Saturday, April 30, 2016

SFIFF59: Highly Entertaining 'Five Nights' & 'Chevalier' 

As the first week of the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival concluded yesterday, I've seen my share of hits and misses and continue to completely enjoy having the events taking place in my Mission District neighborhood.

The festival has made an inviting and low-key, but nicely noticeable, mark on the streets and at the Alamo Drafthouse, the Castro, Roxie and Victoria Theaters and the film lounge on Valencia Street.

My sense is that there are only positive comments to say about the San Francisco Film Society moving out of the Sundance Kabuki complex. Haven't heard a single negative remark since the festival's reboot in the Mission.

Check out the remaining programs, catch a few flicks, and for info on tickets, click here. My first report is here and let's get to my second.

The writer and director of "Five Nights In Maine", Maris Curran, told the audience it was okay to laugh during the film about a tragic auto accident's aftermath in her remarks before the film unspooled at the Alamo Drafthouse.

A terrific cast includes David Oyelowo as grieving husband who's lost his wife, who visits his mother-in-law played by Dianne Wiest and Rosie Perez at her perky-wounded best as a life-affirming home health aide. They alone are reason enough to check out this film.

I was engaged with the story, rode the emotional roller-coaster of tears and hilarity, but found the consistent use of tight and intense close ups, of everything from faces to hands washing dishes, annoying to my eye. "Pull back on the camera," I thought, give scenes a chance to breathe. No such luck.

Oyelowo's marriage was an interracial one but it wasn't an element in the narrative, keeping the focus focused in very welcomed way on honoring the dead and keeping on with living.

Be sure to catch this film if it plays in theaters or streams on TV or anther platform. The snappy editing and just-right running time should help it find an appreciative audience.

From Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari hails "Chevalier" and taking place on a luxury yacht, as six wealthy male friends on a sailing tour of the Aegean Sea play a game of alcohol- and testosterone-fueled competition, determining who's more alpha-than-thou.

Ultra sleek set design, mucked up with wine and bodily fluids, and lush scenery contrast well with the brutish behavior and score-settling truth-telling, gently illustrating how civilized men are still at odds with each other and the environment, comfortable living standards and education be damned.

At our screening, enthusiastic howls of laughter from the audience greeted many of the scenes including the highlight where a handsome chubby bear does an outstanding cover, with elastic dance moves too, of Minnie Riperton's classic "Lovin' You" sung to his chief competitor.

The plot was swift and the large cast of men as the friends and the assorted workers on the yacht, secretly engaging in their own macho-man competition and placing bets against each other, delivered sublime ensemble acting.

It says something about the quality and entertainment values of these two movies that I stayed till the conclusion because I've exited a higher-than-usual number of films at this year's festival.

(Photos courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society.)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

50 HIV+ Arkansas Inmates Jailed Under Clinton's Exposure Laws

I blogged on Monday, April 25, about the current number of HIV poz prisoners in Arkansas' jails convicted of exposure violations stemming from transmission laws signed by Gov Bill Clinton in 1989. That list of names is above.

More data from the Arkansas Department of Correction released after I filed a FOIA request, this time for info on formerly incarcerated folks guilty of these violations, was released this week.

It shows a total of 29 former prisoners. Top race was white at 17, followed by blacks at 11, and 1 Hispanic, with 25 males and four females (1 black and 3 white).

The number of current inmates in this category is 13 blacks, 17 whites, 1 Native American and 1 female.

Add them to previous figures and the overall number of previous inmates and the number come to 24 whites, 23 blacks, 1 Native American, 1 Hispanic and 5 females.

Combine the 29 ex inmates to the currently incarcerated 21 and the total of all persons, as far as I can determine, is 50 who were prosecuted, convicted and jailed for breaking the Arkansas transmission laws.

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton needs to address why she apparently said and did nothing to prevent these laws from being signed, nor called for their reform until last month and what she'll do during campaign to address repealing HIV exposure laws and releasing folks convicted of violations.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bay Guardian-Backed Wiener: Jail for Robbers Not Killer Cops

In their last edition before expiring as a weekly print newspaper, the progressives supposedly with a mighty clue on how San Francisco politics works at the Bay Guardian endorsed conservative Supervisor Scott Wiener in his 2014 reelection bid. That was the year I was on the ballot challenging Wiener and knew, after years of criticizing Bay Guardian editors and writers, I wouldn't get their endorsement.

