Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 26 / 30 June 2016
 

Peaches announced as SF Pride headliner

Peaches

Peaches

The singer Peaches, perhaps best known for her song “Fuck the Pain Away,” will headline the main stage at this year’s San Francisco LGBT Pride celebration, organizers announced today (Wednesday, June 8).

“As an artist, Peaches is truly inspirational in her approach to gender and sexual identity, and we are so excited to have her headline this year’s celebration,” said George Ridgely, SF Pride’s executive director, in his group’s announcement.

Peaches, who’s touring to support her latest album, “Rub,” will appear Sunday, June 26, the second day of the festival. SF Pride describes her style as a mix of “electroclash, punk, alternative hip hop, and synthpop.”

Other main stage performers will include former Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutta and international DJ Hector Fonseca, among many others.

Organizers also announced several speakers who will address this year’s theme, “For Racial and Economic Justice.” They include Kara Zordel, executive director of Project Homeless Connect; Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder of the City of Refuge United Church in Christ and The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; and trans advocate Clair Farley, director of Economic Development at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center.

The final line-up will be announced soon at www.sfpride.org.

Pride works to keep celebration on track

Pride organizers, who are fighting lawsuits from several men injured during shootings associated with previous festivals, are working to ensure this year’s celebration can even happen.

Plaintiffs in the most recent lawsuits say SF Pride hasn’t done enough to ensure safety, and they’re seeking an injunction that would prevent the festival from happening this year unless several changes are made, including moving the party from its Civic Center location. The parade would still be allowed to continue.

A judge has order Pride officials to explain at a June 16 hearing why they shouldn’t have to make the changes, which were recommended by the San Francisco Police Department.

In court documents filed June 3, attorneys for SF Pride said, “The requested preliminary injunction would either prohibit [the] defendant from holding its 46th annual SF Pride celebration on June 25 and 26, 2016, on the one hand, or would require so many changes to the manner in which the 46th annual Pride celebration could be held so as to render the holding of the event impossible, on the other hand.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 8, 2016 @ 1:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Application period for SF LGBT senior housing project opens June 8

A rendering of Openhouse's planned senior apartments at 55 Laguna Street. Photo: Van Meter Williams Pollack architects

A rendering of Openhouse’s under construction senior apartments at 55 Laguna Street. Photo: Van Meter Williams Pollack architects

Seniors interested in living in San Francisco’s first affordable housing development aimed for LGBT seniors will have eight days to turn in their applications to do so starting on June 8.

And in a significant change from what had been announced earlier this year, it is unlikely any seniors not currently residing or working in San Francisco will be moving in.

As expected, however, the period to turn in applications for what is known as the 55 Laguna project has been truncated from the normal month-long window. It will start next Wednesday and end the following Thursday, June 16.

In order for applications to be accepted, they must either be postmarked on that date or turned in by 5 p.m. that day.

The applications will be available to be picked up in person at the Francis of Assisi Community Senior Center at 145 Guerrero Street. The site is also where the applications will need to be returned to by June 16.

Applications will also be able to be downloaded from the website of Openhouse, the LGBT senior services agency located in San Francisco.

Any senior, whether LGBT or straight, at least 55 years of age and meets the income requirements can apply. A random drawing lottery will be held at 10 a.m. July 7 at Francis of Assisi to select up to 400 applicants to be placed on a waiting list for the units in the order their names are pulled.

Openhouse is working with Mercy Housing California, which develops below-market-rate housing, to build what will be a $40 million two-building campus of 159 apartments at the corner of Laguna and Hermann just off Market Street and a block away from the LGBT Community Center.

The first phase, set to open in September, will feature 39 pet-friendly rental units built inside Richardson Hall, whose address is 55 Laguna. An additional unit will be designated for an on-site resident manager, while eight of the units are designated for people living with HIV at risk for homelessness.

And 16 of the units will be available to seniors who live in District 8 due to a rule the city adopted that sets aside 40 percent of the units in new affordable housing developments for people who live in the supervisorial district the project is located in, or within a half mile of the site.

