Friday, October 31, 2014

$86M Fire Dept to Soon Air Meetings on SFGovTV?
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

The fire department eats up a robust portion of the city's budget pie, yet its commission doesn't broadcast their meetings on SFGovTV, but that may be changing in the very near future.

At the October 23rd fire commission meeting during one of our times at the mic for public comment, we pushed for immediately moving these meetings to a camera-equipped room at City Hall, which is also much more accessible via public transit for taxpayers than schlepping down to SF Fire Department headquarters at 2nd and Townsend Streets.

If the commission chose not to take advantage of City Hall for better engagement with taxpayers, we suggested the department install cameras in the auditorium at headquarters and to begin at least live streaming the meetings. In short, we are buying any excuses for the abysmal lack of transparency.

According to the Fiscal Year 2014 budget (http://preview.tinyurl.com/SFFD-2014-budget), the department's total allocation was $86.5 million and the line item allocation for communications was $2.3 million. Them's a lotta bucks!

To our delight, and surprise, one of the commissioners, openly gay Ken Cleaveland, said he had not arranged in advance for Petrelis to show up at the meeting and advocate for his pet issue of putting the meetings on SFGovTV. We cheered him on.

The July 10th minutes (http://tinyurl.com/SFFD-mins-SFGovTv), reveal extremely lame and unacceptable excuses from the Chief about why the public is being kept in the dark:

"Commissioner Cleaveland asked why the Commission meetings aren’t televised. Chief Hayes-White stated that there were a couple of reasons. One, there is an expense to it as well as logistics. It was determined that it was more practical to have the Command Staff at Head Quarters as opposed to City Hall where SFGOV TV is set up. [...]

"Commissioner Cleaveland expressed his desire to have HQ assessed for whether or not it can be linked to the city’s feed for public access and mentioned that the recent Grand Jury Report on Commissions addressed the terms of access to the public and getting the information out. [...]

"President Nakajo informed Commissioner Cleaveland that his point was well taken and that we’re all supportive of public access of information and he added that’s what our minutes are for and it being published on the website so the public can review those."

With an $86.5 million dollar allocation of our taxes, the Chief citing expense is bogus as is putting her staff's needs of above full transparency to taxpayers. Command staff can drive their taxpayer-funded vehicles the short distance to City Hall. Reading minutes is not meeting the gamut of ways the public needs to keep tabs on the fire department. Between the Chief and the commission president, we see a department's leadership ignoring providing appropriate government sunshine to the public by 2014 standards.

By the way, in August 2012 we asked then-commissioner London Breed, now a member of the Board of Supervisors, to push for moving commission meetings to City Hall and broadcasting them (http://tinyurl.com/Petrelis-Breed-SFFD-GovTV). Breed wrote:

"I am supportive of exploring the option to move fire commission meetings to City Hall and placing them on public access television."

While she didn't lift a finger two years ago, she's been leading a pitchfork brigade against the Chief and hasn't brought up the subject of getting the fire department to become fully transparent. We ask her to look into this issue again.

Finally, we must point out that back in March we persuaded Department of Public Health director Barbara Garcia to finally begin airing health commission meetings on SFGovTV and we offered her profuse public praise (http://tinyurl.com/Petrelis-DPH-SFGovTV).

If you agree that it's a good development for taxpayers to have health commission meetings on SFGovTV and that we need the same from the fire commission, and think our advocacy on these important government transparency matters is of benefit to the public good, and you're pissed off that the fire department is dragging its heels, then #VotePetrelis!


 Two members of the ambulance force were at the commission hearing. Written minutes alone do not give the public a full picture of the diversity of who works for the SFFD or shows up at meetings.

 One of the commanders parked his vehicle where it blocked a fire hydrant.

Ken Cleaveland listening to the Chief's report.
War Memorial Air Rights Up for Sale; City Hall Next? 
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Thanks to information from John Updike who is head of the San Francisco Department of Real Estate, we've received a great lesson in potential development of the space above City property. We asked him to explain if City Hall is cataloging and evaluating such space over fire, health, police, etc, departmental property. Updike said:

"Some departments have opportunities to facilitate development above their lower level public use (such as a fire station in the financial district, for instance) through the sale and development of 'air rights', which usually require a redevelopment of the lower level public use in concert with the new vertical development."

"Other departments have an opportunity to offer something called Transferable Development Rights (TDR). TDR is available on city-owned historic properties that are under-utilized, and in such cases, if there is market demand, TDR can be sold to a developer of property of a small footprint but with allowances for great height under existing zoning (mostly in the Financial District or Civic Center Center areas)."

