Castro District News

GLBT History Museum Opens in San Francisco's Castro District

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By Editors

Castro District San Francisco has a new GLBT History Museum, a 1600 sq ft. facility housing archives from the GLBT Historical Society, is now open at 4127 18th Street in San Francisco's Castro district. The grand opening is next week, on January 13, from 7-9 pm, and is open to the public. Go check it out Castro fans!

The Castro District community is excited. The "Textiles" section of "Great Collections" features the pantsuits worn by lesbian pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon when they became the first same-sex couple to wed during San Francisco's "Winter of Love" in 2004 and again when California briefly legalized such marriages in 2008. A couple for more than half a century, Del and Phyllis were cofounders of the Daughters of Bilitis, established in 1955 as the first lesbian organization in the United States.

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Castro San Francisco's Yigit Pura: 'Top Chef Just Desserts' winner (and sex symbol)

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By Jim Alterman

While Castro San Francisco residents may have some question about how exciting a competition show could be about baking, all those questions were answered with the resounding success of the Top Chef spin-off, Top Chef Just Desserts, which Gay San Francisco loves! With all the drama, conflict and tension of its parent show, Just Desserts, hosted by Gail Simmons, brought not only great television but a strong gay presence in the form of several gay contestants all of which would have fit perfectly in our Castro District home. readers had mixed feelings about Zac Young, while he brought a flamboyant flair with his dessert creations and now-infamous disco dust, it was out and proud Yigit (pronounced yeet) Pura that ended up walking away with the title of Top Chef, $100,000 awarded by Godiva Chocolatier, a feature in Food and Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival and a 2011 German Engineered Sport Injected Buick Regal.

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New Castro San Francisco Supervisor is Gigantic, Polite & Just What the Doctor Ordered

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By Matt Baume

The first thing that you notice when you see Castro San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener is that he's towering over you like a giant. Castro residents love tall, right? At nearly seven feet tall, City Hall may need to install taller doors to accommodate the new Castro District/Noe Valley leader. members are eager to what happens next. Wiener's been planning his Board of Supervisors campaign for eight years, and it paid off this November with a resounding win in the Castro San Francisco with a in a race crowded with worthy candidates. But his political ambitious date back even further and he cites a childhood interest in political issues as his foundation.

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Castro District San Francisco PRIDE Flag Debate

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By Sudhin Thanawala

Castro District residents are in uproar. The future of rainbow gay pride flags that have flown for years along the main stretch of San Francisco's Castro District has come under threat as they bump against another city icon: lampposts with early 20th century origins. San Francisco gay rights advocates are fighting to protect these banners.

A neighborhood association near the heart of the city's gay and lesbian community and San Francisco’s Castro District contends the flags were illegally hung on the metal lamp posts. City law only allows temporary banners on the posts, which were designated city landmarks in 1991, out of concerns the fasteners used to attach them could rust and mar their beauty. The Castro residents understand this concern.

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Castro San Francisco Trader Joe's: the Wait Goes On

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By DTNA Staff Writer

For well over a year now, rumors have been swirling around the possible move-in of a Trader Joe's to the former Tower Records site on Market near Noe in Gay Castro San Francisco. There has been coverage along the way in the newspapers as well as in this newsletter. The Castro is divided on the issue. After an initial presentation from Trader Joe's, DTNA looked at the proposal from the perspective of our Formula Retail Matrix, and determined that there were both potential positives and negatives to the proposal. Without taking a position, in January of this year DTNA sent correspondence to Trader Joe's outlining some possible concerns (traffic, effect on neighborhood businesses, etc.), and offered to meet and discuss the issues together. Although, gay residents seem want the store. Trader Joe's preferred to wait until their transportation study for the city was prepared. Over the many months since then, the community has heard little about the proposal other than what's been reported in the newspapers.

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Castro District Confused; GOLD'S GYM Gives Support to Anti-Gay Politicians

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With our very own Gold's Gym on near Castro Street Residents are starting to grow alarmed. Robert Rowling, the CEO of the company that owns Gold's Gym, has donated more than $2 million to American Crossroads, Karl Rove's organization that works to elect antigay politicians, according to website Rowling is the head of TRT Holdings, which owns the chain of gyms, popular with LGBT people especially in the Castro District San Francisco across the nation, and is one of several people who are helping to get Rove's organization running.

Among the candidates supported by American Crossroads are Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who received a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign and Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who endorsed a statement that said there was no evidence to suggest homosexuality was biological and that scientists who argue otherwise are flawed. Castro Street will never support candidates of this nature.

