Saturday, October 31, 2015

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Treasurer Expands SF Govt Records Access for the Public

Let's applaud Jose Cisneros, San Francisco's treasurer and an out gay politician, for moving quickly to expand sunshine at his office. His site lacked an addy for where to send public records requests, and I want to obtain his monthly work calendars, so I tweeted my request to Cisneros.

Asked him to add a sunshine addy to his taxpayer-funded web site and it was done fast. One small step in our constant push for easier and expanded access to our govt records created with our public dollars. Thanks, Jose!


Friday, October 30, 2015

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UN's Iran Report's One LGBT Human Rights Citation

The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for Human Rights in Iran is Ahmed Shaheed and his just-released report has received much mainstream media attention none of which mentioned the resounding omission of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and human rights violations they suffer.

There is a single citation contained here, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/70/411, and bears scrutiny. Of 291 recommendations, twelve were about LGBT categories for 2.9 percentage of the total recommendations. The number of recommendations accepted by Iran zero in absolute and percent figures.


In 26-pages, the atrocities of Iran's execution machine with 694 reported hangings from January 1 through September 15, and horrendous human rights record across the board and particularly violations against women and girls, are documented and deserve all the attention the receive from the special rapporteur.

However, it's my view that a full-page could and should have been included about the abysmal state of LGBT citizens in Iran and violations of human rights protections. Sadly, the UN has missed a valuable opportunity to include our human rights concerns among others inside Iran in this worthwhile report. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

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Mirkarimi's Plan After Losing His Election?

In recent days, beleaguered and controversial sheriff of San Francisco, Ross Mirkarimi, opened a small storefront office on 24th and Capp Streets in the Mission.

I stopped there today, chatted with the manager Tom Taylor, seen in the video in a Reelect Ross tee shirt, and the devil himself came strolling up.

Mirkarimi had an Associated Press wire photographer with him and another man who wouldn't give me his name or shake my hand, along with his wife Eliana Lopez.

Here's the video of our exchange shot around 12:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct 28th:


SF Elections Certifies Me as Eligible Write-In Candidate

More than the required number of signatures from registered voters were turned in to the San Francisco Department of Elections by yours truly last week. Their site has updated the list of all eligible write-in mayoral candidates and I'm on it. Remember to connect the arrow on your ballot after writing-in my name in the appropriate slot. Here are pics snapped by my friend and longtime community documentarian Bill Wilson, of my visit to the Elections office.

 My nomination papers are inspected for all the legally required info from candidates.

Shaking hands with Walter after my papers were accepted and stamped as filed.

Another worker gives me a handshake.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2-Bdrm Mission Apt Rent Lowered 26% for Open House

Remember my post of October 15th, all about the managing agent for where Mike and I live informing us that the owner originally wanted $4500 for the two-bedroom unit above us and since lowered her asking price down to $3950? I have an update.

Mike searched Craigslist for our address and found an ad from the listing agent hired by the management company, stating the apartment was now priced at $3295, and that there's an open house to show the unit to prospective renters.

We're curious why it's listed as a one-bedroom when all units comfortably contain two bedrooms, when the living room is used as a bedroom still leaving the den/TV room as shared space.

Is there any lesson to be drawn from this one unit in the San Francisco Mission, about how a landlord wanted $4500 only to drop the asking price down by 26% to $3290? Not sure there's a larger point to be made about the state of affordable rental housing here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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D.A. Gascon is Still Violating the SF Sunshine Law

I've lost track of how many complaints I brought to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and appearances before them regarding District Attorney George Gascon's longstanding refusal to keep a simple daily work calendar as required by that pesky problem known as the law. Here is what San Francisco's statute lays out regarding the DA and calendars:

BookmarkSEC. 67.29-5.  CALENDARS OF CERTAIN OFFICIALS.
"(a)   The Mayor, City Attorney, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, District Attorney, Public Defender, Sheriff, every member of the Board of Supervisors, and every Department Head shall keep or cause to be kept a daily calendar wherein is recorded the time and place of each meeting or event attended by that official, either in person or by teleconference or other electronic means, with the exclusion of purely personal or social events at which no City business is discussed and that do not take place at City Offices or at the offices or residences of people who do substantial business with or are otherwise substantially financially affected by actions of the City. For meetings not otherwise publicly recorded, the calendar shall include a general statement of issues discussed. Such calendars shall be public records and shall be available to any requester three business days subsequent to the calendar entry date."

By no stretch of the imagination has Emperor Gascon met the spirit or letter of this law. My latest request for his calendars for August and September, produced responsive records showing a willful and continuing pattern of ignoring his legal duties as an elected official.

Let's go over a few of his daily calendars in the comments.


