Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Secretary of State Qualifies My Write-In Candidacy

The California Secretary of State had to certify my paperwork to run as a write-in candidate for the State Senate District 11 seat and certification was completed earlier this week.

That meant the San Francisco Department of Election could properly list me on their June 7 primary election information page on campaigns and candidates. The department yesterday update that page to reflect the certification from Sacramento.

Very glad to have this matter taken care and again ask for your vote. Remember that after writing in my name to complete the arrow and use dark ink when doing so. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SF Sheriff: 76 In-Custody Deaths; 20 Blacks, 8 Suicides

Accountability of law enforcement agencies in San Francisco needs serious expansion and quickly too. It's is not enough to have only the police subject to the (minimal) oversight of the Police Commission and Office of Citizen Complaints, but at least those two limited mechanisms exist.

We need a new commission to process complaints and whatnot involving the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney. Currently, if you want to complain to an outside party regarding the policies or personnel at those City agencies you're outta luck.

For example, I'd like to bring attention to the number of in-custody deaths either at facilities under the domain of the sheriff, eg, the county jails and courts, or where sheriff deputies guard inmates at local hospitals or otherwise at the hands of deputies.

My public records request to Sheriff Vicki Hennessy this week for data on all in-custody deaths stretching to whenever records were first kept on such fatalities, produced five-pages of responsive info. Let's go over the stats:

Years for which race data was omitted:

1994: 3
1995: 6
1996: 2
1997: 5
1998: 4
1999: 3
2000: 3
2001: 3
2002: 3
Sub-total = 41

Years for which race was included:

2004: 3
2005: 6
2006: 1
2007: 4
2008: 4
2009: 4
2010: 4
2011: 5
2012: 3
2013: 1
2014: 3
2015: 4
Subtotal = 35

Total = 76

Sheriff Hennessy's public info officer explains what was released:

"I have attached two documents responsive to your request: 'Death in Custody Cases 1994-Present' and 'Death in Custody Cases 2004 –Present'. The 1994-Present is for 1994 through 2003. The information during this time period covers name and date of incident.

"The 2004 – Present is for 2004 to present. This more current information includes DOB, age, race. The causes of death are health information and should be requested from the Medical Examiner’s Office. For 2010 – present, a notation is made for apparent suicide cases. The 'Charges' field has been redacted as it contains criminal history information."

From 2004-2015 the racial breakdown of the 35 deaths was as follows:

Asians: 4
Blacks: 20
Hispanics: 2
Whites: 15

The number of suicides during that period was 8. Over both periods, there were 6 deaths for females and 71 for males.

The 20 deaths for blacks out of 35 seems disproportionately high but, then again, blacks have higher rates of arrests and incarceration than other races in San Francisco.

Still, those 20 fatalities and all of these deaths while in sheriff's custody need to be part of the City's discussion about better policing and the larger context of law enforcement agencies and how they interact with civilians.

Here are the records released today, including the names of individuals:

Monday, May 23, 2016

SFPD's FOIA Portal, Gun Buyback Stats & Cost Revealed

An online public records portal has been established by the San Francisco Police Department, I was informed today in response to my latest requests, and this is a step forward expanding transparency at the agency. When the portal went live and who within the SFPD set it up are questions I've posed to the public info officers and will share the answers when I receive them.


"GovQA Public Portal went live on May 9th, 2016. We released a press release regarding GovQA which I attached to this email. Responsive documents will only be able to be viewed by the person who requested them. GovQA was brought about by the Legal Division and is currently being used by the Legal Division, Police Commission, Media Relations and will also be used by the Body Camera Unit. We are hoping to expand it to other units within the Police Department in order to streamline the PRA process."

The SFPD also informed me today they found more responsive records pertaining to my request for data about the cost of the gun buyback program. It appears the City spent $50,000 for the buybacks in 2007/2008 and the money was administered by the Delancey Street social services nonprofit. No further info on costs from other years was located.

