Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Milk Plaza Revamp Delayed for 1-Yr; Public Meeting When?

The hugely important public space at Castro and Market Streets and the City's plans to redesign the plaza in coming years deserved an open meeting months ago. It hasn't happened, but stakeholders have met amongst themselves and decided a good number of areas of agreement - for them.

For those of us who weren't in the room when the decisions were made, we need to insist on full transparency. Here are the exchanges I've had recently with the CBD and SFMTA:

Tues Oct 25 at 8:32 PM:

Hi Michael,
I understand that you think we should hold a community meeting as soon as possible. At this point, if we did that, it would be a waste of everyone's time because we don't have very much to present to the community to respond to. I will share your concern about control of the flag with the planning committee. I imagine this will be an item on the CBD's November 10th meeting, just because the CBD board doesn't know what is happening either and they need to be updated. I will let you know if it is on the agenda or of course you can just check our website.

Thanks for your efforts Michael.

-----Original Message-----
From: mpetrelis
To: andrea
Sent: Tue, Oct 25, 2016 12:26 pm
Subject: Re: No public meetings yet - Re: Elevator for Milk Plaza?

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for all this info. There is quite a lot you and others have been up to, all of it probably with good intentions. However, the lack of a single community meeting at this point is a blot of poor engagement. 

There's even a planning group and the CBD in lead roles here, but as far as I know the group has not held a meeting and your has not had the plaza redesigns on your agenda for discussion.

Also, and you knew this was coming, I think there should be public discussions where the flagpole and who controls it are part of the conversation from the start, well, actually the start has long been happening. 

As we all know, there's never been an open meeting in the Castro by any of the controlling City and private organizations about the flagpole. 

Can we once and for all just have an open meeting or two about the public space at Castro and Market, and soon too and now more putting off the discussion until you have all your ducks in a row?

You mention wanting a few more meetings, please make them open. Include the wider community now and take lack of meetings off the list of complaints against the project.

Do you agree?

From Andrea on October 24th:

Hi Michael,
I'll jump in here to update you. As I posted on the CBD Facebook page on October 5th. 
Like you, the planning group was very concerned about the short timeline given to us by MTA. We believe this is an incredible opportunity to make significant improvements to Harvey Milk Plaza, on top of the ADA improvements that MTA is making. The overall vision the planning group is currently working under is to create a more fitting tribute to Harvey Milk and the LGBT Civil Rights Movement. 

Supervisor Wiener was able to negotiate with MTA to give the community a 12 month extension on this project. Since then the planning group has met once. We plan on meeting twice a month over the next couple of months to get some plans moving forward. We will be coming to the community at several points along the way with visioning exercises, artist/art selection, etc. We are also working on putting together a fundraising campaign.

The CBD did use the Castro St. Fair as an opportunity to reach out to the community. Everything was happening so quickly, we got the notice that the community had a 12 month extension just before the Fair, so the morning of the Fair the CBD just decided, "Oh, we can use the Fair to begin outreach, let's put out a flip chart at our booth and ask people for their ideas."

We have not put out a formal press release yet, because we are not quite ready. We absolutely do want community input, we are not hiding anything, we just need a few meetings to get more organized.

I hope you understand. 

Thank you,

 Andrea AielloCBD Logo  Executive Director
 Castro/Upper Market CBD

On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 12:22 PM, <> wrote:
Hello Paul Rose,

I am following up on this promise of the SFMTA's to hold general public meetings about changes coming to Milk Plaza. Never received a meeting schedule from you. Did the meetings take place and are more scheduled? How exactly are you reaching out the public regarding these meetings? No one has told me about any and I've not seen info before they take place in either the Castro Courier or BAR. Both papers have covered the changes planned and community input. When are these meeting taking place this month and for the rest of the year? Please advise today. Thanks.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rose, Paul <>
To: mpetrelis <>
Sent: Tue, Aug 2, 2016 5:22 pm
Subject: RE: Elevator for Milk Plaza?

Up to now we have been meeting with the supervisor’s office and leadership of the Castro Merchants Assoc and the Castro CBD.
The team met with the Streets & Landscaping subcommittee of the Castro Merchants Assoc. and the Harvey MilK Plaza Improvement group in July.
We are meeting with the full membership of the Castro Merchants Assoc this coming Thursday morning.
Full community meetings open to the general public will be scheduled for late August/early September.
A project website is going online this week at that will post upcoming meeting dates and times.
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2016 1:46 PM
To: Rose, Paul <>
Subject: Re: Elevator for Milk Plaza?