As for the remaining 15 units, seniors who live or work in San Francisco will now be given preference for them. It is a marked policy change from what Openhouse had announced in April, when the agency’s former executive director Seth Kilbourn told the Bay Area Reporter he had rejected implying such a preference since many LGBT seniors in recent years have left the city either due to being evicted or priced out of their housing.

According to a flier Openhouse shared with the B.A.R., households that submit acceptable documentation that at least one member lives or works in San Francisco will be given the fourth highest preference in the lottery ranking process.

“If the number of units available exceeds the number of qualified applicants in the above listed preference, the units will become available to other qualified applicants outside of San Francisco,” states the flier.

The flier also states that first preference will be given to people who have a Certificate of Preference from San Francisco’s former Redevelopment Agency.

Second highest preference will be given to people who have a Displaced Tenant Housing Preference Certificate from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, as eight units have been set aside for such applicants.

Third highest preference will go to applicants who meet the neighborhood resident housing preference for the 16 units set aside for people who live in District 8 or within a half-mile of Richardson Hall.

Rents for studios will be $943 a month, one bedrooms will range from $922 to $1,078, with two bedrooms priced $1,107 to $1,213, according to Openhouse. The income limits will range from $37,700 for a single person living in a studio up to $58,150 for a five-person household in a two-bedroom unit.

The second phase of the project, expected to break ground next year, will see 119 units of affordable senior housing be built on what is now a surface parking lot. The age limit for seniors able to apply will rise to 62 due to a change in policy attached to the financing for the building, which will have an address of 95 Laguna.

One unit will be given to a resident manager and 14 will be designated for people living with HIV or AIDS at risk of homelessness. The lottery to select residents for those units should take place sometime in 2018.

Openhouse is hosting a community information meeting about the applications and lottery process for 55 Laguna from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9 at Francis of Assisi.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 3, 2016 @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gov. Brown, Obama declare June as Pride Month

President Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown this week issued proclamations declaring June as Pride Month.

(Governor Jerry Brown. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(Governor Jerry Brown. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Brown issued his proclamation Thursday (June 2), saying that the state has been a “leader in advancing the civil rights of its LGBT citizens.”

“And while further progress is needed, it is important to recognize and celebrate the substantial gains that have been achieved.”

Brown’s proclamation states, “Our nation was founded on the principle of equal rights for all people, but the fulfillment of this promise has been long in coming for many Americans. Some of the most inspiring moments in our history have brought one group after another from the margins to the mainstream of American society.”

The governor noted that the LGBT community’s “historic turning point” occurred on June 28, 1969, in New York City, with the onset of the Stonewall riots. Patrons at the Greenwich Village gay bar “rose up and resisted police harassment that arose out of discriminatory criminal laws that have since been declared unconstitutional.”

“In the four decades since, civil rights for LGBT people have grown substantially, and LGBT Pride celebrations have taken place around the country every June to commemorate the beginning of the Stonewall riots,” the governor’s proclamation stated.

On May 31, Obama issued his annual Pride proclamation, which mentioned last year’s historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

“Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 states was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across state lines,” Obama stated. “For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.”

The president also noted that LGBTs continue to face discrimination.

“Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are,” Obama stated. “I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love.”

— Cynthia Laird, June 2, 2016 @ 2:26 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF Republicans elect gay man as first out chair

SF GOP Chair Jason Clark

SF GOP Chair Jason Clark

Republicans in San Francisco have elected their first openly LGBT chair of the local party.

At its meeting Wednesday night, the San Francisco Republican County Central Committee voted to install Jason P. Clark as its new chairman. Clark, who is gay, succeeds former chair Christine Hughes.

“I am deeply honored to have been elected to represent the over 37,000 Republicans in San Francisco. As chairman, I look forward to engaging our voters during this exciting election year,” Clark, a project manager at San Francisco-based Consilio, LLC, told the Bay Area Reporter.

Clark, 35, is a southern California native who moved to the Bay Area in 1999 to attend UC Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. in political science. He earned his law degree from the University of San Francisco’s law school and at one time had a solo practice.

Since 2011 he has been a member of the GOP central committee, at one point serving as the local party’s volunteer general counsel. Most recently Clark had been serving as the first vice-chair of the local Republican Party’s executive committee.