But what the eff about them backing Wiener? Nail in the paper's coffin.

Wiener on Monday, April 24, was quoted thus in the New York Times about an epidemic of smashed cars and robberies:

He says some people need a half-year in jail to think about their bad behavior if it's for burglaries and damaging private property, but Wiener is not pushing the corrupt district attorney George Gascon to indict and prosecute, never mind demand prison sentences, for the San Francisco cops who've killed civilians.

It's time for the former Bay Guardian editors, including clueless Tim Redmond who ran the paper into the ground before he was forced out which was before the 2014 endorsement of Wiener was published, to publicly apologize for saying he deserved votes and second supervisorial term.

This ambitious politician hasn't come around to any sort of progressive agenda since the Bay Guardian threw its weight behind him, and here's what Redmond said at his blog on April 18 regarding Wiener's latest effort at the Board of Supervisors to undermine law enforcement reform:

"The supes were considering a resolution endorsing a bill by Sup. Mark Leno that would mandate more police accountability. [...] the supe who tried to derail the resolution was Scott Wiener, who has been a close Leno ally and whom Leno has endorsed to replace him in the state Senate. I was surprised when I was first reporting on this that Wiener wasn’t among the supes who had signed onto the endorsement resolution. [...] But Wiener couldn’t bring himself to support the bill."

Clueless Redmond was surprised at Wiener opposing a mild cop accountability resolution? Such progressive thinking is a big reason why the Mission and San Francisco as we knew it has been lost forever.

How about that apology, former Bay Guardianistas? It's not too late to absolve yourselves of the sin of backing Wiener.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mayor Lee Questioned About Cops Killing Civilians

After using public comment at today's Ethics Commission meeting to demand they move on my outstanding complaint against Mayor Ed Lee, regarding SF Chronicle columnist Willie Brown failing to disclose his affiliation as required by law on a disclosure form after meeting in the mayor's office, I ran into the mayor exiting City Hall.

I grabbed my video camera and asked Lee about the San Francisco Police Department officers killing civilians and when he was going to hold a public meeting about cop accountability.

No surprise to report the mayor ignored my questions, just as he's paid no attention to reforming the cops or holding them to account and calling for police who kill to be charged by the corrupt district attorney, George Gascon.

Watch this video:

Hillary Clinton & the 21 HIV Poz Prisoners in Arkansas' Jails

My interest in currently incarcerated HIV positive persons in Arkansas' prisons convicted of violating the transmission criminalization statutes, signed into law by Gov. Bill Clinton in November 1989, grew after the Washington Blade published my column about Hillary Clinton's terrible HIV record as First Lady of Arkansas.

In response to a public records request to the Arkansas Department of Correction, I received a list containing twenty-one names of people presently serving sentences for HIV exposure crimes.

The overwhelming majority of such prisoners are black, with 13 African-American men among the 21 total, 7 are listed as white and 1 is Indian/Native American, while 20 are men and there is a single female.

Most of these prisoners were convicted solely of HIV transmission violations while others also broke rape and drug laws, and all of them deserve a second look at their HIV convictions.

On her presidential campaign web site's AIDS page, Hillary says the following:

"Reform outdated and stigmatizing HIV criminalization laws. Discrimination should never be enshrined in our laws. Hillary will work with advocates, HIV and AIDS organizations, Congress, and other stakeholders to review and reform outdated and stigmatizing federal HIV criminalization laws—and will call on states to do the same."

This is a good start but I am deeply concerned that she has not addressed her silence in the 1980s when Arkansas's HIV transmission laws were put on the books. What does she have to say about taking no actions while serving as the state's First Lady and dozens of poz folks were charged, convicted and incarcerated because of the laws?

