Tuesday, August 26, 2014

D8 Bisexual Activist Sue Englander Endorses Us
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
(Cross-posted from our campaign site.)

If you've been at Harvey Milk Democratic Club meetings, union picket lines or LGBT solidarity protests in recent years you've likely seen District 8 bisexual voter and activist Sue Englander.

Seems we've known and seen her organizing for countless years and when asked for her endorsement for our alternative candidacy, without hesitation she smiled and said yes.

We were at the District 8 Democrats' meeting at Rafael Mandelman's apartment, and we quickly grabbed him and had his snap this photo of Sue and Michael together. Sue has sent us this fabulous endorsement statement and we have two things to say: thank you. From Sue:

"I'm endorsing Mike because he and I share a love of the Castro and Mission neighborhoods as broadly diverse communities and livable spaces, something that is fast disappearing.

"Most recently, he impressed me with his tireless and successful effort to persuade SF DPW and BART to wash away the debris and bird droppings at the 16th Street Plaza. For Harvey Milk, it was dog poop and for Mike, it's pigeon poop!

"I know that Mike will work to ensure a livable city for all San Franciscans, one that is deeply inclusive, immensely creative, and just a bit crazy and full of passion - just like Mike!"

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why Am I in California Lawyer Magazine this Month?

Former actress and longtime lesbian Democrat Sheila Kuehl was profiled in the May edition of California Lawyer magazine, as she campaigned in the June primary for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in the Third District.

This passage positively screamed out for a reaction:

A relentless fund-raiser, Kuehl regularly sends out email solicitations, mining seemingly any occasion as a rallying cry. 'Help me scare away the competition with a donation before Halloween, read one typical plea last fall.

What is in the water some politicians drink that leads them to fear democracy and competition at the ballot box, and giving voters more than one person to consider voting for on election day?

The August issue of California Lawyer is now online (http://tinyurl.com/pp3g3mc), and my letter about Kuehl made it into print:

Terrific and balanced piece on this liberal Democrat, who seems to have a problem with political competition. Glad the article is well-rounded and factual. Very glad she's got challengers in her race and in her effort to scare away competitors. Her kind of thinking is bad for that little thing we call democracy! Here in San Francisco, in the November 2013 elections, there were three citywide offices on the ballot: city attorney, assessor-recorder, and treasurer. And none of the incumbents faced any serious or protest candidates. Can we please get career politicians to drop their Soviet-style desires when vying for public office?

Illustration for California Lawyer by Jon Berkeley.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekend Woof #87: Boys, Boys, Boys

I took a hiatus last weekend from this photo series that aims to please the queer eye, and now I'm back with a new edition. In my estimation, none of the fellas in these images is over forty so that qualifies them as boys.

These two guys look good enough to eat in their red shirts, as they passed through Harvey Milk Plaza.

What a great head of dark, curly on this biker dude riding a Muni bus last week. His facial fuzz was also fine to look at.

Two built guys, both wearing tight white shirts and sporting white earbuds, adding male beauty to the Castro gayborhood.

Not sure what drug he was on, but he was happy to show off some of the tattoo on his bicep on a BART train that was overly bright.

Do you like your young beef in tank tops on the lean or hefty side? Me, I'll take the dude on top. And how were your last two week for male-gay-zing?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chicken Supe Won't Debate
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
(Cross-posted at https://www.facebook.com/petrelis4supe8 on August 10.)

Voters in San Francisco's District 8 won't have the opportunity to see the incumbent Supervisor debate all of his opponents including Michael, because his campaign this week told local news outlets of his refusal fully participate in the democratic process.

As you know, Judge Sam Feng on Monday granted leeway for debates to take place with MIchael present and that would in no way violate the stay-away order and we thought DIY democracy was enhanced with the judge's ruling.

However, two local news outlets are reporting that the incumbent campaign issued a statement declaring his hardline opposition to joining any events where Michael will be on the panel.

This development comes after the Supervisor told a local gay newspaper in June that he would participate in debates.

