Friday, April 24, 2015

Cruz's NYC Gay Hotelier Pals Gave How Much to Giuliani?

There's a lot of controversy swirling back East about Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, the lont-term gay business partners who own the Out Hotel in Manhattan and property on Fire Island, because of their friendly fireside chat earlier this week with super-conservative and viciously anti-LGBT Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. He needs all the assistance he can get to appeal to voters beyond the GOP base, as he runs for the 2015 presidential presidential nomination.

Gay and AIDS leader Tom Viola, a man with a spine and a huge heart who's executive director of Broadway Cares, announced this news today in response to Reisner and Weiderpass's chumminess with Cruz:

"It is with regret that we have decided to cancel this year’s edition of the Broadway Bares Solo Strips fundraiser, which was scheduled for May 10 at the NYC club 42West. We cannot in good conscience hold an event at a venue whose owners have alienated our community, as reflected in an April 23 New York Times story and an April 24 follow-up post. [...] This is not about partisan politics or punishment. This is about doing what’s right to ultimately ensure that our commitment to the men, women and children we serve cannot be questioned."

I checked the FEC records for Reisner and Weiderpass, and they have been quite generous with their checks to Democrats and the national party. However, Reisner in 2007 gave $2,300 to rotten Rudy Giuliani's campaign for president while Weiderpass donated $500 in 2008 to Giuliani.

Make of this info what you will. Mike and I endorse the boycott against all hotel properties owned by Reisner and Weirderpass. You should do the same.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Campos' Housing Moratorium Ballot Prop Language Released

My public records request to Sup. David Campos for documents related to his idea of a moratorium on market rate housing in the Mission District was filed yesterday, and today his office has provided me with lots of files which I'm still looking over.

What stands out so far is Campos' draft language for a comprehensive housing ballot initiative for this November that would be submitted to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who is up for reelection and as proof of just how Sovietized democracy in San Francisco is, right now he faces no challenger.

Campos has also released a confidential five-page memo about the draft language for a potential ballot measure in the fall and I'll be sharing that later today. Till then, have a glance at the draft language we may all be voting on:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Valencia Street's Crime Wave Includes Armed Robbery

This message from James, one of the owners of the Stuff Vintage Modern store one-block away from our apartment, was posted to the Yahoo group for the McCoppin Hub Plaza area, which is in District 6. There's been a wave of crimes in our neighborhood, of which I had no clue till reading this note.

After Stuff was broken into and ransacked early one morning last week, I stopped in and introduced myself to the owners and expressed sympathy over their recent loss. I also mentioned the home invasion burglary we suffered last year.

We spoke, of course, about the myriad problems with the plaza and recent cosmetic changes by the City, including erecting a fence that is now down after no visible work performed by the Department of Public Works. Here are excerpts from James' email:

Subject: Wishing to Speak at meeting
RE: Sup Kim's Western SoMa Neighborhood Coalition Mtg
THIS THURSDAY, April 23rd @ 6:00pm
Location: Red Cross Building Community Room, 1667 Market Street @ Gough Street
(former Cafe Trieste)

To Supervisor Jane Kim and others attending the upcoming meeting, I really wish I was able to attend the [Mission station police] captain's community meeting last Wednesday night however I was the victim of the latest smash and grab from a gang of thieves. This brazen crime was shocking to the community and our neighborhood as seen all over the news. This occurred Thursday morning on Valencia street.

I was even more shocked to learn I beat the police to my store by 30 minutes - even after seeing several police drive right by my store. Then I was even more shocked to learn that Thursday morning the entire southern station only had 2 officers on duty during the crime that victimized me and the small businesses I support within my store - that is why they were so late in arriving.

[After cleaning up the robbery mess] just before I was ready to leave Thursday evening right in front of my store just as a father walked by with his small child around 10:30pm my neighboring restaurant's employees were robbed at gun point as they walked on the sidewalk home by two thugs. That same day another business near by store was robbed of there cash from there store.

This all happens just after a month when I emailed everyone about the horrible situation at McCoppin Park nearby where the homeless took over and made such a mess of the park it was closed up and fenced in since the damage was so bad.