A typical day for Gascon includes putting his mug before cameras and media folks. On September 9th, his only duty on behalf of taxpayers was to run his mouth with Univision. I guess for the rest of the day he was plotting his reelection campaign strategy. As with too many San Francisco elected offices, the DA is up before the voters this year and faces not a single serious or alternative challenger.


One of Gascon's favorite entries, over his tenure as DA, is this: "ALL DAY. DA to conduct meetings in office." Why bother with deets like who was at the meetings, what was discussed and length of their running time? That would mean adhering to the full meaning of the sunshine law.

At the last two SOTF meetings where my complaint was heard, DA spokesman Alex Bastian, who is always woefully unprepared with written documents and deets, again said their office had been in contact with the City Attorney about this matter and changes in how the DA keeps his calendar had been implemented.

No, Bastian said, the alleged changes had not been memorialized in a memo or email between the DA and CA but we just has to believe him that Gascon is acting legally. The SOTF members, as in the past, weren't buying the b.s. Bastian was repeating from previous hearings.


This is my favorite work day for Gascon. Not even an "all-day office meetings" entry. His entire business hour work day is blank. However, ever the ambitious political animal with a hungry eye on running for California attorney general and needing to keep his face and name before voters, he appeared at a neighborhood association meeting.

Press interviews and news conferences and appearances before voters and speaking engagements around town and the nation, all are the most listed events on Gascon's alleged work calendar. 

So much for a DA delivering the goods to taxpayers with genuine sunshine principles the order of the day. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Post-op Slimming & Write-in 4 SF Mayor: Video Report

This past Tuesday, Oct. 20th, marked six-weeks since I had my stomach bypass surgery, and I've shot a video about some of the changes for me. Might give you a few insights how I've safely shed 45-pounds, feel energetic, wearing smaller sized clothes and running as a write-in candidate for mayor of San Francisco. Check this out:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

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Sup. Christensen's $100K Slush Fund: How Money was Spent

In less than 12-hours, the City Controller's office responded to my public records request for the district office allocations, slush fund in my view, of each member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Every supervisor annually receives $100,000 in taxpayer fund to sprinkle around on small projects. These figures are for FY 14/15.

Do you approve of where your supervisor spent her or his money? Regardless of where you reside, your thoughts about any of the supervisors' allocations?

Let's follow the money. Click to enlarge:







Friday, October 23, 2015

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Mayor's Vatican Junket = SFPD's $11,380 Protection Costs

My public records request to the San Francisco police department last week, for names of personnel who traveled out of town, and the reason why, from January 2013 through the end of September.

Responsive records show a total of $325,508 was spent over all for taxpayer money reimbursed to police personnel, but what stood out were the blank columns for names of officers who provided protection for Mayor Ed Lee when jetting off around state, country and globe-trotting.

Total costs of protecting the mayor came to $67,925.

There are thrity-seven listings for mayoral trips and the most expense tab for us was $11,380 to give Ed Lee security during his junket to Vatican City in July to meet with Catholic leaders about climate change.

You can read the document where the figures came from here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Write-In Petrelis 4 Mayor Campaign Video

This week, I took the final steps necessary to become a qualified write-in candidate for mayor of San Francisco. Enough valid signatures on my nominating papers were submitted to and verified by the Department of Elections. I had to swear fidelity to the national and state constitutions and to faithfully carry out my duties, if elected mayor.

Whether you're a mail-in voter or someone who casts a ballot at a polling station on Election Day, using a pen or market, you need to write my name on the write-in line for first choice in the mayoral race section of your ballot.

IMPORTANT INFO: You need to connect the arrow pointing to my name that you've written in. The image below gives you a visual reminder of how to properly cast your vote for me.


Check out my video and I hope to receive your vote for mayor of San Francisco this election season.

City Hall Hearing: Petrelis v. Sup. Breed & DA Gascon

[Dated October 20th, but posted today. Bottom line outcome: Breed and Gascon directed to release desired public records as soon as possible, and a full, detailed calendar for the DA.]

There is a hearing today at the Sunshine Ordinance Task Forces's Compliance Committee at 4 pm in Room 400 at City Hall, and I have four complaints that will be adjudicated.

Three are against the staunch anti-open govt practitioner Board of Supervisors President London Breed, who was the only member to vote against Sup. John Avalos's law requiring members to keep and release work calendars.

The other complaint, again, is against District Attorney George Gascon who previously was the subject of a similar complaint to keep a detailed daily calendar. What he maintains is a calendar is an insult to the taxpayers.

These are my items on today's calendar for the SOTF:

File No. 15029: Hearing on the status of the Order of Determination Order - Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against President London Breed, Board of Supervisor, for violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Section 67.21(e), for failure to send a knowledge representative to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force hearing regarding failure to respond to an Immediate Disclosure Request in a timely and/or complete manner.