Our intent is to speak at as many endorsement panel meetings and debates as possible, and if Michael's presence deters the incumbent from engaging in this important aspect of democracy, so be it.

Democracy Victorious! Debates Approved!

By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
(Cross-posted from https://www.facebook.com/petrelis4supe8 and dated August 4th.)

Thanks to several modifications by Judge Sam Feng at this morning's hearing, our campaign can now participate in panels hosted by advocacy groups and candidate debates, to be held closer to election day.

He agreed that Michael could appear this Wednesday, August 6th, at the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club's special early endorsement meeting but to avoid being near the District 8 incumbent Supervisor.

Our defense attorney Derek St. Pierre and Michael must compile a list of other endorsement meetings of interest, then must request and will be granted expedited calendaring in Feng court to consider any potential proximity issues for the candidates.

Regarding formal debates in the fall organized by groups such as the League of Women Voters, Feng will allow Michael full participation in them including directly questioning the incumbent if the host organization's format calls for such engagement.

Do-it-yourself democracy in San Francisco was enhanced today by Judge Feng, and we are grateful for his modifications.

Many thanks to our supporters who were in court today, including Patrick Connors who tweeted this photo of Michael being interviewed by reporter David Stevenson of KTVU, left, and his lawyer on the right. You can read all of Patrick's tweets and view his #ILikeMikeSF photos here: https://twitter.com/uppityfag.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend Woof #86: Bear - It's What's For Dinner!

The #ILikeMikeSF team has been out pressing the flesh at Harvey Milk Plaza with our materials for the District 8 Supervisor campaign, which is where many of these photos were snapped this week. Some were also taken today down at the SF Eagle Bar, where we went simply to enjoy the fine bears on the prowl.

Be sure to visit our campaign sites here https://www.facebook.com/petrelis4supe8 and also here http://www.ilikemikesf.org

Thanks to all the furry fellas who graced my camera lens!

The two shirtless bears have been known to provide eye candy for the queer dudes of the Castro, but I've always seen them in tee shirts till today.

A couple of salt-and-pepper bearded daddies to look at and one with a stogie in his mouth for the cigar fetishists among us.

OMG, a furry member of the Lollipop Guild standing on the Yellow Brick Road looking so adorable. Awwww.

The sweetest chub cub I met all week was this dude. Don't let the gray hairs fool you. He's all cub.

Here are youngish beefy dudes seen at Up Your Alley a few week back. And how was your week for bear-and-beef watching?

Friday, August 08, 2014

100 Attend Plaza 16 Meeting to Stop Luxury Condos
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

The diverse Plaza 16 coalition of Mission residents working to preserve our small piece of San Francisco brought out more than 100 people on July 31, with the primary purpose to organize against a proposed ten-story luxury condo adjacent to the BART 16th Street Plaza.

Over the course of a two-hour meeting, conducted in English and Spanish, the emphasis was on working together to stop the Planning Commission from approving the Maximus Real Estate Partners' condo project at their January meeting, and mobilizing more of our neighbors, friends and local small businesses to join the coalition.

We were there and found much support for the #ILikeMikeSF campaign. Many of our cards were distributed, photos of supporters and District 8 voters holding our sign were taken, and everyone offered us encouragement. Muchas gracias, amigos y amigas.

At the https://twitter.com/MichaelPetrelis feed, we shared photos of a few attendees and promoted the hashtag #PlazaSixteen. When you're on Twitter and other social media, be sure to raise awareness for #PlazaSixteen and assist this grassroots Mission effort.

Our message is clear to real estate developers, City Hall, Sacramento and Washington and our elected officials: we need affordable housing built now for low-income folks, and we won't rest until we have it.

This video was shot at the start of the meeting and gives you a small taste of the multicultural nature of everyone who showed up. We're proud to have joined our neighbors last night and look forward to future organizing with them.
SFMTA Repaints Market Street Bike Lane Stripes 

(Before the repainting, there were no safety stripes at this location.)

