Friday, February 27, 2015

Legendary Patti LuPone's Fantastic San Francisco Show

The best of the Broadway belters, none other than veteran entertainer Patti LuPone, brought her "Far Away Places" show to Davis Symphony Hall on Feb. 23 and before she came on stage fans were screaming her name. When she appeared, without uttering a word or note, rapturous applause broke out.

For two-hours this legendary diva took us on a musical tour around the nation and globe, with delicious helpings of wonderful stories and asides between songs. She was backed by a fantastic five-man band, The Gypsy Drifters, who delivered fantastic melodies and sounds perfectly meshing with her voice.

From the Stephen Sondheim canon our ears were tickled with "By the Sea" from his masterpiece, "Sweeney Todd", which she performed years ago with the San Francisco Symphony at the same hall.

The number that has most stayed with me was a rather unexpected choice,  Kris Kristofferson's road song "Me and Bobby McGee", that she sang with a ballad warm ballad tempo. It was a fresh rendition of this rock classic. In the same vein, she covered Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" with just the right amount of wistfulness.


LuPone treated us to a beautifully rousing "What's New Buenos Aires?" from the show that cemented her legend back in the day, "Evita". When she forgot the lyrics, she said, "Of all the songs to mess up, it had to be this one!" The audience reveled in her trouper humor before she picked up perfectly from where she left off.

During her second act, LuPone mentioned with pride that her son Josh was in the audience, in an upper box and a spotlight was shone on him. Did she say he's following in her acting footsteps. Yes, indeed, to the cheers of her fans.

That glorious LuPone voice was on full display in her final encore number, "Haste Ye Back", performed a cappella. This fan would have appreciated another number or two of her unaccompanied by the band but, alas, she again left me wanting more -- something I've experienced many terrific times over the decades catching her live performances.

As we exited Davies Symphony Hall, people were smiling from ear-to-ear and speaking of how much the loved the show the legendary LuPone delivered. Let's pray to the Broadway gods that she pays San Francisco another visit soon.
Maximus Emails Released by Campos

Not a single email sent or received by Supervisor David Campos himself, but plenty of responsive public records from his aides. The files are too voluminous to post here, so I've posted them in three batches at my Facebook. You don't need to be a registered Facebook user to view the emails:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is Public Defender Adachi Backing Transparency at Police Panel?

Earlier this month, I questioned San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi about omitting mention of the dearth of transparency at the Office of Citizen Complaints that provides oversight to the police department. Deputy public defender Jami Tillotson filed an OCC complaint over her arrest inside the courthouse at 850 Bryant by the SFPD as she stood up for her client.

The OCC is barred by state law from discussing any complaints or even confirming or denying one has been lodged, or if a police officer is being investigated. Adachi wrote to me saying his office would wait to see how transparent the OCC was, which surprised me since he's surely aware of the above facts.

My inquiry to the OCC generated this response on Tuesday:

"The OCC is in receipt of your email to Director Joyce M. Hicks, wherein you wish to know whether the OCC has received a complaint related to the arrest of Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson, and whether our investigators are investigating any allegations. You have also requested information about any such complaint and the name of who may be handling it in our office. 

"Please note that State law prohibits us from releasing information to members of the public about whether complaints or inquiries have been filed with our office against police officers. [...] 
Given statutory protections and prohibitions, the OCC must therefore decline to provide you the information you seek."

That response was sent over to Adachi and his office provided me with this statement on Wednesday:

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant. That is why our office regularly releases video footage and documents of suspected police misconduct. I believe the OCC and all city agencies should be similarly transparent. Unfortunately, laws that protect police privacy, including the 2006 Copley Press v. Superior Court, have ensured that misconduct investigations are often carried out in the dark. Any information we receive from the OCC investigation into Ms. Tillotson's complaint we will share with the public." 

This news, that Adachi wants full transparency at the OCC and is committed to releasing the findings from the complaint in question is, well, a welcomed giant ray of warm sunshine. It immensely pleases this open government advocate to learn of Adachi and his office's position to improve police oversight via expanded openness.