In January, Supervisors David Chiu and Scott Wiener introduced a resolution (http://tinyurl.com/BOS-TDR-reso), outlining the current state of TDRs, as part of a plan to sell the air rights over the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue:

"On July 1, 2013, the City began renovation of the War Memorial Veterans Building, including seismic upgrades, accessibility, life safety and building code improvements, and replacement or improvements to building systems, at a current projected budget of $154.3 million. [...]

"Net proceeds from the sale of up to 1,100,000 TDRs would be used for the War Memorial renovation project, which is currently projected to have a $14.5 million funding shortfall. [...]

"In the mid-1980s, the City established the Transfer of Development Rights program to allow the sale of unused development potential from preservation properties. The goal was to generate income for the maintenance and preservation of historic buildings while allowing the developments to build higher. [...]

"Based on a recent study, the City has certified approximately 5.3 million square feet of TDR originating from 112 buildings downtown. [...]

"Mr. Updike also notes that the market conditions are very favorable now given the current real estate market. [...]

"Such additional TDRs are potentially available from City Hall, Asian Art Museum, Bill Graham Auditorium and 101 Grove Street (Public Health Building)."

The Chiu and Wiener resolution was unanimously passed by the board in late January (http://tinyurl.com/BOS-passes-TDR-reso).

What all this means is that we could see new developments built over City real estate in the coming years, the process for doing so is quite complex and involves many stakeholders, and the only current project slated for sale of air rights is the Veterans Building.

Still, we're nervous about City Hall leaders, who are too friendly in our opinion with the developers and tech firms looking for more construction projects, considering selling precious air rights over our iconic public buildings.

We need to keep our eyes on the TDRs and how they will impact San Francisco's landscape, along with the changes that will trickle down to ordinary citizens and potentially negatively impact low and moderate income renters.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Glen Park Area Outreach & Posters on Display
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Our terrific volunteers went out to the Glen Park area of District 8 and taped up a few dozen of our campaign signs. They energetically engaged with voters,distributed our union-made buttons and handed out campaign cards.

We're hoping the voters who expressed dissatisfaction with the incumbent Supervisor check out our Facebook page, as they promised to do. Of course, we'd love to have them also mark their first choice on the ballot for Petrelis!

It's great to see our posters have gone up in Noe Valley, the Castro business district, the Mission, around Dolores Park, along the Church Street business corridor and near Duboce Triangle Park.

Many thanks to the volunteers and contributors who've made this outreach and poster display possible. If you're pissed off, #VotePetrelis!




Closed-Door Job Evaluation of SF Fire Chief Protested
By Michael Petrelis

The San Francisco Fire Commission met yesterday afternoon for a regularly scheduled meeting and I was there for a few reasons, starting with verbally protesting how Chief Joanne Hayes-White's performance would be discussed out of public view.

As you may know, she's been under withering criticism from Supervisor London Breed, a former member of the fire commission, members of the firefighters union and its bosses, and ambulance workers and their parent companies over issues such as long response time for EMT vehicles.

However, Mayor Ed Lee has stood by Hayes-White and has given no indication that he's unsatisfied with her leadership and several women in leadership positions at City Hall have come to her defense.

During public comment about Hayes-White's report to the commission, I protested the closed-door evaluation that would happen at the end of the meeting and stated it was a huge disservice to the taxpayers, the general public and the safety of citizens to conduct the evaluation out of public view.

I mentioned that she's faced a pitchfork brigade and a trial by fire, no pun intended, in the media, and that I wanted facts unfiltered about her leadership protecting the public from fires and solving the ambulance response time crisis.

Even though the job evaluation would be behind closed-doors, I still requested a summary be issued to the public about what transpired in the session. I also distributed my #VotePetrelis campaign cards to folks.

How the heck are we taxpayers supposed to fairly judge Hayes-White's performance if we don't have access to the information and details presented to and debated by the fire commission? Yes, I understand privacy protections for public employees, but when that employee is responsible for a vast portion of public safety a way must be found to provide some degree of transparency to the public.

The fire commission owes everyone additional data about the job performance and evaluation of the chief.


Chief Hayes-White giving her report.

 Two ambulance workers. Minutes do not reflect the diversity of attendees at commission meetings.

Yours truly at the podium before the meeting began.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

'Petrelis Requested Records' Page Created at City Attorney's Site
By Michael Petrelis

Sure wish I knew what brought a complete turnaround from City Attorney Dennis Herrera and his staff regarding my May request for his right-hand's emails, which are created with taxpayer infrastructure and public documents. I'd like to repeat the achievement here with other elected officials.