Here's a July 2014 news account via law enforcement officials, of one of the prisoners behind his legal troubles. Based on the five counts against him, seems clear the cops over-charged and there's a pattern of entrapment by the police at the area where the suspect was arrested:

Alvinito Colina Bluebird, 35, pictured, was arrested at Fort Smith Park, 5301 Riverfront Drive, on suspicion of loitering, criminal trespass, resisting arrest and third-degree attempted escape after Fort Smith police conducted an undercover operation at the park, according to a police report. 

About noon Wednesday, Bluebird allegedly met with an undercover detective in a wooded area of the park and agreed to engage in a sex act. [. . . ] Bluebird had been banned from all Fort Smith parks for previous convictions in similar arrests at the walking trail, the report states. A Fort Smith Police Department news release issued Thursday stated that Bluebird also will face an additional offense of attempting to knowingly expose a person to HIV.

Based on this very limited information, it appears the suspect didn't have actual sex and no transmission took place, yet he's in jail.

I have several outstanding FOIA requests with the Arkansas Department of Correction and the state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for more information regarding present and past prisoners sentenced under Bill Clinton-approved HIV legislation. Once that information is provided to me, I'll share it.

Meanwhile, I would like Hillary Clinton address what she did as First Lady of Arkansas regarding AIDS and how she'll bring attention to examining these 21 HIV positive prisoners, and work to overturn transmission criminalization laws.

It's the least she can do to show her seriousness about HIV transmission statutes on the books of too many states.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend Woof #103: Beefy Boys

This edition of Weekend Woof consists entirely of spliced-together footage of various handsome dudes seen around San Francisco in public spaces. The recent warm weather sure got a lotta males wearing less clothing, at cafes and on BART trains. Many thanks to the fellas for gracing the lens of my video camera.


SFIFF59: Japan's 5-Hour Film Best So Far

After the first full day of programming for the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival in the Mission District on Friday, April 22, I sense a gentle footprint establishing itself and adding vibrancy to the neighborhood thanks to use of the Alama Drafthouse, the Victoria and Roxie theaters and the film lounge situated at Valencia and 21st Street.

I've walked out on two films so far. The first, from France and Belgium, "The White Knights", about a hard-charging NGO executive director mucking up an orphan rescue in an unnamed African country and hostilities between local villagers and outsiders predictably flare up.

Terrific acting and desert scenery couldn't hold my attention to a bland plot and tiresome implausibilities stacking up every five minutes, and I left the press screening forty minutes into the film.

The second early exit was at Marco Bellochio's new Italian film "Blood of My Blood". An anemic disappointment from Bellocchio, whose 2009 work "Vincere" was a stirring melodrama about Il Duce Mussolini's first wife who went mad, full of passion and an engaging story.

His new movie is a dull costume drama told in two tales with the initial part set in the 17th century, at a cloister where a young woman is on trial for Satanism. A nobleman and priest falls in love with her, and a bloodless production lumbers on as they plan an escape. Sumptuous costumes were too clean and wrinkle-free for the period, but of more interest than the narrative.

My third choice was the excellent five-hour and thirty-minute Japanese "Happy Hour" saga following four 30-something female friends over a year of changes, good and bad, for all concerned.

A compulsive narrative, sleek production design and a surface coolness to the images that calmly illustrates the passions and emotions of the women and their mates. Contemporary life, artistic and personal fulfillment, romantic failures and employment challenges, and supporting each other through it all, these fully developed female characters are complex creatures.

The only dull patch was an extended author's reading in the fourth hour. Engaging acting from each actress made us care what happened to their characters.

Proud to report an audience of fifty caught it at the Roxie on Friday evening, with many of us agreeing afterward it was well worth our time.

More info on all the programs, films and guests, and to purchase ticket, are found here. What are you seeing at the festival?

(All photos courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society.)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Living With HIV Poz Face & Had Fat Injections?

This week, I had my first consultation at UCSF's plastic surgery clinic for information about dealing with the creases in my cheeks known as HIV poz face.

My facial appearance hasn't bothered me until recently, when thanks to bariatric surgery I lost about 80 pounds including losing fat from my around my nose, and the poz face symptoms became more pronounced.

I was assigned to a nice 44-year-old Jewish doctor originally from the Bronx named Jason Pomerantz and we developed a good rapport from the get-go. He sure seemed pleased seeing me with pen and pad taking notes.

