Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 48 / 27 November 2014

UPDATED: Chiu wins SF Assembly race as Campos concedes after updated tally released

David Campos, left, makes a point during an October 2 debate with David Chiu at UCSF Mission Bay. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

David Campos, left, makes a point during an October 2 debate with David Chiu at UCSF Mission Bay. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

After San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu’s lead expanded for a second day in a row over gay Supervisor David Campos in their heated contest for a state Assembly seat, Campos conceded Thursday night.

According to the most recent vote count, posted shortly after 4 p.m yesterday (November 6), Chiu’s margin of victory stood at 3,771 votes ahead of Campos. His lead in the race had already grown by 652 votes late Wednesday.

The latest tally now gives Chiu 51,878 votes, or 51.89 percent, compared to Campos’ 48,107 votes, or 48.11 percent.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in its story on the race in yesterday’s paper, because numerous ballots remain to be counted by elections officials, both candidates were waiting to see additional vote tallies before they declared victory or conceded.

Even though the Department of Elections said it had 42,000 vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places and an approximately 11,000 provisional ballots cast Tuesday still to count, Campos’s campaign determined there was little chance of seeing the vote count reverse.

In a message he posted to Facebook last night after 9 p.m., Campos said he had called Chiu to congratulate him on his victory in the race.

“As I write this my thoughts are with Supervisor Harvey Milk. Forty-two years ago Harvey made a similar call when he lost his own race for the 17th Assembly district by fewer then 4,000 votes,” wrote Campos, referring to the city’s first gay elected official due to his winning a supervisor seat in 1977. “It was one of many races that Harvey lost, in fact he was only a supervisor for 11 months before his murder. And yet the message that is most associated with him is that of hope. Right now my heart is filled with hope.”

Campos added that the city is experiencing “a time of great change,” and that through his campaign, “we have sent a powerful message that the people of San Francisco are alive, spirited, and ready to fight for our values and way of life. We made clear that we love this city, refuse to be pushed out and are a force to be reckoned with.”

In his own Facebook message last night, Chiu wrote that he and Campos “had a positive conversation and agreed to work together in the future for the good of San Francisco. While the race was often challenging, I applaud Supervisor Campos and all of his supporters on the passion and hard work that they put into the campaign.”

With Chiu victorious, it means San Francisco for the first time in nearly two decades does not have a gay or lesbian lawmaker representing the city in the state Assembly. Lesbian former lawmaker Carole Migden became the first to do so when she won her race for a legislative seat in 1996.

Gay lawmaker Mark Leno, currently serving in the state Senate, succeeded Migden in the Assembly in 2002. And since 2008 gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has held the seat, now numbered the 17th Assembly District, covering the city’s eastern neighborhoods.

Whether the seat should remain in LGBT hands was one of the dominant themes in this year’s race. Among those who argued it should was Ammiano, who endorsed Campos to succeed him.

The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, statewide LGBT group Equality California, and numerous LGBT officials and leaders shared that view with Ammiano and vigorously backed Campos in the race.

But Chiu, who pledged to be a stalwart supporter of LGBT issues in the statehouse, also garnered significant LGBT support for his bid. He picked up backing, for example, from gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, the B.A.R., and the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.

If elected, Chiu has said he will petition to become a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, even though it currently does not allow straight members of the Legislature to join it.

“I believe that as San Franciscans there is more that unites than divides us,” wrote Chiu in his Facebook message. “I look forward to continue working for each and every one of you to make sure that San Francisco remains the wonderful, special place that we all love. Thank you San Francisco!”

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 6, 2014 @ 5:14 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Umpqua Bank, Philz plans for Castro locations add to debate over gayborhood’s business climate

umpquaUmpqua Bank is proposing to open a Castro branch in the space that now houses Magnet, the gay men’s health clinic, but faces opposition from those who question the need for another financial institution in the heart of the city’s gayborhood.

In early 2015 Magnet is expected to relocate around the corner from its current home at 4122 18th Street into an expanded health center that the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, of which the clinic is a part, is building on the 400 block of Castro Street.

As seen in the artist’s rendering at right, the bank intends to reskin the 18th Street building, which is adjacent to a city parking lot, and upgrade the facade and entrance way. It also is proposing to work with the community to install a mural on the side of the structure fronting the parking lot entrance and possibly install a new structure for local organizations to post their posters.

