Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 30 / 24 July 2014

Gay CA controller candidate drops down to third as more votes are tallied

1278105_540916365988024_1040107362_oA day after he saw his hold on second place widen, a gay candidate for California controller found himself back in third, according to unofficial returns Thursday afternoon.

The results in the close contest have seesawed between gay Assemblyman John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), in photo at left, and Betty Yee, a Democrat who represents the Bay Area and northern California on the state Board of Equalization. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in an article in the June 19 issue today, Perez had been holding on to second place in recent days.

Since placing second on the night of the June 3 primary, Republican candidate David Evans is now lagging behind in fourth place. Evans lives in California City in Kern County and is the vice present and chief financial officer of Boardwalk Motor Car Group in Redwood City.

Meanwhile, Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin continues to hold on to first place in her bid for the relatively unknown controller position. Under California’s open primary system, the candidates with the top two vote totals, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election in November.

22_14_Political_Notebook_25_MED1_YEEAccording to the latest vote count, posted by the Secretary of State’s Office at 4:40 p.m. today, Perez had fallen to third place with 870,217 votes. Yee, in photo at right, had bounced into second place with 870,535 votes, giving her a 318-vote lead. The two Democrats are now at a 21.8 percent statistical dead heat in the race.

Evans continued to trail in fourth place with 839,644 votes. Swearengin continued to hold a comfortable lead for first place with 988,198 votes.

Perez, the first out LGBT person elected to the powerful Assembly speaker post, which he resigned from last month, would like to be the first out candidate to win a statewide seat.

If he does, he would be only the second known LGBT person to hold one of the state’s eight constitutional offices. The first is believed to be Tony Miller, a gay man and Democratic lawyer who was appointed to the vacant secretary of state position in 1994.

Miller, however, lost his bid for a full term, and in 1998, he again came up short in his bid for lieutenant governor.

County election officials have until Friday, July 4 to send their final counts to the Secretary of State’s Office. The state agency must complete its review of the county results by the following Friday, July 11.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 19, 2014 @ 6:26 pm PST
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SF bike shop owned by trans woman seeks public’s help to win funding

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 5.36.58 PMA transgender owned bike shop on San Francisco’s Treasure Island is seeking the public’s help to win funding from Wells Fargo.

Owned by Tammy Powers, a female-to-male trans woman, the store is called the Tran’s Bay Bike Shop, a play on words of local references to such things as the transbay tube used by the public transit agency BART.

Powers opened her bike shop over a year ago and, last fall, received a shout out on Twitter from trans activist Janet Mock. Powers not only sells and repairs bikes but also rents out bicycles to tourists.

“I’m an expert mechanic and technician, and we sell, rent and trade the highest quality bicycles for everything–from the hobbyist to the professional–it’d help me out too if you took a trip to beautiful Treasure Island for superior bicycle rental, repair or service,” wrote Powers on a page she created last September on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.

She is seeking funding to expand and hire more employees, especially other transgender people. As such, Powers has entered a contest for small business owners sponsored by Wells Fargo bank.

The Wells Fargo Works Project is specifically for small business owners in the United States. According to the project’s rules posted online, the goal is to select five small business owner winners from a pool of 25 finalists, all of whom will each receive $1,000.

The five winners will each receive $25,000 for their business and business mentorship tailored to their specific business needs. Wells Fargo will also donate $5,000 in their name to a local eligible nonprofit organization in their community.

To view Power’s video entry to the contest and to vote for her business, visit here. The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Monday, June 30. The finalists will be notified by July 21 and grand prize winners will be notified in early September.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 6:05 pm PST
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CA Supreme Court justice who voted against same-sex marriage to retire

jc_marvinbaxterCalifornia Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter, who six years ago voted against allowing same-sex couples to wed, announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to his seat on the state’s highest court this fall.

Rather than go before voters in the November 2014 general election, Baxter will conclude his current term of office and retire on January 4, 2015, after 24 years on the Supreme Court and 32 consecutive years of public service.