The UCSF folks checked with my public insurance carriers and called me to schedule an appointment in June for fat injections.

What Pomerantz would do is take fat from my belly near my navel then inject it into my cheeks. I would be asleep during the procedure. He says this method is preferable and permanent versus silicon and artificial facial fillers.

Well, I'm not quite ready to get the fat injections. I'm first trying to speak with another longterm AIDS survivor or two who've had the procedure and solicit their reactions and advice.

If you're living with HIV and went the fat injection route to deal with your poz face, please get in touch with me soon. Many thanks!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

59th SF Int'l Film Festival: A Few Suggestions

The highlight of my cinematic year begins tonight with the opening night of the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival at the Castro Theater and runs to May 5th. For what's playing, when and where and how to purchase tickets, click here.

As always, the San Francisco Film Society programmers have over-stuffed the calendar with a wide-ranging and eclectic selection of films and discussions and awards, just how I like it.

This is the first year the festival is not at the Sundance Kabuki. The main venues are the Castro Theater for big-ticket and bold-face name events, the Alamo Drafthouse is the location of most movies on one of their five screens, while the Roxie and Victoria Theaters host showings on their single screens and across the Bay, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is where to catch SFIFF programs.

I'm offering a few suggestions to SFIFF executives, venue hosts and audience members to hopefully enhance the festival experience for all. Let's get started:

1. At the Alamo, consider placing seating options in areas other than the bar with it's loud sounds and darkness, such as on the perch overlooking the entrance and grand staircase or the mezzanine level above the bar where DVD bins are located.

Offer mature cineastes attending the festival a chance to chat and rest before, between and after catching a doc or narrative feature.

One terrific element of the Sundance Kabuki multiplex was the option of hanging out on the second level in a common sofa area and the wine bar, or grabbing a nibble to eat, some conversation and a libation on the third level's eatery with bar stools.

Let's talk about the films!

2. Turn up the temperature in the Alamo's auditoriums. All of the times I've seen a film here, I've had to request the air-conditioning be lowered because I was so chilly even with a jacket or sweater on.

Just one screening, of Jacques Rivette's cult classic "Out1" and all thirteen-hours of it, maintained a comfortable temperature throughout that didn't merit turning down.

3. Post signs at the Alamo entrance informing bike-riding patrons that indoor parking is available on the mezzanine level. I expect bicycle parking to be a premium anywhere near this venue or the other theaters, so everything that can be done for bicycle security would be appreciated by this biker.

4. At all venues, patrons should express thanks to the many volunteers who maintain the lines, accommodate the disabled needing special seating, clean the theaters and answer various questions. Volunteers are key to this and all film festival. Let them know we love them!

That's enough for now. Every edition of the San Francisco International Film Festival is special and memorable, but this year will be especially unique with the festival establishing a welcome footprint in the Mission.

I'll see you at the films!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

SF Symphony & Tilson Thomas' Amazing Mahler Concert

Never question that the combination of the San Francisco Symphony musicians, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the works of Gustav Mahler will deliver the orchestral goods to an audience, for a memorable evening.

We were among the enthralled listeners on April 9th at Davies Hall for the performance of Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" and our ears and emotions were treated to an amazing night of classical music.

From the subtle and quieter moments, inducing contemplation, to the grand and robust sounds of the more exuberant passages stirring our souls, we reveled in Mahler's majestic song cycle.

Tenor Simon O'Neill and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke delivered superb and colorful singing perfectly matched with the musicians grand playing that left us charged with joy.

Pulling it all together - Mahler, the singing and musical styling - as only he can with modesty and eloquence, was Thomas from the podium. The maestro was in fine form and only wished to have had a chance to see his face as he conducted.

Needless to say, the audience could barely contain its appreciation for the many artists on the stage as the concert concluded and we stood to offer a wild ovation.

We'll remember the rapturous sounds and standout playing, singing and conducting of that night for a long time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Southern Poverty's 2 Off-Shore Accounts & the Panama Papers

Back in 2010, I blogged about the Southern Poverty Law Center have an off-shore bank account in the Cayman Islands. Thought it was odd a poverty-fighting nonprofit had so much money they need to bank it off-shore.