The Castro Knows How to Have Halloween Fun

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By Harmon Leon

For years, the Castro's Halloween Street Party was the place to go in San Francisco to celebrate with Halloween revelers. Except things got really scary a few years back when nine people were shot by out-of-town thugs. Thus, the Castro Halloween celebration is no more. But we found plenty of other local hauntings to check out in the 415.

Ghost Ship III - The Armada: Treasure Island is hauntingly good locale to throw a Halloween bash. This former military base has one of the best views of the S.F. skyline. And Ghost Ship III boasts 12,000 square feet of space with tons of new and recycled art, mutant vehicles, three themed rooms and installations high and low.
Oct. 30, 9pm - 4am
600 California Avenue

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: Old, scary silent movies with live musical accompaniment on the Ruffatti Organ? Sounds spooky, right? The evening's concert of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde at Davies Symphony Hall also features the Buster Keaton short The Haunted House.
Oct. 31, 8pm
201 Van Ness Avenue

Planet Terror: Is partying not your bag of Halloween treats? Check out a screening of Robert Rodriguez' cult zombie flick, Planet Terror, at the Red Vic Movie House. After a bio-weapon is unleashed, a team of survivors must stop thousands of zombie-like beings -- including a heroine with a machine gun for a leg.
Oct. 31 and Nov. 1
1727 Haight Street

Trannyshack: Still missing the Castro Halloween celebration? Fear no more. Trannyshack presents its fourth annual Halloween bash at DNA Lounge. Get a taste of that Castro vibe with crazy performances, elaborate costumes and, of course, trannies. Don't miss the live drag show starting at 11pm.
Oct. 31, 9:30pm
375 Eleventh Street

Batcave SF: What better way to celebrate Halloween than hanging out at a club with people who look like it's Halloween all year round? It's all about Goth and Death Rock on Sunday nights at the Cat Club's Batcave SF.
Oct. 31, 10pm - 2am
1190 Folsom Street

San Francisco Zombie Prom: This might just be the best undead ball in town. The San Francisco Zombie Prom at the Verdi Club invites you to dress in your best prom attire and strike pose with your boo in the coffin photo booth -- zombie-style. Just like your high school prom (which was probably just as scary), prizes will be awarded to the king and queen.
Oct. 29, 8pm; $15
2424 Mariposa Street

SuperNatural Festival: The California Academy of Science has a real Halloween treat with its SuperNatural Festival. The museum is home to thousands of creepy, crawly creatures and hosts events all weekend for the family to enjoy including a costume parade and scavenger hunt.
Oct. 30 - 31
55 Music Concourse Drive

Russian Karaoke Party: This might be the most bizarre way to spend a San Francisco Halloween -- at the Russian Karaoke Party, a costume (and singing) party at the Rockit Room. Maybe I'll go dressed as a bowl of borscht.
Oct. 30, 9pm
406 Clement St.

Castro District San Francisco News: Proposed Whole Foods on Market in the Castro District

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By: DTNA Staff Writer

The mixed use development proposal for the old S & C Ford showroom at Market St. and Dolores St. in the Castro District San Francisco is likely to reach Planning Commission hearings this fall. DTNA has been actively reviewing the project over the past year and has generally had a good, transparent process with the project sponsor, the Prado Group. Much attention has been paid to the building’s design, and, as reported in the August/September newsletter, DTNA's design review team and the full land use committee are quite satisfied with the final design as it has evolved. Also, the project sponsor has agreed to conform to the residential parking standard in the Market/Octavia Plan and not seek a conditional use permit for excess parking spaces.

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Castro District San Francisco News: Scott Weiner for District 8

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By: Kerry Elevland

Of the San Francisco supervisor elections this year, the most difficult decision for us was District 8, which includes the Castro District and famous Castro Street, Noe Valley, and Glen Park. All four candidates running are openly gay. All of them are smart. Three of them have long known and worked with each other. Yet, a choice must be made, and we recommend Scott Wiener.

Wiener, a deputy city attorney, impresses us with his track record of getting things done at the local level. He also has an edge because of his current position working as a deputy city attorney, which Wiener told us has given him a deep understanding of San Francisco government because he has to deal with virtually every city department. "I know in city government what works and what doesn't work," he told us. He'll need that knowledge as supervisor, because quite frankly the city has to balance its budget in tough economic times and everyone in the city family must be prepared to sacrifice. The Castro is ready for great leadership. If you doubt that, take a look at the local ballot measures. (See below for our recommendations.)

Improvements are required at Muni, the city's pension system must be changed, and the police department is long overdue for modernization. On each of these issues, Wiener is ready to hit the ground running.

