Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#BREAKING: Zuckerberg's SF Home to Receive LGBT Letter
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis


Members of the #ILikeMikeSF team on Thursday, Sept. 18th at 12 noon will hand-deliver a letter of protest to the Dolores Heights home of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

We are upset that the social media monopoly, after meeting with San Francisco drag queen icons as part of the #MyNameIs effort, still refuses to change its policy regarding use of stage names and pseudonyms on users' personal pages for whatever reason.

Here's the social media monopoly's stated policy:

“[FB requires] everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.”


We are not divulging the address of where Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan live, and the letter-delivery is not a protest.

Zuckerberg's mansion was the subject of a Sept. 2013 San Francisco Chronicle story and was photographed by reporter Andy Ross, who paid a visit to the home (tinyurl.com/SFChron-At-Zuckerberg-Mansion).

District 8 candidate Michael will hand-deliver the letter wearing his rainbow burqa and as his drag princess persona "Burqa Boy".

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mayor Lee: 14-Pages of Emails on Alex Nieto Killing by a Cop
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis



(Since we cross-posted this to our campaign site on Sept. 3rd, the medical examiner has released the autopsy and it shows that Alex Nieto was struck by police bullet more than a dozen times.)


In response to our public records request, Mayor Ed Lee's office today released 14-pages of emails related to the fatal shooting of Alex Nieto in March by a member of the San Francisco Police Department and we learned that three investigations were conducted and have ended. News to us.

Mayor Lee's director of communications Christine Falvey on August 14 responded to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Caille Millner, who asked if he had issued any public statement of sorrow about the officer-involved death, and Falvey said:

"There were three separate investigations and the police were extremely transparent with the family and the community throughout. The mayor has had confidence in these investigations and the focus is to make sure the City does everything it can to prevent a similar incident."

If they were so transparent why is it we and so many others not only weren't aware of the multiple investigations but also that they've concluded?

We are greatly displeased Mayor Lee can't properly express sorrow in public about the killing of Alex and that nothing in the Falvey statement on behalf of the mayor relates to justice being served over the fatality.

Instead, Mayor Lee's focus is to prevent another officer-involved fatal shooting, which is a goal we certainly support, but social justice is denied when the mayor can't say those words and instead under-values Alex's death when calling it a mere "incident".

Among the email exchanges between mayoral staffers is one involved Falvey asking Paul Henderson, deputy chief of staff in charge of public safety, "Did we send a condolence letter or anything?"

The communications director, whom we would expect to know if any condolence note were sent to Alex's surviving family and friends, apparently doesn't recall one being sent revealing, we believe, just how little impact this tragedy has had on the Mayor's Office.

Henderson replied, "I have a draft of one to send, but we didn't send one in that case."

As part of our longstanding commitment to delivering accountability over the police and City Hall, we've posted the 14-pages of emails released to us here: tinyurl.com/SF-Mayor-Alex-Nieto-emails.

The tragic loss of Alex's life at the hands of a San Francisco police officer is painfully compounded by the fact that the names of the cops involved have not been released, the District Attorney's Office hasn't charged anyone over the killing, the Office of the Medical Examiner has possessed the corpse since March and hasn't released their autopsy report, and Mayor Lee and his staff haven't had the simple common human courtesy of sending the survivors a condolence letter.

When will San Francisco's City Hall and law enforcement agencies deliver justice for Alex Nieto?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Follow the Rubles: HRC & LGBT Russian Groups 
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Recently, gay researcher and writer Brian M. Heiss wrote to remind us that it's been just over a year since American LGBT activists and organizations got angry and in the streets to protest anti-gay laws in Russia, and to commence a number of fundraising efforts.

You may wonder what this and our recent posts about the Human Rights Campaign have to do with our District 8 Supervisor race, and the response is we're writing these posts on our campaign site to show how we deliver accountability at the national and international level.

We've excepted from Brian's email to bring you his key points and questions. All of the groups mentioned, along with Russian gay organizations, will be made aware of these questions and if we hear from them, we'll share their responses. Brian writes:

June 30, 2014 marked one year since the Russian Federation anti-gay legislation banning the "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors" became enacted as law. However July 21, 2014 marks the first anniversary of Harvey Fierstein's NY Times Op-Ed titled "Russia's Anti-Gay Crackdown" (tinyurl.com/NYT-Fierstein-Gay-Russia).