He has also been a longtime member of the gay Log Cabin Republican political club, and in 2012 he ran against openly gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) for his legislative seat.

While he is the first LGBT person to lead the San Francisco Republican Party, there have been LGBT chairs in other counties throughout the state. One of the first gay men to be elected as a county chair was Paul Cummings in Alameda.

Currently the appointed vice chair of the California Republican Party Volunteer Organizations Committee, Cummings has been a member of his local county committee since 2003 and is seeking re-election to his seat in next Tuesday’s primary.

Clark is also seeking re-election next week to his seat on the SF Republican county committee. His term as chair expires December 31 of this year, and thus, Clark will need to seek re-election in early 2017 at the committee’s organizational meeting in January when the central committee members elected in the June 7 primary take their seats for four-year terms that officially begin on January 1.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:25 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Beatbox club to close

1175325_648650545153154_2050659917_nSan Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood is losing another gay bar.

Owners of Beatbox, at 314 11th Street, announced this week that is closing July 3.

In an interview today (Wednesday, June 1), co-owner and general manager Brian Kent said the liquor license, the lease, and “everything that comes along with it” have been sold to new owners, who will shut the space down and do “major” renovations before reopening as a different business.

Kent declined to say much about the buyers since the deal is still in escrow.

“They’re LGBT-friendly, but they’re not in our community,” he said.

The club’s May 31 announcement says, “Beatbox owners Brian Kent, Paul Saccone, and Andy Zivic have been active members in the community, turning Beatbox into a safe, clean, fun space for LGBT people and their friends. Over the last five years, Beatbox has been home to countless dance parties, stage productions, comedy shows, cabaret performances, roasts, wedding receptions, memorials, fundraisers, contests, corporate events, and much more.”

Kent said selling Beatbox is “a difficult decision and emotional one.” He and his partners have had “many offers” over the years, but “we weren’t ready, and it wasn’t the right time.”

Recently, though, “Everything fell into place with the timing,” he said. “As emotional as it is, it’s the right decision right now.”

Kent added that “business has been great,” but “in this climate … it’s difficult to run a solely-LGBT nightclub.”

He said the bar’s had to expand its business to include corporate events with businesses like Adobe and Macy’s and other “non-LGBT events so we can stay open.”

When he and his partners looked at the offer they received, they decided they were “ready to move on and do other things with our lives as individuals,” said Kent, who said he couldn’t share how much the bar’s being sold for.

The state Alcohol and Beverage Control department’s website doesn’t include information on the new owners, but it does say that the state Board of Equalization put a hold on Beatbox’s liquor license in March.

Venus Stromberg, a BOE spokeswoman, said she couldn’t discuss Beatbox’s specific situation, but if a business “hasn’t paid its sales tax,” putting a hold on the liquor license is one way her agency has “of leveraging payment.”

ABC spokesman John Carr said that means “the liquor license privileges are on hold until the Board of Equalization issues have been resolved.”

Carr said their license hasn’t been suspended, so the bar can still sell alcohol, but “They just can’t transfer or sell their license unless this matter’s resolved,” he said.

Court records show that the club’s owners filed claims against two promoters in the past year because they failed to bring in the bar business they’d promised for different events.

The documents also say Beatbox was sued in May for not paying another company $665 for door repairs that were made last year.

Kent said “the bill had been paid,” and the case, which was dismissed today, had been erroneously filed.

He didn’t immediately respond to a follow-up call about his business’s tax issue.

[Update, Friday, June 3]: In an email, Kent said that Beatbox’s owners didn’t owe any taxes.

“It was a certificate of ownership change that needed to be filed and has been done,” he said. “The hold should be off by Monday,” June 6. [End update]

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 1, 2016 @ 2:25 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


New Castro bookstore will hold a gala opening in June

Dog Eared Books owner Kate Rosenberger, left, and Nolan Ventura, who will be one of the employees at the new Castro Street location, are surrounded by books in the Valencia Street shop. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Dog Eared Books owner Kate Rosenberger, left, and Nolan Ventura, who will be one of the employees at the new Castro Street location, are surrounded by books in the Valencia Street shop. Photo: Rick Gerharter

To celebrate the debut of its location in San Francisco’s gay Castro district, its second in the city, Dog Eared Books is planning to throw a free gala opening party next month.