Herrera's City-funded site now includes a Resources page entitled "Michael Petrelis Requested Records" (http://tinyurl.com/SFCityAtty-Petrelis-page), and reads:

"[Here] are records responsive to Michael Petrelis' request for emails to and from Tara Collins between March 1 and May 28, 2014. Because the large file sizes -- which together exceed 68 MB -- may be unwieldy for some email systems, these have been uploaded to this web page for the requester's convenience."

A huge leap forward for San Francisco government transparency has been accomplished with these emails now on the web and just a few clicks away.

First, the City Attorney ended months of ignoring my request. Second, the office profusely apologized for the tardiness and neglect in responding. Third, they agreed to produce the public records.

Now, the fourth and biggest sunshine accomplishment here is the City Attorney has previously unreleased public records, a total of six (6) volumes, available for anyone to read.

This development begs the question of why can't we have Herrera and every City department sharing every public records request made to them and the responsive documents posted on their department's web sites? Doing this on a monthly basis would greatly expand San Francisco's City Hall transparency and make our elected officials more accountable to taxpayers.





Monday, October 27, 2014

African-American Dem Club Endorses #VotePetrelis
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

We've received our first and only endorsement from a local political group. Word came earlier this week from the African-American Democratic Club that they've given us their third choice endorsement and we're pleased to have this stamp of approval.

Honestly, we were surprised when the email from club president Jo Elias-Jackson, arrived informing of us this endorsement because we hadn't received a questionnaire from the club but we're surely delighted they found reason to like our DIY Democracy effort.

The African-American Democratic Club's endorsement is the second backing from a San Francisco based organization, as we previously received the support of the Anti Eviction Mapping Project, which doesn't endorse candidates but their members felt strongly enough about our candidacy to throw some love our way.

Thank you, Jo Elias-Jackson, pictured, and fellow leaders of the African-American Democratic Club for your endorsement.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

City Attorney Apologizes for 'Tardiness and Neglect'
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Never underestimate the amount of bull fecal matter that can flow from an elected official in San Francisco when having to adhere to open governmentsunshine laws, especially City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office.

He's supposed to be the chief enforcer of such laws and yet his office has ignored my public records request filed on May 30, for copies of the emails from Herrera's top assistant Tara Collins.

As our #VotePetrelis team noted on October 17, the City Attorney sought a continuance regarding our impending hearing at the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force regarding the failure to produce the public records, and Herrera cited no reason for the continuance which we emphatically opposed.

A few days ago, Herrera's staff publicist Matt Dorsey, who was copied on my original records request and subsequent emails to the City Attorney's Office, sent this remarkable note:

It came to my attention earlier this week that our office had never responded to your request for emails to and from Tara Collins between March 1 and May 28, 2014, and I write to apologize to you on behalf of the City Attorney's Office for our tardiness and neglect.

I also want to apologize to you personally, because my team is ultimately responsible for processing Sunshine requests, and it is clear that I was less diligent in my oversight than I should have been in making sure your request was being handled appropriately.

A number of people pitched-in over the last few days to go through the material you requested as expeditiously as possible, in order to make the necessary redactions, and I now have six PDFs of responsive records to send to you. [...]

Again, my apologies for this. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yes, it's good to see the City Attorney acknowledge this outrageous tardiness and neglect, which is sadly standard operating procedure for Herrera's staff and we look forward to poring over the responsive records, however, we intend to pursue our SOTF complaint in order to once and for all put an end to the delays and obfuscations of Herrera's office.

We must point out Dorsey is a member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee and once told the New York Times the SOTF was a "rogue, lawless jury" and its meetings "tedious kangaroo court (http://tinyurl.com/Dorsey-NYTimes), to bolster our case that he is a professional and loyal functionary of the permanent ruling class at City Hall and within the Democratic Party.

Don't like this sort of underhandedness from a public servant, at the City Attorney's Office where the incumbent District 8 Supervisor was a deputy before being elected to the Board of Supervisors? Want to send a message to Herrera, Dorsey, City Hall and Democratic loyalists carving up San Francisco for the rich and powerful?

If you're pissed off, #VotePetrelis!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Guardian Staff-Deleted Public Comments Scrubbed 
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Crucial progressive San Francisco history has been scrubbed from the defunct Bay Guardian's still-functioning web site (http://www.sfbg.com/),and the culprits for the massive deletion aren't the corporate owners but the former staffers.

Back in August, the editorial staffers were so fed up with public comments on the paper's site that they discontinued commenting for a number of reasons:

"We’ve decided to indefinitely suspend comments on SFBG.com. [...] But the anonymity that Guardian commenters enjoy on our current website has poisoned the well and rendered this forum a poor place for respectful public debate. [...] But the daily free-for-all is over, at least for now. Trolls and spammers begone." (Source: http://tinyurl.com/Guardian-scrubs-all-comments.)

