Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017

SF police association head wants apology from DeJesus for Taser comments

The president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association is calling on lesbian police commissioner Petra DeJesus to apologize for calling officers who use Tasers “lazy.”

DeJesus was one of three commissioners who voted November 3 against equipping officers with Tasers, which are also known as Electronic Control Devices. (DeJesus’ effort was unsuccessful, as the motion passed 4-3.)

According to POA President Martin Halloran’s November 15 letter to DeJesus, she told KTVU TV on the day of the vote, “Using Tasers is the lazy cops’ way of getting someone to do something. Oh, if you don’t move quickly enough, I’ll tase you. If you don’t get out of the car, I’ll tase you. It’s a hands on job. They can use other things.”

Halloran told DeJesus, “You have an important position in our community to make such ill-informed and juvenile remarks. You embarrassed not only your colleagues on the commission but all of the hard-working officers on our streets who are trying to make a difference in people’s lives. You seem to think law enforcement is a game. It’s not. Go go a midnight watch line-up at Bayview Station [one of the city’s most crime-ridden districts] or any other station for that matter and explain to them why you think using ECDs is a lazy option.”

He added that DeJesus should either apologize to the officers of the San Francisco Police Department “or have the courage to tell them to their face that you believe they are lazy.”

DeJesus didn’t immediately respond to the Bay Area Reporter’s requests for comment. The longtime police commissioner has opposed Tasers for years, and earlier this year, Supervisor Ahsha Safei backed labor leader Olga Miranda’s effort to unseat DeJesus. Miranda eventually ended her bid after the B.A.R. and other media outlets reported on allegations that she’d been physically and verbally abusive toward others.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 16, 2017 @ 1:18 pm PST
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Traffic stop data collection rules finalized; includes LGBT info

Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Attorney General Xavier Becerra

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday that the regulations drafted by the state Department of Justice for collecting law enforcement stop data have been finalized.

With the regulations, which are part of Assembly Bill 953, the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, officers will have to track their perception of each person’s race, gender, and whether they perceive that person as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, among other provisions.

The nine largest agencies will begin collecting the stop data July 1, 2018 and report it to the DOJ.

“Public safety is a job for all of us – our peace officers, of course, but a cooperative citizenry as well,” Becerra said in a news release. “Trust is the glue that makes the relationship between law enforcement and the community work. This new RIPA data collection and reporting process is meant to strengthen, and in some cases repair, that trust.”

Along with perceived orientation and gender identity, officers will also be required to collect information on the reason for and result of the stop.

Chief Edward Medrano, Co-Chair of the RIPA Advisory Board and President of the California Police Chiefs Association, stated that the association “has routinely proven to be a collaborative partner with various stakeholders throughout California in our efforts to increase public safety and enhance community trust in law enforcement. The Racial and Identity Profiling Act and the recently approved regulations is another tool to ensure our officers continue to provide fair and impartial policing to the communities we serve.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who authored AB 953, said, “With these regulations we will have the comprehensive hard data necessary to understand the scope of the problem and to make practical decisions about how to reduce over-policing persons of color, a practice that wastes resources, engenders mistrust and compromises public safety.”

More information is available at

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 15, 2017 @ 5:20 pm PST
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SF Symphony’s Tilson Thomas selected for CA Hall of Fame

by Cynthia Laird

San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame, Governor Jerry Brown’s office announced Tuesday, November 14.

(SF Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas. Photo: Courtesy SF Symphony)

(SF Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas. Photo: Courtesy SF Symphony)

Tilson Thomas, a gay man, recently announced that he will step down in 2020, after 25 years with the symphony.

According to the symphony’s website, Tilson Thomas, 72, is currently the longest-tenured music director at any major American orchestra. Tilson Thomas became the symphony’s 11th music director in September 1995.

Tilson Thomas and the orchestra have been praised for innovative programming, enhancing the orchestral concert experience with multimedia and creative staging, showcasing the works of American composers, and attracting new audiences to orchestral music, both at home at Davies Symphony Hall and through the orchestra’s extensive media projects, the website noted.

The California Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, December 5, at the California Museum in Sacramento.