With the one year anniversary of America's gaining awareness of Russia’s anti-gay law, I thought it might be appropriate to revisit the impact that the collective efforts here in the US had to help make a difference in the lives of our LGBT brothers and sisters in the Russian Federation. No one has been more effective and dedicated than you, Michael, in pushing for accountability and transparency by the US-based groups who solicited donations from our community with the promise that our donations would directly support Russian Federation-based LGBT organizations and individuals.

Aside from issuing press releases on the first anniversary of the enactment of the Russian Federation anti-gay law (tinyurl.com/HRC-One-Year-Gay-Russia); it seems that the organizations, so quick to solicit donations for the LGBT communities in the Russian Federation, have largely forgotten about the fight for equality in Russia since the closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics.

I prepared the material below in hopes that you might reach out to your contacts to hopefully gain answers to these important questions:

1) HRC and Arcus Foundation:

HRC and Arcus Foundation together formed the Russia Freedom Fund (www.russiafreedomfund.org).

Q: How were the groups able to circumvent the Russian Federation’s Foreign Agent Law and fulfill the promise to supporting local Russian Federation-based organizations that have been effective at combating discrimination and violence?


2) HRC:
HRC's December 19, 2013, press release states it was the “first contribution to the Russia Freedom Fund in the amount of $100,000” from the funds raised by the “Love Conquers Hate” campaign (tinyurl.com/HRC-100K-Gay-Russia).

Q: Has HRC and the Arcus Foundation made additional contributions to the Russia Freedom Fund? If so, in what amount(s) and when?
Q: What are the total net proceeds from the sale of the “Love Conquers Hate” t-shirt?
Q: How much money was raised by donations to the “Love Conquers Hate” campaign excluding net proceeds from the sales of the t-shirts?


3) Russia Freedom Fund:

In an email to Michael Petrelis on January 24, 2014, regarding transparency and accountability related to HRC’s $100,000 donation to the Russia Freedom Fund, Julie Dorf from The Council for Global Equality wrote: “The specifics of how money will be disseminated will not be made public for the safety of the recipients” (tinyurl.com/Dorf-Petrelis-HRC-100K).

Q: Without identifying specific Russian-based LGBT organizations that have received funds from the Russia Freedom Fund, might Dorf be so kind as to provide examples of how financial assistance from the Russia Freedom Fund has empowered or impacted Russian Federation-based LGBT organizations or helped move the needle toward equality in the Russian Federation?


4) Principle 6 Campaign: American Apparel, AllOut & Athlete Ally:
On December 2, 2013, AllOut and Athlete Ally announce that they have partnered with American Apparel on the "Principle 6 Campaign" (tinyurl.com/AthleteAlly-AllOut-AmApparel), a clothing line highlighting the non-discrimination clause of the Olympic Charter [and] “majority of the proceeds from the sale of clothing will go support the Principle 6 campaign and directly to lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) advocacy groups in Russia fighting discrimination and anti-gay laws.”

Regarding [the proceeds], in late January 2014, Wesley Adams of AllOut shared with Petrelis this info: “Closer to Sochi, we'll be making an announcement about how much money we'll be donating to LGBT groups in Russia from the sale of Principle 6 apparel" (tinyurl.com/AllOut-Petrelis-Accountability). No announcement was made prior to or during [Sochi and questions remain]:

Q: How much money was raised through the sale of Principle 6 apparel?
Q: If so, what LGBT groups in the Russian Federation received funds from the Principle 6 Campaign?
Q: If you do not wish to identify the specific groups, might you please share the amount of money to date that the Principle 6 Campaign has donated to LGBT groups in the Russian Federation?
League of Women Voters & My Public Access Close-Up


Did you know that SF Gov TV has a fully equipped studio loaded with lights, cameras of all sorts, make-up supplies, editing facilities and a teleprompter located in the bowels of the main library on Grove Street?

I didn't until the League of Women Voters invited me to participate in their program of taping a five-minute statement from Supervisorial candidates, that will air on the City's two public access channels and be available as video-on-demand on SFGovTV.org the final week of September.

