Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SF Cop Stops Gay Sex at Street Fair

The Dore Alley Fair took place on Sunday, July 26, in San Francisco's SoMa district and it was a fantastic street fair for consenting adults into kink and those who like to watch BDSM activities.

As usual, I enjoyed myself tremendous seeing old friends and making new pals. I shot lots of video footage and snapped a few photos.

Toward the end of the fair, with absolutely no one complaining and not a single person being harmed in any fashion whatsoever, a cop whom I believe is a lesbian and has been at previous fairs where she's thrown her cop-privilege around, again stopped consenting gay adults from enjoying public sex.

I learned this year that Folsom Street Events, the nonprofit that sponsors the Dore Alley and Folsom Street Fairs, as with all street fairs in the City, has to hire a certain number of SFPD officers for security purposes. Sounds like a great way for the City to collect money from organizers, many of whom handle their own security just fine.

In this instance with the female cop putting a stop to the gay dudes having a wee bit of sex, we see how an SFPD officer engages in sex police monitoring. Would have been better if she minded her own business and simply took care of more pressing problems or just walk away from the sex scene.

Check out my video from Sunday:

Plaza 16 Leader Demands Democracy from SF Bike Coalition

The coordinator for Plaza 16, the nominally community-based group in the Mission fighting to stop Maximus Partner's huge condo development at Mission and 16th Streets. As I've said in recent months, Plaza 16 is too controlled by nonprofits and folks who don't live in the Mission, and suffers from a huge lack of democracy and transparency.

Imagine my surprise learning Plaza 16's chief coordinator, Andy Blue, who is no supporter of democracy within his organization, is demanding it from the San Francisco Bike Coalition. The biking advocacy folks are contemplating changes to their board and policies, upsetting Blue as he outlined in a Facebook note.

How ironic and hypocritical of Blue to complain about another group that does have printed rules on the web for all to read, allows members to vote on leadership and other matters, democratic principles that are not part of Plaza 16.

Marc Salomon, who lives a stone's throw from the 16th Street BART Plaza where Maximus Partners is ready to build apartments, called Blue on his nonsense:

"Andy Blue, I celebrate your conversion to grassroots democracy and await the Plaza 16 coalition's self-conversion from a closed group of nonprofit operatives who meet at their convenience into a a democratic, open participatory Mission resident collective!"

Bravo, Marco, for calling Blue and his coalition on their hypocrisy. If only Plaza 16 had meetings open to all in the Mission community and folks beyond the nonprofit world were allowed to set the agenda, we would be able to discuss holding all activists accountable including Blue and his cohorts.

Monday, July 27, 2015

BAR Op-Ed: Mission Needs Housing & Democracy

This column of mine appeared in the July 16 issue of the Bay Area Reporter:

My husband, Mike, and I recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of when we first met, and the 19th anniversary of living together in the same apartment.
I jest about how we're more concerned with having our names on a lease than a marriage license, illustrating the importance we place on our housing security. We're not married in the eyes of the law, but are very much husbands, quite happily reclaiming that word for our purpose.
We experience aging in San Francisco as long-term AIDS survivors, with health challenges always evolving, and the stress that impacts our mental and physical wellness from housing worries is managed as best as possible.
Watching our neighbors in recent years displaced because of flipping properties, outrageous rental increases or fires, and construction dearth of new housing that would be affordable to us, has been the basis for many conversations over the breakfast table.
In the past year, I've attended various events in the Mission, where we live on the border of that neighborhood and outer Castro, and gotten to know and observe leaders of housing and Latino nonprofits, and other local renters.

