Monday, July 25, 2016

DPW: McCoppin Hub Anti-Homeless Fencing Up by Labor Day

The City's next steps to fence off the public space at the McCoppin Hub, near the intersection of Valencia and Market Streets, are outlined in this update from Rachel Gordon, the public info officer for the Department of Public Works.

State senator-wannabe Supervisor Jane Kim, in whose district the problem public area is located, as far as I can determine, has steadfastly not said a word about DPW's plans. That may change once the anti-homeless fencing is built.

Anecdotally, there's been a reduction in the number of homeless folks, and their belongings, in the hub in recent weeks and a Pit Stop has setup shop weekdays in front of the U-Haul parking lot. From DPW:

"Here’s the latest: Over the past several months, our designer has been working to resolve issues related to the new fence and to prepare bid documents that lay out the scope of work for the contractor.

"The project will involve removal of many of the bollards and chains, installation of perimeter fencing, two gates that vehicles can access and three gates for use by pedestrians.

"In addition, there will be some concrete demolition, and new concrete will be poured to provide accessible access at the west end of the site.

"We expect the contractor’s proposal (which will include the cost) by July 29, and work would begin within four weeks or so of that date. The initial work will include installation of a temporary fence, which close down the HUB while the work is underway.

"The City will be contracting with Cal State Constructors, Inc. Hours of operation of the Hub will be determined by San Francisco Real Estate Division, but would likely model the dog and skate parks across the street -- essentially 7 AM to sunset. The hours can and will be adjusted as needed."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vid: Mike's 65th Birthday & My New Face

We're having a terrific month of July and recently Mike and I went on a date, to hear the San Francisco Symphony performing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" symphony, over his birthday weekend. He's hit the Medicare birthday, sixty-five, and he continues to improve with age, sharing his wisdom and life with me.

I've regained my facial and cranial wellness, after the fat injections into my facial creases, brought on by years of AIDS cocktails, with a fuller, somewhat newer, face. Still here, with some wear and tear, and proudly queer!

Enjoy the vid.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kim + Wiener = Job Order for McCoppin Hub Anti-Homeless Fence

If the issue is a public plaza and who controls it, don't expect much communication from either Supervisor currently running for the District 11 state senate seat.

Neither Jane Kim nor Scott Wiener has addressed the controversy ignited over the failure to fly the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza at half-mast for five days honoring the LGBT people massacred on June 12 in Orlando, and they're both silent about a soon-to-be built fence at the McCoppin Hub. We live three blocks from there.

Located at near the intersection of the two Supes' district, closed to Valencia and Market Streets, the hub will soon be fenced as an anti-homeless measure.

For many years, residential and business stakeholders have activated themselves with any and all City officials who might address the lack of housing for the crowds of homeless drifters and others, and the resultant sanitation and criminal problems of folks living in the public space for extended periods.

Let's follow the email trail in recent weeks.

The hub is nestled just inside the border of Kim's District 6, alongside the freeway off-ramp which is in Wiener's District 8, so neighbors are right to put pressure on her for communication. One nearby resident's plea, made on June 11, for a response from Kim expresses the wish of many but Kim's office is woefully silent.

On June 29, a local businessman complained of no engagement from either Kim or Wiener and that it's an election year, and we might expect these electeds to address quality of life concerns in the hub. Still no word from Kim.

A response from a manager at the Department of Public Works informed everyone that the City is rapidly moving forward to install the fence and it should be completed at the McCoppin Hub in about 4-5 month period. We'll see the fence at this public space after the November election when either Kim or Wiener is newly-elected to Sacramento.

What surprises me about these latest anti-homeless developments at the McCoppin Hub is that I've not heard a peep of protest from all the progressive nonprofits, Democratic affiliates including the Harvey Milk Club, and community organizers backing Kim.

Can you imagine the din that would erupt if the fence were to be erected in Wiener's district? It'd be so loud my hearing aids wouldn't be needed to hear the kvetching.

Watch this recent video taken at the hub:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Laura Truffaut & 'Day for Night' Delight at BAMPFA

Magic was up on the big Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive screen last night (July 16), and cinema was alive and thriving in the sold-out audience.

