebrate with Australians at this year’s historic Mardi Gras.

“Come and be a part of a moment that will never be again,” she said.

Don Harwin, minister for the arts in New South Wales, said this year’s Mardi Gras will be “momentous for LGBTQI Australians.”

“I have no doubt it will be the biggest and best yet,” he said in the release, noting that there is a lot to celebrate. “Cher fits this celebratory mood perfectly.”

“When it comes to international recording artists, they don’t get much bigger than Cher and as one of the LGBTQI community’s most vocal advocates, she is the perfect person to help celebrate Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras,” he added.

This year’s Mardi Gras will celebrate the 40th anniversary of when the 78ers rose up and fought the police attacks in the country’s version of the Stonewall riots, and last year’s marriage equality victory.

“It’s an amazing moment,” said Casu.

Organizers have held their sights to keep the event as a “platform for social justice and equality,” she added.

The event will take a retrospective look over the last 40 years as it celebrates community activists – lesbian activism to the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to same-sex families – who took Australia’s LGBT rights movement out of the shadows into acceptance.

“There’s no party like the Mardi Gras party,” said Casu. “We do such an extraordinary party.”

Cher will perform at the Mardi Gras Party 2018 at the Hordern Pavilion, Driver Avenue (next to the Entertainment Quarter), Moore Park at 10 p.m. March 3.

Mardi Gras is sponsored by the New South Wales government and tourism bureaus, Qantas, SBS, and KIIS 1065.

For more information, visit http://www.mardigras.org.au.

— Cynthia Laird, January 13, 2018 @ 8:40 am PST
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San Francisco Supervisor Sheehy files for election

by Cynthia Laird

Gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy filed papers last week and has officially entered the June election to retain his seat.

Sheehy, a married gay dad who is the board’s first openly HIV-positive member, was appointed by the late Mayor Ed Lee a year ago to fill the seat vacated by Scott Wiener when he became state senator. The winner in the June election will serve out the remaining months of Wiener’s term, and must run in November for a full four-year term.

(Supervisor Jeff Sheehy takes the oath as he files paperwork to run for election in June. Photo: Courtesy Sheehy campaign)

(Supervisor Jeff Sheehy takes the oath as he files paperwork to run for election in June. Photo: Courtesy Sheehy campaign)

So far, Sheehy’s main opponent is gay City College of San Francisco Trustee Rafael Mandelman, who had his election kickoff last summer. Mandelman has said he plans to run in both races, regardless of who wins in June.

Sheehy was surrounded by his family – husband Bill Berry and their daughter, Michelle – and supporters as he completed paperwork January 5 at the Department of Elections in City Hall.

“As a young adult, I moved here from Texas to find safety – safety from people who did not like me because I am gay,” Sheehy said in a statement. “I came to San Francisco because it has always represented the ideals of equality and acceptance.”

Sheehy said that his priorities are neighborhood public safety and reducing car break-ins, ending tent encampments and “compassionately” responding to the city’s homeless crisis, helping long-term renters stay in the city, building affordable housing, and improving public schools.

Prior to becoming a supervisor, Sheehy was the communications director for UCSF’s AIDS Research Institute. He was appointed to the state’s stem cell board, a position he continues to hold. And he is a founding member of the city’s Getting to Zero Consortium, which aims to make San Francisco the first municipality to achieve the UNAIDS goals of zero new infections, zero HIV deaths, and zero stigma.

“Mayor Ed Lee appointed me to fight for our city’s values and protect health care from budget cuts,” Sheehy stated., “I have helped get LGBT kids off our streets, won increased police foot patrols, and banned bicycle chop shops.

“I have effectively led the fight against the Trump administration’s war on San Francisco,” he added.

— Cynthia Laird, January 8, 2018 @ 9:53 am PST
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7 San Francisco cannabis dispensaries authorized for adult-use sales

by Cynthia Laird

Seven San Francisco medical marijuana dispensaries have been given the green light by the city to seek temporary state licensure to sell recreational marijuana Saturday, January 6.

The move comes as the federal government announced plans to crack down on legal sales of marijuana, though the outcome of that in states like California is not yet known.

(The Apothecarium is one of several medical cannabis dispensaries working to obtain a state license to sell recreational pot.)

(The Apothecarium is one of several medical cannabis dispensaries working to obtain a state license to sell recreational pot.)

The city’s Office of Cannabis on Friday said in a statement that it had made the recommendations to the state after consultation with the Department of Public Health. Both departments reviewed operators’ security plans, good neighbor policies, and equity plans, according to the statement.

Those authorized to seek a temporary state license include the Apothecarium, 2029 Market Street; Grass Roots, 1077 Post Street; Harvest on Geary, 4811 Geary Boulevard; MediThrive, 1933 Mission Street; Shambhala, 2441 Mission Street; ReLeaf Herbal Cooperative, 1284 Mission Street; and the Green Cross, 4218 Mission Street.

Eliot Dobris, spokesman for the Apothecarium, said the dispensary hoped to get its state license Friday.

“We have the city permit and are hopeful of getting the state permit today,” he said in a phone message.

[Updated: The Apothecarium received its state license late Friday afternoon, Dobris wrote in an email, and plans to be open Saturday for recreational pot sales. The Green Cross issued a news release Friday that said it has also received its state license and would be open Saturday for recreational sales.]

In order for the medical cannabis dispensaries to begin selling recreational marijuana, they must first receive a temporary adult-use retailer license from the state.

“The city has been working diligently and swiftly to move the cannabis industry to a regulated space so that our small businesses can be in compliance with late and local law – laws that are meant to better protect our communities and consumers,” Nicole Elliott, director of the Office of Cannabis, said in a statement.

Health Director Barbara Garcia said that the department anticipates working with retailers.

“As San Francisco implements legal adult-use cannabis, we look forward to the benefits to consumers, who will be able to know that they are buying products that are regulated and tested for quality and safety,” Garcia said in the statement.

San Francisco’s adult use regulations were one of the last things done by the late Mayor Ed Lee, whose office worked with gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy in developing them.

Sheehy said he was glad adult use was starting in San Francisco.

“Ed Lee and I worked on [the regulations] and after a lot of hard work the board passed solid regulations,” Sheehy said Friday. “As time goes by I hope it can be a model for other jurisdictions.”

State voters in 2016 approved adult use of recreational marijuana. Cities, counties, and the state worked for a year developing regulations. Under Proposition 64, the adult-use initiative, local jurisdictions can determine their own rules for recreational cannabis.

According to the Office of Cannabis, to date the city has received 31 submissions from medical marijuana dispensaries seeking adult-use authorization. These are being reviewed in the order in which they were received by the office, DPH, and the San Francisco Police Department.

— Cynthia Laird, January 5, 2018 @ 1:36 pm PST
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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, @ 11:51 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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