The Plaza 16 group fancies itself a grassroots coalition and it's certainly tapped into widespread anger and nervousness over evictions and luxury condo developments, generating much legacy and social media attention, but it's too much under the thumb of nonprofits.
One of them is the 42-year-old Mission Economic Development Agency, or MEDA, which has had a light touch with Plaza 16 but is the engine behind the condo development moratorium that has gone through several iterations, none successful, and may be on the November ballot.
The eviction epidemic, one aspect of the complex housing crises we face, was no overnight development. Warning signs were evident for years, yet no organizing took place pressuring the Mission's supervisor, David Campos, to hold hearings and propose legislative relief.
It took more than four years for city agencies, Campos, and the Dolores Street Community Services nonprofit to bring an existing building up to code, ready to provide 24 shelter beds and services to homeless LGBT adults.
If the politicians and nonprofits need that extended period for that small project, it doesn't instill confidence in us that they have their act together to address much larger housing concerns.
There are numerous excellent ideas, including an eviction moratorium, which has a groundswell of support across political differences, but they're the idea du jour that too often fail to turn into reality.
A huge deficit for Mission nonprofits and Plaza 16 is the absence of radical inclusiveness and democratic principles, starting with the former not holding any public board of directors' meetings and the latter maintaining an erratic monthly and steering committee meeting schedule.
Consistent meeting dates, times, and locations would allow more Mission residents to participate in the decision-making process and goal-setting of Plaza 16, which might produce tangible affordable housing solutions.
Fear of Mission renters, and others who don't pass political litmus tests, keeps out fresh ideas and voices, tamps down vibrant political engagement, and diminishes democracy. New leaders and organizers are always needed to achieve social justice.
I had hoped the grassroots energy of the Mission would be nurtured and sustained for genuine community organizing that is not a path to either Democratic Party campaigns or driven by potential candidates to replace Campos and Supervisor John Avalos when they are termed out of office.
What we have instead is not enough transparency and too much hopscotching. One day the development moratorium is not going the ballot route, only to see a last-minute effort mounted. If it qualifies, valuable community enthusiasm and resources will be diverted to campaigning for a measure that is very likely to be defeated just as the anti-speculator Proposition G initiative was in 2014.
Labor leaders essentially hijack the opposition to the Maximus proposal for 16th and Mission streets for a demonstration at an office with questionable links to the developer. The week after, the union collaboration vanishes as quickly as it appeared.
About 13 lots in the Mission allegedly suitable for purchase by the city for building hundreds of low- and moderate-income housing units were recently identified. I never saw a list of the properties, same for a plan to underwrite actual construction of even half the lots.
Plans A and B from the current crop of Mission leaders seem to be the same. Maximize nonprofits and political operatives' dominance of the professional and grassroots networks working on housing problems and keeping people in their homes, and minimize engagement with diverse individuals who think plans C through Z are needed.
Win or lose, the luxury condo moratorium will require many plans the day after the election to give Mission renters hope, plans that must be devised with greater democracy and accountability than we've had up to now.
As two mature gay and HIV-poz men, our stressors over personal housing security are equal to that of thousands of other tenants. We all deserve a better organizing structure and process and quickly too, before more of the Mission is further disfigured by greed and gentrification.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

USF Scrubs Bill Cosby Page & Makes Statement on Degree

Back in December, I corresponded with Anne-Marie Devine, the communications director for the University of San Francisco, regarding any effort to rescind the honorary degree they conferred upon Bill Cosby in 2012 or otherwise distance USF from him as a parade of women alleged sexual misconduct against him, and his legal challenges mounted.

The university was waiting for facts to be established by a court of law before undertaking any action.

In recent days, Noah Zimmerman, an alumnus of USF, unhappy with his alma mater's association with Cosby, alerted me to the scrubbing of the communications office's page containing a news release about Cosby receiving the honorary degree.

I contacted Devine over the weekend seeking deets about the removal of the USF release and why just the headline remains on the page, and she issued this statement:

"The status on Mr. Cosby has not changed. Should this change, I will [alert] you. The statement on this matter is as follows: 'The volume and nature of these allegations are deeply disturbing, and the University of San Francisco (USF) takes sexual assault seriously. USF leaders are closely monitoring the legal developments surrounding Mr. Cosby to determine the proper next steps regarding his honorary degree.'"

Quite odd to delete the body of the page but leave the headline intact. I searched for a cached version from 2012, after Cosby appeared at USF and generated a tremendous amount of free publicity, but couldn't find one. If you locate the post's cache image, please share it with me.

Meanwhile, it was time yesterday for USF to find its spine on their relationship with Cosby and finally take full and substantive stand on the allegations and such piling up against him. Two terse statements in eight months just doesn't cut it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

What's in Ex-Supervisor Chiu's Housing-related Emails?

A few months ago, I filed a public records request with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisor, Angela Calvillo, for copies of emails sent by former Sup. David Chiu related to housing issues during 2014.

Her aide, Wilson Ng, was tasked with reviewing and releasing responsive records and he's recently provided me with emails from Chiu.

Click here to read the January 2014 collections of relevant emails, and go here to read the February 2014 batch.