I had emailed about the park shortly after the warning by a city official regarding a hatchet wielding man and then a death in the park. I learned during all of this that the city in significantly understaffed for Police. The city is supposed to have 2000 officers and only has 1600. What is being done about this rampant crime? What is being done about the shortage of Police, obviously they can't even solve all these crimes?

As of today I haven't heard from anyone from the city or Police in response to my inquires about my business being the victim of a string of smash and grabs.

The city should be flush with cash with all this incredible robust economy and property taxes from all the new record breaking home sales and new construction and businesses opening up in San Francisco.

I will be at this upcoming meeting to speak. I hope to hear some answers to these questions before city officials start to leave. I have copied many people so they are aware of the dire situation and so those attending the meeting will demand this be near the top of the agenda at the upcoming meeting. 
Italian Media: Dump Cordileone Ad in SF Chron = "Flop Survey" 

Curious as to whether either Vatican or Italian media reported on the full-page ad in last week's San Francisco Chronicle, calling on the Pope to dump Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, I googled for any coverage in Italy.

Here's a rough, broken English translation of what appeared in Il Foglio today:

"The flop of the survey to hunt Msgr. Cordileone: 88 percent say no
Faithful against crème de la crème in San Francisco
by Matthew Matzuzzi
22 Aprile 2015

"The Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone One hundred representatives of the intelligentsia of Catholic San Francisco have decided to buy a full page in the newspaper San Francisco Chronicle to beg the Pope to remove the bishop from his chair. The San Francisco Gate accompanies the initiative even with a survey, but 88 percent of respondents said that Cordileone is untouchable."

That was not a scientific poll. It was a click-bait tool to attract eyeballs to the Chronicle's web site.

On Sunday, April 19, the magazine L'Espresso ran a long article about the controversial archbishop, the issues that motivated the Catholic leaders to take out the ad and the response of readers at the Chronicle's web site. Nothing about the anti-Cordileone ad was found at the Vatican's news site.

I'm not sure the ad's message reached the Pope, the Vatican's curia or Catholics in Italy. Perhaps to achieve that attention in Rome, the San Francisco folks who placed the Chronicle ad should run it in an Italian newspaper.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SOTF: Petrelis vs Supes. Breed & Campos, Clerk of the Board 

As always happens with my complaints to this important City body, I never know if the task force will find the public officials in violation of local open government laws. Win or lose, just having the task force hear from both sides has often led to better sunshine performances by members of the Board of Supervisors or City departments. Here's the notice about my four complaints that will be considered this afternoon:

You are receiving this notice because you are named as a Complainant or Respondent in one of the following complaints scheduled before the Complaint Committee of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force,

1) to issue a determination of jurisdiction;
2) to review the merits of the complaint to focus the complaint or otherwise assist the parties to the complaint; and/or
3) to issue a report and/or recommendation to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.

Date: April 21, 2015
Location: City Hall, Room 408
Time: 5:00 p.m.


File No. 15029: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against Angela Calvillo, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, London Breed, President, and David Campos, Member, Board of Supervisors, for allegedly violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Sections 67.21 and 67.25, for failure to respond to a request for public records in a timely and/or complete manner.

File No. 15022: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against London Breed, President, Board of Supervisors, for allegedly violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Section 67.21(l), for failure to make records available in any form requested which is easily generated.

File No. 15021: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against Supervisor David Campos, Board of Supervisors, for allegedly violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Section 67.25, for failure to respond to an Immediate Disclosure Request in a timely and/or complete manner.

File No. 15033: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against Supervisor David Campos, Board of Supervisors, for allegedly violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Section 67.25, for failure to respond to an Immediate Disclosure Request in a timely and/or complete manner.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How Many Folks Are Clients at Mayor Lee's Homeless Center?

A public records request to the Mayor's Office for census figures on the number of people who've accessed Mayor Ed Lee's homeless Navigation Center, located on Mission near 16th Street, produced the responsive documents here.

Last week, I obtained the homeless emergency declaration issued in January by the Department of Public Works in order to cut through City Hall red tape and allow construction work to start on the center, and the decree stated there are at least 6,000 chronically homeless people on the streets of San Francisco.