After the Panama Papers became news recently, I checked the latest IRS 990 filing for SPLC and saw that they not only have an account in the Cayman Islands but also in Bermuda. Is there any other poverty organization so awash in cash they need two off-shore accounts?

Several emails to their spokeswoman Penny Weaver didn't generate a response.

SPLC last year took in $54.2 million in revenue and had $315,353,000 in net assets. Poverty sure is profitable for them!

For four questions related to transfer of property to a foreign corporation or partnership with a foreign firm, SPLC marked the Yes boxes.

The Tiger Global Private Investment Partners based in the Cayman Islands is listed as one of SPLC's foreign partners last fiscal year.

SPLC transferred $960,000 to Tiger Global and I'm not sure what good that did to alleviate poverty in the South or anywhere in America.

As in every previous IRS 990 filing, the robust six-figure salaries for the top executives reveal who's getting rich fighting poverty.

If Penny Weaver or anyone at the SPLC answers my questions about their two off-shore accounts, I'll amend this post.

Follow the money!

Monday, April 18, 2016

BAMPFA's Audio Glitch Enhances My Cinema Experience 

Quite a bit of good came from an audio glitch at the Friday, April 15, at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive screening of "One Floor Below" from Romanian director Radu Muntean. We heard background sounds but all dialogue was muted, for the opening ten minutes.

People grumbled and since no usher or the house manager made an announcement, a few of us spoke to the ushers in the hallway. Told they were aware of the problem and summoning the house manager and the projectionist was trying to stop the glitch, most of us returned to our seats but other folks streamed out.

Maybe fifteen-minutes went by for the entire episode including the house manager appearing to share the bad news that the screening was cancelled, but that we'd get passes or refunds. Much disappointment among the audience.

Thanks to the technical difficulty, I introduced myself to the house manager Emily, who was receptive to my suggestions to improve the cinema-going experience:

1. Stay in the theater for ten or fifteen minutes at the start to make sure the sound and projection, and when necessary the subtitles, are are functioning properly.

2. If problems develop, be quick to inform the audience.

3. When a screening must be cancelled and there are other showings of the same film, mention that to us.

A Romanian woman named Aleen and I chatted, as we were given comps to another screening. She drove an hour from the South Bay and we spent an hour afterward at a cafe across from the BAMPFA home sitting tea and chatting about the cinema.

We were joined by a Berkeley couple and the four of us enjoyed a great talk about the BAMPFA facility and the fabulous movie offerings.

All four of us felt it was positive to spend time conversing about our love of films, and that the episode would be a learning lesson or few for the BAMPFA staff.

Much praise to Emily and other BAMPFA folks who were gracious about giving everyone a comp and apologizing for the glitch.

When I returned for the Sunday, April 17, screening of "One Floor Below", I saw the couple again who, like me, were pleased we had an opportunity to see the film, which was terrific, wickedly funny and a puzzling crime anti-thriller.

So, not only was it good to engage in conversation with other cineastes and the house manager but also fine to be part of BAMPFA's ironing out of the wrinkles in its new home.

Speaking of which, the new theater is a dream venue with state-of-art projection and sound systems, roomy and comfortable seats, some films shown on 16mm and 35mm, and a robust and eclectic selection of movies.

Cheers all around for those elements and one more new part of the programming: multiple screenings of the same film. This was especially welcome with "One Floor Below" and having another chance to see it after the cancelled screening.

Have you been to the new BAMPFA yet? If yes, you know how wonderful it is and if not, check out the new digs soon and often.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hillary's Arkansas HIV Advocacy = Nancy Reagan's Silence

A few weeks back, the Washington Blade published this opinion piece of mine and I am now sharing it on my blog to bring additional attention to these gay and AIDS concerns, along with supporting documents. I hope these facts stir interest in what Hillary did and failed to do during her tenure in Little Rock. -Michael

It cannot be said that during her nine years as first lady of Arkansas that Hillary Clinton started a local conversation about AIDS — her advocacy had such a low-key volume that no one heard it. 