I believe it's important to share these responsive public records and hope everyone interested in learning more about housing issues in San Francisco, and how Chiu developed his affordable housing views while serving his last year as president of the Board of Supervisors, reads the emails.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Filthiest Rainbow Flags in the Castro: Remove 'em!

Last April and May, I complained to the Department of Public Works about the ratty rainbow flag banners in the Castro district, of all the places - the birthplace of the iconic image.

Part of the responsibility rests with the Castro Merchants group, some with DPW, a bit with state-senator wannabe Scott Wiener and none with ordinary citizens.

In the year-plus since my initial complaint went to DPW boss Mohammed Nuru, and the banner were not removed, the blight worsened.

More filth from exhaust pollution and bird poop, a lotta sunshine and wind, all contributing to make these existing eye-sores even more displeasing to my queer eye.

Check out my video shot this month around the Church Street to Castro Street corridor, documenting yet again the dozen rainbow banners that should have been removed when Bevan Dufty was supervisor of District 8.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

'Free Michael Johnson' Signs for Black HIV+ Gay on SF Streets

A grave injustice against a black gay HIV positive young man, Michael Johnson, who was recently sentenced to 30-years in prison for non-disclosure of his sero-status with sex partners who claim he infected them, needs more community attention and is getting some on the streets of San Francisco.

Johnson is 23-years-old, and was charged and found guilty of HIV transmission in Missouri under draconian laws passed in 1988, the plague years, and he was wrongfully demonized across social media. A few hookups were with men who were fully aware of his poz status and continued sexual relations with him after learning he was living with HIV.

He and I are exchanging snail-mail letters, and I'm committed to regularly writing him and remain a link to the outside world that has not forgotten about the miscarriage of justice he's suffering through. It's amazing how upbeat Johnson's letters are, considering all the legal and medical woes he's experiencing. His letters are private and I will keep them confidential.

Here in San Francisco, it looks as though Gay Shame has taken up Johnson case and created posters reading, "Free Michael Johnson. Decriminalize HIV. Celebrate Black Queerness".

I took pictures of two locations with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, where the posters are wheat-pasted at eye-level and hard to miss. No group's name appears on the posters. I couldn't agree more with the messages of the signs and will Johnson aware of them in my next letter to him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

HRC: FLOTUS Aide = Spokesperson, Sainz Out. Is Griffin Going?

What's happening at the executive level of the Human Rights Campaign, as Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign to become POTUS every day gears up more machinery and rakes in more money? HRC, the gay wing of the Democratic Party in all but name, and HRC, the candidate, have never been far apart and expect no sunlight to come between the HRCs.

I received this auto-reply from Fred Sainz, one of the five top executives under Chad Griffin, who was in charge of communication, is on his way out:

"Thank you for your email. Over the next few weeks, I'll be transitioning out from the Human Rights Campaign. I will no longer be actively checking this account. It's been my great honor to work for this organization that I admire deeply."

Sainz is gone and here's who has replaced him, according to a July 14 release:

"Olivia Alair Dalton, who was senior VP for SKDKnickerbocker and spokesperson for First Lady Michelle Obama, has joined the Human Rights Campaign as senior VP-communications & marketing. [...] At SKDKnick, she worked with HRC to help manage a communications "war room" in support of the Respect for Marriage Coalition. [...] The new HRC staffer also served as spokesperson for former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Vice President Joe Biden."

From Dalton's perch as an aide to FLOTUS and the Veep, not to mention collecting a paycheck from the powerhouse lobbying and PR firm where Hilary Rosen, former HRC board of directors president, is a longtime managing director of political affairs, we're witnessing Democrats rearranging the pieces on their political chessboard.

Mighty small 1% of the LGBT elites from HRC to SKDKnickerbocker on over to the DNC still running the show for themselves, and ordinary LGBT folks are barely on the radar. These moneyed queers are looking out for themselves first and foremost.

Those are verifiable facts and I also wish to pass along a rumor I've heard that cannot be substantiated. Make of it what you will.

A branch of the gay grapevine has buzzed in recent weeks that Griffin was moving on to pursue other endeavors. Whether that's due to his own choosing or a push from the board is unknown, is mere speculation. Btw, BuzzFeed's gay reporter Chris Geidner conducted a lengthy interview with Griffin published on July 16 and his employment status was raised:

"As to another rumor circulating — that, with marriage done, Griffin is readying to leave the organization — he laughed. 'I did not come here to this organization for marriage,” Griffin said. “I have my dream job. I have never had a job that I’ve loved and enjoyed more than this one.'"

