Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 49 / 8 December 2016

Letters to the Editor

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Remembering Buzz Bense

Thank you for publishing Liz Highleyman's important article and tribute, "Safe-sex activist Buzz Bense dies" [November 24] .

Bense did something that the bathhouse owners of the early-to-mid 1980s said was not possible: he opened a successful safer-sex sex club in San Francisco, at 890 Folsom Street. Like others in the city, he knew that the local commercial sex arena needed to be re-engineered to make safer-sex the norm rather than the exception, mandatory rather than voluntary. With that move, he and his allies saved the lives of many men, most of whom are still alive today.

Bense was a trailblazer and a community hero.


John Mehring

San Francisco


Jones says, 'Thanks'

I want to thank everyone who attended the publication party for my new memoir, When We Rise – My Life in the Movement , last Saturday at Strut. It was a wonderful event and I'm deeply grateful to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a great evening.

Special thanks to the inimitable Juanita More and her assistant, Jesse Oberst.

I was so happy to have the event at Strut, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's center on Castro Street. I am a co-founder of the organization and a strong supporter of its programs. Thanks to SFAF CEO Joe Hollendoner, James Loduca, Jared Hemming, Chris Richey, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, Kay Nilson, Cantewell Muchenfuss, Gary Keener, and Lemuel Valbuena.

Thanks to DJ Tweak Turner and the Brass Liberation Orchestra for the music. Thank you Tank 18 for the wine. Thank you to Catch, Hecho, La Mediteranee and Harvey's for the delicious food. Thanks to Gilbert Baker (creator of the rainbow flag) for the beautiful banner he created for the event and to Tyson Lee for the flowers.

I was so happy to have the books provided by Dog Eared Books, our local and independent bookstore. Thank you Kate, Alvin, and Marcus. Thank you to photographers Garaje Gooch, Tom Schmidt, Steven Underhill, and Rink.

Many thanks to the volunteers including Adam Odsess-Rubin, Brenden Chadwick, Justin Jodiatis, Christopher Vasquez, Jonny Fisher, Luke Leonhard, Manny Sanchez, Nic Candito, Race Bannon, Matthew Lindgren, and Michael German.

I also want to thank the Bay Area Reporter , Hoodline, and the San Francisco Chronicle for their coverage, and NPR's Terry Gross for her wonderful support of my book.


Cleve Jones

San Francisco


Wiener's Airbnb vote stinks

Hardly a week goes by without someone coming into my Castro district shop to sell off some of their possessions; often as a result of the need to downsize because they no longer can afford to live in San Francisco or, worse yet, an eviction.

Now we have Scott Wiener, having recently eked out a win for state Senate, voting against the 60-day hard cap for Airbnb rentals on his way out the door of the Board of Supervisors. There is more than ample anecdotal evidence to suggest the existence of these largely unregulated, home rental platforms are exacerbating the tight San Francisco housing market and forcing many long-term residents out of their rent controlled living situations.

In a metaphoric flip of his middle finger to his constituents in District 8, as well as other residents of the city, many of who have experienced real estate speculation fueled evictions, Wiener's questionable exit vote ensures a veto proof situation on this sensible rental cap. A cap supported by a majority of his fellow supervisors.

Wiener can now cement his, as well as Ed Lee's allegiance to, and support of, the darkest of dark monied interests who are busy ripping out the very soul of San Francisco and ridding it of those who have made it a special place. Those tech and real estate interests knew what they were doing when they poured nearly $2 million into his race to defeat his opponent and Wiener certainly didn't disappoint them.


Patrick Batt

San Francisco

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