Not only were the trolls and spammers gone, but so were years of comments (some positive, other negative, along with responses from Guardian staff, etc.) were scrubbed and few raised a complaint. We took to Twitter and said Stalin would approve of the scrubbing.

It's one thing to end commenting when you can't afford a moderator, but it's a whole other ball of wax for the Guardian staff to also scrub important criticism and praise and debate because they don't approve of what was written or who wrote the words.

Yesterday, the longtime editor who resigned last year over staff cuts, Tim Redmond, at his new site 48 Hills, was remarkably unconcerned (ignorant perhaps?) of the missing comments:

"The owners of the Bay Guardian, who shut the paper down Monday, have at least gotten one message: It’s not okay to take offline the website and digital archive of the paper. After going down for two days, sfbg.com was live late this afternoon. So the years and years of back stories can once again be found." (http://tinyurl.com/Remond-Guardian-archive.)

If only the owners, the former staff and Redmond all got the message that it's wrong to scrub the Guardian's site of historical commentary, including from their own remarks to the critics. The #VotePetrelis team wants the comments restored to the paper's site and hope all progressives agree with us that such history must be preserved.


Friday, October 24, 2014

City Attorney Seeks Delay on Emails Complaint
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

San Francisco's enforcer of all applicable open government and transparency laws is supposed to be City Attorney Dennis Herrera, yet he and his office staff are widely recognized as hindrances in terms of enforcement and compliance.

Earlier this year, the #VotePetrelis team filed public records requests for emails related to Jo Becker's gay marriage book "Forcing the Spring", and we showed that the City Attorney had practically turned his office into a boutique PR firm for the author and her book tour stop in San Francisco.

Since Herrera follows Willie Brown's dictum of never writing anything down and leaving a paper or email trail, he does not receive or send any emails from his official city addy.

However, his deputy assistant Tara Collins serves as his email gatekeeper and we filed a request in May for her emails and work calender for a few months, but we never received any responsive public records so a complaint was lodged with the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.

Last week, we were informed that our complaint would be heard next week but we knew this didn't mean we'd finally have the matter adjudicated by the SOTF because we expected a delay or obfuscation attempt by the City Attorney. Lo, that's what happened.

Here's the SOTF note explaining the delay request:

"The Respondent (Office of the City Attorney) in the above mentioned matters has requested a continuance on the hearing of the complaint scheduled for October 28, 2014, to the next regularly scheduled meeting.

"The Sunshine Ordinance Task Force's complaint procedure states in Section B.8..b: If a respondent submits a request for continuance at least three business days in advance, upon agreement of the complainant the continuance shall be granted. If the complainant does not agree to the continuance, the request for continuance is not made within three business days, or the respondent is requesting a subsequent continuance, such continuance shall be granted by a simple majority vote of the members present.

"Please let me know if you agree or disagree with the request for continuance.

"File No. 14066: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against Tara Collins, City Attorney’s Office, for allegedly violating Sunshine Ordinance Section 67.25 for failure to respond to a request for public documents in a timely manner dated May 30, 2014."


Yes, we've responded to the SOTF disagreeing with the delay request and we now wait to hear from the task force regarding next steps.

The City Attorney has never acknowledged receiving our request and failed to comply with responsive public records created with taxpayer funds, and for unstated reasons want to push back when the SOTF would delve into the matter.

Standard operating b.s. for San Francisco's top sunshine enforcer and Dennis Herrera should be widely criticized for blocking access to public records from his office.

In this photo from a recent Sundance Film Festival, Herrera is on the right next to former Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solomnese. Thanks to a public records request, we learned that Herrera billed San Francisco taxpayer for his junket and promotion of a film in which he appeared.

Silent Epic Classic 'Eliso' at PFA, Score Performed Live


You have two opportunities to experience a rare cinematic treat over in Berkeley this weekend. The Pacific Film Archive presents two screenings of the silent classic "Eliso" as part of their extensive retrospective of Georgian cinema, and as added bonus a new score will be performed live by the Trio Kavkasia.

Here's an excerpt from the program notes to whet your celluloid appetite about "Eliso":

This historical epic evokes the tragic fate of a nation pacified in 1864 by the Tsarist Russian Empire. When authorities begin to appropriate arable lands, the peasants are forced to evacuate under terrible conditions. In the village of Verdi, we find Eliso, whose love for Vazho is encumbered by differences of class and religion. Yet the most overwhelming passion in this cherished classic is the depiction of Georgia’s majestic landscape and the deep-rooted traditions of its people.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of discovering the visually astonishing and criminally over-looked Georgian masterpiece "Molba" at the PFA with a full and appreciative audience. "Molba" was so thrilling and just a small taste of this nation's rich cinematic history, I wished the PFA were closer so I could catch more of this series.