Remaining or leaving, expect Griffin to put all of his skills toward (re)electing Clinton to the White House where he worked during Billary's first Oval Office stint and where he probably wants to find himself again employed.

Just my two queer cents, at this point in the 2016 presidential race which I am already quite over!
Queer Iranians' Global Candle Campaign for Hanged Juveniles

Arsham Parsi was born in Iran and as a gay man was forced to flee to Toronto to save his life. He's been head for many years of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees and he recently organized a candle-lighting campaign to mark the 10th anniversary of Iran hanging gay juvenileMahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni on July 19, 2005.

In an email, Arsham said more than 50 photos were uploaded to Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

From inside Iran to around the globe in Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, many LGBT Iranians created private memorials for Asgari and Marhoni, who were executed for gay crimes.

On behalf of Gays Without Borders, I wish to acknowledge the bravery of the queer Iranians who participated in the July 19 day of solidarity with each other and their creativity remembering the hanged teenagers, while courageously calling for an end to all executions in Iran and everywhere.

Many thanks go out to Arsham and his team of board members, donors and volunteers at the IRQR for their continued effective organizing protecting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iranians in their homeland and in exile.

These are the most evocative photos:

 Location: Toronto, Canada

 Location: Unknown

 Location: Erfan, Turkey

Arsham Parsi in Toronto, Canada

Over in London, international human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and his foundation, along with leaders of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group held a vigil on July 19 to mark the anniversary of the hangings and stand in support of queer Iranians in their struggle for freedom. More than thirty people participated in the event which was witnessed by hundreds of passers-by at St. Martin's in the Field Church in Trafalgar Square.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

DA Gascon Guilty of Public Calendar Violation Sez SOTF

Since 1999, the district attorney of San Francisco has been legally required to maintain an accurate calendar of daily meetings and events and to provide the public with it when requested. Current DA and ambitious political animal, George Gascon, didn't get the memo outlining the law about calendars so he just didn't keep one.

I filed a public records request for Gascon's calendar for the first five months of 2015 and received woefully inadequate responsive records. The majority of days were totally blank, as shown above. Not satisfied, I lodged a complaint with the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force alleging the DA was violating our public records law.

The complaint committee of the SOTF heard my evidence against Gascon at a June hearing, and the DA's public information officer, Alex Bastian, represented the department. Bastian basically had no clue why the DA wasn't keeping a full and genuine calendar and the committee recommended a vote about a violation before the full SOTF.

On July 1, in a unanimous vote, the SOTF issued an Order of Determination finding Gascon in violation of the sunshine statute. Chair of the SOTF, Allyson Washburn, referred the matter to the compliance committee to monitor the new calendar policy in development at the DA's office.

To ensure Gascon finally complies with all applicable sunshine laws, once July has concluded, I'll make a request for this month's calendar. We'll see if he once and for all fulfills his legal obligations to taxpayers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

London Vigil on 10th Anniversary of Iran's Gay Teen Hangings

My friend Melanie Nathan and I promoting tomorrow's important action in the United Kingdom. She writes:

"To mark the tenth anniversary of Iran’s hanging of two teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, the Peter Tatchell Foundation and the African LGBTI group Out and Proud are holding a memorial vigil to remember these two youths who were publicly hanged by agonizing slow strangulation in the city of Mashhad on 19 July 2005.

Asgari and Marhoni were found guilty of male rape after an unfair trial. LGBTI campaigners inside Iran say they were hanged because they were gay. International human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have often accused the Tehran regime of hanging people on flimsy evidence and on trumped up charges.

'On 19 July, we stand for life, liberty and love. Mahmoud and Ayaz were only children when they were sentenced to die. I remember the photos of their tears in the police van as they were driven to the gallows. It was a heart-breaking sight. This vigil is our attempt to make sure their state-sponsored murder is not forgotten and to stand in solidarity with LGBTI people in Iran,' said protest coordinator Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. 'We also remember the many other victims of Tehran’s tyranny: students, political dissidents, women, trade unionists, human rights defenders and religious and ethnic minorities.'

"The key demand of the London 19 July protest is: Iran: Stop killing gays! Stop killing children! End the death penalty!

"If you're in London, the vigil is from 2-3pm this Sunday 19 July 2015, on the steps of St Martins-in-the-Field Church on Trafalgar Square. Please participate."
Weekend Woof #101: Men - Gay or Straight?