Wiener's experience includes two years as chairman of the San Francisco Democratic Party. When he was elected the local party chair, Wiener inherited an organization that was in debt and had no voter registration program or staff. He got the party back into the black and under his leadership the party registered 15,000 voters. He also served a two-year tenure as co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. The Castro could use Wiener.

As a member of the national board of the Human Rights Campaign, Wiener spoke out early – and publicly – in support of a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007 after HRC reneged on its pledge to support an inclusive ENDA. What should the Castro Community do?

Other community work includes co-founding Castro Community on Patrol in 2006 after a rash of rapes reported by gay men. Those volunteers continue to walk Castro streets on weekends and help police by alerting them to potential problems.

In short, Wiener has a track record that speaks to his commitment to the local community and his willingness to make tough decisions. One current example of that is his support of Proposition G, the "Fix Muni Now" measure. While Wiener has the backing of several labor organizations, he told us he is "willing to take heat from labor" over his support of Prop G, which would address salary and other employment issues for Muni operators.

That's a leadership position we want to see at City Hall.

Rebecca Prozan, second choice

Under ranked choice voting, people can select their top three candidates in the supervisor races, and our second choice in District 8 is Rebecca Prozan. Prozan would be a good supervisor and knows the district and its constituents. She too has years of experience at the local level. She served under Mayor Willie Brown as his LGBT liaison and worked for Bevan Dufty both when he ran the Office of Neighborhood Services and as his legislative aide. She describes herself as a commonsense candidate who is "up the middle" in the district. She also served as a co-chair of the Alice Club for two years.

From her experience as an assistant district attorney, Prozan has a keen sense of the city's crime issues. She supports the city's sanctuary city policy, because, as she told us, undocumented people are not just suspects in crimes, they are also victims and witnesses. She sees a clear distinction between adults and juveniles. "My issue is making sure everyone has access to the criminal justice system," she said.

Prozan also supports Prop G and said that Muni must be made safer. Another reason why the Castro District San Francisco could benefit from Prozan. To gain control over the budget, Prozan would look at mid-management as a potential source for savings, because that's where staffing ballooned in good times, she said. Departments will have to "prove to me every dollar is spent as it should," she added.

One of our big issues is budget set-asides – ballot measures that set aside funding for a specific purpose. The practical problem is that the money can't be used for anything else when there are budget shortfalls. While neither Prozan nor Wiener said they would eliminate them, both said they would not want to create any new ones.

That's a step in the right direction.

Theresa Sparks in District 6

District 6, which includes South of Market and the Tenderloin and Polk Street areas, will get a new supervisor this year because Chris Daly is termed out. After a decade of Daly's tantrums and boorish behavior (though to his credit he did accomplish many good things, including housing projects and restoration of AIDS funding), many voters are ready for a change.

Among the more than dozen candidates running for the seat, we think Theresa Sparks is a good fit for the district. While some of her opponents have tried to paint her as the "conservative" in the race, nothing could be further from the truth. Sparks, currently the executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, is an out transgender woman who has a wide variety of experience – in business and government – that will enable her to quickly assume her new role on the board. A former CEO of Good Vibrations, Sparks knows what it takes to run a business and balance a budget. She also served as co-chair of the Alice Club. Castro District.

Equally important is her public service work, most important of which was serving on the high-profile Police Commission and two terms as its president. In that capacity, she oversaw the hiring of Police Chief George Gasc—n, which involved numerous public hearings to solicit community comment about what residents wanted to see in a new chief. Sparks has a solid working relationship with Gasc—n and agrees with his reform efforts that are currently under way.

In another example of how Sparks can appeal to both progressives and moderates, Mayor Gavin Newsom supports her supervisorial bid. When she was elected Police Commission president, the mayor was not pleased that Sparks, who was appointed by the supervisors to the panel, secured the needed votes over his preferred candidate.

"I've tried to get beyond ideology," Sparks told us.

She's also someone who can compromise, and that is an art in politics. "I believe if you get 80 percent of what you want, it's a win," she said. "I think that's really required on the Board of Supervisors."

Sparks would be an asset on the board.

Janet Reilly in District 2

For voters in the Marina, Cow Hollow, and Pacific Heights areas of the city, we recommend Janet Reilly for supervisor. Reilly impresses us with her public service history and would bring her enthusiasm to the board and a commitment to health care. She is a solid ally of the LGBT community who supports marriage equality.

Currently, Reilly serves on the 19-member Golden Gate Bridge District, where she is in line to become president. That board, which includes members from as far north as Del Norte County on the California-Oregon border, manages to achieve consensus on many matters, Reilly said.