Hi Paul,
What's the latest news on the Milk Plaza project since we last were in touch.
Lemme know if any meetings took place in July or are scheduled for August.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rose, Paul <

To: mpetrelis <>
Sent: Tue, Jun 28, 2016 12:40 pm
Subject: RE: Elevator for Milk Plaza?
We are currently in the very early stages for a new elevator at Castro station. See attached.
The scope of the project includes a new elevator on the south side of the station. As part of the project we will be adding other accessibility improvements including re-grading the path of travel to the new elevator,
Relocating a curb ramp to improve access, replacing sidewalk paving on the street and mezzanine levels, improving lighting along the path of travel, plus other misc improvements.
We have just begun meeting with community groups and will continue reaching out as we move forward.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Handsome Mormon Boys Out Recruiting Are Fun!

I can't remember the last time I encounter two young and handsome Mormon boys on the streets of the Mission. Saw these guys on Monday night at the 24th Street BART plaza.

Like every attractive male Mormon recruiter sent to San Francisco, these fellas are trained and primed to chat with any and all folks, in the name of Christ and a religious lifestyle.

Sometimes, I've in jest tried to recruit them to the gay lifestyle. Haven't succeeded yet, but I keep trying. See pics of the Mormon boys that caught my queer eye, around San Francisco and heard my recruitment speech.

ACT UP Reunion at Sarah Schulman's SF Book Reading

There were so many folks in Alley Cat Books last night in the Mission folks were standing in the aisles stretching almost at the cash register. We were there for writer and activist Sarah Schulman's public conversation about her latest book "Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair," hosted by RADAR Productions.

I shared a few moments with Sarah for a photo-op, as I held my BART board campaign sign. Fyi, Sarah never endorses any folks for political office but was okay with the sign in my hand for old time's sake. We were in ACT UP/New York together during the AIDS plague years. The image doesn't equal an endorsement.

Sarah spoke at one point about how social change in America always comes from folks on the margins. Words that totally resonated with me, still here and staking out an activist position for myself outside the mainstream.

She also referenced the different approaches that were embraced in ACT UP. At a time of an epidemic, the street radicals and academics and everyone in-between who made ACT UP the force that it was in its heyday, sure as hell didn't agree on everything.

But the structure was such that affinity groups, and independents, coalesced around core health, political and social crises and the activist work got done to effect lasting, life-extending and life-saving change.

For me, it was an enlightening evening, I heard a lot of new and diverse ideas, great to see Sarah, and keep on with my BART campaign and activism in general.

Before leaving Alley Cat Books, bought a copy of Book Forum magazine to support this shop on 24th Street. Here are a few fotos from last night.

Monday, October 24, 2016

SOTF: Supes Peskin & Wiener Violated Open Govt Laws

When it comes to adhering to San Francisco's public records statutes, the leading liberal and conservative members of the Board of Supervisors are political peas from the same pod.

Aaron Peskin and Scott Wiener were both found guilty by the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force of violating open government laws when they failed to produced files I had requested.

For Peskin and his legislative aide Lee Hepner, a leader of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, they simply refused to either identify any responsive records found and adamantly opposed providing any files or assistance to comply with my request. So much for Peskin and Hepner practicing sunshine principles.

On the other hand, Wiener just took his sweet old time locating and producing responsive records.

It says a lot about how these supervisors have common anti-transparency ground, not all that different from some of their board colleagues and other public servants at City Hall.

I extend deep thanks to the volunteer citizens who sit on the SOTF for their service to local democracy and govt transparency. We need all supervisors to respond, as required by law, to all immediate requests for public records.

Black Poz Inmate Johnson's New AIDS Drug Cocktail

Dated September 15th, but arriving on Saturday, the latest letter from my poz prisoner pen-pal Michael Johnson indicates he's still in the hole and not in the general population.

Sure wish the authorities would return him to normal inmate status and end his solitary confinement.

Michael writes that his HIV medications have changed. He used to take Atripla, containing a few drugs in one pill, but is now is on Sustiva, Viread and Epivir. Names I know well.

As long as Michael is receiving his drugs and tests monitoring his viral load and other vital immune system markers, showing benefits, that is important to him and all of us on the outside concerned for his wellness.

Here's his new letter.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Who's Moderating the 10/27 BART Candidate's Debate?