It's been too long since I shared a new video in this series. Happy to say I've been out and about filming various eye-pealing dudes, and now have the 101st edition of weekend woofies online.

Several of the fellas in this video disclosed that they're straight and had no objections to being filmed. Same goes for the gay guys, but I wonder if you can distinguish the sexual orientation of the men. Who do you think is gay or straight?

Not that it matters much since the important thing is all the dudes are very pleasing to my queer eye. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sheriff Mirkarimi: 52 Completed Evictions in June

At the end of June, after requesting public information from the San Francisco Sheriff, the beleaguered Ross Mirkarimi, his office provided me with statistics showing a total of 3,158 evictions during his tenure up to the end of May 2015.

Today, I learned the deets on evictions for the past month:

"Hi Mr. Petrelis, Pursuant to your request for records I am providing the following: the Sheriff’s Department completed 52 evictions in June, 2015. The same number of properties would have been turned over to the owner or owner’s representative when the eviction was completed. Freya A. Horne Chief Legal Counsel"

Adding the 52 new evictions to the 3,158 figure, the new total number of evictions of tenants under Mirkarimi is 3,200. Freya Horne is pictured on the right in this photo.

We need an eviction moratorium.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Todco Group's $25,000 Paid for Mission Moratorium Measure

The further nonprofitization and housing corporatization of Plaza 16 and the effort to address various housing crises in the Mission was unveiled today with a filing at the Ethic Commission.

The Committee to Save the Mission, sounds like a Christian evangelical outfit but that's another matter, filed its first financial report it shows that San Francisco resident Gabriel Medina of MEDA, gave $100. Also contributing were Oaklander Sam Ruiz, executive of the Mission Neighborhood Center, $500, and Medina's political outfit the Latino Democratic Club, $500.

Biggest contribution came from the Todco Group, which gave $25,000. Nice chunk of change, wouldn't you say?

I'm getting up to speed on this entity and here is what they share on their web site about their mission:

"TODCO Development Co. (GP/TODCO A, Inc.) is the housing development division of the TODCO Group, the community-based housing/community development nonprofit corporation for San Francisco's South of Market Neighborhood.

"TODCO Development Co. plans and develops new and rehabilitated senior and SRO affordable housing, with 968 units completed in eight properties since 1977. The TODCO Group also directs asset management of its developments, provides resident services programs for its tenants, and undertakes a range of community development and community planning programs for South of Market communities."

So much for the Mission moratorium measure being driven from the district and by the community.

Friday, July 10, 2015

'Evict Ross, Ban Guns' Protest Sign at Mirkarimi's Shooter Presser

The sheriff of San Francisco held a press conference inside his office at City Hall this morning and I went to hear what he had to say since he's not announced a town hall meeting and held a Q & A with citizens about the tragic murder of Kathryn Steinle by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.

I also wanted to get out a message against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and the fact he's evicted more than 3,000 tenants since he took office four-years ago. There needs to be pressure on him and his reelection campaign to halt all evictions until credible solutions are implemented creating affordable housing.

My second message was against guns. Let's talk about banning them and ammo to finally begin a national conversation addressing our gun culture and laws.

Longtime progressive community photo documentarian Steve Rhodes was at the presser today and snapped this pic of me outside Mirkarimi's office. Thanks, Steve!

Here are photos I took of Mirkarimi addressing the gaggle of reporters and a shot of some of the cameras, photographers and scribes crowded into his office this morning.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Mission Moratorium Measure Misses Finance Filing Deadline

Stenographer to Mission Inc and San Francisco progressives, Tim Redmond of the 48 Hills site, delivered a few deets on the Committee to Save the Mission's efforts to get on the November ballot with a anti development measure on July 7. 

That was the day thousands of signatures were turned in to the Department of Elections and Redmond said $10,000 was raised so far.

According to Jarrod Flores of the Ethics Commission, which tracks fundraising and expense reports from candidates and committee, in a phone chat this afternoon, the committee's leaders were supposed to file a bi-monthly (every two months) statement on July 7 for all financial activity through June 30 but failed to do so. 

Flores said the commission has been in touch with the committee and been informed that the lateness is because of health issues with the treasurer.

Once the commission receives the electronic filing of the expense report, it will quickly be published to their site.