Four years ago, Reilly ran unsuccessfully for an Assembly seat here, advocating for health care reform. While she lost that election, she has remained committed to health care issues and co-founded Clinic By the Bay, a free health clinic for working families in the Excelsior District that just opened.

Reilly sees her decision to run for the board as an extension of her work and interest in local government. She has some smart ideas for tackling the budget and rebuilding San Francisco's economy.

Lynette Sweet in District 10

Another strong supporter of the LGBT community is Lynette Sweet, who has our endorsement in District 10. Sweet is currently a member of the BART board and worked hard in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant shooting to bring about changes in the BART Police Department. Real improvements were made, she told us, with regard to a new civilian review panel and a new police chief who was brought in from outside the department.

From her perspective as an African American, Sweet said she has always been in favor of equal rights for all people. "I don't like seeing anyone mistreated," she told us. But Sweet also chided the LGBT community for not reaching out enough to the black community during the 2008 Proposition 8 campaign. A lot of yes votes came out of the Bayview, she noted, and more outreach is needed. Sweet sees jobs as the biggest issue in her district, where the unemployment rate is higher than average and "people have lost hope."

"My job as supervisor is that local hiring is a must," she said. "Not just local union members but also people who live in the district."

Public safety is also a top concern, as well as working with neighborhood groups on programs such as midnight basketball.

Sweet's experience on the BART board has taught her to build consensus and negotiate – two traits that are sorely needed on the Board of Supervisors.

Carmen Chu in District 4

Incumbent District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu is unopposed. She has proven to be a strong advocate of the LGBT community and our issues. We urge voters in that district to re-elect her to another term.

Oakland mayor – Rebecca Kaplan

Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan is our choice for Oakland mayor. In the last four years under Mayor Ron Dellums, the city has weathered one crisis after another and suffered from Dellums's hands-off leadership style. Kaplan, an out lesbian, brings knowledge and innovative ideas to a city that is in financial dire straits. Former state Senate leader Don Perata is the front-runner, but Oakland needs more than a famous political name this time around. City Councilwoman Jean Quan, another top candidate, recently flip-flopped on the parcel tax that she voted to put on the ballot. That's not the type of leadership Oakland needs.

Kaplan was elected citywide to the council two years ago. She will work with the city's labor unions and police to reform the pension system that is at the heart of Oakland's financial morass. We urge readers in the East Bay city to vote for Kaplan for mayor.

Judicial races – SF and Alameda counties

In May we endorsed out candidates Michael Nava for San Francisco Superior Court (Seat 15) and Victoria Kolakowski for Alameda County Superior Court (Seat 9). We continue to strongly support both candidates in their respective races. Both finished first in their primaries and both need voters to remember to cast their ballots in these important runoff contests.

Nava, a staff attorney to California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, is qualified to serve as a judge and has the strong support of the LGBT community. Because he is challenging a sitting judge, San Francisco's judicial community has come out against him. If elected, Nava would be the only openly gay Latino judge on the bench. San Francisco is fortunate to have many out judges, but it lacks out judges of color and Nava's election would add to the court's diversity.

In the East Bay, Kolakowski is qualified and currently serves as an administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission. Alameda County, unlike San Francisco, has no publicly out judges that we know of, yet some cities in the county have large numbers of LGBT residents, especially Oakland and Berkeley. It is time for Alameda County's bench to begin to reflect the community it serves, and Kolakowski, an out transgender woman, would enhance the court with her experience, perspective, and temperament. She has a solid civil law background and record of community public service.

Jerry Brown for governor

These are troubled times for California, and only one candidate for governor has the experience and tenacity to start the process of getting the state back on track: Jerry Brown. This race is about repairing our state. The budget has had continuous deficits. The pension system must be reformed. Funds must be found to restore at least some of the draconian cuts made by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Republican legislators who held the budget hostage in recent years unless education and vital social service programs were gutted.

This is no way to run a state.

Brown, a Democrat who served two terms as governor from 1975-1983, was, as he likes to remind voters, frugal. He also was forced to implement Proposition 13, which significantly cut property taxes and, as a result, dramatically reduced revenue sources to local governments.

Now, after serving two terms as mayor of Oakland and one term as state attorney general, Brown has a thorough understanding of the urgent problems local municipalities presently face and plans to get the state moving again. Job creation is key, while at the same time the pension system is unsustainable and must be reformed.