(Tillitson, left, and Adachi, announcing the filing of their OCC complaint.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Will Campos Release His Maximus Monster Condo Emails?

It is never too early to file a sunshine complaint. Follow my email trail regarding obtaining public records from Campos -- his emails with or about the Maximus Partners development firm. He needs a heaping of pressure about the changing Mission district, which is why I'm calling his b.s. that he won't attend the March 4th meeting organized by Maxiumus because the company erred by putting his name on a flyer as a cosponsor. Small potatoes and no excuse for Campos and his City Hall staff to get themselves to the meeting, just to hear what the public has to say. Staying away will equal cowardice on Campos' part.

Let's see if I hear from Team Campos by the close of biz today:

Me to Campos, email Feb. 23 at 11:26 am:

"This is an immediate disclosure request for copies of all emails sent or received by you or anyone in your City Hall office related in any manner to Maximus Partners, their monster condo proposal for 16th and Mission Streets, anyone at Maximus Real Estate Partners or employed by them including the two lobbyists you met with in 2014.

"My request is for public records from January 1, 2014, through February 23, 2015.

"If you have any questions, shoot them over to me via email. Please confirm receipt of this IDR by the close of business today."

When I didn't hear from Team Campos by noon today, this complaint was lodged:

"Sunshine Ordinance Task Force
City Hall

"I wish to file a complaint against Supervisor David Campos for failure to comply with the law governing immediate disclosure requests, which mandates that he respond within 24-hours to such a request. The law states:


"When does the City have to respond to my public records request?
"The City has ten days to respond to a public records request. If you request records that are voluminous, in off-site storage or several different offices have the records, the time to respond to the request can be extended by 14 days. Citizens may also make an "Immediate Disclosure Request." Departments must respond to Immediate Disclosure requests within 24 hours after receipt of the request. However, departments can, in appropriate cases, extend the time to respond by 14 days.
"As you see in the email below, which was sent to Campos and several of his staffers more than 24-hours ago, I requested public records from them. Unfortunately, Campos and his aides have failed to acknowledge receipt of my request.Therefore, in my opinion, they have violated the Sunshine Ordinance and I request a full investigation by the SOTF."

Here is the response from Victor Young, the administrator of the SOTF:

"I am in receipt of your complaint against Supervisor David Campos.   However, please be aware that Supervisor Campos has until the end of business today to respond to your request. I will process your complaint tomorrow morning." 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Are SF DPH's Annual Truvada & HIV Drug Costs?

Last Thursday, I made this public records request to the San Francisco Department of Public Health:

"I need the following information from SF DPH and ask that you share this request, if you're not the right person to gather the data I'm seeking. Let's get to my specifics:

"From 2005 through 2014, the cost per year paid by the department for all HIV/AIDS and hepatitis medicines, listed alphabetically if possible.

"Is the department tracking annual costs just for Truvada, Combivir, Sovaldi, etc, as I would hope?

"I'd like to learn which drugs are most and least distributed to patients, see fluctuations or patterns of what patients are taking exact costs of each drug that is paid for by the department."


This is the response I received today from Nancy Sarieh, spokeswoman for DPH:

"The information you are requesting is not available. Fulfilling your public records request would require developing a custom report from our pharmacy drug distributor for each of the DPH locations that purchase drugs. This custom report does not already exist."

It's surprising that our health department, often described as a leader in AIDS issues, is not tracking how much is spent annually on individual drugs. 

How are we to know if Truvada prescriptions and the amount of the drug provided to DPH clients is up, down or stable? Should we have such data on not just HIV and hepatitis drugs, but all drugs purchased by DPH with tax dollars?

I would think such data would assist epidemiologists, public health officials and HIV prevention groups in myriad ways. Maybe this is a matter for the HIV Prevention Planning Council to delve into at a future meeting.