This the Form SFEC-113 from the Committee to Save the Mission submitted in June.
SFPD Withholds Suspect's Image in Gay Mural Arson Case

An LGBT mural on the outside of the wooden building that houses the Galeria de la Raza in the Mission was the target of arson on June 29th. The mural features images of queer Latino/as and has upset a few straight folks, leading to someone defacing the artwork before a small fire was set under it.

I was under the impression that the Galeria had turned over surveillance video images of a person lighting the fire on June 29 to the cops and that a poster was created to help catch the perpetrator(s). My public records request generated this response:

"The San Francisco Police Department (“SFPD”) received your Immediate Disclosure request on July 7, 2015. You requested 'Copies in electronic format via email if images of potential suspects caught on surveillance tape from the Galeria that were provided to the police department, the SFPD’s more-info wanted poster or leaflet circulating in the neighborhood, details on your outreach to the affected community and how you are telling folks with info to contact the department, and a status update on the investigation.'

"In response to your request, please be advised that this case is an open and ongoing investigation and disclosure of the requested information at this time may endanger successful completion of that investigation. The case file records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to Govt. Code. Sec. 6254(f) as investigatory file records. SFPD investigators are actively reviewing all information and evidence that may lead to the identification or apprehension of the suspect(s) involved in the incident."

I'm not sure how the public can assist in locating the suspect(s) if the police won't release the images of him or her caught on videotape. The arson was carried out twelve-days ago and I fear any leads may grow cold as the days go by.

The Advocate site had this to say about the images:

"The police are reviewing surveillance footage in hopes of positively identifying the suspect, in addition to interviewing witnesses and other bystanders who might have seen the man. If police are unable to identify the vandal, they will be releasing surveillance footage to the media to seek the public's assistance, the SFPD spokesman [said]."

We'll have to wait and see if the police release the footage, and if this crime is ever solved.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

IRS Asked to Probe MEDA & SF Moratorium Ballot Prop

Since I've never witnessed a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization opening its offices and putting its executives to work on behalf of a San Francisco ballot measure, I've requested a probe from the IRS regarding the Mission Economic Development Agency's effort to get a development moratorium on the November ballot.

Maybe it's allowable under Treasury Department laws that nonprofits can engage directly in electoral political activities such as what MEDA has done in the past few weeks, or not, but questions must be asked of and answered by the IRS. Here's the letter, images and links snail-mailed today to the feds at the IRS office in Dallas, Texas.

Dear IRS Exempt Organizations Complaint Desk,

I am requesting an investigation of the Mission Economic Development Agency, EIN 51-0187791, of San Francisco, California, to determine if this 501(c)3 nonprofit has followed all pertinent laws regarding exempt organizations and political activities.

In late June, this image was circulating on the web recruiting paid signature-gatherers to earn up to $50 an hour to help MEDA get a luxury housing moratorium measure on the San Francisco ballot in November. Petitions to meet the Department of Elections ballot requirements were available at MEDA's office located at 2301 Mission Street, 3rd Floor. Signature-gatherers were told to show up at that office for a fifteen-minute training.

On the Facebook page of Gabriel Medina, the public policy director at MEDA, he urged people to stop by the nonprofit's office to either sign the ballot measure petitions or drop off petitions.

The San Francisco Business Times reported on Medina's efforts to rally support via the web for getting MEDA's initiative on the ballot:

"But 'the Mission Luxury Housing Moratorium is necessary and winnable for the November 2015 election. The narrative is changing,' Gabriel Medina, policy director of the Mission Economic Development Agency, told moratorium supporters in an email obtained by the Business Times."

On July 6, Medina submitted the petitions to the Department of Elections at City Hall and garnered much media attention, including a story on NBC Bay Area 11 News. Medina was clearly identified as an executive of the exempt organization MEDA, not an ordinary citizen.

I believe there is clear evidence of MEDA's direct engagement with the electoral process and political engagement that

An immediate probe of MEDA and its political actions is needed. If you have any questions or concerns regarding my request, please contact me via email or snail mail.

Michael Petrelis

Monday, July 06, 2015

White SF Cop Gives Black Man Pot Citation on Video

Allow me to be upfront. Maybe it was my lily-white ass that needed protecting from the black male youth smoking herb on Market Street, and that is why a white San Francisco police officer cited him.

This video is a prime example of Mayor Ed Lee and SFPD Chief Greg Suhr's "broken windows" approach to low-level quality of life criminal activities. It shows four black young men enjoying weed, not bothering a damn soul, and a middle-aged white male police officer going over and giving one of them a citation.