“I have been privileged to have such an interesting and fulfilling career in the law, serving as a deputy district attorney, in private practice, as Appointments Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian, and as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court,” stated Baxter, 74, in an announcement released by the court this morning (June 18). “It is a great honor to have served on the state’s high court since 1991. With three Chief Justices, twelve Associate Justices, and excellent staff, I have been able to contribute to its substantial body of opinions and case law.”

In 2008 Baxter was part of the dissenting minority in the case known as In re Marriage Cases, the 4-3 decision legalizing marriage equality in the Golden State.

That ruling was later overruled by voters when in November of 2008 they passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage in California as solely between a man and a woman. In May 0f 2009 Baxter joined with the majority in the 6-1 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of Prop 8.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a 2009 article, the back-to-back marriage equality rulings sparked debate on whether to campaign against those justices who did not rule in favor of same-sex marriage.

Baxter’s decision to retire leaves his fellow justice, Kathryn Werdegar, as the lone member of the court to be on the ballot for re-election this fall. Werdegar joined both of the majority opinions that allowed same-sex marriage and upheld Prop 8.

By waiting to retire until January, Baxter is leaving it up to the next governor to replace him on the court. It is widely expected that Governor Jerry Brown will easily win re-election to an historic fourth term this November against his Republican opponent Neel Kashkari.

If he does, Brown, a Democrat, will have his third chance to reshape the state’s highest court. Five of the six current members – there is one vacancy – on the court were appointed by former Republican governors.

In 2011 Brown named Goodwin Liu to the state’s supreme court. He has yet to name a replacement for former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Joyce Kennard, a Republican appointee who retired April 5 on the 25th anniversary of her appointment.

Many expect that Brown will appoint the first out LGBT person onto the California Supreme Court, with speculation largely centered on his naming Jim Humes to one of the vacant seats. Brown’s appointment of Humes in 2011 as an associate justice of the state’s First District Court of Appeal’s Division Four marked the first time an openly gay justice was appointed to the California Court of Appeals.

The San Francisco resident had been a close aide to Brown, serving as the governor’s executive secretary for administration, legal affairs, and policy. Prior to that Humes had served as the chief deputy in the attorney general’s office when Brown served as California’s attorney general from 2007 to 2011.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 18, 2014 @ 11:46 am PST
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Gay-owned SF jam company competing for Whole Foods grant

Jam maker Jake Blaine shows off his homemade wares. (Photo courtesy Jake's Castro Kitchen)

Jam maker Jake Blaine shows off his homemade wares. (Photo courtesy Jake’s Castro Kitchen)

A gay-owned San Francisco jam company is competing for a grant from the Whole Foods store in the city’s gay Castro District.

Jake’s Castro Kitchen, which was featured in this week’s BARtab article about the weekly Community Pop-Up Market in the Bayview, is one of three locally-owned food vendors chosen to compete in the grant contest. Whole Food’s Local Foodmaker Grant program is done in conjunction with Working Solutions, a local nonprofit that offers micro-loans to small businesses.

The public is invited to vote for their favorite via Facebook, and the winner will receive 5 percent of sales on July 2 at the Castro Whole Foods at 2001 Market Street. A link to the voting page online can be found on Jake’s Castro Kitchen’s Facebook page here.

Jake Blaine launched his jam-making venture last year and conjures up more than two dozen products, from jellies to chutneys, in his home kitchen. (He and his partner, Clint Higgins, had been living in the Castro when he launched the line but now live near City Hall in the Mid-Market neighborhood.)

As of Friday afternoon (June 13) Jake’s Castro Kitchen was in second place with 90 votes. In first was Yum Yum Tonics, with 121 votes, and in third was Eji’s Ethiopian, which had just 11 votes. Voting ends on June 19.

“We found out that you can vote once a day on both your computer and on your phone. So PLEASE make sure you vote for Jake’s Castro Kitchen TODAY,” reads a message from Jake’s Castro Kitchen on its Facebook page. “We really need your help. This grant will help us in many different ways and open a lot of opportunities for us.”