Lesbian bookseller Kate Rosenberger announced in March she had signed a lease to move into 489 Castro Street, which became available due to the closing of the clothing shop Citizen.

The storefront formerly had housed LGBT bookstore A Different Light, which operated there from 1986 until its closing in 2011.

The news about Dog Eared Books came within days of the announcement by Books Inc. that it would be shuttering its Castro location at 2275 Market Street. It is expected to close in mid-June.

Since A Different Light closed, Books Inc. has been the only bookstore in the heart of the Castro. A few blocks north, just off Market Street, is Aardvark Books, which has long had its storefront at 227 Church Street.

As for why Rosenberger, whose flagship store is at 900 Valencia, wanted to expand, she had told the Bay Area Reporter in March that “the Castro needs and deserves a great bookstore and we are planning to bring it to the neighborhood.”

In an announcement about the event to mark the opening of the Castro store, Dog Eared Books said it is “throwing a great big party where members of the public can mix ‘n’ mingle with our staff, drink swanky cocktails, eat fancy hors d’oeuvres, and listen to brief readings by a few of our favorite local authors.”

The Castro location’s gala opening party will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, June 20 right at the start of the city’s Pride Week festivities. Entrance will be based on first-come, first-served, and the night will feature a number of local literary luminaries.

Among those invited are Armistead Maupin, the gay Castro resident who wrote the beloved Tales of The City series of books that were made into a TV miniseries, and fellow gay writer Brontez Purnell, the author of Johnny Would You Love Me If… who is also a choreographer, performance artist, filmmaker, and musician.

Others expected to present short readings of their work include Harper’s Magazine contributor Rebecca Solnit, an activist and the author of Men Explain Things to Me and Infinite City; and San Francisco State University professors and authors Peter Orner and Alejandro Murguía, a former San Francisco poet laureate.

Also on the bill are Amy Berkowitz, who wrote Tender Points and hosts the Amy’s Kitchen Organics reading series, and Katrina Dodson, the translator of The Complete Stories, by Clarice Lispector, which won a 2016 PEN Translation Prize.

Serving as the night’s emcee will be Baruch Porras-Hernandez, a writer, performer, visual artist, and storyteller. He is also the curator and head organizer for the San Francisco Queer Open Mic and program director for ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente?

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 27, 2016 @ 2:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF Pride: No Pink Brick this year

Donald Trump, host of the television series "The Celebrity Apprentice," mugs for photographers at the NBC 2015 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Donald Trump. (Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Organizers of San Francisco’s LGBT Pride parade and celebration won’t be giving out the Pink Brick to anyone this year.

The dubious honor, which typically goes to someone who’s done harm to the LGBT community, has previously been awarded to people such as conservative TV host Bill O’Reilly and anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera.

But in an email today (Friday, May 27), George Ridgely, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee’s executive director, told the Bay Area Reporter, “We will not be issuing a Pink Brick for 2016. It is an aspect of the event that I would like to reevaluate for the future. Given where we are in the planning for 2016 we will not be looking at this until after this year’s event.”

That news comes despite the Pride Committee asking the public to cast their votes for a Pink Brick winner this year, and presumably, thousands of people did.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who’s expected to be the Republican party’s nominee for 2016, was among the candidates for this year’s Pink Brick.

This year’s Pride festivities are set for June 25-26.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, June 2 edition.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


CA LGBT group condemns anti-gay incident in San Jose

EQCA's Rick Zbur Photo: Courtesy EQCA

EQCA’s Rick Zbur Photo: Courtesy EQCA

Late this afternoon, a statewide LGBT advocacy group condemned what it called a “hate speech” incident that occurred recently in San Jose and involved the husband of termed out state Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose), who is running in a heated race for a state Senate seat.

Equality California called on the individuals and organizations involved in the reported incident to publicly take a stand against hate speech, provide leadership to ensure civil political and public discourse, and encourage their associates to do the same.