Thanks, Mr. Police Officer, for keeping me and the rest of San Francisco safe from the harms of young pot-smokers of color!

It's beyond obscene and ridiculous on so many levels - racial, political, "criminal" - that cops in the City that birthed Prop 215 which legalized medical marijuana and dispensaries at the ballot box, are citing folks to taking a bit of medicine in the public.

If you're pissed off, vote for me in November. I'm running as a write-in candidate for mayor. Until then, watch my video:

Friday, July 03, 2015

Roberto Hernandez's Carnaval = $1.1 Million in City Funds

Sunshining, looking at government records and sharing them online, is one form of activism we need in San Francisco's Mission district as public polices are debated and created by a small circle of unofficial community leaders, policies average folks have to live with.

This week, I've shed light on Maria Zamudio, a paid organizer with Causa Justa who's also a coordinator of Plaza 16, and Luis Granados, the executive director of MEDA which has a controlling interest in Plaza 16, pointing out that both live in Oakland. When we discuss potential social solutions for the Mission, the residency of where "our" leaders live must be part of the community's transparency principles.

Another Mission honcho is Roberto Hernandez, who's seen by many as the Mayor of the Mission and lives in the district. Among his various roles is running the fabulous two-day Carnaval Parade and Festival every May, that's a whole lotta fun and also builds community, and just like with the LGBT movement's SF Pride, is and should be receiving City funds.

BTW, SF Pride received $58,400 in 2013 and 2014, while in 2015 the amount went up to $64,200. Use these figures as a comparison when considering how much City funding goes to Carnaval.

It is the San Francisco Grants for the Arts program, funded by the Hotel Tax Fund, that doles out public money to parades. Here are the numbers for Hernandez's stewardship of Carnaval:

2003 / $103,900

2004 / $103,900

2005 / $103,900

2006 / $103,900

2007 / $103,900

2008 /   $93,500

2009 / $103,900

2010 /   $78,600

2011 /   $78,600

2012 /   $78,600

2013 /   $70,700

2014 /   $70,700

2015/    $79,700

Add the annual amounts together and they total $1,173,000 over thirteen-years. That figure has generated millions more in money spent in the Mission during each two-day celebration, and brought together diverse folks to enjoy a great party and a dose of political engagement.

This video of Hernandez ranting at the June 4th Board of Supervisors meeting, when they were considering a development moratorium for the Mission, illustrates his concerns and agenda for his Mission domain. I've heard this stump speech of his before in which he list complaints and stats from questionable sources.

While he's good at throwing a party, I'm not convinced he's an effective political leader, one with the ability to offer realistic solutions and mobilize beyond his Latino base, but at least he lives in the Mission.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Mission Nonprofit Leader Lives in Oakland: Luis Granados

The Mission Economic Development Agency is a nonprofit with a huge political and social footprint in San Francisco's Mission district.

MEDA's most recent IRS 990 tax file for 2014 shows it had revenue of $8.5 million, of which $7 million was from government grants. That money makes the nonprofit a big boss when Mission housing crisis issues are debated and potential solutions considered.

Several Mission residents, people who actually live in the district, have complained in the past year that MEDA speaks and looks out for itself primarily and is not a transparent organization. There are no regularly scheduled weekly or monthly meetings with MEDA leaders, but they are always at the table and sitting in on closed-door meetings where Mission community business is decided.

An example of this is MEDA's huge influence on the Plaza 16 steering committee, which I allege is a nonprofit front-group in desperate need of openness.

I recently pointed out that Plaza 16 steering committee member and co-coordinator of the group, Maria Zamudio who works at Causa Justa, lives across the bay in Oakland yet sets the Mission housing activist agenda. She is not the only East Bay resident with such privilege.

Luis Granados, the executive director, also lives in Oakland and commutes into San Francisco to wield great influence at City Hall over policies that actual Mission folks have to live with, yet have little control over.

The California Secretary of State's campaign finance search engine turns up two donations from Granados, $750 to David Campos' run for assembly and $100 for Mark Leno's state senate effort, and reveals that he lives in Oakland.

In my view, there is a deep need for a Mission activist and advocacy organization free of control by nonprofits, Democratic Party hacks and East Bay residents. An organization with open meetings and honest transparency, allowing for new leaders to emerge and fresh ideas to be implemented. Enough with the Plaza 16 and nonprofit charade of these folks dominating the Mission Agenda.