According to the Sacramento Bee, which broke the news Tuesday, other inductees include: comedian Lucille Ball, former Oakland Raiders and Stanford University quarterback Jim Plunkett, director Steven Spielberg, bioscientist Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Native American artist and activist Mabel McKay, Nobel Prize recipient and atmospheric chemist Mario J. Molina, poet Gary Snyder, and vintner Warren Winiarski.

Tilson Thomas will be the fourth out gay man inducted. There have also been two lesbians, and a woman who had a same-sex relationship but doesn’t identify as LGBT.

This week’s Bay Area Reporter arts section in Thursday’s paper will have more on Tilson Thomas.

— Cynthia Laird, November 14, 2017 @ 3:21 pm PST
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Bill Clinton coming to National AIDS Memorial Grove

Former President Bill Clinton is expected to visit the National AIDS Memorial Grove Friday, December 1, World AIDS Day, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

(Former President Bill Clinton.)

(Former President Bill Clinton.)

Exact details are not known, and the grove did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But two sources have indicated that Clinton will be there.

The grove typically has a public event on World AIDS Day.

The grove’s “Light in the Grove,” a fundraiser held the night before, will feature gay San Francisco mayoral candidate Mark Leno, according to sources.

As the B.A.R. reported in 2009, in 1996 the grove did gain some prominence when Congress and then-President Bill Clinton designated it a national memorial, one of only two in California. Yet Clinton never visited, nor has any president ever stepped foot in the grove while in office. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has visited the grove many times and was instrumental in seeing it designated a national memorial.

Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, did attend the ceremony establishing the national recognition of the grove.

Bill Clinton has long been an AIDS advocate, especially since leaving the White House. The Clinton Foundation has funded programs in developing countries to combat HIV/AIDS, including lowering the costs of medications for people.

The post will be updated when we get more information.

— Cynthia Laird, November 9, 2017 @ 11:13 am PST
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SF mayor marks Milk election anniversary

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement Wednesday marking the anniversary of slain gay icon Harvey Milk winning election to the Board of Supervisors.

“On this day 40 years ago, Harvey Milk forever changed our city and helped reshape politics in our state and nation,” said Lee in his November 8 statement.

“As the first openly-gay elected official in California history, Harvey broke down barriers and opened up boundless possibilities for members of the LGBTQ community. He was a fearless trailblazer who refused to be marginalized, and his courage inspired countless others follow in his footsteps,” Lee continued.

Milk, a Castro district camera shop owner, won election November 8, 1977, after previous attempts to win a seat failed. A year later, in November 1978, he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.

“As we continue to witness assaults on our civil rights – particularly the rights of our LGBTQ members – now more than ever we need to embrace the spirit of Harvey,” stated Lee. “In San Francisco, we will embody his legacy by being a city that stands up and proudly fights on the behalf of all of our residents. We will forever remember what Harvey used to say – hope will be never silent.”

In other news this week, several out LGBT candidates across the country won their elections. See the Thursday, November 9 edition of the Bay Area Reporter for details.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 8, 2017 @ 1:04 pm PST
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Installation begins on next round of SF LGBT history walk plaques

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of seven new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of the new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter.

Work has begun to install the next set of eight plaques for the Rainbow Honor Walk, a project in San Francisco’s gay Castro district that celebrates deceased LGBT luminaries.

In September 2014 the first group of 20 LGBT individuals who left a lasting mark on society was honored with bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk on the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street and a portion of 19th Street.

In June of 2016 the next set of 24 names to be added to the walk was revealed, though organizers of the project opted to add the plaques for the LGBT historical figures in batches as the estimated cost to pay for production of the 24 individual bronze plaques is $120,000.

This past June the names of the first octet and their plaques to be embedded along upper Market Street were unveiled at the AT&T Store downtown and displayed there during Pride Month. Employees with San Francisco Public Works began tearing up the sidewalk along Market Street near Castro Street this morning (Monday, November 6) to begin the process of securing the plaques in the ground.

On the south side of Market Street, where the Chevron gas station is, between 17th and Noe Streets will be plaques for drag queen Jose Sarria, a gay man who founded the Imperial Court system; Rikki Streicher, who owned several now-closed San Francisco lesbian bars and helped found the Gay Games Federation; Glenn Burke, the first out Major League Baseball player; and We’Wha, a Zuni Native American two-spirit/mixed gender tribal leader.

