Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Woof #83: Boys, Beefs, Blacks, Beards

Ah, the visual pleasures of being on the campaign trail and pressing the flesh, so to speak and so I wish, of hunky homos and men of unknown sexual identities and erotic interests. What they all have in common is being caught by the lens of my camera.

Check out and like our Facebook campaign page, please, and widely circulate the link that page and our stand-alone ILikeMikeSF.org site, which is where you go to make donation and support my District 8 Supervisor race.


A couple of beefy boys seen strolling through the Castro farmers' market on Wednesday afternoon as the Petrelis for Supervisor campaign held an outreach effort on the street.


Hello, dashing Daddy with the super sexy beard covering up his chinney-chin-chin. Hands down, or all over his fuzz and fur, the Best Beard of the Day winner.


Two beefs riding the BART train back from the Pacific Film Archive and the dude wearing the watch had the best set of tree-trunk thighs and beautifully develop calves I've seen on any young man in these parts all year.


These two young men were at the Women's Building for different meetings. The one with a kooky declaration on his tee shirt, was there for meeting on the second floor, while the man texting is Roscoe and he was at the Harvey Milk Democratic Club. Roscoe lives in District 8 and I hope to earn his top and only vote.

A reminder to queer guys and their admirers. Next Sunday, July 27 is the Dore Alley street kink fair. I'll be on the prowl snapping pix and hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

9th Anniversary of Iran Hanging Gay Teenagers

On July 19, 2005, in the city of Mashad, Iran, the government hanged two gay teenagers named Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni and the world was justifiably outraged by these barbaric executions.



Within days, we organized LGBT people in San Francisco to come out to Harvey Milk Plaza for a protest over the Iranian gay hangings and to condemn the death penalty around the world, including here in the United States. We were proud to have a solidarity statement from Mayor Gavin Newsom and that Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Ross Mirkarimi wasted no time writing the State Department urging the agency to deplore the executions.

Our report on that small but important July 2005 vigil are posted here.

The following year, we spearheaded a global day of solidarity with LGBT Iranians in dozens of cities around the world, and marked the one-year anniversary of the hangings. Perhaps the most moving photo and report came from frightened gays inside Iran who participated in the day's actions, from the safety inside their homes.

Please view the reports and images from the July 19, 2006, worldwide vigils here.

We have no public action in San Francisco planned for tomorrow's ninth anniversary of this tragic day in global gay history, but we will be lighting candles of hopes in our homes to express our support for LGBT Iranians forced who live in exile and for those remaining in their homeland.

Take a moment to remember Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, and pledge your solidarity with the global struggle for LGBT freedom and acceptance.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Questionnaire from SF Bike Coalition Excites Us

As lifelong bicyclists, we are always eager to promote biking as a daily means of transportation that is fun, healthy for the body and mind, not to mention a benefit to our environment. Just how committed is Michael to a minuscule carbon footprint and biking as an integral part of life? The fact that he's never learned to drive a car, forget about owning a fossil fuel vehicle, tells you how deep his commitment is.


So we were delighted to receive a questionnaire this week from Chema Hernández Gil, the community organizer for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and a this note:

On behalf of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, I congratulate you on your candidacy for Supervisor of San Francisco.

With hundreds of thousands of people bicycling regularly in San Francisco, many of them our members, we are eager for candidates to understand and support our vision for a city that is safe, welcoming and accessible for all to move around by bikes. We hope that you will find the information below helpful as you shape your campaign platform and as you interact during the campaign with San Franciscans — a growing number of whom are already biking.

The attached letter provides useful information about our organization and endorsement process, so please be sure to read through to the end. So, please review the attached document for information on our endorsement process and how you may submit your responses to the Candidate Questionnaire. The deadline is Friday, July 25th, at 4PM.

One aspect of this coalition's endorsement process that we especially approve of is how they post every candidate's answers on their web site, along with our photos and links to our campaign web sites. How cool is that, in terms of building awareness for an alternative candidate like Michael?

