Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Violence at Castro Meeting, SF Cops Called;
No Arrest, Group's $500 Legal Fees

They made it as difficult as possible to learn the basic facts of an apparently violent episode at a meeting February 29 of the Castro Benefit District.

At their executive committee meeting this afternoon, board president Gustavo Serina, who has a muffled style of speaking, secretary Pauline Scholten, board member Dennis Ziebell, and executive director Andrea Aiello, spoke only in the most oblique and cryptic terms making it impossible to fully understand what transpired during the episode.

At a committee meeting last Wednesday, which I skipped to catch Ken Russell's "Music Lovers" at the Castro instead, an unnamed male individual got physically abusive with one member of the CBD. Was it two? Maybe it was just a verbal threat. A lot of whatever went down was obfuscated. Seemed like the last thing they wanted was for me to know the facts.

The San Francisco police department was called and officers soon arrived on the scene, and it was unclear if the individual was still present.

Serina said reports were filed by CBD members and that an arrest was not made. He also noted that he had experienced two previous incidents with the individual that were threatening, but Serina choose not to file a police report or call the Mission Station. His advice for every meeting now on was for CBD officials to not engage or respond to members of the public and whatever they comment on.

Not sure why they never said the individual's name or precisely explained what he allegedly did. This crew was not at all happy about having my big public ears straining to hear everyone word (will 2012 be the year I get a hearing aid?), politely sitting and jotting down notes.

A motion was passed unanimously to spend up to $500 and seek legal counsel from a lawyer experienced in Brown Act and Sunshine statutes, and create group policies pertaining openness and security matters.

Grimly, Serina said an officer from the Mission Station will be at Thursday's monthly full board meeting, where I certainly hope there is less dancing around the facts.

In other executive committee business, the discussion was all about my public records request for Aiello's emails from September, October, November 2011, and Serina's emails since January 1. One of their chickens has come home to roost and they don't like it one bit.

No question about it. My sunshine requests have touched off major changes at the CBD, with their records management, web site design, communication among members, all of whom must now get official CBD email addresses, organize their old emails from private addys, and a lot of sloppy adherence to all parameters of Brown and Sunshine Acts is being tackled and changed. Who knows in what other unseen ways the requests are forcing an evolution.

During public comment, I stuck to singing the praises of sunshine. Let's see how the full board on Thursday grapples with the recent violent episode.

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