“It would be a total remodel of the building,” said Lani Hayward, the executive vice president of creative strategies at Umpqua Bank.

The bank, which has a branch in Noe Valley on 24th Street next door to the Whole Foods, is looking to partner with Castro community groups that need office space to utilize two rooms it will not need in the second floor of the 18th Street building.

In order to activate the space as Magnet has done, by hosting forums and art gallery openings, Umpqua is proposing to do the same once it moves in and is planning to have a lobby area that can easily be rearranged to host meetings or events.

“You are not entering a branch but into a store,” Hayward told members of the Castro Merchants group at its meeting this morning (Thursday, November 6). “It feels like a cafe not a bank. Our doors are open for you to use.”

The company, which is 60 years old, is just beginning to meet with neighborhood groups about its plans. It does not expect to go before the city’s planning commission to seek approval to open in the Castro space until sometime this spring.

It likely will face resistance from those in the neighborhood who are opposed to seeing another bank move in rather than a retailer. Many merchants are concerned that the Castro is losing its retail stores to other uses, whether it be financial or restaurant, that do not attract the same amount of foot traffic as more traditional shops do.

“We are becoming like Polk Street in the 1980s with nothing to offer people a reason to come shop during the day,” longtime Castro business owner and leader Patrick Batt said earlier in the meeting while speaking out against seeing Philz Coffee relocate its 18th Street coffee shop into a space on the 500 block of Castro Street that once housed a shoe store. “With seven banks and nine coffee shops in the Castro, people are just walking through the neighborhood. They are going to other places to shop.”

Philz Coffee wants to relocate its 18th Street location in this space on Castro Street where David Chiu had his Assembly race headquarters.

Philz Coffee wants to relocate its 18th Street location into this space on Castro Street where David Chiu had his Assembly race headquarters.

Philz will go before the city’s planning commission on Thursday, December 4 to seek approval for its relocation plans, the same day Castro gay bar owner Les Natali will be asking for sign off on his plan to open a Hamburger Mary’s in the long vacant Patio Cafe space a few doors down from where Philz wants to open at 549 Castro Street.

Owner Phil Jaber, in asking for the Castro Merchants group’s support, which it agreed to do in a 20-15 vote, argued his coffeehouse will attract people to the Castro and benefit other businesses.

“When Philz comes to the community we put the building on the map. We create more business,” said Jaber, who a decade ago opened the Castro location, his second one in what is now a company with 15 stores in the Bay Area and one in Los Angeles.

The debate over the direction of the Castro’s business environment comes as several neighborhood groups have banded together to create a retail strategy for attracting new businesses to the gayborhood to fill up vacant storefronts.

Volunteers will be out in the Castro this Saturday, November 8, and again Wednesday, November 12, asking patrons to fill out a short survey to help gather input for the project. The retail plan is expected to be presented to the public sometime next summer.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:44 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Elton John’s foundation grants money to Oakland-based trans group

Elton John (Photo: Elton John AIDS Foundation)

Elton John (Photo: Elton John AIDS Foundation)

The Oakland-based Transgender Law Center will receive $200,000 in grant funding from the Elton John AIDS Foundation for Positively Trans, a program to address HIV in the trans community, the foundation announced today (Thursday, November 6).

Through the program, known as T+, the transgender group will form a national advisory board of eight to 10 diverse trans leaders who are living with HIV and undertake a national healthcare needs assessment and “identify shortfalls in HIV services,” and make recommendations, among other tasks, according to John’s foundation and the Transgender Law Center. There will be a special focus on trans women of color.

Cecilia Chung, the transgender group’s senior strategist, will lead the effort.

“With the support of the advisory board, Transgender Law Center will engage the community meaningfully in the examination of how systemic barriers and social conditions  (such as discrimination, transphobia, criminalization and violence) drive the HIV epidemic and negatively impact health outcomes,” Chung, who sits on San Francisco’s Health Commission and is a transgender woman living with HIV, said in a statement. “This will also give us an opportunity to support and strengthen the leadership of some of the most vulnerable members in the transgender community.”

John’s foundation is releasing almost $1.5 million through its current round of grants. Other grantees include the Kaiser Family Foundation in Menlo Park, California, and the national Human Rights Campaign.