Public records show a total of 224 guns and rifles were purchased and taken off the streets of San Francisco in 2007 but it's unclear if the $50,000 was spent just on those arms or some of the money was used in the following years.

Here are the numbers of gun for the years 2003 through April 2016, purchased via the buyback program:

2003: 129
2007: 224
2012: 290
2013: 224
2014: 343
2015: 331
2016: 101

Total comes to 1,642. I've posted the list of all guns purchased and broken down by year for all to read here.

Let's all keep the pressure on the police department to increase transparency and to change their use-of-force policies.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Weekend Woof #103: Handsome Guys on the SF Streets

It's quite satisfying to post the one-hundred-and-third edition in this continuing series of vids or fotos or both, of men and boys who catch my queer eye. A lot of fine dudes have graced the lens of my cameras. How was your week for cruising fellas pleasing to your sensibilities?


Saturday, May 21, 2016

New SFPD Chief Chaplin's Political Donations Reveal . . .

Mayor Ed Lee promised he would be only an interim chief executive when he was appointed to replace outgoing Gavin Newsom and he lied to the City, eventually running for a full term.

Bear that in mind as his newly-appointed chief of the San Francisco Police Department, Toney Chaplin, claims he's not interested the job on a permanent basis. We'll see about as the City gears up for a national search to hire a new top cop, now that Greg Suhr has been forced into retirement.

Let's follow the money Chaplin has donated over the years to politicians and PACs.

First. he's made no federal contributions. At the state level, he gave Mayor Lee's adviser Paul Henderson $250 in April for his campaign to become a Superior Court judge and $100 to the SF Police Officers Association's political action committee.

Second, his local donations include $100 in 1999 for Willie Brown's mayoral reelection and about $140 to the SF POA's issues PAC over the years.

Chaplin's political giving reveals support for two local politicians and the SF POA. Make of it what you will and let's make Chaplin's full resume and political leanings abundantly transparent. Same goes for any potential new permanent chief of police.
82 HIV Exposure Convictions In Missouri, No Race Data Released

Michael Johnson is in his early twenties and an African-American former student and champion wrestler who's HIV positive and serving 30-years in prison for violating one of Missouri's HIV felony exposure laws, and recklessly transmitted the virus.

We're snail-mail pen-pals and because of the injustice against him and my interest in those serving time in America's prisons for breaking HIV criminal statutes, I filed a public records request with the Missouri's Office of State Court Administrator.

Responsive records show a total of eighty-two guilty convictions since 1997 and 19 outstanding charges pending in the courts. The court administrator points out that the total number of charges is not reflective of cases, as there may be more than one charge affiliated with each case.

This page reflects data from 1997 through 2014 by year. I also requested addition information on the individuals prosecuted by the state and the court administrator withheld the records: "Please be aware that due to data quality issues, Gender, Age, Race, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity will not be provided. Additionally, providing of Party Names (PartyID) is not typically approved by the committee reviewing requests."

For Michael Johnson, a bit of good news came on April 20 when the Center for HIV Law and Policy announced the filing of a friend-of-the-court brief on his behalf, along with dozens of other advocacy organizations, seeking to overturn his unjust conviction.

Nothing but best wishes for a successful lawsuit leading to the freedom of Michael Johnson.

Friday, May 20, 2016

SF's Top Butt Doc Is Retiring After 36-Years of Service

At my last appointment with Dr. Robert A. Bush, he informed me that early next spring he's closing his proctology office at the Castro District at the Sutter Health's Davies campus. He's been providing medical care for a lot of butts for thirty-six years which, of course, includes the AIDS plague years.

Bob said it's time for him to do what he wants to with his husband and enjoy retirement together, and he wants his patients to have plenty of time to find other butt docs to see. Unfortunately, at this point, there are no other such physicians stepping forward to take over his practice.

Before leaving the examination room, I express thanks to Bob for his tremendous and outstanding dedicated service not only to Mike and myself but to all the gay men and others he's taken care of over the decades.