If you have any interest in silent films or classics from Eastern Europe, don't miss this exclusive chance to view "Eliso" on the big screen and experience the score, commissioned by the PFA, filling your ears as it's played and sung live by the Trio Kavkasia musicians.

A note to San Francisco cineastes and adventuresome budding film-lovers, who maybe not be familiar with the location of the PFA. It's situated on the University of California at Berkeley campus and short walk from the downtown Berkeley BART station, and well worth traveling to for "Eliso".

"Eliso" plays on Saturday, October 25, at 6:30 pm and again on Sunday, October 26, at 4:00 pm. I'm catching the screening and performance. Click here for more info and details about purchasing advance tickets.
AIDS Healthcare Fdtn Shuts Church Street Pharmacy
By Michael Petrelis

An agreement was recently reached between the Maitri Hospice and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's over the former's lawsuit against the latter which was a tenant under the hospice's facility on Church and Duboce Streets.

At issue was the foundation's failure to pay rent for the space it was renting to operate a thrift store in the front, with counseling services and a pharmacy in the back.

Last week's Bay Area Reporter said the agreement was confidential and that AHF was expected to vacate the Maitri premises by November 15. That space would be a great #VotePetrelis office!

You may recall a number of AIDS and healthcare advocates, myself included, launched a boycott of the AHF pharmacy on 18th Street in the Castro over AHF's opposition to use of Truvada as a prevention strategy for men and women at-risk of contracting HIV.

This AIDS nonprofit faces much criticism from many HIV prevention experts and activists, charity watchdogs, adult erotic performers and the porn industry. AHF is widely known for refusing to cooperate with community organizers or porn producers.

AHF is in the process of expanding their pharmacy in the Castro and I remind everyone who opposes the conservative approach of the nonprofit to boycott the pharmacy.

I passed by their Church and Duboce location recently and snapped these photos showing AHF has moved out. If only the empty space equaled curbing the Nanny State policies of the group's leader Michael Weinstein and a reduction of their influence, I'd be quite pleased.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sean Strub, Poz Mag Founder, Donates to #VotePetrelis
By Michael Petrelis

My friend Sean Strub published a memoir this year entitled "Body Counts" and he graciously mentioned my unique brand of HIV advocacy on the first page, which was an 
honor to be included in his personal history book.

Sean has spent decades advocating for the rights of LGBT folks and people living with AIDS, and many know him as the founder of Poz magazine. We met back during the dark plague years when we both were members of ACT UP/New York.

Today he made a generous contribution to our DIY Democracy campaign of $100, as a show of support for me individually and the ideal of more HIV positive people running for elective office.

It's my hope that you'll be inspired by his donation and today make a contribution to my campaign for District 8 Supervisor. All the info you need to do this is in the About box on the left of this Facebook page.

There are only three weeks left until Election Day and a donation of any amount from $5 to the maximum allowed of $500, would go a long way toward assisting me in garnering votes. Please give today.

And thank you, Sean, for the monetary support and friendship!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

12 Reasons to #VotePetrelis
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

A District 8 voter asked recently us why he should vote for Michael, now that he's received his vote-by-mail ballot and wants to send it back to the Department of Elections.

We reeled off several reasons he should use his first ranked-choice vote for us, starting with he's not pleased with the politics of the incumbent Supervisor.

Then we provided him with a few accomplishments we brought about this year that he should consider as cause to vote for us:

1. Persuaded the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to repaint white bike lane stripes protecting riders near the dangerous Market and Octavia Street intersection at the ramp to the highway. The repainting was done in August.

2. Succeeded in getting the Department of Public Works to steam clean hazardous pigeon poop from surfaces at the 16th Street BART Plaza, while also nudging the Department of Public Health, the SFMTA and BART to expand pigeon proofing and other measures to increase sanitary conditions at this transit hub. This multi-agency advocacy project transpired over June and July.

3. Obtained emails from the City Attorney Dennis Herrera's staff revealing that this office provided extensive public relations assistance, using taxpayer-funded infrastructure including organizing an author meet-and-greet inside the City Attorney's City Hall office, to assist promoting a book about Prop 8 that showcases Herrera in a favorable light. This act of civic transparency and accountability was in May.

4. Requested and received the names and demographics on all city residents killed by members of the San Francisco Police Department, in officer-involved-shootings. For the first time ever, we had a central list of all 168 such fatal shootings stretching back to 1939. The SFPD released this info in April.

5. Posted on the web in May, for the first time, a similar list of all BART police officer-involved fatal shootings.

6. After seven years of lobbying, in March convinced the DPH's director Barbara Garcia and the Health Commission to broadcast their bi-monthly meetings on SF Gov TV, bringing much-needed transparency to the DPH and its decision-making process.

