Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mike & Mike: No Campaigning At 'Into the Woods'

At the risk of providing oppo research to the incumbent Supervisor, I wish to make a public confession. Until last month, I'd never seen a production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" and was familiar with the musical only through listening to the original Broadway cast recording.

I know, both my Sondheim Club and Showtune Queen Cards were in jeopardy of being canceled, but thankfully that's no longer the situation. Still, there may be a hit-piece mailer in the works over this gay transgression. So be it!

My husband Mike's birthday was in July and I bought us orchestra tickets to the San Francisco Playhouse company's fantastic production of "Into the Woods", playing just off Union Square.

One of the best aspects of our partnership is how Mike and I make preparations before leaving the apartment, for a date with each other, getting to the theater separately, he takes Muni and I ride my bike, then meeting in the lobby. Adds to the "date" aspect of it all.

We adored the show and the performers and musicians were all top-notch. Real-life twin sisters play Cinderella's step-sisters, the Witch is a powerhouse African-American singer who stopped the show when she revealed a sizzling dominatrix costume under her tattered robe, the Baker is a handsome bear/dancer/singer charmer and the music was performed by an eight-piece band.

Since seeing the show, we've played the CD often and now anxiously await the arrival of Disney's film version in December starring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. Be smart and get tickets today to the SF Playhouse show before it closes in September.

I'll get back to campaign related posts soon enough, but just want everyone to know spending quality, entertaining time with Mike at a terrific production of this Sondheim work was the best birthday present to share with each other.
Weekend Woof #88: Smoothies and Furries

This week's edition is a combination of attractive dudes seen around the Castro gayborhood and handsome furry faced fellas striking poses with our for our #ILikeMikeSF campaign. Many thanks to all the guys for gracing the lens of my camera.

The hot weather on Saturday in Jane Warner Plaza had some smooth men showing off well-developed muscles in the sunshine.

I don't know the name of the dude with the super bushy, wide beard on the bike but the smiling fella in the baseball cap is our former neighbor Russell. He let me rub my fingertips on his facial fur and I can report it was thick and bristled at my touch.

The handsome furry man on the bench is Matthew who works at the Opera Plaza Cinema and he supports our alternative candidacy, and follows us on Twitter. On the bottom is my friend Damien from the Immune Enhancement Project, left, and his date Jonathan.

And how was your week for male-gazing?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alice Club Questionnaire Tickles Funny Bones
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
(Cross-posted from our campaign page.)

If it's one thing we've learned in our decades of political advocacy it is the value of laughter, as both a powerful healing tool and a counter-balance to the craziness endemic to politics.

We wish to thank the conservative LGBT leaders and members of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club for providing us with deep and extended gales of laughter earlier this month.

The club has long been the stomping ground of the incumbent District 8 Supervisor, faithfully embraces his policies and agenda at City Hall, and provided him with an early endorsement in his reelection bid.

We received a time-wasting questionnaire from Alice along with a confusing and poorly-written note, and we're going to unpack each sentence just for the fun of it.

Alice says: "Attached is the Alice Fall Questionnaire which we would appreciate your completing if your [sic] wish.

#ILikeMikeSF replies: Why in heaven's name are they sending out a questionnaire to all District 8 challengers, when we are fully aware of how devoted the club is to the incumbent? A response is likely to be used to defame his opponents.

Alice says: "You are aware of our pre-endorsement of our former Alice co-chair [the D8 incumbent] for re-election, which is why you haven’t received this before."

#ILikeMikeSF replies: Yes, we're quite aware of this fact and totally understand the club has ignored his challengers. Why does the club pretend it's interested now in what we have to say on any issue?

Alice says: "However, it would be useful to know your position on the various questions we ask, and it would be appreciated if you would respond.

#ILikeMikeSF replies: Please explain how and why it would be useful. Is there is snowball's chance in hell that the club would actually consider rescinding the early and enthusiastic endorsement, making it up for grabs?

Alice says: "Of course, disregard the return date, but hopefully you can complete [sic] before [our deadline]."