These charts and data come from the City's Controller's Office and show that a total of 31 individuals have been clients of the Navigation Center since it opened in mid March. While the number is relatively low, considering the 6,000 homeless folks on the streets and under freeway ramps, it's a start.
NYT's Friedman-Endowed Israel Fellowships Issued at Stanford

How many current opinion columnists for any American newspaper have created and endowed a fellowship, other than controversial Tom Friedman who occupies precious real estate on the New York Times's Op-Ed page? None, that I'm aware of and if you know of any, please share their names with me.

(Friedman, 2013 fellow Maya Kornberg, Shultz.)

A story last week in the Stanford Daily by Qitong Cao shed light on a fellowship that began with funding from Friedman and his wife Ann Friedman, and is actively supported by former Republican secretary of state Henry Kissinger:

"Winners of the 2015 George and Charlotte Shultz Fellowship for Modern Israel Studies were announced Wednesday morning during a breakfast reception at Hillel. George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, both former U.S. Secretaries of State, attended the reception, emphasizing the significance of conducting field study in Israel. [...]

The Hillel at Stanford web site shares this info about how the fellowship began:

"Thanks to the generosity of Stanford alumna Ann Friedman and her husband, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Hillel at Stanford is pleased to establish the George and Charlotte Shultz Fellowship in Modern Israel Studies to support student research on issues relevant to modern Israel and the betterment of Israeli-Arab relations. Each year, Hillel at Stanford will award a $5,000 fellowship to a Stanford student to conduct research pertaining to modern Israeli politics, culture, society, and economy, and/or the betterment of Israeli-Arab relations (including Israeli-Palestinian relations). [...] Upon completion of the projects, research reports will be sent to both Tom Friedman and George Shultz."

Among those on the fellowship's review committee is another former Republican secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, making it very clear this endeavor has conservative political leanings.

Since this fellowship began with funding from the Friedmans, and may still be receiving donations from the New York Times columnist and his wife, and research from fellows is shared with Friedman as part of the program, I believe it would be more accurate and honest to call this the Shultz and Friedman Fellowship.

So, is Friedman's involvement with Stanford and the fellowship kosher according the the New York Times' ethical guidelines? I think yes, even if it might be a gray area since Friedman is not a body making decisions. Here's what the NYT ethical journalism guide says:

"Normally the restriction on joining trustee boards or advisory committees will not apply to organizations that are highly unlikely to generate news of interest to The Times and that do not generally seek to shape public policy. These typically include houses of worship, community charities, local libraries, fine arts groups, hobby groups, youth athletic leagues, country clubs and alumni groups. Within reason staff members may help such groups with relatively modest fundraising. They should not play a leading role or ever lead a donor to expect a favor in return. [...] Staff members should think carefully about their own contributions to various causes, bearing in mind the need for neutrality on divisive issues."

An argument can be made that the fellowship is about shaping public policy and on a number of highly divisive issues, but since Friedman isn't in charge of who gets a research grant or how the students' finding will be used, Friedman's editors approved his participation in the fellowship.

What are your thoughts about this? Do you think Friedman has violated either the Times' or general ethical journalism rules?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Audrey Joseph Wins Audrey Joseph Award from SF Pride

Two years ago, the board of the San Francisco Pride nonprofit found themselves at the center of a huge controversy about the rescinding of a grand marshal honor to WikiLeaks heroine Chelsea Manning. Out of that mess came a slate of alleged reformers running for seats on the board and in September 2013, many of those folks were elected to the board.

I put in a good deal of time attending SF Pride meetings and functions. Last fall after being rebuffed in trying to bring transparency to the amounts paid by corporations to have marketing floats in the Pride Parade, opening the process of determining the contingent line-up so that law enforcement officials and elected officials aren't always in the front of the Parade and allowing members to run the monthly members' meetings, I disengaged with the group.

Sure, the reformers rectified the mess over Manning and she was a grand marshal in absentia last year, and military recruiters have been booted out of the Pride Celebration in Civic Center, and other cosmetic changes made, but the basic corporate-pleasing and politician-dominated way of doing business, and make no mistake SF Pride and related activities in June are big business, still prevails.