7. Revealed that Protocol Chief Charlotte Shultz has a nonprofit group that receives $250,000 annually in taxpayer funds to host soirees and she's violated the sunshine law requiring the nonprofit's board to hold two public meetings each year. It took six months of public records requests to hold Shultz accountable and follow the city dollars that she uses for parties with her friends.

8. Showed that Mayor Ed Lee and his staff hadn't sent a condolence note to Alex Nieto's family and friends after he was fatally shot by an SFPD office, to express condolences over his death. This info came to light after a public records act request was made in September.

9. Obtained the list of all attendees at Mayor Ed Lee's invitation-only meeting with tech firms and executives, where current and future city policies related to the tech industry were discussed, providing sunshine over whom the Mayor meets with behind closed doors. The list was posted on the web in January.

10. Organized a picket and press conference in July at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's pharmacy in the Castro to protest their unscientific opposition to using Truvada as a method to prevent HIV transmission to negative individuals.

11. Asked for and received monthly calendars from nine of the eleven members of the Board of Supervisors, along with the calendars from the Clerk of Board, and in January shared them on the web while calling on the Supervisors to voluntarily post their monthly calendars on their-city funded web sites.

12. For the first time, making the full audio of Dan White's bone-chilling confession to murdering George Moscone and Harvey Milk available on the web, after requesting a copy of it from the city archive at the San Francisco Public Library back in April. There can never be too much multi-media LGBT history on the web.

Just a few reasons why District 8 voters should make Petrelis their number one choice on their ballots in the remaining three weeks before Election Day.

Here's a photo of Petrelis with his friend and endorser Veronika Fimbres.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Russian Gays Attacked on Coming Out Day in Moscow
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

One of our Russian LGBT friends, Andrew Obolensky, emailed us recently with news about Russian Orthodox Christians harassing his advocacy group, The Rainbow Association, on October 10th. The good news is that no gays were seriously harmed and a lecture took place in spite of the harassment, but the bad news is anti-gay forces acted with impunity and no repercussions from the police.

He's requested that we share this information:

"This Friday a group of homophobes attacked the Sakharov Center in Moscow and beset it for more than 2 hours. Their goal was to disrupt the event organized by the local LGBT community, dedicated to the International Coming Out Day and attended by more than 50 people.

"On October 10, Sakharov Center, which promotes human rights for all Russians, was hosting an annual interactive meeting titled 'Be Open – And Your World Will Get Broader'.

"Soon after the beginning several dozens of aggressive religious homophobes headed by Dmitry Enteo, alias Dmitry Tsorionov, showed up. They brought the posters and Orthodox icons and started to scream hateful slogans, trying break into the building. They started to throw eggs at the participants who were on their way to the event, threatening physical violence. Meanwhile, the homophobes were giving interviews to the media claiming that the organizers of the meeting are molesting children at this meeting.

"After half an hour, a police squad arrived. They inquired, what are the goals of the event, who allowed this event to be held, and if this event violates the 'gay propaganda' law. The police did not allow anyone from leaving the building unless the participants who their documents in order to prove there was no minors present at the venue.

"This controversial behaviour of police was appreciated by the leader of the homophobic attackers Enteo who on his Twitter account welcomed the cooperation between the police and the Orthodox activists.

"The crucial thing is that despite the attack and the violations on the part of police (some media quoted police saying that the behaviour of the homophobes was peaceful'), the annual interactive meeting was a success. The organizers received very positive feedback from the participants. And thanks to the efforts of the staff of the Sakharov Center and the LGBT activists, homophobes did not make it inside of the building and nobody was hurt."

As you well know, Michael has long been active as a global organizer for gay human rights and while the troubles of our friends in Moscow in recent days aren't an issue in the District 8 Supervisor race, we feel it's important to give attention to this incident on Friday.

The #VotePetrelis team salutes the bravery of our LGBT friends who every day take steps that demand protection of their human rights and show the world that gay Russians are out, loud and proud!


 The attackers gathering outside the LGBT meeting.

 LGBT Russians and allies conducted their lecture inside the center as planned.

Remnants of eggs that hit a gay leader are visible on his head and jacket.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#VotePetrelis Posters Now Up on District 8 Streets
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Our fabulous DIY Democracy campaign posters went up on October 10th on select utility poles around District 8 and we're hoping they attract the eyeballs of voters.

Several posters were taped up near pedestrian crosswalks, where people may spend a few extra moments reading the posters before crossing the street.

If you wish to donate money to increase the number of posters we can display with just over three-weeks left before Election Day, please do so using PayPal or sending a check to our post office box.