Meg Whitman, Brown's Republican opponent, is the billionaire former CEO of eBay. She likes to talk about running the state as a business. But that's just not realistic. Schwarzenegger also wanted to run the state like a business, and during his seven years in office, the state's financial stability only worsened. A state is not a Fortune 500 company and should not be run like one. The state has an obligation to its residents to provide basic services such as public safety, fund public education, and serve as a safety net for the most vulnerable in our society.

On the issue of immigration, Whitman would abolish the designation of sanctuary cities like San Francisco. She would penalize employers who hire undocumented workers (even as she has acknowledged that she employed a domestic worker who was not in this country legally). While Brown said during Tuesday's debate that immigration is a federal issue (which it is) he also believes in a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers who are already in California, and we think that is a far more reasoned approach.

Regarding LGBT issues, a Governor Whitman would be disastrous. She opposes same-sex marriage and supported Proposition 8, the state's same-sex marriage ban. She says she favors civil unions and implies that it's available in the state, oblivious to the fact that California has a registered domestic partner system. She would defend Prop 8 in court (a federal judge's decision declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional is now wending its way through the federal appeals court) whereas Schwarzenegger has not. Brown, in his capacity as attorney general, also has not defended Prop 8 and stated at the debate that he would not do so if elected governor.

In short, there is absolutely no compelling reason for LGBT voters to cast ballots for Whitman. She has put $140 million of her own money into the race so far. Such spending is unprecedented and disturbing. While she says it means she won't be beholden to special interests, we believe it's a naked attempt to avoid scrutiny and tough questions about how she would govern.

This election is critical. With Brown and Whitman running neck and neck in the polls, every vote will count and we urge you to cast it for Brown.

Boxer for Senate

Senator Barbara Boxer is once again facing a tough re-election fight and the choice could not be clearer. Boxer has been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and has voted against federal constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage. She favors repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

During her tenure in the Senate, Boxer has been a champion of the environment and women's rights.

Like Brown, Boxer is facing a wealthy former business executive, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. But Fiorina has no experience in government and is best known for laying off workers and sending HP jobs overseas. In these economic times, we need a senator who will stand up for American workers, and Boxer will continue to do that.

Harris for attorney general

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris is also in a close race for state attorney general. Her Republican opponent, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, would be a disaster.

As we wrote in our endorsement of Harris in the primary, one of the little-known jobs of the attorney general is approving ballot language for initiatives. Should there be a campaign to repeal Prop 8, Harris's office would oversee the ballot language and that is crucial. Harris is a longtime supporter of marriage equality and an unwavering ally of the LGBT community. From prosecuting hate crimes to convening a conference of district attorneys to tackle the gay and trans-panic defenses often used by defendants in hate crime cases, Harris will continue to bring her "smart on crime" philosophy to the state.

Like Brown, Harris would not defend Prop 8 in court. Cooley would, and while he says he supports civil unions, in a recent interview with the Oakland Tribune he declined to discuss his own beliefs on same-sex marriage.

Harris supports reforming the Three Strikes law; and while Cooley also holds that position, he doesn't think it is necessary because most prosecutors have set policies under the law. We think that reform should be part of the law so that there is consistency across the state.

Harris would be a strong attorney general and should be elected.

Newsom for lieutenant governor

Yes, we know the office of lieutenant governor isn't foremost in most people's minds. But in this election we have an opportunity to make real change. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom would be an exemplary lieutenant governor and we recommend him for that office.

Newsom, as San Francisco residents – and many in the state – know, is an unwavering champion of equal rights for LGBTs and all other minority groups. He started the national debate for marriage equality in 2004 when he ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He was criticized for forcing the issue ahead of its time, but just six years later the tide has turned in his favor. Five states now allow same-sex marriage and in California we have about 18,000 same-sex couples who married during the brief period after it was legal in 2008 and before it was not by the passage of Prop 8.

Newsom has great ideas about expanding access to health care (Healthy San Francisco) and is concerned about protecting the environment. He has been a leader in "greening" urban. His Project Homeless Connect is an attempt to tackle one of the city's most irretractable problems rather than doing nothing at all.

The lieutenant governor sits on many important state commissions, including the powerful State Lands Commission, the University of California Board of Regents, and the California State University Board of Trustees. Newsom, known as a policy wonk, could expand his innovative ideas to higher education and environmental concerns.

Newsom's opponent, current Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, is an angry candidate who doesn't offer any new ideas. Newsom deserves your vote.


Prop AA: Vehicle Registration Fee. YES.
This amends the city's Business and Tax Regulations Code to add $10 to the existing annual registration fee for vehicles registered in San Francisco to fund transportation projects such as street repairs and reconstruction (50 percent of fee revenue); pedestrian safety (25 percent); and transit reliability improvements (25 percent). This is a necessary fee to maintain needed infrastructure.