I also said many kinds word to his terrific staff, Cesar and Selene, for all of their service to myself and all the people who've passed their office.

One time at the Davies ER during a 2 am visit when I had horrible breathing problems, Bob was there tending to a patient with a rectal emergency. Until then, I had no idea he got out of bed at all hours to deal with patients in need at the ER.

It's so like Bob to inform me way in advance of his retirement about him closing down his practice.

This means there won't be a proctologist in the Castro area, a big loss. Hard to accept that no butt docs want to take over his practice, but I hope that changes before Bob's retirement.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

ACT UP Reunions Blossom in SF Bay Area 

One of my proudest life-accomplishments is assisting in the founding of ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, back in New York City during the plague years.

I had been acting up on my own and also had the good fortune to be mentored by the late Marty Robinson during our time in the Lavender Hill Mob, prior to Larry Kramer's speech that launched the group that changed the world.

 In recent months, I've had impromptu reunions with long-term survivors around the San Francisco Bay Area and now share with you pics of me with my friends.

Whenever I run into such pals, I get a feeling of meeting up with old war veterans who witnessed and lived through a terrible time with a lot of unnecessary deaths, but try to think positively about the tremendous great work we accomplished in the 1980s, 1990s and up to today either with ACT UP/NYC, which is still active, or just being alive and thriving.

Top left photo shows Rick Solomon of ACT UP/Golden Gate and I at the new BAMPFA facility in Berkeley. Top right, is Dean Ouellette wearing his gardening clothes on Market Street in the Castro this week. Bottom left is with Alan Shaw with me at Rainbow Grocery and bottom right is from November when I ran into G'Dali Braverman and his mom on UC Berkeley campus.

The last three boys were active with the NYC chapter. AIDS sure as hell isn't over so, let's all act up and fight back the best way we can today!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

NC Gov: No HRC Lobbying Before HB2 Signed into Law

The LGBT wing of the Democratic Party known as the Human Rights Campaign and it's CEO Chad Griffin is fully marshaling all its resources to elect Hillary Clinton president. Even more so than usual, gay Americans cannot count on this organization to effectively look after our interests at the state and local level.

My recent public records request to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for copies of all correspondence to or from anyone associated with HRC and 36-pages of responsive records were produced and can be read here.

No one from HRC wrote to the governor before he signed the bathroom bill HB2 on March 23, lobbying him to reject the hateful bill.

When HRC executives got around to writing McCrory in Raleigh starting on April 6, they emailed the same note and it said nothing about North Carolina or anything specific about HB2. And to think McCrory falsely claimed HRC was more powerful than the NRA!

Longtime global and LGBT leader Melanie Nathan of Marin County, California, broaches important issues related to HRC executives and how they spend their working days, learning about their schedules:

"If you look at the timing of when this all occurred in March and April I recommend HRC account to the community for its staff's time and locations around the time when this NC Bill went down.

"Judging from what I am seeing on TV and social media, HRC has deployed resources to follow and promote Hillary Clinton's campaign.

"I wonder if there is a way to measure HRC's seemingly sluggish reaction and relationship to the events in NC against the resources possibly diverted to campaign for Clinton?"

Thanks, Melanie, for speaking up!

We need transparency from Chad Griffin and all of HRC about how they allocate organizational resources and staffing deployments, and we need full disclosure from them regarding exactly what the heck they were doing before North Carolina enacted the anti-trans and anti-LGBT bathroom and misnamed privacy bill.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Campaigning in the Valencia Street Sunshine 

On this glorious day in paradise, alias San Francisco, the Write-In Petrelis for State Senate D11 Team was out on Valencia Street keeping the camp in campaigning queerly alive and thriving.

You have until May 23 to register to vote for me. Even if you're registered, check with the Department of Elections at City Hall and make sure you're properly registered to cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders.

Check out and give a like to our page today and don't delay. Only three weeks to the June 7 primary.

After writing in my name on your ballot, be sure to complete the arrow. Thanks!