Rest assured, we'll respond way in advance of the SFBC's deadline and look forward to engaging with their members as the election season progresses.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sunshine Panel: SF Mayor Violating Open Govt Ordinance

Our effort to follow the $250,000 in City tax dollars that flow to Charlotte Shultz's nonprofit San Francisco Host Committee eventually led us to file a complaint with the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.

It was our contention that the Mayor's Office of Protocol, headed by Ms. Shultz, possessed responsive records about the cost of the December gala ball at City Hall and related documents related to the committee, use of City funds and Mayor Ed Lee.


Our complaint was heard at the June 4 SOTF meeting, which we blogged about beforehand, and the task force members found the Mayor and his protocol deputy Matthew Goudeau in violation of the sunshine ordinance, as shown in the above image.

So much for Mayor Lee's public relations commitment in 2012 to open data for citizens wanting City documents.


The compliance and amendments committee of the SOTF today at 4 pm will meet to hear from Goudeau about this violation on the part of the Mayor, and we will of course be in attendance.

We're very happy the task force serves this great service to the citizens and taxpayers, where we can complain when public records are withheld or meetings held in secret or other open government laws are broken, and we again call on the Board of Supervisors to allocate funds to air SOTF meetings on SFGovTV.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SF Pride Members Must Run Membership Meetings


The board of SF Pride hadn't properly planned this year for the one-day respite between Pride Sunday and their regular monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, so the July 1 board meeting was cancelled. No alert was posted at their site regarding the cancellation, they advanced the board meeting into the next week, which then forced the general membership meeting date to change.

We totally understand that SF Pride board and staff were exhausted after putting on a generally fabulous series of events, but it wasn't as though the July meeting dates were unknown to them.

An email was circulated on July 3, without any surveying of the membership, that the board was changing the membership meeting to July 15, but still at the normal time and place, 7 pm at the SF Pride office. Did the board take into account how the new dates would affect the lives of members?

This all raises troubling questions about how the board controls the membership meetings and decided on its own to make radical changes about when the July meeting would happen. We would have preferred for the membership meeting to take place on its normal date and the board meeting held on July 15, but no one asked us for our opinion.

Compare how the board made the date switches with SF Pride's rules about the burdens of getting an issue on the membership's agenda: "Members can add agenda items to the meeting with two weeks’ notice and signatures from three members on a letter addressed to the board president."

No such advance notice or letter needs to be circulated for the board to cancel a meeting and set a new date for the general membership. Not very respectful or transparent by any stretch of the imagination.

Since we cannot be at the July 15 membership meeting due to a campaign scheduling conflict, we're blogging about all this to put out the call for members to consider taking over setting the agenda and running the membership meetings ourselves. We see no reason for the board to control both their monthly meeting and also the members' meetings, where they take up most of the time.

BTW, there is nothing in the by-laws requiring the board president to run the membership meetings.

Members' meetings should be for members, with input from the board, of course, but we shouldn't have to meet the burdens of two-weeks advance notice for agenda items and a letter from other members, and then have the board president consider the items.

Addressing these issues will be a long term process, one that we expect will engage the membership and strengthen SF Pride.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekend Woof #82: Castro Men & Boys

My week of eying attractive men and boys in and around the Castro gayborhood has been a fine one, as you can judge in these photos. It's great to have the area return to normal after all the hype and hoopla of SF Pride has disappeared, not to mention all the drunk and rude folks putting out negative vibes.

Many thanks to all the sexy dudes for gracing the lens of my trusty little camera.



The fine fuzzy faces fellas were out in full force on Friday afternoon, when plenty of sun was shining down and the wind was mild.

I wish this image better showed the great snake tattoo on this shave-headed hunk's left arm, because it was a beautiful sight to behold.


This guy stopped me and my friend Richard as we strolled up Castro Street, asking about parking rules. I've never learned to drive a car and had no answers for this hunk, but Richard did and they chatted, I snapped away.

Let's end this weekend's batch of photo with this handsome guy in his dark pink OBEY tee shirt.