Now that the dust-up over her grossly uninformed statement about Nancy Reagan starting a national discussion about AIDS has subsided, it’s relevant to examine her HIV record, such as it is, from her Little Rock years. 

Remarkably, during the 1980s when their husbands held power and the AIDS epidemic created crises at every level of government, as thousands of gay men and others suffered and died, neither first lady left a paper trail of actions or statements addressing the grief, tremendous fear and stigma we lived with. 

As a member of the ACT UP/Presidential Project from late 1991 to the November 1992 election, I kept thick files on Gov. Bill Clinton’s campaign and reporting on his HIV record. Nothing in my archive includes any reference to Hillary’s HIV record and online searches fail to locate any relevant source materials. 

If she took action or spoke up prior to campaigning against George H. W. Bush, it went unreported or duly noted. 

Hillary held no elective office while her husband served as governor but she was no shrinking violet when it came to injecting herself into public policy matters and state government, and fighting for causes she believed in. 

In 1977, then-attorney general Bill Clinton endorsed modernization of the state’s homosexual and bestial anti-sodomy statute and as governor made no public comments calling for repeal of the law. Same goes for Hillary. When in 1991 courageous local Democratic politician Vic Snyder, who eventually served as a representative in Congress, attempted to erase the law from the books, neither Clinton offered him support. 

Newspaper accounts from 1991 offer details on how police entrapped men cruising for sex at highway rest stops and other locations, and after they were arrested and charged under the sodomy law, their names and home addresses were published for all to read. 

Arkansas’s sodomy statue was in effect until the Supreme Court struck down such laws across the land, but while it was on the books it was vigorously used by prosecutors against LGBT persons. 

Compounding the stigma and fear of gays and our sexual relations, and the added burden of HIV transmission stemming from outrageous neglect of prevention and education programs, Gov. Clinton in November 1989 signed one of the worst criminal transmission laws in the nation. 

The law made it a Class A felony for a poz person to have penetrative sex with another person without first disclosing their HIV status. If convicted, sentences required no less than six years and a maximum of 30 years in prison. This law is still on the books and an unknown number of persons convicted under it currently are inmates in penitentiaries serving time. 

Public records obtained from Arkansas prosecutors by advocates affiliated with the Sero Project, a nonprofit of HIV poz folks and allies fighting stigma and injustice, while limited in scope nevertheless offer details worth our attention.

Of caseloads made public for about a dozen persons, the average sentence meted out was 10 years and three people got 20 years while only one received six years in prison. I believe these cases represent a mere fraction of all convictions in Arkansas. 

After extensive searching, I’ve come across nothing showing Hillary opposed the HIV criminalization law before her husband signed it or after going into effect. Over the course of their final nine years of holding the reins of power in Little Rock and of widespread HIV and sodomy criminal enforcement, Hillary expended no political capital on us or our concerns. 

Just how missing-in-action on AIDS were the Clintons up to September 1990? An extended editorial at the time in Little Rock’s alternative weekly The Spectrum headlined “Time For An AIDS Policy” completely omits the Clintons, indicating they weren’t known for doing the right thing on HIV matters. 

It noted: “The incidence of reported AIDS in Arkansas is up 158 percent over last year … by the end of September, there will be 147 cases on the books as compared to 57 this same time last year. … The Department of Health Services just completely cut Medicaid benefits to 10 of 13 Arkansans who take AZT … The Arkansas Department of Corrections simply failed to reapply for its grants that paid for a full-time AIDS education coordinator … Blacks in Arkansas have an alarmingly disproportionate incidence of AIDS; about 23 percent of AIDS cases are among blacks who make up 16.3 percent of the population.” 

With primaries underway, the Clinton for President Committee in early March 1992 issued a one-page position paper on AIDS that is noteworthy because it lacks any compelling achievement on his part directly assisting people with AIDS or those at-risk. 

It reads: “As chairman of the National Governor’s Association, he formed the first working group of governors to develop a policy on AIDS … In 1986, under Governor Clinton’s leadership, the Arkansas State Board of Education adoption a resolution calling for the ‘development of AIDS educations skills … to be integrated into the Health Education Course Content Guide’."