Thanks, to all our donors who made this signage possible!



Weekend Woof #92 : Big Bears & Muscle Boy

One aspect of campaigning for District 8 Supervisor of San Francisco is meeting-and-greeting lots of handsome men on the street or just watching them and snapping a few photos as they walk around.

Here are just a few of the dudes we've seen recently out and about who caught our queer eye. Thanks for gracing the lens of our camera.

And how was your week for cruising men and boys?








Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ebola Signs Posted at UCSF's HIV Clinic
By Michael Petrelis

October 10 was my follow up visit date to get lab results from a blood draw two weeks ago and it was impossible to ignore the many signs at the HIV clinic about Ebola.

They were impossible to ignore starting with the two at the reception desk, in the examining room where my vitals were taken, and also on a bulletin board in the hallway.

Even though Ebola has not spread to San Francisco, I was curious why several alerts were posted around the UCSF 360 Positive Clinic and asked my physician if there was a special concern for HIV poz folks about the Ebola epidemic.

Dr. Susa Coffey said the signs were put up because of heightened concerns among the healthcare workers throughout the UCSF clinics and hospitals, and administrators want to build general awareness regarding Ebola.

It's never too early to educate everyone about a public health hazard and I certainly understand the fears healthcare workers have, coming in contact with lots of people with illnesses and infections.

Personally, my lab results were pretty good considering the recent week-long bout with food poisoning and going off my AIDS cocktail and all meds during that time.

As I've written before, I'm a Truvada bore and take the drug (comprised of two treatments in one pill), to combat my HIV and hepatitis B infections, and it continues to radically reduce my hepatitis B viral load.

Before my consultation was over, I shared a #VotePetrelis campaign card and button with Dr. Coffey, who wished me all the best in the election.

Final point. Dr. Coffey was pleased I got my flu shot two-weeks ago because it means I'll have maximum protection during the height of the flu season. Have you had your flu shot yet?


Armistead Maupin, Scott Wiener & Me on Castro Street 
By Michael Petrelis
 


While out campaigning on Castro Street near Walgreens at approximately 3:30 pm on Saturday, October 11, I ran into "Tales of The City" author Armistead Maupin with whom I am acquainted because of my decades of HIV and LGBT activism.

When I asked for his endorsement in the District 8 race for Supervisor, Armistead said his policy is not to endorse any candidate.

But when I requested a photo of us together, he readily agreed to pose for my camera and we stopped a young woman walking by to snap a picture of us two happy homosexuals.

Barely a minute after we checked the images on my camera, none other than the incumbent, Scott Wiener, came striding up Castro Street and for perhaps two or three seconds we looked at each other.

He kept on walking up toward Market Street, Armistead and I finished our conversation, and I resumed campaigning giving out cards and buttons.

You never know who will cross your path when you're on the streets of District 8 soliciting votes and pushing visibility for the #VotePetrelis effort!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wiener Accepted Gilead's Medical Affairs VP's Donation 
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis


Last month, District 8 incumbent Supervisor Scott Wiener generated lots of media attention after disclosing he's taking Truvada as part of a PrEP regimen to avert contracting HIV.

The disclosure was made in advance of a hearing he and Supervisor David Campos held at City Hall, looking at a supplemental budget allocation to the Department of Public Health in order to investigate educational and cost issues related to Truvada for use for pre-exposure prophylaxis reasons.

We wondered why these gay Supervisors waited more than two-years since the FDA approved Truvada for prevention purposes and how many sexually-transmitted HIV infections occurred in San Francisco in this period that could have been averted if the at-risk individuals had access to PrEP.

A story in the Bay Area Reporter by longtime LGBT health writer Liz Highleyman on the hearing generated a comment from John Steen asking if either Supervisor had received donations from Gilead. Steen seems unaware that such info is a few clicks away.

The SF Ethics Commission's contributions search engine (http://tinyurl.com/SF-Ethics-search-engine),shows that Wiener in 2010 during his first run for Supervisor, received $125 from Hans Reiser who is Gilead's vice president for medical affairs.

We seriously doubt that donation played any role in Wiener pushing for the DPH to receive the Truvada educational allocation, but in the interests of providing transparency between the incumbent and Gilead we're sharing the info since it was omitted from the tremendous coverage last month.
Campos or Chiu: Who Got $ From Parks' Boss Phil Ginsburg? 
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis


You've probably heard about the video showing Latino youths and techies arguing over the Mission Playground soccer field, and who had the right to play on it one recent afternoon.

The video has been viewed on YouTube almost 348,000 times and you can watch it here: http://tinyurl.com/Mission-Soccer-mess.