#ILikeMikeSF replies: Well, why have a return date (do they actually deadline?) in the first place? We'll also disregard the incredible sloppiness of this entire endeavor except for the humor value of it.

Oh, and no, we didn't attend their endorsement, but we sure have enjoyed Alice proving they can be ridiculous. Asking candidates so late in a club's useless endorsement process to answer a questionnaire, when they've already made their preferred choice well known, is an insult to voters and challengers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Guerneville Gay-cation & Campaigning Up North

My husband Mike had last week off from work and to make sure he had a restful time, he sent me packing on a gay-cation up to the charming town of Guerneville up in Sonoma county.

I put my bike on Golden Gate Transit and the Sonoma County Transit buses earlier this week, and glad I had my two-wheels to ride around the woods and to the beach along the Russian River.

Staying at the Woods Lodge during the week meant I got a great deal on a room and the place was very quiet, so I was able to unwind and de-stress before the fall campaign season begins in earnest.

Being a consummate advocate, I took my #ILikeMikeSF propaganda with me and after a conversation with these two young gay men from San Francisco, took a photo of them with our campaign sign. That's Christian on the left and his sweetie Nicholas on the right.

When I came home, Mike was so rested and relaxed it was clear he hadn't been to his law firm all week and enjoyed his time-off from assisting me with the political campaign.

Now, back to electioneering and if you haven't already RSVPed to the invitation: , to our September 5th fundraiser at Sweet Inspiration on Market Street near Noe, please do so now. It's gonna be a blast!
Effective Campaigning at Harvey Milk Plaza
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
(Cross-posted from our campaign page.)

Since our alternative candidacy is a very grassroots effort, we need to press lots of flesh and a top location for that is at the Harvey Milk Plaza transit hub in the heart of the Castro.

In recent days, we've been at the plaza during the evening rush hour greeting voters and potential donors distributing as many campaign cards as possible. It's been surprising hearing how many people say they're not on Facebook and we tell them the page is open to all regardless of being a user of Facebook or not.

One of the pleasures campaigning at this location is getting reacquainted to the many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks and people living with HIV/AIDS we've met over the decades.

Every encounter with an old friend or hearing words of encouragement from strangers is a "win" for our campaign. We hope this sort of old-fashion electioneering educates voters that we're on the fall ballot and persuades them to tell their social media contacts about our campaign.

This photo is of an old acquaintance named Shadow who had nothing but words of praise to share, well, that and a very welcomed bear hug. Thanks, Shadow for your support and embrace, not to mention posing with our #ILikeMikeSF sign.

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 (, 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 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 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:

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 and also here

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 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:

 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 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:

Digging down for details about former inmates voting by mail, the California Secretary of State's site ( 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:

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!
#ILikeMikeSF Signs at Up Your Alley Fair 

The July 27 annual kink and fetish Up Your Alley fair in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood was one of the best we've attended over the years. The weather cooperated and countless men were totally or semi-nude, all putting out enjoyable vibes and a fun time was had by all homos and our allies.

We had a double-sided #ILikeMikeSF sign that also functioned as a fan to cool us off when the heat of the sizzling hot boys and men became too much, and posed for photos with supporters and friends of our District 8 alternative candidacy.

When not smiling for the cameras of others, we snapped a few shots of folks happy to hold up our sign for a photo to be used on our Facebook page. Unless otherwise stated, appearance on the photo album with an #ILikeMikeSF sign does not equal an endorsement.

Cruise over to our Facebook page and sites for info on the campaign.

Many thanks to everyone at Folsom Street Events, the organizers of the fair, all the fabulous people who made it a terrific day, and each person who struck a pose for our camera with our campaign sign.

Two young man flashing smiles and holding our #ILikeMikeSF sign.

Our nudist friend Pete Sferra stopped to hold up an #ILikeMikeSF sign and wish us best of luck.

The adorable local transgender queer and HIV advocate Cyd Nova struck a smiling pose while holding our sign.

Say hello to the hunky Andrew Leavitt, who has endorsed our campaign for Supervisor.

A new pal named Michael gave approval to our campaign effort.