Granted, a panel and a resolution connected to Bill during the first five years of the plague are something, they’re exceedingly underwhelming and pitiful and force me to wonder where was Hillary and did she do a damn thing about HIV in Little Rock? 

In her apology after her erroneous Nancy Reagan comment generated pain, Hillary wrote: “I’ve always tried to do my part in the fight against this disease, and the stigma and pain that accompanies it. At the 1992 Democratic National Convention, when my husband accepted the nomination for president, we marked a break with the past by having two HIV-positive speakers — the first time that ever happened at a national convention.” 

Echoes of Bill’s 1992 campaign AIDS position paper — long on platitudes, short on substance. Given how abysmal her HIV Arkansas record is, Hillary’s apology omitting anything she may have done prior to the presidential campaign is quite telling. 

A four-page policy assessment paper from the Arkansas Gay and Lesbian Task Force in February 1992 to the Human Rights Campaign about the state’s AIDS legislation and response to the epidemic offers more on the issue. 

On top of the bad laws, sodomy arrests and prosecutions and lack of initiative from the Clintons, the task force shed light regarding no state funds appropriated for AIDS: “[O]nly federal money was spent here until 1991 [when three HIV educators for community-based organizations for the entire state were hired] . . . $30,000 in 1992 was money to be used for testing and counseling that the federal government quit sending and it came from the Governor’s Emergency Release Fund.” 

Most galling, Hillary said: “We should call on states to reform outdated and stigmatizing HIV criminalization laws.” If only Bill hadn’t signed Arkansas’s criminalization law she would have one less state to call on to amend, maybe even repeal, these lock-’em-up laws. 

What’s needed now, just as we’ve weighed Mrs. Reagan’s HIV resume, is to apply the same degree of accountability to Mrs. Clinton especially during her Little Rock years. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

More Bad Law Enforcement Accountability Organizing in SF

The corrupt district attorney and former chief of the San Francisco police force, George Gascon, who's gunning to replace attorney general if she's elected to the U.S. Senate, doesn't work or live at Valencia and 17th Streets.

A group of diverse law enforcement accountability activists gathered at the Mission police station yesterday to demand the DA indict the killer-cops who fatally shot Amilcar Perez-Lopez a year ago. The DA's office is at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street and Gascon doesn't live at the site of the protest.

According to a story by Laura Wenus, who snapped the pic above, of the Mission Local news site, which omitted those facts.

She writes: "The organizers, many of whom attend the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist or are members of the advocacy group Faith in Action, have decided to hold silent but highly visible vigils in front of Mission Police Station every week until District Attorney George Gascón decides whether or not he will bring criminal charges against the officers who shot Perez-Lopez."

Well, they weren't silent as evidenced in the video shot by Wenus and posted here. She didn't report if she queried the organizers about why they're not at Gascon's office or home.

Going to the police station instead of the DA's place of business is akin to protesting Donald Trump at Ted Cruz's headquarter.

Also this week, more bad law enforcement accountability from the Mario Woods Coalition. He was killed by SFPD officers in December and this coalition never directly names Gascon as the official who should charge the cops with Woods' death.

At their Facebook page, the coalition simply calls for charging the officers. No mention of the DA's office or Gascon, yet plenty of naming of the SFPD and chief Greg Suhr.

Then we have's Tim "access is all important to me" Redmond promoting a recent listening session of Gascon's alleged SFPD accountability and transparency panel

No hard questions from Redmond about the panel or Gascon's failure to indict in either the Woods or Perez-Lopez fatalities. Redmond likes one of the hand-picked-by-Gason judges on the panel and he reveals his incredible naivete stating this:

"[T]here's a real chance to tell people who might be in a position to make some (public, I hope) recommendations for change . . ."

Yeah, and there's a real chance you can win the Lotto too. And what is Redmond's b.s. about people who _might_ have power to make, yawn, recommendations for change? Goody for him to hope this public official, corrupt Gascon, will make public whatever his panel recommends.

With the like of the Perez-Lopez and Woods coalitions and progressive leaders like Redmond engaging in bad law enforcement accountability organizing, it's no wonder Gascon let's cops get away with murder.