And how was your week for cruising attractive men and boys?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Arab TV's Goofy Visit to San Francisco's Castro Street

The LGBT Iranian who brought this video to our attention wishes to remain anonymous for their personal safety and we're grateful that they've shined a light on this report.

A correspondent for Aram TV, which is based in Saudi Arabia, filed a nearly half-hour report about sexual tolerance and looked at the global influence of Playboy magazine, the downfall of Pompeii because of debauchery and he paid a visit to District 8's Castro Street.

It's no surprise that he was gawking and passing judgment on the gay men he saw, and we admit to laughing at his obnoxiousness, but over all we are glad he visited San Francisco and show his viewers proud LGBT people.

We're of the belief that when conservatives news outlets, be they domestic or foreign but especially from the Middle East and with a religious bent, broadcast such images of happy homosexuals being affectionate under the LGBT rainbow pride flag in San Francisco, there are out and closeted gay people watching across the Arab world.

That segment of the viewing public receives a hopeful message and may even inspire LGBT people to take pride in themselves and perhaps engage in their own forms of safe activism.

Thanks, Aram TV, for this report beamed into millions of homes and cafes in the Middle East and around the world wide web.



Click here to view the YouTube video with full closed-captioning. Here is a truncated transcript:

14:52
Part of the sexual revolution in the 1960's was the emergence of gay tolerance
15:05
In America up until the '50s homosexuality was considered taboo
15:10
And it was unacceptable to be openly gay Religiously and socially
15:20
This city is known as the capital of the gays The gay movement started from San Francisco
15:26
It has the highest proportion of gay people
15:30
This flag, the rainbow flag, represents this movement
15:46
[Man]
15:52
Look at them sitting on each other at that bus stop
16:01
They're kissing
16:12
Nobody can stop this movement It has become a social norm
16:21
Is that a man or woman? Someone help me out. It was a guy?
16:25
Look at where we are, there's no turning back
16:29
Part of this retrogression we met a couple and asked them
17:19
The Bible is clear about homosexuality "Do not lie with a man as with a woman"
17:27
"A man who sleeps with another man has sinned"
17:34
In the Bible and Torah, their holy books, it is clearly stated
17:39
But when people start getting accustomed to it they start to change their interpretations
17:43
This is a huge disaster
SF DPH & BART Pigeon Proofing the Plaza But . . .

The health hazards at the BART 16th and Mission Street plaza of concern to our campaign is now in it's second month and we have additional mostly positive news to share today.

This note is from Richard Lee of the San Francisco Department of Public Health and was sent yesterday:

Our Environmental Health Technician, Jorge Montiel was out at the plaza yesterday. He discussed the issue of pigeon proofing with a BART representative. The representative stated that they will be improving pigeon proofing sometime this week. In addition, he talked with the Walgreen’s representative. They said they are power washing the plaza area daily. Mr. Montiel requested that they increase the frequency of the power washing.

Today, we heard from Jorge Montiel, also of DPH, and while most of his note is good news we are very dismayed he wants to remove the public seating at the plaza:

I called Paula Fraser at BART to verify the pigeon proofing was going as planned. She indicated 'Building is waiting for the lamp pigeon deterrents to come in. Hopefully this week; consequently, BART's crew is scheduled to install them as soon as the materials arrive.'

I also spoke to Walgreens manager Kevin and informed him of Walgreens's responsibility to clean and maintain clean the area adjacent to the BART plaza. Pigeon proofing is a responsibility that BART has, this is not something SF DPH will do for them; nevertheless, I will make sure the necessary repairs/ improvements are conducted in a timely manner.

Regarding 'Do Not Feed the Birds' signs, I will recommend they do it. I do not believe we can mandate they install such signs. I believe the problem with the pigeon feeding is not that people are actually feeding the pigeons but transients leaving food unattended. I also recommended BART to remove the permanent sitting area. I believe this area is not being used by commuter's but transients and others.

We replied to Jorge with a written wish to see the seating remain in place:

Thanks for all this information and the assessment of health issues at plaza. However, one issue of serious concern to us and is your belief that the public seating should be removed. Regardless of whether folks are waiting for a Muni bus or using BART or simply enjoying the sunshine and street scene, it is our wish to see the seat remain in place.