And we end with San Francisco dragster legend Anna Conda, aka Glendon Hyde, giving us wicked look.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Protest at AIDS Health Fdtn Pharmacy for Truvada/PrEP

(Adam Zeboski. Photo credit: Bill Wilson.)

A handful of activists gathered on Thursday, July 24th at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's pharmacy on 18th Street in the Castro, to launch a boycott against the pharmacy because of the organization's falsehoods about the drug Truvada as an effective prevention tool.

Before we began our protest and filming, I spoke with the manager of the pharmacy, Dale Gluth. We know each other and had friendly chat about our plans and I appreciated the coolness of their store. It was quite hot in the Castro sun yesterday.

Ken Hodnett brought his video camera and lighting equipment to shoot footage for a video now in the editing stages. Mitch Hightower served as the interviewed and asked me questions. Bill Wilson snapped photos of our activities. We were joined by Adam Zeboski, who created the Twitter hashtag #TruvadaWhore and is on the drug as part of his PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, plan.

Adam spoke about his experience on PrEP, why he promotes Truvada as prevention for HIV negative men who enjoy anal sex and don't use condoms, and addressed general questions about AIDS concerns of gay men under 30.

One central point was asking Castro area patrons of the AHF pharmacy to boycott the store until the organization's executive director, Michael Wienstein, ends his lies about Truvada, apologizes for mistakenly calling it a "party drug" and endorses it as one more prevention tool for at-risk individuals.

Unfortunately, another expected participant. Eric Leue who is Mister LA Leather, was stuck in traffic and unable to join us but he did arrive in San Francisco to speak at the PrEP town hall meeting last night at the Metropolitan Community Church on Eureka Street.

Many thanks to everyone who participated or supported our effort via social media. We'll let you know when our video is ready for viewing.
PrEP Forum Far From Revolutionary 

The Gay Men's Community Initiative forum on Thursday, July 24 at MCC in the Castro was provocatively titled "Does PrEP = a New Sexual Revolution?", and it was a conversation in a safe space environment.

Let me start with what I thought was excellent about the forum. Approximately fifty men showed up, about a dozen wore TruvadaWhore shirts, microphones were used, some of the panelists had prepared points to make and several community members offered wonderful personal insight either about using Truvada or their sex lives.

The depth of concern for queer individual and communal wellness was proudly and unmistakable. Everyone was committed to preventing new HIV transmissions and keeping sexual liaisons fun, full of healing goodness and romantic.

But overall, for me, the meeting was frustrating and I left early because the conversation jumped all over the map, the agenda on the white board wasn't readable by everyone and we didn't follow it as far as I could tell, the lead moderator didn't give enough time for audience comments and frequently added his interpretation about what was said, and there wasn't a stack monitor.

(A stack monitor, for those who don't know, keeps a list of folks who raise their hands when it's time for comments, so speakers don't keep their hands up waiting anxiously to be called on.)

Here are my suggestions for future forums:

(1) Have a moderator who facilitates a chat, isn't too controlling and a stack monitor;

(2) Make sure the agenda is understood and visible to everyone;

(3) If there's a panel, keep it small, say, to only two or three speakers;

(4) Set adequate time aside just for comments from the audience;

(5) Audience comments should be between two and three minutes per speaker;

(6) Make an extra effort to have shy guys pipe up and share their thoughts.

I hope the organizers of the forum take my remarks and suggestions in spirit in which they are offered, to foster the best forums possible.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Weekend Woof #85: Up Your Alley Men & Boys

Last Sunday's annual Up Your Alley fair was truly wonderful. The weather was great, the men were super friendly, I paraded around with a campaign sign that doubled as a fan and I snapped lots of good photos. Here are a few for your viewing pleasure.

The only dude I saw all day sucking on a lollipop. 

Two guys who I wish didn't go get a room and instead kept their kink on full public display.

Several men and boys with some meat on their bones caught my queer eye.

Furry faced father types were out in full fuzzy force.

Nipples here, nipples there, nipples everywhere!

Just my luck that this hunk stood still long enough for me to grab two pix.