We were treated to a witty introduction by Laura Truffaut of an imported and pristine print of her father Francois Truffaut's Oscar-winning valentine to the movies, "Day for Night."

This short video, shot before and after the film unspooled, captures a small amount of the exhilaration everyone felt during this special evening BAMPFA's new home.

Experiencing the joys of "Day for Night" again like this guarantees this is one of my top movie-going times of 2016.

Big thanks to Laura Truffaut, the folks at BAMPFA and our amazing audience!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Supes' Public Advocate Agenda: Public Comment = 1st Item 

No matter how you look at the special full Board of Supervisors' meeting today, including the unusual starting time of 5:15 pm, it's quite a unique situation extending also to the fact that public comment is item one. This needs to be an occurrence at every full board meeting!

Even this cynic is impressed with this act of democratizing City Hall, if only for one board meeting, to such a degree I sent this letter to the Supervisors and various folks in City govt:

Dear Members of the Board of Supervisors,

Thanks for providing the City with the miracle of allowing general public comment at the start of your special meeting today, as stated on the agenda:

Myself, and other good govt watchdogs, have long implored you to set a fixed time for public comment at your Tuesday meetings, especially for working folks who don't have hours of time on an afternoon workday to wait around for public comment, but our pleas have not led to change.

Over in Berkeley, their City Council takes public comment at the start of meetings, for about ten minutes, allowing at least a few folks the chance to speak, and returning to more public comment later.

I suggest you, and Jane Kim particularly if she wants to distinguish herself from her senate race opponent, look to Berkeley as a way to improve making San Francisco's BOS a body with better best practices for public comment.

Check this out from the Berkeley council's site:

"Public Comment on Non-Agenda Matters: Persons will be selected by lottery to address matters not on the Council agenda. If five or fewer persons submit speaker cards for the lottery, each person selected will be allotted two minutes each. If more than five persons submit speaker cards for the lottery, up to ten persons will be selected to address matters not on the Council agenda and each person selected will be allotted one minute each. Persons wishing to address the Council on matters not on the Council agenda during the initial ten-minute period for such comment, must submit a speaker card to the City Clerk in person at the meeting location and prior to commencement of that meeting. The remainder of the speakers wishing to address the Council on non-agenda items will be heard at the end of the agenda."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

DA Gascon Denounced at Police Hearing: No Killer-Cop Charges

At last night's San Francisco police commission meeting, I used my public comment time to focus attention on corrupt District Attorney George Gascon and his b.s. blue-ribbon panel.

Since Gascon became DA in January 2011, there have been twenty civilians killed by SFPD officers and he's not indicted even a ham sandwich in any of the fatalities.

He has put much energy and time and City resources into his hand-picked blue-ribbon panel, ostensibly looking at problems within the police force, which was head of before assuming DA duties. It's really about him running to be appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to replace Kamala Harris, if she's elected to the US Senate as many predict.

How many civilians have to die due to fatal use of force by an SFPD officer before Gascon charges someone with murder?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Laura Truffaut to Intro 'Day For Night' at BAMPFA: 7/16

Maybe five years ago, Francois Truffaut's daughter Laura, who lives in Berkeley, hosted a screening of his classic "The Wild Child" when a newly restored print was playing in art houses, including San Francisco's Opera Plaza Cinema.

She was the consummate presenter, anticipating seeing the film again and with an audience, then afterward holding a fantastic discussion about the making of the film when she was just a child during hot summer in the countryside without any air-conditioning.

I spoke up in praise of the high turnout of folks thirty-and-under, even a few teens, in the theater and said it was a sign of hope for the cinema that the tradition of watching films communally was alive and thriving in the Bay Area.

This Saturday evening at 6 o'clock at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Truffaut, who's a longtime Berkeley resident, will introduce "Day for Night" and we'll be treated to an imported print up on the big screen and a special evening will be had by all.

More info and to purchase a ticket, click here.