File No. 15060: Hearing on the status of the Order of Determination: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against President London Breed, Board of Supervisors, for violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Sections 67.21(e), for failure to send a knowledge representative to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force hearing regarding failure to respond to an Immediate Disclosure Request in a timely and/or complete manner.

File No. 15067: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against President London Breed, Board of Supervisors, for allegedly violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Sections 67.21 and 67.25, for failure to respond an Immediate Disclosure Request in a timely and/or complete manner. (attachment) (a) Determination of jurisdiction on complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against President London Breed, Board of Supervisors. (Discussion and Action) (b) Hearing on complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against President London Breed, Board of Supervisors. (Discussion and Action)

File No. 15063: Hearing on the status of the Order of Determination: Complaint filed by Michael Petrelis against District Attorney George Gascon and the Office of the District Attorney for violating Administrative Code (Sunshine Ordinance), Sections 67.25(a) and 67.29-5, for failure to respond an Immediate Disclosure Request in a timely and/or complete manner and failure to maintain a daily calendar wherein is recorded the time and place of each meeting or event attended.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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Willie Brown No Longer an SF Chronicle Columnist?

Whenever the ethically-challenged former mayor of San Francisco and current Chronicle writer Willie Brown is mentioned in the paper, outside of his Sunday column, reference is always made to the fact he's on the staff. No so in yesterday's Style section expensive valentine to haberdasher Wilkes Bashford, who's BFF's with Willie.

Writer Caroline Zinko's profile of Bashford and the photo caption accompanying images by Russell Yip and the credits, yes, end credits for the media package and who created it, mention Brown five times. Omitted is his role as a Chronicle columnist.

Is Brown no longer a write for the paper? He's still there and his column appeared yesterday, but I am sure am curious why the Style section failed to disclose Brown's link to the Chronicle.

Let's be honest here. The glory days of this publication are fading into the mists of the past, and more and more the Chronicle's over all coverage of local news and folks - from the news section to the Style supplement - is all about the wealthy and powerful.

Sure, the editors and reporters toss in occasional news pieces and whatnot about ordinary folks and the disfigurement of the City due to Big Tech and the affordable housing crunch and income disparities, but those are crumbs.

The real meat and potatoes of the Chronicle is puffing up Brown and pals, and the rich tech dudes and occasional dame.

From the profile:






Friday, October 16, 2015

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No Renters for $3950 Two-Bedroom Mission Apartment

The unmarried gay couple that lived directly above us on Clinton Park, btwn Guerrero and Valencia Streets, moved out at the end of May. Their two bedroom apartment has been empty ever since.

Yesterday, Rob, our building's manager for the landlord who lives in Washington state, stopped by for maintenance reasons and I asked him why apartment number three remains vacant. Considering how sizzling hot the Mission is right now, and the sky-high rents a lot of techies are paying to be here, it just doesn't seem possible an apartment would not have tenants for an extended time.

Rob said the landlord wanted $4500 and it took a while to talk her down to the current asking rental price of $3950. A leasing agent has shown the apartment ten times and no one who viewed expressed interested in signing the lease.

When I asked Rob how this could be, with a boom taking place and all, and he replied that the market is softening. Oh, news to me.

Mike and I are not complaining that the apartment is empty because it means our homo-home is very quiet, but it sure as heck seems odd no one wants to rent the two-bedroom flat.

Exterior shot of the empty apartment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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Berkeley's Homeless Change Boxes Took In How Much $$?
Mike and I have spent time recently in Berkeley attending shows at the Aurora Theater and the Berkeley Rep, and we noticed the square boxes on traffic light poles soliciting funds.
Money donated is intended for homeless programs and run by the business improvement group for the area. I asked them for facts and figures about funds raised since the boxes were installed in May.
Over at the Berkeleyside news site, Seung Y. Lee reported in the spring on how the boxes were developed, by whom and where the money raised would go. Source:
http://www.berkeleyside.com/…/berkeley-launches-donation-b…/
Is this something San Francisco should emulate?
Yesterday, I received this email full of info and I'm impressed in the five-months the boxes have been on the streets of Berkeley, just over $1,100 has been donated:
"Mr. Petrelis,
"This email is in response to your request for information regarding the Downtown Berkeley Association Positive Change Program.
"Attached you will find our spreadsheet that details the locations, collection dates and collection amounts, showing $1,157.73 collected to date.
"100% of all monies collected have been deposited into the Berkeley Food & Housing Project - Downtown Homeless Services Fund account at Mechanics Bank. Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP) is the fiscal sponsor and service provider for the program.
"Funds have been used, and will be used, for specified purposes including, low cost ID's, personal hygiene kits, transportation assistance, and homeward bound assistance. We are told by Berkeley Food and Housing project they have used $470.30 of the funding to date, and hence have a fund balance of $687.43.
"Fyi, the four Positive Change donation boxes were installed in May 2015, and an an additional six boxes were installed in August, in Downtown Berkeley.
"You can read more about the program on the City of Berkeley website at Positive Change Donation Box Pilot Program
"Please do not hesitate to call or email if you have any additional questions.
"Best,
John Caner, CEO
Downtown Berkeley Association"