The Bay Area Reporter’s Business Briefs column in the July 10 issue with have more on Blaine and his company as it looks to expand into more retail locations.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 13, 2014 @ 4:02 pm PST
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Appeals board delays vote on AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Castro pharmacy plans

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants to consolidate its pharmacy and clinical space in the Castro, but several AIDS organizations are opposed to the plan. (Photo: Matthew S. Bajko)

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants to consolidate its pharmacy and clinical space in the Castro, but several AIDS organizations are opposed to the plan. (Photo: Matthew S. Bajko)

A city oversight body delayed taking action this week on whether it should allow the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to open a new pharmacy space in the Castro or require it to seek additional review of its plans.

As the Bay Area Reporter‘s online Political Notes column reported Monday, the Los Angeles-based agency wants to combine its two San Francisco pharmacies into one location at 518 Castro Street.

The agency operates a pharmacy and HIV testing site at 100 Church Street, adjacent to its Out of the Closet thrift store, which it wants to vacate due to its landlord, Maitri Hospice, seeking increased rent for the space. The matter landed in court last year after AHF stopped paying its rent amid the lease renewal dispute.

AHF also owns the pharmacy at 4071 18th Street, which was formerly known as a MOMS Pharmacy. AHF acquired the HIV/AIDS specialty pharmacy chain in 2012, which it re-branded last year, and now wants to also vacate that location.

City planners initially granted the nonprofit its permits without public review but then changed course and informed AHF it had to seek a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission to proceed. AHF appealed that decision to the Board of Appeals, which ended up voting in March that because the agency operates 28 pharmacies it falls under San Francisco’s formula retail rules and would need to seek approval to open the Castro space.

AHF then told planners it was changing the name of the pharmacy, prompting Zoning Administrator Scott Sanchez to ask the appeals board to grant the permits because the chain store restrictions no longer applied.

That prompted Castro neighborhood groups, upset with the lack of a public process for the project before the planning commission, to file their own appeal. Local AIDS agencies, which have fought with AHF over multiple HIV policy and funding issues, joined in to voice their own opposition to the AHF’s plans.

After addressing the issue for a second time last night (Wednesday, June 11) the Board of Appeals postponed taking a vote on the matter. It asked AHF officials to return at a later meeting with more proof for why their Castro Pharmacy should not be considered formula retail.

The appeals board is expected to return to the issue at its August 20 meeting.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 12, 2014 @ 12:53 pm PST
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SF Pride announces 2014 musical acts, speakers

Organizers of the 2014 San Francisco LGBT Pride parade and celebration have announced the entertainment lineup and speakers for this year’s events, set for June 28-29.

Celebrity grand marshals and special guests this year will include New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock and gay former Congressman Barney Frank, while musical acts such as dance diva Debby Holiday and San Francisco natives The She’s will perform on the main stage.

George Ridgely, executive director of the LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, said in a June 10 news release, “As with each celebration, we are honored to dedicate a weekend of merriment and commemoration to the courageous work of the LGBT community members and supporters who tirelessly advocate for equality and inclusion every day of the year.”

The theme for the city’s 44th annual Pride is “Color Our World with Pride.” The celebration includes more than 20 community stages and venues, and over 230 contingents have registered for the parade.

There is no cost to attend, though a donation of $5 to $10 is requested. Donations from the celebration have helped Pride contribute nearly $2.3 million to nonprofits since 1997.

For more information, visit


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 11, 2014 @ 4:55 pm PST
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Folsom Street Fair moving over

Folsom Street Fair-goers enjoy the festival. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Folsom Street Fair-goers enjoy the festival. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The Folsom Street Fair will scoot one block to the west to accommodate residents and businesses in the neighborhood, producers of the annual leather and fetish street festival announced Thursday (June 5). The move, in which Eighth Street will be opened up, marks the first change to the fair’s footprint in almost 20 years.

As producers had previously announced, the fair, set for September 21, will also be held a week earlier this year in order to make way for the Oracle Open World tech conference, which starts the last weekend of September and will draw thousands of visitors to the city and clog up hotel rooms.