“We recognize that the health needs and rights of LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people, are critical components to ending HIV in the United States,” Elton John, the legendary singer, said in a statement. “The foundation also recognizes the lack of funding and leadership in this area and is rising to the challenge to meet this need.”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:31 pm PST
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AIDS group calls on OSHA for better porn protections

AIDS Healthcare Foundation is holding a protest in Oakland today (Thursday, November 6) calling on the state Occupational Health and Safety Administration to better protect porn actors from AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections.

The action, planned for noon to 2 p.m. at 1515 Clay Street, will feature four porn actors who became HIV-positive while working in the industry since 20014. The Clay Street site is the Oakland headquarters for California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of OSHA.

Among other things, the foundation wants condom use to be required in porn films. The nonprofit has sponsored legislation in the California Assembly that would make that state law, but the bill has failed to gain traction.

According to the foundation, a petition calling on tighter regulations, including requiring condoms, was delivered to Cal/OSHA in 2009, but and the agency’s Standards Board “unanimously accepted” the petition, but “since then, OSHA has delayed hearings or actions—most recently, until March 2015.”

In response to emailed questions, Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said, “The current regulation (the Bloodborne Pathogen standard) absolutely requires barrier protection where any employee will be reasonably anticipated to be exposed to potentially infectious material. Meaning the current law does require condom use in adult films and Cal/OSHA has successfully litigated that.”

In a news release Thursday, Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s president, indicated that’s not enough.

“The regularity of on-set exposure to infectious disease – including a multitude of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, and herpes – is alarming, given that the adult film industry is a legal California industry,” Weinstein said. “Negating any ambiguity in OSHA regulations will have a real effect on the health of this particular group of California workers. We are fed up with OSHA’s bureaucratic delays and inaction over the past five years and are taking to the streets in Los Angeles and Oakland to demand accountability and action on this issue.” (The foundation staged a similar protest Wednesday in Los Angeles.)

In a letter to Cal/OSHA Monday,Whitney Engeran-Cordova, AHF’s senior director of public health, wrote, “Although workers in adult films should enjoy protections under the current phrasing of the regulation, the adult film industry has steadfastly refused to take any steps to protect its workers from diseases spread by bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious material. This is an issue of last resort. It is time for the Standards Board to finish what was started five years ago.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:18 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

‘Every Drop Counts’ effort calls for end to gay, bi blood donor ban

Equality California launched a campaign Tuesday (October 28) urging federal officials to end the ban on gay and bi men donating blood.

Through “Every Drop Counts,” the statewide LGBT lobbying group is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration to lift the prohibition, which was established in 1983.

At that time, EQCA noted in a news release, there was “great fear and little knowledge about HIV or AIDS.” Despite dramatic improvements in knowledge and testing, the ban on blood donations from men who’ve had sex with other men even once since 1977 remains.

“The FDA blood ban is discrimination, pure and simple,” EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur said in the news release. “FDA blood donor eligibility policies should be based on modern scientific research and findings rather than archaic assumptions and fears. Ending this discriminatory ban is a priority for our community and we call on our members, supporters and allies around the country to join EQCA in demanding that the FDA end this ban.”

The American Red Cross, the American Association for Blood Banks, the American Medical Association, and other medical groups want the policy changed, according to EQCA. In August, the nonprofit worked with Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) to advance an assembly joint resolution telling President Barack Obama to pressure Health and Human Services and the FDA to drop the ban.

According to EQCA, the Williams Institute, a think tank based at UCLA’s School of Law, that estimates another 130,150 men would probably donate 219,200 more pints of blood each year if the prohibition were to end. The FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Committee will examine the issue this year.

EQCA  wants supporters to send letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg urging them to end the ban. The national Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay Blood Drive have also been calling for the policy to be lifted.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 28, 2014 @ 5:58 pm PST
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Gay man wins seat on SF entertainment commission

Folsom Street Events Executive Director Demetri Moshoyannis. (Photo: Rich Stadtmiller)

Folsom Street Events Executive Director Demetri Moshoyannis. (Photo: Rich Stadtmiller)

The executive director of the Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco’s yearly fetish event, has gained a seat on the city’s entertainment commission.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted this afternoon (Tuesday, October 28) to appoint Demetri Moshoyannis, a gay man and recent adoptive father, to fill a vacancy on the nightlife oversight body. Gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a strong advocate of seeing Moshoyannis serve on the panel, intended to administer his oath of office this evening.