The BAMPFA programmers have scheduled this film as part of their Hitchcock/Truffaut series which kicked off showing the recent documentary "Hitchcock/Truffaut," all about the famous landmark book of interviews by the French filmmaker with his idol and occasional mentor and confidante.

Details on the remaining flicks in the series are here.

Get yourself to BAMPFA soon and often over the summer for great movies!
City Atty Ban's Supes' $100K Slush Funds; Kim's $18K Banner?

This is news to me from the City Controller's Office, that arrived a few days ago. The City Attorney banned the annual $100,000 district allocations, a.k.a slush funds, the Board of Supervisors gave themselves:

"The City Attorney determined that district allocations were an abrogation of the Board’s duty to approve appropriations because they effectively delegated appropriation decisions to a single member. While the full Board approved appropriating $100,000 to each district in the budget, the actual uses of funds over the course of the fiscal year were determined by each supervisor for their district."

I don't recall any news about the City Attorney's ban or the Supervisors objecting to it, neither do a number of City Hall and open govt watchdogs I asked.

My emails to the City Attorney seeking more info about the end of these allocations haven't produced a response yet and it's important to get the word out about this matter, and show where some the Supervisors spent their final slush fund amounts that caught my eye.

Let's follow the money in the comments. Figures are for FY 2014/2015.

Board president London Breed's biggest allocation, at $35,000, was for street fair permits in District 5.

Even though the police department has a multi-million dollar budget, apparently not enough money was set aside for plainclothes officers in the Bay View District, so Supervisor Malia Cohen spent $50,000 on their teams.

For Supervisor Mark Farrell, his largest gift, a robust $45,000, went to the San Francisco Zoo in District 2.

In District 6, Supervisor Jane Kim spent $18,000 on a pedestrian safety banner, her second biggest allocation. Must have been a mighty large banner at that price.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Castro Courier & BoS: Clash Over Rainbow Flag & Orlando 

The controversy regarding the rainbow flag on City land at Harvey Milk Plaza just won't go away, no matter how hard the Castro Merchants and Supervisor Scott Wiener think the control issues are settled iron-clad policies.

It's now one-month since 49 LGBT and friends were massacred at the Pulse bar in Orlando and the terrific Castro Courier newspaper's front-page article that hit the streets on Monday should be widely read. The article is not online.

Reporter Sam-Omar Hall informs us that on June 12, crusty Castro businessman and staunch anti-community-control-of-the-flag advocate Patrick Batt texted Castro Merchants president Daniel Bergerac to say this extraordinary day demanded the flag be lowered. Batt also wants a policy when the display is occasionally altered. That's a major shift.

Longtime area resident and antique seller Isak Lindenauer, longtime proponent of open debate about who maintains the flag reminds readers it belongs to the people, not a bunch of merchants. Lindenauer says stewardship needs to be reexamined.

Andrea Aiello, president of the Castro Benefit District, states she got a lot of calls on June 12 to fly the flag at a lowered position out of respect for the dead, even though her group has no say over it.

In keeping with their practice of not engaging with stakeholders, Castro Merchants boss Bergerac refused to speak with the reporter. Ostrich. Head. Sand. Been that way for too long with this private group having domain over vital queer public space.

At the June 28 Board of Supervisors meeting, I used public comment to inform them San Francisco's Castro had common ground with a county in Alabama for refusing to lower flags until June 16 at sunset, as President Obama requested in a proclamation. Watch the short vid:

FBI: Access to Orlando Shooter's File Denied

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is mighty inconsistent about releasing or denying access to files of great public interest, including the massacre of 49 LGBT and friends in the Orlando gay Pulse nightclub in June.

Sure, the agency has held news conferences and shared selective bits of information about the killer, whom I won't name here, and their investigation into matters such as whether he was gay and calling him in for questioning a few years back but release of any records, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, is rejected.

Yes, I expected such a response after decades of filing FOIAs with the agency but it still was important to me to make the request and see what happens. The most important advice I give everyone considering making a request is to just file it -without delay.

Never know what records you could receive if you don't ask for them. Have you filed a FOIA lately?