There's a rally today, Thursday, October 16, from 9 to 10 am at City Hall to send a message to the Parks and Recreation Commission that the Mission Playground is not for sale and should remain public space without fees needed to play soccer.

As longtime proponents of returning the rainbow flagpole and LGBT Pride flag at Harvey Milk Plaza, which is public property, to the public and ending the control of the city owned property by the Castro Merchants, we're pleased to see the grassroots uprising over the Mission Playground and who gets access to public space.

The #VotePetrelis team will at the City Hall rally and more info about it can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/Rally-4-Mission-Playground.

Curious about the political leanings of Phil Ginsburg, the general manager of San Francisco Parks and Recreation, we checked his donations to candidates and discovered that he donated $250 in June to David Chiu's assembly campaign and nothing to his challenger David Campos.

Our source for this data comes from the Secretary of State's search engine for contributions made to candidates and committees: http://tinyurl.com/Cal-Access.

We want to make the political agenda of Ginsburg fully transparent as the battle over who gets access to San Francisco's public spaces enters a new phase.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Diverse Crowd at Yes on G Office Opening
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Momentum for Prop G, the anti-speculation housing tax measure, and the #VotePetrelis campaign gained steam at last week's party for the Yes on G office.

A beautifully diverse group of folks - Hispanics, LGBT people, artists, low and moderate income renters, blacks and whites, musicians, Asians - showed up to learn more about Yes on G.

We handed out lots of our cards and union-made buttons, and received heartfelt wishes of good luck in our District 8 Supervisorial effort from everyone we spoke with.

There were a few very short speeches encouraging everyone to display Yes on G signs in their home windows and talk with our friends and neighbors about voting yes on this prop. A good time was had by all.

We lobbied people to follow the https://twitter.com/YesOnG_SF feed and to spread the hashtag #YesonG far and wide on Twitter.

Here are our photos from the party.






Monday, October 13, 2014

Early Voting Happening Now at City Hall
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

This video was made recently to educate District 8 and all San Francisco voters that early voting started on Monday, October 6th down at the Department of Elections inside City Hall.

Everyone on the #VotePetrelis team urges you to vote early, make sure you're registered to vote and if you haven't signed up to vote yet or you've moved, you have until October 20th to register.

For more information about everything to do with this year's election, please visit the department's web site: http://www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=599.

Like every other SF Giants fan, we're very happy our team won its long game the other night in Washington, DC, against the Nationals. After 18 innings of play, it now enters the history books as the longest postseason game on record.

Check out the colorful video which includes a shoutout to the Giants.




Sunday, October 12, 2014

#VotePetrelis is Top Listing on November Ballot
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis


The Department of Elections has posted the sample ballot for District 8 voters and in the Supervisorial race we're at the top of the list.

Until we looked at the sample ballot today, we had no idea the random lottery that determines the line up made us the first name out of all the candidates.

Let's hope this ranking gets us a few extra votes this election season.

All District 8 voters who are voting for Petrelis should consider this strategy to make their vote carry as much weight as possible in our ranked-choice voting system.

Make Petrelis your number one choice and leave your second and third choice columns completely blank, and you'll be giving an extra boost to us.

Given that the incumbent, barring a miraculous upset that is highly unlikely, will get 50% plus 1 of the first round of votes, the Department of Elections won't be counting second or third choices.

Whether voting by mail, at City Hall or at your local polling station, really make your vote for Petrelis count this election and vote only for us in the first column.

We'd appreciate it if you'd do us this important act of exercising your right to vote and using that vote to send a powerful message of dissatisfaction with the incumbent and his policies and legislative agenda.
ACT UP Vets Mark Castro Sweep Via Protest Songs
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Members of the original ACT UP/San Francisco chapter who were present at the October 6, 1989, Castro Sweep twenty-five year ago marked the anniversary with a one-hour vigil and singing of protest songs on Monday, October 6, 2014.

Francis Collins, who's at many a progressive protest with his guitar adding music to demonstrations, and Dennis McMillan, alias Sister Dana Van Iquity of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, spoke at Castro and 18th Streets about the SFPD roughing up LGBT and HIV activists to the point of leaving them bloody and harmed.

The vigil commemorated the Castro Sweep and also delivered visual solidarity with the Yes on G ballot prop, the anti-speculation tax that will protect renters if passed, and the #VotePetrelis candidacy.

Dean Oullette was a member of ACT UP/New York and he used a Sharpie and large piece of cardboard to spell out why we gathered in the gayborhood last night.

A gay couple and their pooch came to the vigil to get #VotePetrelis signs and let us know they're voting for Petrelis. They allowed Petrelis to pose with their adorable little dog.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the vigil and to Bill Wilson for snapping the great photos.