 (L to r) Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner, Vice Mayor Linda Maio, Berkeley Food & Housing Project Executive Director Terrie Light, and City Councilman Jesse ArreguĂ­n pose before making the first donations to a Positive Change box. Photo: Seung Y. Lee, Berkeleyside.com.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Visit Write-In Petrelis 4 Mayor Facebook Page

From now until Election Day, I'm pretty much only updating my mayoral campaign site. Please visit and like https://www.facebook.com/Petrelis4Mayor today. Be sure to also follow me on Twitter: @MichaelPetrelis.

I hope you'll write me in on your mail-in ballot as your first choice for mayor of San Francisco. The message in this graphic sums up my campaign philosophy:


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

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What's SF DPH's Cost for Shkreli/Turing Pharma's Daraprim?

There are too many creative ways for government officials to hide public info and records. With the San Francisco Department of Public Health, they're claiming propriety privilege for a health consortium as reason for withholding the cost of how much the department has paid in the past and is paying now for the drug daraprim.

This is the drug greedy Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceutical raised the price of from $13 to $750 a pill literally overnight, supposedly for altruistic purposes. Among its several uses is treating toxoplasmosis, a nasty infection that HIV poz people are susceptible to.

(ACT UP/New York demonstrated against Turing Pharma last week.)

Here's my exchange in recent days with DPH regarding what the City shells out to Turing for daraprim. DPH has a duty to tell the public what the cost is to the department, especially if it's the higher cost:

SF DPH Response #1:

Mr. Petrelis, This is in response to your Immediate Disclosure Request on September, 17, 2015.

1. The list of all drugs DPH has purchased from Turing Pharmaceuticals. – Daraprim.

2. Cost breakdown by drug of any medicines from the company. – There are no records responsive.

3. Copy of any purchasing contracts with them or their agents. – There are no records responsive.

4. Copies of all emails between the company or their agents. – There are no records responsive.

5. If Daraprim is among the drugs DPH purchases from the company, copies of all records - emails, contracts, paper/snail mail correspondence - pertaining to this drug to treat toxoplasmosis. – There are no records responsive. Thank you.

SF DPH Response #2:

Mr. Petrelis,

San Francisco General Hospital purchases pharmaceuticals through a group purchasing organization called the University HealthSystem Consortium, or UHC. All pricing information for pharmaceuticals is proprietary to the UHC. Thank you.

Monday, October 05, 2015

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Irving Cops Hiding 100s of Ahmed Emails: No Releasable Records

My curiosity's been piqued by the case of Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teenager in Texas becoming a legal and cultural cause celebre due to a homemade clock, especially wanting to see the public records that were created with taxpayers dollars at the Irving, Texas, police department. It was just a hunch that the cops were receiving large amounts of public communications.

I filed a public records request on Friday, Sept. 25th, and today received a four-page response from the Irving police absolving themselves of any governmental duty to release a single public record related to Mohamed's case.

There is no valid reason for Irving, Texas, to hide all these emails. The cops say they can without _every_ communication they received, whether containing a threat or not because some of the emails they got were hostile toward cops.

We cannot accept the department claim of "hundreds of emails, telephone calls, tweets and facebook posts, a number of which impliedly [sic] conveyed threats (e.g. a picture of a sniper rifle with the annotation 'time to go pig hunting')" at face value.

Specific number of emails received, which is what I requested and didn't want a damn bit of information about telephone calls, tweets or facebook posts, are need from the cops. Exactly how many came in and even if hostile emails were sent, they do not give the police the privilege of withholding any and all emails with _no_ threats.

The Irving police claim no info, not event the names of the officers involved in the matter or the department's brass, is releasable but on page one of their letter to the Texas attorney general and doubling as their brush-off to FOIA requesters, or even one email of any nature, the cops print my name and email address along with the same info of other requesters in their response. So much for blanket confidentiality. 

Besides myself, Avi Selk of the Dallas Morning News and Justin Moyer of the Washington Post, and seven other folks wanna see Irving's public police records on Mohamed. 

Regarding withholding files related directly to Mohamed, the cops note that confidentiality bar release of those files to the public, however, I hope and would expect Mohamed and his legal representatives that have made a request to Irving for the records.

On the matter of no records releasable on Irving police personnel, the cops cite the inclusion of personal info such as Social Security number and date of birth, and home addresses. Get a Sharpie and simply redact that info and release reports on the cops pertaining to their conduct while working for and getting paid by the public.

Let the sun shine in on Irving's police department!