Let's follow the money!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Campos Must Speak at Maximus Condo Forum on March 4

Ever since the plans for a monster condo at the 16th Street BART Plaza in District 9 were made public, Sup. David Campos has steadfastly sat on the fence regarding fears of displacement among hundreds of Mission residents.

On Wednesday, March 4, community members and folks associated with the Plaza 16 Coalition, Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, Our Mission/No Eviction and the Latino Democratic Club are turning out for the presentation of Maximus Partners' latest plans for their development at Mission and 16th Street.

It's crucial that Campos get off the fence and take a stand on March 4 and speak at the forum about his concerns regarding Maximus Partners.

He's maintained neutrality claiming he may one day have to vote on matters related to the Maximus Partners, but remaining neutral in these desperate housing times is a very lame excuse when leadership from Campos is needed. Campos can find a way to address the forum and still vote on any Maximus Partners business before the Board of Supervisors.

Frankly, it's been so disappointing that Campos and his City Hall staff have shown such little interest in the monster condo, but now that his campaign for state assembly is over and his legacy, not to mention the diversity of the Mission, are at stake and needs to tell us which side he on.


In 2014, Campos had a meeting with a lobbyist from Maximus Partners in March and a separate meeting in July with a different lobbyists for the developer, according to Ethics Commission records, pictured. While he had time to speak with two Maximus Partner lobbyists, he never showed up at any Plaza 16 Coalition meetings last year, even just to listen.

The side of the grassroots and longterm Mission residents, small businesses and cultural venues, or the Maximus Partners side. It's time for Campos to choose a side.

We should accept no excuses from Campos about skipping the March 4 forum, to be held at the Laborers Local 261 Union Hall, located at 18th and Shotwell Streets.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekend Woof  #95: Young Igor Flexes & Poses

It's been way too long since I posted a collection of all-male pics, and just this week my straight friend Eddie asked why I hadn't updated this series in a while. When even a straight dude likes this photographic series, I have to keep him and other fans happy. Here are a batch of boys seen around town lately.



This is young muscle dude Igor who works at a Civic Center fitness center. He gave me a tour of the facility and did a few poses and flexes for me.




On top is my friend Andrew showing off his bicep and large tattoo, and the bottom photo is of a young reporter who saw me inside a public restroom and had to tell me he followed my campaign for supervisor.




Oh, this built weightlifter in blue sure made the long wait for my Muni bus at Haight and Market a wait I didn't mind enduring one bit. And how have the last two months been for you in terms of seeing male eye candy on the street, pleasing to you?
51 SF Shower Sites Ready for Use by Homeless Folks?

You sure learn a lot by attending the San Francisco fire commission meetings, including that the fire department recently take care of maintenance and repairs for several shower facilities inside City-funded firehouses.

Since an exact number of SFFD shower sites wasn't provided at the commission hearing where the cost of the repairs was broached, I filed a public records request for the info. According to the department, there are approximately 51 locations with working bathrooms and showers.

I am proposing that the city consider making those taxpayer-funded facilities available to the homeless on a limited basis, for use to urinate and defecate and also regain or maintain good hygiene. We are all painfully aware of the lack of such facilities for homeless people and it's a reason why we have the homeless, and drunk bar patrons, using the streets to pee-and-poop, and they until recently tried to bathe as best as possible at the restrooms in the library's main branch.

There simply are not enough toilets and showers for public use in San Francisco and a recent article by Joshua Sabatini in the Examiner reported these facts showing one part of the need for them in at least one shelter:

"Homeless advocates [have made a] $2.2 million city funding request [that] includes such items as installation of showers in the main emergency family shelter, First Friendship."

While we wait for that request to be considered and showers potentially installed at First Friendship, let's open select firehouses around the city during restricted hours without hindering the ability of SFFD personnel to respond to emergencies.

Bevan Dufty, the Mayor's homeless czar, was asked to weigh in on this proposal and he replied:

"When I was District 8 Supervisor, I know that facilities were available at Fire Station 26 that is adjacent to Walter Haas playground. In the case of Station 26, the restroom is immediately accessible upon entry, without accessing the private quarters, and I do not know if other stations have similar configurations.