Moshoyannis, 43, will fill out the rest of the term of Commissioner Naomi Akers, who resigned as the public health representative on the commission. The term for the seat ends July 1, 2017.

He joins four other out commissioners currently serving on the seven-member body. Three gay men, current president Bryant Tan, vice chair  Glendon Hyde, and Al Perez, serve alongside lesbian commissioner Audrey Joseph. Hyde, however, is expected to resign either later this year or in early 2015 as he is planning to move away to finish his college studies.

Moshoyannis had sought appointment to the commission’s industry seat in July, but the board’s rules committee gave its support to reappointing nightclub owner Steven Lee to that seat. When Akers seat became available, Moshoyannis reapplied and, earlier this month, won the backing of the rules committee.

In his application to the commission filed in September, Moshoyannis said, “As a gay man living with HIV since 1993, I have committed most of my career to addressing public health issues affecting the LGBT communities. These issues have included HIV/AIDS as well as substance abuse, mental health, sexual health, [and] homelessness. … Much of my work in public health has focused on dis-empowered demographics, especially teens and young adults.”

He added he’s been especially interested in the Castro district, where he lives, and the South of Market neighborhood, where he works.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay priest supports teen accused of SF murder

A gay independent Catholic priest is asking for a boy accused of murder in San Francisco to be charged as a juvenile, rather than as an adult.

Rashawn Williams (

Homicide victim Rashawn Williams (

The teen, whose name hasn’t been released because he’s a juvenile, has been charged in last month’s fatal stabbing of Rashawn Williams, 14, in the Mission district.

In a letter to District Attorney George Gascon released Wednesday (October 22), Reverend River Sims said he hopes the DA “will look at the case from the perspective of the young man’s age, and his future.”

Sims, who’s worked for years with LGBT youth in the city, appears to have directed his letter to the wrong person, though.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the DA’s office has already declined to charge the teen as an adult, and the decision lies with a juvenile court judge. As the Examiner indicated, the boy’s sentence could be greater if he’s tried and convicted as an adult, which is how Williams’s family wants him charged.

Sims said that at 14, the defendant’s brain “is not fully developed,” and at that age, people’s “decisions are made in the moment and without thought to the consequences. And in looking at the information presented so far my guess is that he was jealous of Rashawn’s life, the prospects he was given going to Sacred Heart [Cathedral Preparatory school], and in those moments acted out, with terrible consequences.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 22, 2014 @ 4:38 pm PST
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SF LGBT Center honors lending group

Mission Asset Fund,  a nonprofit that helps low-income people get loans, has received the San Francisco LGBT Community Center’s Ally Award, the center announced Wednesday (October 22).

The honor goes to community partners who work with the gay nonprofit to assure economic justice for LGBTs. The center presented the award to MAF Tuesday as part of its LGBTQ Economic Justice Week.

Edgar Cruz, left, and Gustavo Cerritos have benefited from the Mission Asset Fund. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Edgar Cruz, left, and Gustavo Cerritos
have benefited from the Mission Asset Fund. Photo: Rick Gerharter

The asset fund has partnered with the center to provide the lending circles program, which gives people a chance to pool their money, take out interest-free loans, and boost their credit scores. Through the program, the gay nonprofit said it’s helped 150 clients.

The Bay Area Reporter has highlighted the story of two clients who gained economic freedom and other benefits from the program. (Articles on the couple appeared in 2012  and 2014.)

In a news release, Clair Farley, the center’s associate director of economic development, said, “The partnership between MAF and the center has served as a crucial resource for the local LGBTQ community, granting clients access to secure, affordable and socially responsible capital – opening doors that previously were far too often slammed shut.”

José Quiñonez, the asset fund’s CEO, stated, “The issue of financial exclusion is one that touches so many lives. The center is already doing great work to address this need in the community and we’re honored to ally with the center to reach more hardworking families.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay SF filmmakers launch crowdfunding campaign for doc on mid-Market Street changes

a5d5775b-64fb-4c4a-b256-be8533f7f987.jpegFilmmakers Robert Cortlandt and Dan Goldes are asking for the public’s help in completing their documentary 5 Blocks that details the transformation taking place along San Francisco’s Mid-Market corridor.