My friend Bill Wilson of the
#ILikeMikeSF team accompanied me this afternoon as we met up with Nati Oron of the league near the Koret Auditorium on the library's lower level, who escorted us to the studio.

Nati went over the details about how I had only twenty-minutes for a take or two, that there would be no editing of the tapes, I'd have to choose which take to use and to not mention other candidates, among other fine points.

The technicians had prepared my statement for the teleprompter and this was my first time using one for a speaking engagement. I liked using the teleprompter and sure would love to have the device available for when I make public comment at City Hall hearings.

I was told where to stand under the blazing hot lights, in front of a green screen which would transform into a background image of City Hall when the tape airs, and did a sound-check.

We filmed two takes and the first one was chosen because I spoke slower and made fewer flubs than in the second version. Many thanks to the League of Women Voters and SF Gov TV for making this outreach tool available to this alternative candidate.

Once we hear from the league that the segment is available for viewing, we'll share the details with you.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Follow Us & Our Fab Fotos on Twitter
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Since Facebook does not allow for more than one photo to be shared in each post, and we're not crazy about their album function, we're used our Twitter feed to showcase various friends, voters and supporters posing with our #ILikeMikeSF sign

If you don't follow us at https://twitter.com/MichaelPetrelis, please cruise on over there now and start following us.

Even if you choose not follow us, check out our feed's great collection of fabulous folks demonstrating their backing of our alternative candidacy.

The feed is also where we opine about non-campaign issues from our unique activist perspective.

When you tweet about our campaign or the photos, please be sure to tag everything with the #ILikeMikeSF and let's light up Twitter with awareness for our candidacy.

Here's our good pal Larry, we go back to our New Yawk days together in the 1980s, striking a pose and showing a smile while holding up our sign.


Air-Kissing a Baby & Avoid Attacking the Incumbent
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
 
(Cross posted from our campaign site.)


Over the course of this alternative candidacy, we've played by a few rules from the standard political playbook such as setting up social media, raising funds, seeking endorsements and campaigning at the Harvey Milk Plaza transit hub.

Now, we are proud to add another item to that list. After having dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant, which we will not name since it has a small seating capacity and we don't want more folks learning about it and making the waiting time longer, we air-kissed a baby.

The photo below shows a proud grandfather visiting from Australia holding his granddaughter Mavis, as I stood to the side holding an #ILikeMikeSF sign. Mavis' grandmother was pleased as punch to snap several photos with my camera, as the baby's beaming lesbian mothers waved at their darling daughter getting her to look at the camera.

Sure do hope the lesbian mothers, who live in the Duboce Triangle section of District 8, take a look at this great photo and consider giving me their votes.

Today we also received another email request pushing us to go negative. Since we've been on the campaign trail, many D8 voters and San Francisco folks outside the district have tried to make us a vehicle for their anger at the incumbent, his legislative agenda and wealthy real estate development backers.

The latest request began thus: "So first off this is advice - take it or leave it. Why are you not attacking him on all the failed issues he campaigned on?"

No thanks; we'll leave it. The note got progressively more aggressive and shrill as it went it, and we didn't bother to respond. There is no need to deal with such people and their thinking.

We'll continue to run an upbeat candidacy that stresses our accomplishments and our platform (http://www.ilikemikesf.org/missionstatement/), asking D8 voters to cast ballots for us because they either approve of our campaign and issues and/or also want to send a protest message to the incumbent.

Thanks, Mavis, for striking a beautiful pose!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

SF Chronicle's D8 Supervisor Forum on Sept 25th
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis



(We got ahead of ourselves with the post a few days ago about the D8 incumbent waffling on joining this forum. Here's the post about the invitation from the paper.)


John Diaz is one of the top editors for the San Francisco Chronicle and today we received this invitation for him, which we quickly replied to and stated our willingness to participate in the democratic process with the paper:

"Hello Candidates:

"As part of its endorsement process, the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board is inviting District 8 candidates to a 1-hour forum at our offices, 901 Mission Street, on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 11 a.m.

"Each candidate will be allowed a 60-second opening statement, and then we will go with several rounds of questions, to be followed by a 60-second closing statement.

"We would appreciate your participation. Please RSVP via email to Jillian Sullivan of our staff, [addy deleted].