Organizers noted in a news release that the neighborhood, home to a dwindling number of gay bars, has changed “drastically” since 1995, when the event’s footprint expanded to include Folsom Street between Eleventh and Twelfth streets.

Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of Folsom Street Events, said in the announcement that the board agreed to the move in order to meet three objectives. Those include “improving street traffic around the fair,” “minimizing impact on residential side streets,” and “engaging new community businesses.”

Eighth Street will open up to traffic and producers will be able to “engage fewer residential side streets,” while allowing businesses like The SF Eagle, Sports Authority, and CatHead’s BBQ, which are near the fair’s western end to “participate more actively.” The western boundary of the fair will be at Thirteenth Street, rather than Twelfth Street.

“Getting the Eagle onto the fairgrounds feels especially relevant for many of us in the leather community!” said Moshoyannis.

Board President Phillip Babcock stated, “We don’t want to keep producing the same fair year after year. … We’re excited to try something a little different.”

In an interview, Moshoyannis said organizers hadn’t had any complaints about the fair from residents around Eighth Street, but they wanted to be proactive.

“We’re just always trying to make the fair better and easier, so in looking at the map we supposed that this would be a better solution in terms of trying to minimize residential impact. … We thought things could be even better moving it west one block.”

Richard Park, who owns CatHead’s BBQ, 1665 Folsom Street, with his wife, said, “We’ve always wanted to be part of” the fair, “ever since we started here two and a half years ago. We’ve always been on the outskirts of it and felt a little left out.”

Park said business is already “pretty good” that day. For the restaurant, it’s more about “being part of the community.”

On the other side of the festival, Moshoyannis said, “We’ve gotten some business owners on the side of the fair between Seventh and Eighth that are disappointed the fair is not going to be there anymore. They want the fair to try to come back next year.”

Some businesses may want to be closer to the fair, but Brian Murdy, marketing director for Mr. S Leather, at 385 Eighth Street, said he doesn’t think the move will impact business the day of the fair.

“I think everyone will still make it down to the store,” said Murdy. “We’re still close enough. … I think there’s still a lot of excitement overall, and people want to get off the fairgrounds, too, to kind of get away. That’s what the store actually is, a place for people to get away” and take a break from the event.

For more information about the fair, go to


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 5, 2014 @ 2:21 pm PST
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Gay attorney David Waggoner a step closer to running in SF D8 supe race

David Waggoner (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

David Waggoner (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Gay attorney David Waggoner is one step closer to announcing a run against gay San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener this fall.

For nearly a year Waggoner has considered entering the race but remained noncommittal about a candidacy as pressure mounted among progressives to recruit a formidable challenger to the moderate Wiener.

With the June 10 filing deadline fast approaching, Waggoner pulled papers with elections officials May 30. In a phone interview with the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday morning (June 3), he indicated that he will likely enter the race.

“If I had to make a decision right now, I would say I am a candidate,” said Waggoner.

Yet the nonprofit lawyer could still opt against taking on Wiener, especially if Sara Shortt, a lesbian and executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, enters the race.

In recent weeks calls have grown for Shortt to run for the District 8 seat, which covers the gay Castro district, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park. Shortt did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday morning on her intentions.

If Shortt decides to run, Waggoner was uncertain if he would also enter the race. One concern is that if Shortt and Waggoner both run against Wiener, they would divide the progressive vote. Under the city’s instant voter runoff system, a progressive split could give Wiener an advantage.

Wiener is already seen as a formidable opponent who will be well-funded in his re-election bid. Current political wisdom says that Wiener, due to his incumbent status and proven success on the campaign trail, will be hard to defeat.

A few critics of Wiener have indicated they intend to run against him, including nudity activist George Davis and gay activist Michael Petrelis. A more recent entrant in the race was Simon Timony, who won accolades for trying to protect a Muni bus from rioters following the San Francisco Giant’s World Series win in 2012.