Prop A: Earthquake Retrofit Bond. YES.
This is a bond measure that would authorize the city to borrow up to $46,150,000 by issuing general obligation bonds to fund loans and grants to pay for seismic retrofitting of soft-story affordable housing and single-room occupancy buildings. It requires two-thirds majority vote to pass. It would be paid for by an increase in the property tax, 50 percent of which could be passed through from landlords to tenants. This would permit necessary seismic upgrades and repairs on some 2,800 soft-story buildings in San Francisco containing some 8,247 affordable housing units.

Prop B: City Retirement and Health Plans Reform. NO.
This charter amendment would increase city employee contributions to the retirement system, decrease the city's and other participating employers' share of contribution to the Health Service System, and change rules for arbitration proceedings about city collective bargaining agreements. We feel strongly that the city's current budget and financial situation is a mess that seriously needs reform. While we admire Public Defender Jeff Adachi's courage for tackling this sensitive issue at considerable political cost to himself, we do not feel that this proposition is the solution. The health care provision mandates city employees to pay 50 percent of the cost of dependent coverage, including domestic partners and foster children. While we read about department heads making hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary, many city employees, such as custodial and certain administrative workers, make closer to $40,000. This provision has the same cost impact on a lower salaried person as it does a higher salaried person, which could cost several thousand dollars a year, making it essentially impossible to afford health coverage. In our editorial board interviews with the various candidates for the Board of Supervisors, all are opposed to this measure due to its inordinate impact on lower waged employees. Yet, all agree to the necessity of pension and health care plan reforms and pledge to work for it. We are going to hold them to that promise.

Prop C: Mayoral Appearances at Board Meetings. NO.
This charter amendment would require the mayor to appear in person at one regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors each month to engage in formal policy discussions with the board. This grandstanding maneuver placed on the ballot by a majority of the board is a total waste of time. The mayor should be allowed to run the city, as we elected him to do. This will only feed the egos and insecurities of certain current members of the board without accomplishing anything substantive.

Prop D: Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections. YES.
This is a charter amendment that would allow any non-citizen resident of San Francisco who is the parent, legal guardian, or legally-recognized caregiver of a child living in the school district to vote for members of the Board of Education. Championed by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, this is a common sense approach to get parents more involved in their children's schooling. A number of other communities have adopted similar measures and have had good results. As nearly one third of the children in the school district have non-citizen parents or guardians, this is an important and necessary reform.

Prop E: Election Day Voter Registration. YES.
This charter amendment would establish "Election Day Voter Registration" specifically for municipal elections. Municipal elections that are not combined with federal or state elections have notoriously low voter turnout. This is a common sense measure to increase voter participation in local elections.

Prop F: Health Service Board Elections. YES.
This charter amendment would reduce the number of Health Service Board elections by shifting terms so that two members would be elected at the same time. Beginning in 2014, two elections would be held every five years, instead of four elections. This is a government efficiency measure intended to reduce the number of elections.

Prop G: Transit Operator Wages. YES.
Collectively, city employee unions made some $250 million in concessions to help solve the city's financial and budget crisis. The exception was the Muni operators union, which refused to participate in the process. As a consequence, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd led the successful effort to place Prop G on the ballot. Currently, the City Charter requires the Municipal Transportation Agency to pay Muni operators at least as much as the average salary of transit operators at the two highest paying similar transit systems in the country. Prop G would eliminate the formula for setting minimum Muni operator wages and would allow the MTA to set Muni operator wages and benefits through collective bargaining and binding arbitration. It also establishes rules for arbitration proceedings regarding MTA's transit employees, and makes other changes to terms of employment. All municipal employees and their unions need to help solve the city's budget crisis. Muni operators should not be an exception.

Prop H: Local Elected Officials on Political Party Committees. YES.
This would prohibit elected city officials from serving on a political party county central committee. In San Francisco, the most influential central committee by far is the Democratic County Central Committee. Historically, the principal role of DCCC was to register voters and encourage voter turnout for Democrats. While the DCCC has always made endorsements, its principal role was in the trenches with the grassroots voters. Lately, it has become highly ideological and fractured. Its principal activity of late has been to try to influence elections between competing factions of Democrats. Having elected city officials on the DCCC has exacerbated the problem. This is a reform measure intended to return the DCCC to the grassroots where it belongs.