No need for me to waste time at SF Pride meetings where the board controls the agenda, only to see further corporatization of the LGBT agenda, last year the board accepted a $100,000 donation from Airbnb as they were facing massive criticism over contributing to our affordable housing crisis, police officers and members of the district attorney's office among the first 20 parade contingents, and members treated as nuisances or only to be used in volunteer capacities and no genuine influence over the nonprofit's agenda.

Minutes of members' meetings show board dominance, window dressing discussions about grand marshals and merchandising of SF Pride, and a lot of talk about board concerns, and a handful of members in attendance. Contents of the April membership minutes show about 98% of comments were from board members and I believe, hard to tell since this is no attendees' list of members present, that only one member, Rick Gerharter, spoke at the meeting.

This week, the board announced this year's grand marshals and it's 17 or so individuals and nonprofits and as if there aren't enough honorees to dilute the impact and meaning of being a grand marshal, a new category has been created.

It's the Audrey Joseph Entertainment Award given to an outstanding community leader who has used artistic expression to advance the LGBT agenda, and the recipient of it is none other than Audrey Joseph. She's been the producer of the main stage at the Pride Celebration hoopla in Civic Center for year and most folks agree she done an admirable job, even if she's not addressed the homogeneity, volume and loud bass-driven electronic dance music complaints.

I'm so pleased not have squandered any of my time as the board deliberated the grand marshal matters at membership meetings, just to see another award, yawn, created to stroke an ego or two.

This year, as in so many, Mike and I will mark our queer pride in personal and meaningful ways of value to us. We don't need nor want to be told about pride from corporations looking to expand profits and elected officials climbing the political ladder.

While the board members responsible for the Manning mess are long gone and new directors have come and gone, SF Pride is still an organization in need of deeper, authentic membership driven forces having real influence over the nonprofit. Otherwise, it's the same old same old, but different board members. That not progress in my queer rule book.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

300-500 New SRO Units for SF Homeless People?

Here's another public record from Mayor Ed Lee's office related to his Potemkin Village of a homeless Navigation Center, located on Mission Street near 16th, that raises a number of questions about where exactly the City plans to transition clients of the center who want housing.

The mayor's homeless czar, Bevan Dufty, disclosed in January to a contact at the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection that he and the mayor were "aiming to ramp up the leasing of 300-500 SRO units on a scattered site basis. We will be looking in Mission, North Beach and Chinatown to expand leasing in areas we haven't had a strong presence."

Some questions for the mayor and Dufty. Why have you waited until an election year to ramp up this leasing? How exactly do you plan to lease hundreds of SRO units, when they're all full of folks, some just off the streets themselves? What is the number of current SRO residents who have or will lose their residency to attain this ramping up? Is it true the City hasn't penetrated into those three neighborhoods for SRO housing?

I'd also like to know when Lee and Dufty will release figures on number of clients sleeping nightly at the Navigation Center, those transitioning out to a shelter or SRO housing or taking advantage of the Homeward Bound program and leaving San Francisco, and stats for folks returning to the streets.

My belief is that the City should share this data regularly with taxpayers and it shouldn't take a public records request to obtain the data. Do you agree?

White SF Cops Question Black Male Driver On Market Street

As I was riding my bike on Market Street near Mason yesterday around 5 pm, I came upon two white male San Francisco Police Department officers on the sidewalk questioning a black male driver and his black female passenger.

Just a few moments after I began videotaping the scene, one of the cops noticed me and came over to order me out of the street.

The black man became aware of me and my camera and raised both arms and I believe he said, "Don't worry. I can breathe." Then the tall, thin police officer, whose gun and handcuffs and walkie-talkie were quite noticeable on his belt, put his hands up in the air.

Another passerby with an iPhone came from behind me and asked if he should also tape what was happening. I said yes because you never know what could happen in this kind of situation. We're all pleased no one was harmed or killed, and black couple were soon back in their car driving down Market Street.

There can never be enough monitoring of police officers and law enforcement authorities.