Rachel Gordon is Public Works' communications chief and a long time ago worked as a City Hall reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. She's providing facilator services this Thursday for the second and last debate for us candidates vying to be the next BART board director for District 9. Here's the info from an organizer of the forum. Come participate!

Hi Michael, Yes, the forum is still taking place, please details and agenda below. We expect the forum to start after 8 pm. Rachael Gordon will be the moderator.

Glen Park Association Quarterly Meeting
October 27, 2016 - 7:00 pm
San Francisco Police Academy Community Room
350 Amber Drive

Candidates will have 2 or 3 minutes for introduction. There will be questions from the GPA and moderator, and written questions from the audience. Ending with closing statements from the candidates.

Glen Canyon Park Recreation Center Construction.
Progress report from Park and Recreation staff on the construction.

BART Director Candidate Forum:
Forum with the candidates for the Bart Board of Directors from District 9: Gwyneth Borden, Bevin Dufty and Michael Petrelis

Let us know if you have any questions.
We look forward to having you at the forum.

Best, Carolyn Deacy
SF Ethics Cmte Shreds 1st Amendment; Bans Signs

Last week, I mentioned the San Francisco Ethics Commission developed Meeting Decorum rules prohibiting paper signs and other forms of free expression. For the commissioners, the First Amendment be damned for the ex-judge Quentin Kopp, law professor Peter Keane and lawyer-to-the-powerful Paul Renne, husband of Louise, the former City Attorney.

Without any public debate and despite directing the current City Attorney Dennis Herrera to present an opinion regarding my contention that signage of all sorts is allowed at this and all commissions meeting at City Hall, the ban is in effect. Herrera failed to produce the opinion at the commissioners didn't agendize their new rules.

Before and during the meeting, Eileen Hirst, the sheriff's chief of staff, and four deputies were tasked to keep tabs on me. When I held up a paper sign, Renne summoned the deputies and I was intimidated to put the sign away.

However, during public comment I wore my vest backwards because it has a Petrelis for BART Board sign pinned on at the back. Cloth signage is allowed, as you'll see in the video.

One other radical change from last month's contentious meeting, where the commissioners interrupted myself and other taxpayers during what was supposed to be our public comment time, was no commissioners disrupted our speeches. They waited till we were finished to asked questions or opine on our comments.

It's a sad state of affairs that liberal San Francisco in 2016 blatantly violated free expression protections of the First Amendment and not one member of the Board of Supervisors, progressive or moderate, nor any Democratic club, raises a peep of protest.

This. Must. Change.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

City Won't Repaint Faded Yellow 16th Street Crosswalks

San Francisco's Vision Zero campaign to eliminate all traffic and pedestrian deaths on our streets needs to consider overturning the decision to not apply a fresh coat of paint to the darkened, faded or totally erased yellow crosswalk stripes at 16th and Mission Streets.

My service request for repainting the stripes at this busy intersection was rejected this week. The SF311 Twitter account, where I sent my request a few weeks ago, informed me recently that my request was denied.

To my eyes, pedestrians, car drivers and bicyclists all need a clear visual demarcation of where the crosswalks began and end at 16th and Mission Streets, to prevent harm and improve public safety.

A little bit of paint would go a long way to make us all safer at this four-way intersection.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Young Voters Support My BART Campaign

Two of my signs in a storefront on Valencia Street attracted the attention of this young couple. Both said they've early-voted for me and for Jane Kim. I hope their ballots are soon counted by the Department of Elections. A reminder that Monday is the last day to register to vote in San Francisco. Vote for zealous Petrelis for BART board!

'Ugetsu' Highlight of SFMOMA's 'Modern Cinema' Weekend

This is the final weekend of the San Francisco Film Society and SFMOMA's inaugural month of their "Modern Cinema" series, and ghosts are the theme of the selections.

On tap tonight is "Pitfall" from Japan and the American "Carnival of Souls," both in black and white.

My top choice for this weekend is the exhilerating Kenji Mizoguchi classic "Ugetsu," which I've seen only once is on many all-time greatest movies lists.

Don't miss the rare opportunity to see it on the big screen at the Phyllis Wattis Theater. "Ugetsu" screens on Saturday at 8:00 pm.

Also earlier tomorrow is Peter Wier's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" from Australia and the Maysles Brothers' landmark doc "Grey Gardens" from its own special weird place in the universe.

Closing out the weekend is Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" from Thailand's contemporary master auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul. It screens on Sunday afternoon.

Brush up on your classic cinema and catch one these films!