Prop I: Saturday Voting. YES.
This is a pilot program to create a Saturday Voting Fund to pay for operating polling places on the Saturday before the November 8, 2011 election. It would be funded solely by individuals and organizations. Following the election, the Department of Elections would prepare a report about Saturday voting that includes the effect on voter turnout, impact on working families, and educational benefits. This is another reform measure aimed at increasing participation in elections. We should see what the study shows.

Prop J: Hotel Tax Clarification and Temporary Increase. NO.
This proposal would increase the hotel tax 2 percent from 14 percent to 16 percent. Add this to the 1.5 percent Tourism Improvement District assessment and San Francisco's hotel tax and fees will be the highest in the United States. While a leisure traveler may not care about an increase in hotel tax, we are convinced that it would have a strong, negative effect on San Francisco's important convention business. All companies are cutting costs and keeping expenses as bare-boned as possible. For a medium or large convention, this increase will amount to tens of thousands of dollars. We have seen written threats by five large convention groups to cancel their conventions if this measure passes. So rather than resulting in more revenue for the city, it will amount to less. And it will cost jobs as well. The loopholes this proposition purports to close are all addressed by Prop K, which does not include a room tax increase.

Prop K: Hotel Tax Clarification and Definitions. YES.
This proposition closes two loopholes that have permitted avoidance of the hotel tax.  This would confirm that the hotel tax applies to the amount a guest pays to occupy a room and related charges, and that anyone collecting payment, including online booking services such as Travelocity and Expedia, must collect the tax on that amount and pay it to the city. Also, this proposition would prevent companies, such as airlines, who book rooms for long periods, from claiming the "permanent resident" exemption from the hotel tax. It keeps the hotel tax rate at 14 percent.

Prop L: Sitting or Lying on Sidewalks. YES.
Known as the Sit/Lie measure, this proposition came out of the neighborhoods, particularly the Haight. Residents and businesses alike complained that aggressive and disruptive behavior was harming businesses and the quality of life for residents and visitors. This proposition gives the police an additional tool that they feel they need in order to keep the neighborhoods safe and pleasant. We would be reluctant to support such a measure if it were in another community than San Francisco. However, we have confidence in Police Chief George Gasc—n, who strongly supports this measure, as well as the officers on the street who have undergone intensive sensitivity training to respect the diversity of cultures and lifestyles that thrive in San Francisco.

Prop M: Community Policing and Foot Patrols. NO.
Everyone is for community policing and more foot patrols, but that is not what this measure is about. It was put on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors to undermine the Sit/Lie measure, as it overrides Prop L even if Prop L passes. Currently, community policing and foot patrols are determined by the Police Department based on public safety needs. This is how it should be. Voters are not expected to have the expertise or knowledge to mandate where police resources should be deployed. That is why we have a professional police department to make and be responsible for these decisions. Prop N: Real Property Transfer Tax. YES.

This is a necessary revenue measure that would increase the city tax on the sale of real estate of $5 million or more in San Francisco. It will mainly affect large, commercial transactions and perhaps a few homes out on Broadway's Gold Coast. It is a modest revenue measure that the city badly needs and imposed on those most able to pay.


Prop 19: Legalizes Marijuana under California Law. YES.
It is time that individuals age 21 or older be permitted to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. The state and local governments will be able to authorize, regulate, and tax commercial marijuana related activities. Many respected law enforcement officers and agencies support this measure. It will weaken drug cartels and generate billions in needed revenue.

Prop 20: Redistricting of Congressional Districts. NO.
In 2008, voters approved the creation of a Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw state legislative districts, removing that authority from the Legislature. This proposition extends that commission authority to the state's congressional districts as well. We agree that gerrymandered districts drawn by state legislatures result in fewer congressional seats than the party in the political minority would be otherwise entitled to and is consequentially undemocratic. But all the states do it. This needs a national solution not a state-by-state fix. It's not fair to us in California to reform how districts are drawn but leave Texas, Mississippi, and Florida free to draw districts only favorable to Republicans.

Prop 21: Vehicle Registration Tax to Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs. NO.
We do not support budget set asides, and that's what this is. We support additional state and local funding for parks and wildlife programs, but it should be done by the respective legislative bodies as part of their normal budget process.

Prop 22: Prohibits the State from Borrowing or Taking Funds Used for Transportation, Redevelopment or Local Government Projects and Services. NO.
While we agree that the state should not balance its budget on the backs of the cities and counties, this Initiative Constitutional Amendment could severely limit the ability of the state to provide vital services.

Prop 23: Suspends Implementation of Air Pollution Control Law (AB 32) until Unemployment Drops to 5.5 Percent or Less for a Full Year. NO.
California has led the nation in establishing clean energy and air pollution standards. This is a cynical attempt, principally funded by Texas oil companies, to turn back the clock on clean energy. It threatens public health with more air pollution, increases dependence on costly oil, and kills competition from job-creating California wind and solar companies.