On the north side of Market Street, where the Pottery Barn store is, will be plaques for lesbian astronaut Sally Ride; gay Iranian poet Fereydoun Farakzhad; lesbian lawmaker Barbara Jordan; and gay Japanese-American civil rights activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.

Project co-founder David Perry, a gay man who owns an eponymously named public relations firm, told the Bay Area Reporter that all eight of the plaques could be laid into the sidewalk as early as this Thursday.

“Never has it been more important to celebrate the contributions of LGBT heroes and heroines,” stated Perry, who chairs of the Rainbow Honor Walk’s board, in an emailed reply. “With these next eight Rainbow Honor Walk honorees, we turn the corner from Castro onto Market Street. One day, we hope these stories in bronze will pave the way all down Market Street to inspire new generations of activism, education and justice.”

The eight plaques cost $48,437.61, with all of the money to pay for them raised from private funds, wrote Perry. The honor walk board has banked $31,000 to date to cover the cost for the next 16 plaques and continues to raise funds to cover the entire amount needed.

“I’m quite confident we’ll have all the funds needed for manufacture and installation of the final 16 before Pride 2018,” Perry told the B.A.R. this week.

Since the new plaques were “unveiled” in June, Perry said the project’s board isn’t planning to host a big event with media and local dignitaries to celebrate their installation. Instead, it is working on plans to hold a small reception sometime this month to mark the public debut of the project’s second phase of plaques.

For more information about the Rainbow Honor Walk, as well as longer bios about all of the honorees, visit

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 6, 2017 @ 4:14 pm PST
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Gay man found dead in Hayes Valley apartment

Alkoraishie Ali, left, and Keith Harris in undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Gus Bean.)

The body of Keith Harris, right, seen in this undated photo with his boyfriend, Alkoraishie Ali, was discovered in Hayes Valley on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Gus Bean.)

The man who was found dead in Hayes Valley Thursday, November 2, was Keith Harris, 48, a gay man whose boyfriend is now missing, according to people who knew Harris.

The medical examiner’s office has not confirmed the name of the man who died, but Paul Novales, the manager of the Estrella Apartments at 340 Hayes Street, said that he got a call at about 2 p.m. Thursday because Harris hadn’t been seen in a couple days.

Novales said that he knocked on Harris’ door, but there was no response, so he unlocked it.

When he opened the door, there were “big drops” of blood “on the floor and smears of blood on the wall and the door going into the bathroom,” he said. He immediately walked away from the door to the apartment and called 911.

Novales said that there was an open door inside the one-room apartment that blocked the view of the rest of the unit, and he didn’t see Harris’ body.

He said that a woman who lives next to Harris’ apartment heard “loud voices” coming from there at about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, November 1, but she couldn’t tell what was being said.

Police said that Harris had suffered “stab wounds” and that a knife was used as the weapon, but they have not released much more information.

Harris was an “absolutely nice, normal guy,” said Novales, “the kind of tenant that everyone wishes they had.”

He said that he didn’t know very well Harris’ partner, Alkoraishie Ali, and police have not announced Ali as a suspect. Ali hasn’t responded to Facebook messages from the Bay Area Reporter.

Longtime San Francisco party promoter Gus Bean, who was friends with the couple, said that Ali, who’s in his early 20s, has frequently worked for him as a go-go dancer.

“Nobody seems to know where he is,” said Bean. “His phone goes to voicemail.”

He added, “They seemed like a perfectly happy couple. … Keith’s an absolute sweetheart, the sweetest guy ever,” and “Ali seemed like a really sweet guy.”

Bean said that he didn’t know of Ali having any trouble involving drugs or crime.

“When he came to work at the parties, he seemed completely sober and always did a really great job and was definitely professional,” he said.

Besides dancing, Ali has also worked at the Body clothing store on Castro Street. One worker there Thursday declined to comment, indicating he was too busy.

Residents of the building described Harris as a kind man and said they weren’t aware of him having any trouble. Several people said they did not recognize Ali from photos on his Facebook page.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, November 9 edition of the paper.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 3, 2017 @ 5:23 pm PST
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Gay Games pick Hong Kong for 2022

by Roger Brigham

Hong Kong was selected Monday to host Gay Games XI in 2022.


