AIDS and LGBT global rights activist Michael Petrelis will officially kick off his campaign for San Francisco’s District 8 supervisor seat this Saturday.
Petrelis, 55, a longtime critic of local politicians, health officials, AIDS agencies and gay rights groups, plans to start fundraising in order to cover the $500 filing fee to run for supervisor.
The deadline for local supervisor candidates to file and pay the fee is June 10.
Petrelis’ kick-off event will begin at noon, Saturday, April 5 near the public toilet at Jane Warner Plaza. The location ties into his wanting to represent the “P-Party,” a play on the first initial of his last name and an allusion to an incident that occurred between Petrelis and the incumbent, gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, in a City Hall bathroom.
“I want to get the League of Pissed Off Voters’ endorsement,” said Petrelis, who has been with his life partner, Mike Merrigan, for 18 years.
The early kick-off event for the fall campaign is also because “I have to build name awareness for Petrelis,” he said.
Writing on his blog, Petrelis further explained that the “P-Party” moniker also ties into many of the issues he wants to focus on as part of his campaign platform.
“Increasing the number of public toilets, addressing safety issues for transgender people in lavatories, opening public bathhouses for homeless people and freeing the libraries of patrons bathing in sinks, decreasing the risk of disease and unsanitary conditions from human defecation and urination on City streets,” he wrote. “We must also remember not to waste water during times of drought or when we are flush with rainwater in reservoirs.”
In November Petrelis pulled papers to seek the supervisor seat, which represents the gay Castro district, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park. Wiener also filed last year to seek re-election this November.
Earlier this month the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club voted to early endorse Wiener’s re-election bid. The endorsement of Wiener, the club’s former co-chair, had been expected; in January Alice’s political action committee recommended the club early endorse Wiener as its sole endorsee.
“I’m very grateful for the support,” Wiener wrote on his Facebook page last week.
A formidable campaigner, Wiener at this point is widely considered to be a shoo-in for re-election, despite vocal critics of his upset with his push to ban public nudity in the city and what they see as a lack of attention on the city’s affordable housing crisis, among other issues.
His detractors’ efforts to recruit a high profile progressive to run against him have, thus far, failed to yield a candidate. Gay attorney David Waggoner, a former leader of the city’s progressive Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, has sent mixed signals on whether he will enter the race.
A match-up between Wiener and Petrelis this fall would present logistical challenges for political clubs and neighborhood groups wishing to host a forum with the two candidates. Due to Petrelis’ photographing Wiener in a City Hall restroom, he is under a restraining order that requires him to remain 150 feet away from the incumbent lawmaker.
“The pee issues I plan to address. I can’t escape them, so let’s deal with them head on,” Petrelis said of his P-Party campaign theme.
It remains unclear how, or if, he would be able to take part in forums and debates in the race. One possibility raised by the Bay Area Reporter is having Petrelis Skype into them, something the candidate says he is repeatedly asked about by people he meets.
According to the city’s Ethics Commission, the only other person to file to run for the District 8 supervisor seat is nudist activist George Davis.