This morning Goldes (seen at left in the photo) and Cortlandt announced they had launched a new crowdfunding campaign to help cover the cost of their last year of filming.

“We’re in the final year of shooting 5 Blocks and it’s vital that we get the footage that tells the story about the changes in the neighborhood,” they wrote in an email to supporters of their project. “While we will go into post-production following this phase, we still need to film interviews and ‘b-roll’ footage of what the area looks like now.”

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a 2013 article, the friends, who met at a gay country western dance party, have spent the last three years chronicling the changes along the once gruff and gritty thoroughfare into a new hub for arts groups, tech companies, and high-end housing.

Lured by generous city tax breaks, companies like Twitter and Uber are now headquartered in the area. Pop-up events like a Friday night beer hall and food truck party in U.N. Plaza are activating central Market Street areas long considered best to be avoided at night.

Amidst the commercial changes, Goldes and Cortlandt have been capturing the stories of artists, low-income seniors, and residents of single-room-occupancy hotels who have long made the neighborhood their home. Their plan is to focus on “the personal stories of three individuals who currently live and work in the 5 Blocks area, while the background of a sometimes messy transformation from ‘skid row’ to  ‘vibrant neighborhood’ unfolds.”

The San Francisco Film Society is the film’s fiscal sponsor and has been collecting donations for it online. By the end of last year they had raised more than $40,000 in public donations to finance the film.

A two-and-a-half minute teaser of the film can be seen on the society’s website here.

Their latest fundraising effort is being done through the website Hatch Fund. It aims to raise $10,000 by the end of Thursday, November 20.

As of Wednesday afternoon, they had already surpassed $4,500, roughly 30 percent of their donation goal. To donate, visit their crowdfunding campaign page here.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Campos, Chiu roll out endorsements from political leaders

David Campos, left, makes a point during an October 2 debate with David Chiu at UCSF Mission Bay. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

David Campos, left, makes a point during an October 2 debate with David Chiu at UCSF Mission Bay. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

With less than two weeks to go before the November 4 election, the candidates running in a heated San Francisco state Assembly race are rolling out last minute endorsements from two major political leaders.

This morning (Wednesday, October 22) saw Mayor Ed Lee endorse Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who represents District 3 centered in North Beach and Chinatown, in his bid for the 17th Assembly District Seat covering the city’s eastern neighborhoods.

“There is no doubt that David Chiu is the right choice for state Assembly,” Lee told a crowd of several hundred community leaders who had gathered at the Laborers 261 Union Hall for the announcement.”He has the proven experience, the record of accomplishment, the values and the vision to get things done for our city in the state Assembly. David Chiu has delivered for San Francisco again and again and he is the leader we need in Sacramento. I am proud to give him my enthusiastic support.”

Lee joins with fellow Democrats U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and Attorney General Kamala Harris in supporting Chiu’s legislative bid.

The Chiu campaign’s event with the mayor came a day after his opponent in the race, gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission district, announced that former state legislator John L. Burton, now the chairman of the California Democratic Party, had endorsed him.

“For decades this Assembly seat has set the tone for progressive politics in the state of California,” stated Burton. “David Campos is the only candidate I trust to carry that torch.”

Burton’s backing of Campos in the heated race followed the news earlier this month that District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, one of the most moderate members of the board, was supporting his by far more progressive colleague in the Assembly race as well.

“From working to close loopholes in San Francisco’s universal healthcare law to enhancing public safety and reducing homelessness by helping to implement Laura’s Law, David has proven his commitment to finding solutions through cooperation and
compromise,” stated Farrell. “I trust his dedication to the public interest and know that he will find ways to bridge his progressive ideals with the pragmatic realities facing our state. I firmly believe he will be an effective leader for San Francisco in the state Assembly.”

Campos and Chiu, both Democrats, are competing to succeed gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). Due to term limits, Ammiano is barred from running again after having served three two-year terms in the Assembly. He is backing Campos in the race.

With few policy distinctions between them during their time on the board, Chiu and Campos have largely been arguing over who has been more productive at City Hall and who will best build consensus in the state Legislature as for why voters should send them to Sacramento.

The outcome of the race will largely come down to which of the two Davids does a better job of getting their supporters to the polls next month.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:28 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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