Hong Kong was one of three finalists in the membership vote taken by the Federation of Gay Games in Paris, site of next year’s Gay Games. Other finalists, from an original group of 17 cities expressing interest in hosting, were Guadalajara, Mexico; and Washington, D.C.

The field of candidates were narrowed to the final three at the beginning of 2017, and each finalist city hosted a multi-day bid inspection tour from an international group of FGG representatives.

This will be the first time the Gay Games will be held in Asia, a key geographic objective for the FGG in its global mission to use its quadrennial multi-sport festival focused on inclusion and participation to advance LGBT rights.

Look for more on Hong Kong’s selection in Thursday’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, October 30, 2017 @ 12:33 pm PST
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Former SF Supervisor Dufty endorses Mandelman for his old D8 seat

Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, left, has endorsed Rafael Mandelman, seen at this year's Pride fun run, for District 8 supervisor.

Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, left, has endorsed Rafael Mandelman, seen at this year’s Pride fun run, for District 8 supervisor.

Former San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty has endorsed Rafael Mandelman in the 2018 race for his old District 8 seat on the board.

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.

They are running against each other in a special election next June as Sheehy was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee earlier this year to fill the vacancy created by gay former Supervisor Scott Wiener’s election to the state Senate. Sheehy is seeking to serve out the remainder of Wiener’s term on the June 2018 primary ballot.

He would then run for a full four-year term on the November ballot next year, a race that Mandelman has also filed to run in no matter the outcome of the June race. It is the second time Mandelman has sought the District 8 seat, having lost to Wiener in 2010.

Dufty, who is also gay and now serves on the BART board of directors, told the Bay Area Reporter in a brief phone interview today (Thursday, October 19) that his decision “was not easy, ” as he has known both Sheehy and Mandelman for years. But he determined that Mandelman is better suited to lead the district, which includes the gay Castro neighborhood and has been represented at City Hall by gay men since 2000 when supervisor seats reverted to being elected by district.

“I worked with and watched Rafael for many years. His leadership at City College took it from shambles to tuition free,” said Dufty, referring to Mandelman’s having served as board president of the community college district board as it fought to maintain its accreditation and helped spearhead the ballot measure last fall to have San Francisco cover the cost for city residents to attend City College full-time.

Dufty added that Mandelman’s “message about the politics of yes speaks to me and others who want to see pro-active solutions to homelessness and a strong focus on our neighborhood.”

He informed Sheehy of decision by phone and said the two “had a respectful conversation. It is not easy, but I feel Rafael is really ready to lead District 8 and to lead our city.”

In the spring Dufty had told the B.A.R. he would wait until next year to endorse in the race. But he timed his announcement to coincide with a fundraiser numerous LGBT leaders are hosting in the Castro tonight for Mandelman to celebrate his birthday. Mandelman turned 44 on Tuesday.

Mandelman’s campaign formally announced Dufty’s endorsement this afternoon in an email blast to supporters inviting them to tonight’s fundraiser at the Blackbird bar on upper Market Street.

It is the second endorsement in the race by a former occupant of the District 8 seat. Wiener endorsed Sheehy earlier this year, telling the B.A.R. in May that he “thinks the world of Jeff” and that he has already proved to be “a strong leader” on the board.

The other former District 8 supervisor, Mark Leno, who went on to serve in the state Legislature and is running in 2019 to be San Francisco’s first gay mayor, has not endorsed in the supervisor race.



— Matthew S. Bajko, October 19, 2017 @ 1:19 pm PST
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Man hit with pipe, robbed in Castro

A man was hit with a metal pipe and robbed in the Castro district late Saturday night, according to police.

At about 10:30 p.m. at Noe and Market streets, the suspect approached the victim from behind, struck him with the pipe, and demanded his bag. The victim, who’s 57, fled, leaving the bag on the ground, police said. When the victim returned, his bag was gone.

The victim, who suffered a non-life threatening injury, declined to be taken to the hospital.

The suspect was described as a black male in his 30s.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 18, 2017 @ 3:22 pm PST
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