"John Diaz, editorial page editor

"P.S. We also will be sending you a questionnaire (12 question) by the end of this week. We intend to post your responses online for the benefit of voters."

We were especially pleased with those last four words: for the benefit voters.

San Francisco democracy will be tremendously enhanced with this forum and of huge value to District 8 voters. The #ILikeMikeSF team is pleased with this invitation, needless to say.


While the Chronicle's forum is not open to the public and, as far as we know won't be streamed on the web, it's still the only debate any entity in this town is organizing before the election.

In our response, we explained that a stay-away order is in place and Judge Sam Feng has modified exactly for purposes of such newspaper-sponsored group interviews and asked for a few details to present to the judge beforehand, at his request. The paper has agreed to provide us with those details (layout of the room, seating arrangement, etc) tomorrow.

Thank you, Chronicle editors, for this opportunity to bring all of the District 8 candidates together for the September 25th forum.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SF Pride Candidates, My Questionnaire & Engagement

The reform slate of candidates who in 2013 waged a full-on campaign to engage publicly with the old board of directors organized many tactics for communication including a town hall meeting (tinyurl.com/2013-SFPride-Reformers). Unfortunately, none of those reformers who were elected to the new board and are up for reelection this Sunday, and the facilitator of the town hall, replied to my questionnaire earlier this week.

But let's focus on the positive and the response from Don Wagda, who wasn't on that slate, joined the board this year and seeks reelection:

(1) Do you favor immediately giving the membership full control of the monthly members' meetings (setting the agenda, facilitation, taking of minutes, etc), with details about transferring control from the board to the members to be decided at public meeting?

Wagda: I'm all for it, so long as there is enough support among non-Board members to sustain the effort. There needs to be coordination with the Board and its committees to codify and implement these changes, and to ensure that the general membership doesn't take any action that would exceed the scope of its legal authority. These changes won't be easy, and I don't think they can happen "immediately." In my mind, the December 2014 general planning meeting is a realistic deadline for implementing some set of the currently circulating proposals.

(2) Do you favor holding one public meeting in early June for the executive director, board members and the membership to collectively determine the lineup of contingents for the SF Pride Parade?

Wagda: I support dialogue through a forum on this topic, especially since this is an area of widespread concern among SF Pride stakeholders. The Parade Manager is uniquely positioned to discuss the many factors that need to be juggled in the formulation of the lineup. I think such a meeting would become unmanageable, however, if actual decisions had to be made in that context. As an alternative to your 'collective determination' approach, I would support decentralization of the parade lineup process from the current 1-2 decision makers, to perhaps a committee of the Board. I also would support reserving a certain number of slots in the first 1/3 of the parade for nonprofit/activist groups, which would be selected by lottery or by vote of the membership.


(3) Do you favor making the amounts paid by each SF Pride Parade 2014 and future contingents transparent and posted on the web?

Wagda: I think we need a parade fee waiver policy that sets/limits the number of fee waivers available each year, makes public any fee waivers granted by the Board and requires the Board to set forth the reason for each waiver granted (e.g., financial hardship, new participant etc.). Otherwise, our parade entry fees are already pretty transparent to my understanding. Regarding sponsorship arrangements, I would support assigning and publicly disclosing dollar thresholds for each of the sponsorship categories/levels (which we already publish without the dollar amounts). Due to various contractual commitments already in place re nondisclosure, any of these changes would have to be for 2015 onward.

Thanks, Don, and you've certainly earned my vote. Here's the response from David Currie, also not one of the 2013 reformers:

"I will respond to your questions if asked at the general membership meeting."


Michelle Meow is also on the current board and was the reform town hall facilitator. She replied:

"Thank you for reaching out! I unfortunately will not be able to participate given the short notice of the request as well as my belief these questions should be addressed in a much more formal manner- or I would rather address the questions to the members of SF Pride than your blog. Though I know members do read your blog and this engagement would have publicity around it, I am a new board member and need more time to consult rules of proper engagement."

I heard from Veronika Fimbres, who wasn't a 2013 reformer and presently isn't on the board:

"I don't think it is appropriate for me to answer at this time. I am sure you understand."