"You have asked a good question and I will work to get good answers. Certainly any opportunity should be fully explored and we will apprise you as we learn more.  City government is closed for Monday's [President's Day] holiday so we will follow up Tuesday, [Feb. 17]."

Good of him to share this info about firehouse 26 and sorry to report Bevan didn't get back to me as promised. Also asked for an opinion was head of the Department of Public Health, Barbara Garcia, who said:

"Yes, I will be working with Bevan on this."


One firehouse I want to consider as a bathroom and shower facility for the homeless and other segments of the public, is firehouse 1 on Folsom between 5th and 6th Streets because it's so close to where many homeless folks live on the streets or down alleyways. This firehouse is a state-of-the-art facility opened in 2013.

Do you agree San Francisco citizens, department heads and elected officials need to debate opening firehouse bathrooms and showers to people who need them?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Who Did Sup. Avalos Meet With in 2014 & 2015?

Less than 24-hours is how long it took Frances Hsieh, legislative aide to Sup. John Avalos, to provide me with an electronic copy of the supervisor and his aides' meeting calendars for all of 2014 and January 2015. Such rapid compliance and turnaround after filing a public records request is rare and I salute Hsieh for her speed.


Avalos recently proposed legislation mandating all elected San Francisco officials and department heads maintain meeting calendars listing attendees at meetings and the organizations they represent. He is to be commended for this initiative which echos a key issue during my campaign for District 8 supervisor.

Hsieh sent me 130 pages of calendar info and I'm pleased to report that even though Avalos and staff were not required to include details about who they met with and what topic was discussed, such details are part of the calendars.

Two dates stand out and are shared in the combined image. In November, Avalos met with someone from the Ford Foundation about a bank, perhaps a municipal bank for low-income residents, and in December aide Jeremy Pollock met with a member of BART's board of directors, Tom Radulovich, to discuss "lots of wonky stuff".

I wish I could state that Avalos posted his calendar to his official supervisorial page, but he hasn't and let's hope he soon amends that city-funded page to include calendars.

Until then, you can read the entire 130-pages released to me this week at my Google docs page.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Castro Newsrack Clutter: Consolidation or Reinstallation?

The Department of Public Works' Newsrack Advisory Committee met at City Hall on Tuesday evening to hear testimony about pedmounts in the Castro business district. Among those speaking during public comment were Andrea Aiello of the Castro Benefit District, Daniel Bergerac of the Castro Merchants, Mike Yamashita of the Bay Area Reporter, and yours truly taping some of the meeting.

Here's Aiello's comment regarding the outcome:

"The committee decided they needed to do a walk through the neighborhood to examine each spot and assess ADA issues and other path of travel and sight line issues. Daniel and I asked Cynthia Hoe [DPW's program director for pedmounts] to include us in that walking tour of the news racks."

Bergerac shared this message the day after the hearing:

"I spoke to Steve Porter at Harvey’s, he is writing a letter opposing replacement the pedmount on the Castro Street side of the restaurant. This will cancel his plans of offering outside dinning, as there will not be enough space.  After 9 months of construction, he was counting on the revenue these tables would generate to help make back his numbers. 

"We need to continue to remind the committee, of the Twin Peaks being a historic landmark.  That preserving and providing visitors of a clear view of the bar is very important, especially for photo opportunities in front of the historic OPEN windows." 

I'm pleased the committee finally held a meeting at a convenient hour to consider the problems of too many pedmounts in the Castro and the high number of empty slots. The Castro business district has enough street furniture cluttering the sidewalks and consolidating existing pedmounts should be an option.

My hope is that other ordinary citizens and residents of the Castro support keeping as much public sidewalk space as possible for the public, and limit the imposition of corporate street clutter (pedmounts are advertising space), on the streets of San Francisco.


Check out the video of some of the public comments made on Tuesday.