By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Do you recall our July 18 post about our service request to the SFMTA asking the transit agency address the dangerous lack of clearly visible white stripes for the bike lane on Market Street, from Guerrero to the Central Freeway ramp?

We pointed out that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition labeled the intersection the most hazardous one in the city, and we shared a video documenting the deplorable state of nearly invisible safety stripes on the pavement.

View our "before" video of the dangerous stretch of pavement here: https://vimeo.com/100929637.

 After filing the service request, we reached out to SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose for guidance in shepherding our concerns to the street painting division of the traffic and parking branch of the agency, and eventually communicated with painting supervisor Reggie Ruaro.

He explained that our service request was scheduled to be completed the second week of August, and we were pleased knowing this info. However, Reggie surprised us on July 30 with an early morning phone call saying a crew would be out later that day to repaint the safety stripes. Because of the SFMTA's concern for the well-being of bicyclists on this part of Market Street, the paint job was fast-tracked.

We will follow up with a new service request for bright green bicyclist symbols to be painted inside the white stripes, to expand safety measures for bicyclists and all users of this busy section of Market Street. Kudos to the SFMTA, especially Reggie and his work crew, for a quick and excellent job.

Here's an "after" photo of the roadway taken yesterday afternoon.

This essay is cross-posted from our campaign Facebook page.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Former Felons Can Vote in District 8 Race

(Article by Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis, cross-posted from our Facebook campaign site.)

A friend of ours who served time in a federal penitentiary for a felony conviction and lives in District 8, recently said he would vote for Michael this fall if he had voting rights.

Like him, we assumed California felons were stripped of this right and we asked around for facts about restoring the vote for former prisoners. Here's what one observer of the criminal justice system told us:

"I think your friend’s information is wrong about his voting rights. Felons in California may vote as long as they are not currently in custody for a felony conviction or actively on felony parole. If anything, we need a campaign around educating felons about the rights they don’t realize they have."

We investigated further and found this information at the NonProfitVote.org site for California"

"Individuals convicted of a felony are ineligible to vote while incarcerated and on parole. Voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of parole, and people on probation can vote. Ex-offenders should re-register to vote." (Source: http://tinyurl.com/jwd2nop)

Digging down for details about former inmates voting by mail, the California Secretary of State's site (http://tinyurl.com/55fwbh) mentions that this option is available for them as with all eligible voters and the secretary links to this online method of registering to vote: http://registertovote.ca.gov/.

Let's all spread the word that felons out of custody and off parole can vote, and also encourage everyone to register to vote in the fall election.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

First Economic Statement Filed 2-Days Before Deadline

This was written by Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Our campaign is justifiably delighted to not only have successfully filed our first economic statement with the San Francisco Ethics Commission, but we filed two full days ahead of the July 31 deadline.

Michael and his longtime partner Mike Merrigan attended the required commission training in April, stayed on top of deadlines, and when needed were communicating frequently with commission deputies and workers at the Department of Elections.

On July 29, we spent almost an hour on the phone with a terrifically helpful Ethics deputy together making sure our data was properly entered, then taking the actual electronic steps necessary to file our Form 460.

We have been painfully aware of how the progressive community and its political institutions provide no training or support to activists who want to run for elected office.

Basically, you're on your own figuring out the paperwork, filing deadlines and adhering to local and state laws, while also gathering signatures and raising funds, speaking before clubs and advocacy organizations, and contending with invitations to answer questionnaires or attend listening sessions organized by unions.

If progressives in this town want to get more of their ilk elected and have their hands on the levers of power, they must begin training a cadre of potential candidates and leaders, of all varieties from serious and to alternative and message challengers, in how to navigate the election process.

Back in November, we pulled papers intending to get on the ballot and we achieved that goal, and have tremendously enjoyed engaging with voters and citizens in our unique do-it-yourself brand of democracy.

Every step has been a valuable lesson learned and we can't say it often enough: thank you for assisting us in this campaign!