The plaza is a public space and the full breadth of the general public should be able to access the limited seating that is currently there. We don't think that removing the seating would do anything to reduce the pigeon poop, which is one of our top concerns. Please rethink your desire to push for removal of the seats.


The photo below shows where the pigeon-proofing is needed on the lighting fixtures.

We'll continue to advocate for a sanitary public space and that the public seating stay as it is now.

Remove pigeon poop, not people or public seating!


City Hall Uses Fresh Water to Keep Lawns Green

The current record-shattering drought is forcing all of us to conserve fresh water and not waste this precious resource, so we were dismayed recently when visiting City Hall and seeing the lush, verdant lawns around the building.

Curious if the water keeping the grassy areas so green was recycled water, we reached out to John Updike who is head of the General Services Administration's Real Estate Division for details. He emailed us this note:

Thanks for your note on this important subject.

Working in conjunction with DPW, we’re using non-potable water for sidewalk cleaning, and we use non-potable sources for watering the landscaping around 525 Golden Gate [the SF Public Utilities Commission building].

With regard to the lawns on the Civic Center Plaza and at City Hall, we’re investigating how to bring a non-potable source to those areas as well. That study is underway.

In the meantime, while we’re using fresh water sources, we are reducing the amount & frequency of water used on the lawns, and between that effort and a significant replacement of older water fixtures at both City Hall and at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, have effected water use reductions over the past year.
(Yours truly on the City Hall grass.)

We applaud the use of non-potable water in two instances, but are disappointed any fresh water is utilized for keeping these lawns looking so healthy. We'd like Mayor Ed Lee to direct the GSA to immediately stop using fresh water for City Hall's lawns until the city's study is completed and a non-potable stream of water is made available.

In the short term, better to have the lawns a golden brown and send a clear visual conservation message to the general public, then maintain such robust greenery at City Hall. Further down the road, City Hall leaders who pass the lawns every day should develop a new landscaping design for the grounds and create a garden with plants that don't require much valuable water - fresh or recycled.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Castro's High Retail Vacancy Rate Prompts $87K Study

Have you noticed the many For Rent signs in the windows of lots of storefronts in the gayborhood of District 8? Three years back, we conducted a photographic survey of empty business spaces in the Castro and at the time there were 27 empty spaces for rent. Check out our survey here.

We're pleased several of the storefronts in our photos have been leased, but the overall problem of continuing retail vacancies have reached the point that City Hall and area advocacy groups are developing a strategy to deal with the problem, according to this alert from Andrea Aiello of the Castro Benefit District:

"Concerned about the health of the neighborhood’s retail environment, business and neighborhood groups formed a coalition and established a working group tasked with developing a comprehensive 'Retail Strategy' for the Castro/Upper Market corridor.

"Led by the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (CBD), the coalition includes the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA),the Castro / Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association (EVNA), and Castro Merchants (CM.)

"The primary aim of the 'Retail Strategy Project' is to address the existing high vacancy rate and develop an actionable plan to fill new ground floor retail in a manner that enables the commercial corridor to thrive while preserving its unique character and draw as a tourist destination. It also aims to ensure high quality of life for area residents.

"A total of $87,200 has been raised through a grant from the City and donations from neighborhood groups and developers alike."

We requested a breakdown of donors and amounts given from Andrea and she provided the info to us this afternoon.

According to the spreadsheet (see below), some of the big donors include the Mayor's Office of Employment and Workplace Development with $35,000 donated, the CBD kicked in $15,000, the Castro Merchants (formerly MUMC) donated $6,000, Prado Development Group gave $5,000, Spier Development chipped in $4,500 and the medical marijuana dispensary Apothocarium contributed $2,500.



Let's be optimistic that the strategy and all stakeholders involved take into account widespread concerns about longtime Castro residents being displaced because of high-end development, and the worries of tenants who are renters in the gayborhood who fear losing their affordable housing.

We'll keep tabs on this strategy as it moves forward.