Prop 24: Repeals Recent Legislation that Would Allow Businesses to Lower Their Tax Liability. NO.
These tax measures were an integral part of the negotiating that led to budget agreements for 2008 and 2009. They should be respected. We don't support special interests paying signature gatherers to put every legislative enactment that they don't like on the ballot.

Prop 25: Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget and Budget Related Legislation from Two Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes. YES.
The California budget process is broken. The current law requiring two thirds of the legislators to agree to pass a budget holds the majority hostage and often results in bad public policy provisions being agreed to in order to pick up a vote. This will end the budget gridlock. And it does not lower the two thirds requirement to raise taxes.

Prop 26: Requires that Certain State and Local Fees Be Approved by Two Thirds Vote. NO.
This proposition broadens the definition of taxes to include many payments currently considered to be fees or charges. It would invite the same type of gridlock we currently have with the two thirds requirement for a state budget. It would severely limit the ability of state and local governments to provide essential services.

Prop 27: Eliminates State Commission of Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives. NO.
This proposition would repeal Proposition 11 adopted by the voters in 2008 establishing a Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw state legislative boundaries. One of the reasons the state Legislature is so dysfunctional is because the districts for state Assembly and Senate are drawn by the legislators themselves. A fairer drawing of districts would make the districts more competitive and, hopefully, a legislature that is more responsible.

B.A.R. election endorsements
General election
Local races

San Francisco Supervisors
Dist. 2: Janet Reilly
Dist. 4: Carmen Chu
Dist. 6: Theresa Sparks
Dist. 8: Scott Wiener, first choice; Rebecca Prozan, second choice
Dist. 10: Lynette Sweet

Phil Ting
Public Defender
Jeff Adachi

San Francisco Board of Education
Kim-Shree Maufas, Hydra Mendoza, Bill Barnes

San Francisco Community College Board
Anita Greer, John Rizzo, Lawrence Wong

BART Board, Dist. 8
James Fang


SF Superior Court
Seat 15: Michael Nava

Alameda County Superior Court
Seat 9: Victoria S. Kolakowski

CA Supreme Court
Retain Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Ming Chin and Carlos Moreno

Other races

Oakland Mayor: Rebecca Kaplan
Berkeley City Council, Dist. 7: Kriss Worthington
Campbell City Council: Evan Low, Rich Waterman

State races

Governor: Jerry Brown
Lt. Governor: Gavin Newsom
Attorney General: Kamala Harris
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer
Controller: John Chiang
Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson
Board of Equalization (District 1): Betty Yee
U.S. Senate: Barbara Boxer

State Senate (San Francisco)
Dist. 8: Leland Yee

State Assembly (San Francisco)
Dist. 12: Fiona Ma
Dist. 13: Tom Ammiano State Senate (East Bay)
Dist. 10: Ellen Corbett

State Assembly (Regional)
Dist. 6: Jared Huffman
Dist. 7:  Michael Allen
Dist. 14: Nancy Skinner
Dist. 16: Sandre Swanson
Dist. 21: Rich Gordon

State Assembly (Southern California)
Dist. 44: Anthony Portantino
Dist. 46: John A. Perez
Dist. 50: Ricardo Lara
Dist. 53: Betsy Butler
Dist. 76: Toni Atkins

Congress (Bay Area)
Dist. 1: Mike Thompson
Dist. 6: Lynn Woolsey
Dist. 7: George Miller
Dist. 8: Nancy Pelosi
Dist. 9: Barbara Lee
Dist. 10: John Garamendi Dist. 12: Jackie Speier
Dist. 13: Pete Stark
Dist. 14: Anna Eshoo
Dist. 15: Mike Honda
Dist. 16: Zoe Lofgren

Congress (Southern California)
Dist. 45: Steve Pougnet

Ballot measures

Vote YES on AA, A, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, N
Vote NO on B, C, J, M

Vote YES on 19, 25
Vote NO on 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27
Remember to vote on November 2!

Castro District San Francisco News: Amy Andre Resigns From San Francisco Gay Pride

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By: Seth Hemmelgarn

Amy Andre, the embattled executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, has resigned. The Castro District is left confused.

Board President Mikayla Connell also announced her resignation from Pride's governing body, effective immediately.

Andre and Connell's decisions to leave come after months of both women being defensive over Pride's crumbling finances. The two leave the organization with a deficit for this year that could be as much as $150,000. The GLBT community is concerned.

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