The 260-word statement from EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur, however, did not name the lawmaker, her husband, or anyone else involved in the incident, which reportedly occurred April 29 during a fundraiser held by the the Santa Clara Building Trades Council at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.

EQCA’s statement came after the Bay Area Reporter’s Political Notebook reported in today’s issue how reaction by South Bay LGBT leaders has been mixed in the weeks since the first media reports on the anti-gay incident were published in mid-May.

According to various accounts, Neil Struthers, who is married to Campos, called Laborers’ Local 270 business manager Enrique Arguello a “fucking faggot” at the event. Struthers also reportedly used his fingers to suggest sex in response to seeing a photo of Arguello with Omar Torres, a gay man who works as an aide to San Jose City Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco and is a regional director for the California Democratic Party.

The reports claimed Struthers asked Arguello if he and Torres were lovers and how their sexual relationship worked.

Both sides have been political opponents for years and have accused the other of lying about the incident. In media interviews and a video she posted online, and has since taken down, Campos has blamed her Senate race opponent, Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), and state Senate President Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) of ordering Arguello to attack her husband and of bullying behavior toward her and other women.

Both Beall, who is endorsed by EQCA, and de León have denied the charges, painting them as cynical campaign ploys ahead of the June 7 Primary election.

As the B.A.R. column noted, few LGBT leaders in the South Bay have spoken out publicly about the incident. One who did was San Jose resident Anthony Macias, a gay Republican running in the race for Beall’s 15th Senate District seat.

The day of the first media reports about the incident, Macias via his Facebook page called on Campos to denounce her husband’s remarks. More recently, Gabrielle Antolovich, the board president of the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center in downtown San Jose, reached out to Torres to express support.

The South Bay’s main LGBT political group BAYMEC, which stands for Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee, has not posted any statement about the incident either to its website or Facebook page.

In his first media interview about the incident, Torres told the B.A.R. he found the silence from his fellow LGBT leaders troubling. Had the comments been directed to more “established LGBT leaders there would be an uproar,” contended Torres.

Because EQCA is an LGBT civil rights organization fighting for equality and social justice, it said in its statement that it “take reports of hate speech very seriously.”

The organization defined anti-LGBT hate speech as “a form of violence that demeans and traumatizes members of our community” and “a form of psychological abuse that impacts self-esteem and contributes to high rates of depression and suicide, including rates of attempted suicide four times higher for LGBT youth than for the general public.”

Zbur added that not responding to hate speech when it occurs is tacit approval of discrimination that can result in additional violence against LGBT people.

“It is important that organizations and community leaders stand up against hate speech when it occurs and when reports of incidents occur,” stated Zbur. “The importance of civility in public life and political discourse is an important value that all our leaders should affirmatively embrace and promote.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 26, 2016 @ 4:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man arrested in stabbing at Castro Muni stop

Photo: Rick Gerharter

Photo: Rick Gerharter

A man was arrested Wednesday night after he threatened to kill another man and stabbed him in the neck at a Muni stop in San Francisco’s Castro district.

The May 25 incident occurred at 8:49 p.m. when the suspect walked up to the victim, who was standing at the transit stop, and said “that he was going to kill him,” Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary. The man then stabbed the victim in “in the neck with a knife,” Esparza said.

The suspect was arrested and taken into custody, but his name wasn’t immediately available. He was described as a 52-year-old Hispanic male.

The victim, 41, was taken to a hospital with a non-life threatening stab wound.

[Update]: Esparza said in an email that Mark Anthony Arroyo, 52, a homeless white male, was booked on suspicion of attempted homicide, brandishing a weapon, and violating parole.

“There were no words exchanged,” Esparza said. “The suspect yelled and then attacked” the victim. [End update]

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 10:20 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


B.A.R. experiencing issues with Issuu.com

Today’s pdf version of the Bay Area Reporter can be accessed at the link below. We are experiencing some issues with uploading the May 26, 2016 edition to Issuu.com.

We hope to have this issue corrected soon.

Link to pdf version: www.ebar.com/archives/2016-05-26.pdf

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:11 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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