Leading 2013 reformer and current board president Gary Virginia said:

"Any individual is free to respond to your personal questions, but SF Pride Board of Directors candidates are not required to respond to your inquires in your status as an SF Pride Member. I don't feel it is appropriate to have SF Pride's business posted on your personal social media page for your run for political office.

"SF Pride Members who are eligible to vote at the Annual General Member (AGM) Meeting on September 14 have all been members for 60 days or more. As such, they have had opportunity to attend monthly Member Meetings and ask questions, are welcome to attend monthly Board Meetings."


Below is a slate card from the 2013 reformers who created the SF Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability & Transparency. See you all at the meeting this Sunday!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

HRC's Chad Griffin's Salary = $507,000
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
(Cross-posted from our campaign site.)
 

In late August, we called attention to the fact that the Human Rights Campaign was violating federal law because they had filed their IRS 990 in early August and they were not releasing the report to us.

HRC has stopped playing b.s. games and their 2013 tax filings for the Human Rights Campaign Incorporated and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which were filed with the Treasury Department on August 14th, which will bolster our complaint to the IRS for noncompliance, are now available for public inspection: http://www.hrc.org/the-hrc-story/annual-reports.

Here are the salaries of the executive leadership team at HRC that they were hiding, combined totals from both arms of the organization:

Chad Griffin, executive director:
$507,907

James Rinefierd, treasurer
$325,285

Cathy Nelson, vice president
$293,000

Suzanne Salkind, vice president
$286,623

Fred Sainz, vice president
$252,234

Robert Falk, secretary
$244,475

Marty Rouse, national field director
$207,163

Allison Herwitt, legislative director
$225,693

As best we know, Griffin's half-million-plus compensation makes him the highest paid executive director within the LGBT equality movement. Is he worth that salary and what exactly did he do in 2013 to warrant such pay?

With combined revenues of $52,318,163 last year, both arms of this nonprofit are clearly good at raking in the dough, but are they delivering tangible advances protecting the lives and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans?

Speak up and let us hear your thoughts about the salaries and how you answer the question of HRC leaders worth this sort of compensation. Many thanks to Will Kohler of the terrific www.Back2Stonewall.com news site for creating this fantastic image for us.
Wiener Waffles on SF Chron Endorsement Forum
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

(Cross-posted at our campaign site.)


The San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 28th called out Gov. Jerry Brown for long refusing then finally relenting to debate his GOP challenger Neel Kashkari, and issued a few grand pronouncements about democracy and incumbents (tinyurl.com/Chron-Democracy-Needs-Debates):

"Face-to-face debates between candidates are central to a healthy democracy. Politicians may want to avoid them - especially incumbents with big leads and hefty war chests - but voters deserve to see a side-by-side comparison between candidates who want to attain or retain key public offices. [...] Voters should be wary of candidates who are reluctant to subject themselves to real scrutiny."

On Monday, we accepted the Chronicle's invitation to participate in an editorial board forum scheduled for Sept. 25th with the District 8 Supervisor and all of his challengers, and we told the paper about a stay-away order that a judge has modified allowing for the incumbent to appear at debates with Michael. The Chronicle didn't keep its promise to provide us with layout and seating details by Tuesday, to present to the judge.

The Bay Area Reporter tonight notes the incumbent's stand on joining the Chronicle's forum (tinyurl.com/BAR-Wiener-Debates):

"Wiener has repeatedly said he will not participate in any forums that include Petrelis. But when asked this week by the B.A.R. if he would skip the Chronicle endorsement meeting should the judge allow Petrelis to attend, Wiener was noncommittal. 'It's too soon to say,' he said. 'The Chronicle is aware of the situation.'"


Yes, we agree with the Supervisor that the paper is aware of the sticky situation and may now be trying to wiggle out of the invitation to us and the editorial board forum, which is why the Chronicle has broken its promise to get back to us yesterday.

Could it be that the Chronicle was ignorant of their favorite Supervisor's adamant refusal to engage in the democratic process of debates with all of his electoral opponents?

Permit us to state we also concur with the paper's contention that voters should be skeptical of politicians unwilling to debate and be scrutinized. It will be very interesting, to say the least, to hear what the Chronicle has to say about the incumbent's reluctance to join a forum with Michael at the table.