The results of today’s primary race for a state Assembly seat between San Francisco Supervisors David Chiu and David Campos could also impact Waggoner’s decision on running for supervisor. Campos, who is gay, has been hit by supporters of Chiu, who is straight and has considerable support among the LGBT community, for his voting not to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges stemming from an incident involving his wife in 2011.

Waggoner served as Mirkarimi’s attorney as he fought the charges, and the issue is sure to be a line of attack against him if he does run for supervisor. Wiener, who is supporting Chiu for Assembly, voted to remove Mirkarimi as sheriff.

If the issue dents support for Campos, who has been aggressive about turning out his supporters to the polls today, it could sway Waggoner against entering the supervisor race.

Others argue Waggoner’s role in the political scandal that transfixed the city for the better part of a year could actually be a benefit to him. Writing on his blog Petrelis noted that “given the wall-to-wall local media coverage of the Mirkarimi mess and David’s legal representation of him, I’d say he has the best name recognition of all District 8 challengers.”

Waggoner said he is likely to make a final decision about a candidacy later this week.

“I just want to make sure it is right for me to run,” he said.


— Matthew S. Bajko, June 3, 2014 @ 11:13 am PST
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Man sues SF Pride over 2013 shooting

Len Broberg, left, an SFPD inspector who was not working the Pride shooting case, faulted Pride officials for inadequate security. He is seen here with fellow officers along the parade route hours before the 2013 incident.(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Len Broberg, left, an SFPD inspector who was not working the Pride shooting case, faulted Pride officials for inadequate security. He is seen here with fellow officers along the parade route hours before the 2013 incident.(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

A man who was shot at last year’s San Francisco LGBT Pride celebration is suing organizers, claiming they failed to provide adequate security.

Trevor Gardner, who’s 23 and lives in Los Angeles, is suing the city’s LGBT Pride Celebration Committee for “not less than $10 million,” according to the complaint he filed Thursday (May 29) in San Francisco Superior Court.

In a brief interview Thursday, Ryan Lapine, the attorney representing Gardner, said, “San Francisco Pride abjectly failed in their responsibility to secure this event.” He said it’s “difficult to put a price tag on” Gardner’s injuries, which “are permanent in nature” and will “affect him the rest of his life.”

Gardner had been working at a booth at the June 2013 festival when he was shot. Another man also was shot in the incident. Lapine didn’t know if the second man also planned to sue Pride. It wasn’t clear Thursday whether any arrests were made in connection with the incident. Police department spokespeople didn’t immediately respond to requests for information.

Pride Committee Executive Director George Ridgely and Pride board President Gary Virginia didn’t immediately respond to interview requests Thursday. Ridgely and Virginia both joined Pride after last year’s festival.

Shortly after the incident last year, Len Broberg, a friend of Gardner and the other victim, questioned the Pride Committee’s security practices and criticized the group’s top officials for not responding to the incident.

“I know there were a lot of cops out there,” Broberg said, but “you have to do something else to control the crowd.”

(Broberg, an out gay SFPD inspector, emphasized that he was speaking as a community member and as someone who attended the Pride festival, not as an investigator in the case.)

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, June 5 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 29, 2014 @ 1:18 pm PST
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Man uses flashlight, skateboard in Castro robbery

A man used a flashlight to distract another man, took his cellphone, and threatened him with a skateboard early Thursday morning in San Francisco’s gay Castro district.

The incident started at about 3 a.m. May 29 at 18th and Castro streets when the victim, 26, was walking and the suspect approached him, according to a summary by Officer Albie Esparza, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.

The suspect, described only as a white male in his 30s, “used a flashlight to distract and disorient” the victim while removing the victim’s cellphone and wallet from his front coat pocket, said Esparza.

After the man asked for his property back, the suspect tossed his wallet to the ground. When the victim tried to retrieve it, Esparza said, “He was met with the threat of physical violence via a skateboard.” The suspect then fled on foot east on 18th Street. The victim wasn’t injured.

Anyone with information related to the case may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 140 447 423.




— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:21 pm PST
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