Monday, April 11, 2016

DA Gascon's Cop Panel = 8 Law Firms & 40 Attorneys

While corrupt San Francisco district attorney George Gascon hasn't indicted a single killer-cop for taking the lives of civilians during his tenure, he's established his own panel to allegedly look into police misconduct over naughty emails.

The panel's purpose is really to buff up Gascon's credentials to be appointed California attorney general if Kamala Harris wins her U.S. Senate race in November.

My recent public records request to Gascon forced him to release a four-page memo from the nonprofit PolicyLink organization based in Oakland that's taking care of administrative duties.

As with any nonprofit, the ultimate work of PolicyLink is feather their own nest. The memo reveals how the administrators want to restore trust in San Francisco's law enforcement agencies, good luck with that, and PolicyLink will use their work to "share this deeper knowledge with partners working toward justice in policing across the country."

Yeah, whatever with reforming cops across America. I'd just a decent San Francisco district attorney who isn't corrupt and with minimal political ambitions who indicts cops when they fatally shoot civilians.

This just shows how the panel is not just to advance the career of Gascon but keep the PolicyLink folks in business advising other law enforcement agencies and keeping the grants flowing to them.

The memo also explains that the DA's office has eight law firms and over forty attorney's performing pro bono work for them. Why can't Gascon and his panel find such resources and staff-time of lawyers to work on indicting killer-cops?

All the private grant money raised by PolicyLink, hours of staff-time of folks at Gascon's office, eight law firm and dozens of lawyers conducting research - all for a bunch of naughty emails that are so old the DA can't use them to indict any bad cops.

Gascon is getting no calls to be transparent and accountable about this b.s. panel from inept progressive leader and writer Tim Redmond.

He recently wrote about a hearing of the panel and raised no qualms about how it was picked and is controlled by the DA. Redmond thinks something may come of it, haha, he liked one of the panelists when he was a sitting judge, oh my, and he hopes their recommendations are made public.

No questions from Redmond about lack of a web site about the panel, who's funding it, who sets the agenda, where to find its agendas and minutes, supporting documents and since he wrote the above, no followup on the meeting he was promoting.

With a free pass for corrupt Gascon from the likes of Redmond, no wonder the DA faces little accountability.

Read the full four-page PolicyLink memo here.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekend Woof #102: All-Male Vid + Pix 4 Queers

My last posting in this male-appreciation series was in July 2015. Too long a hiatus, so let's check out who's caught the attention of my queer eye lately. Weekend Woof is back!

Let's start with John, a weekday sales associate at the locally-owned Ace Hardware store on Market near Church Street. What a cute boy and absolutely friendly too.

Snapped a foto of him as he flawlessly and graciously assisted four costumers at once.

Say hello to Thomas, who was on line with me at the hardware store being entertained and waited on by John.

Here's Cooper who works at my favorite recycled men's clothing and kink store, Worn Out West, on Market near Castro Street. He told me yesterday his ancestry is Scottish and I can see him in kilt.

Attractive furry-faced fella on BART.

Who knew the Treasure Island Media kink porn outfit had a brand of underwear for sale? Boy waiting for BART train to arrive.

As always, many thanks to the fellas for gracing the lens of my trusty camera.
SF Chron: Blogger Ends Mayoral Deletion of Public Records

Answer me this: What other records have been and are being destroying by mayoral staff at City Hall and with the blessing of the City Attorney?

That's just one question that came to mind when reading this April 1 San Francisco Chronicle story. The larger context here is City Attorney Dennis Herrera and the Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo are starving the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force of necessary funds to complete its vital open govt duties.

Neither Herrera nor Calvillo want the SOTF hearings aired on SFGovTV. Says a lot about what is wrong with sunshine at City Hall that even though the SOTF meets there, it's not broadcast on the City's cable channel.

Don't forget our corrupt District Attorney George Gascon blithely blows off prosecuting SOTF guilty findings and has no interest regarding enforcement of sunshine laws.

Bottom line to my complaint in this matter? Herrera says it's ok Mayor Ed Lee's vice mayor to delete his calendar, the mayor's office says while there's been nothing wrong with that practice up to now, it's ended. Yeah, but there's been a huge violation of City law Mayor Lee not that you'd know it from the apathy of the City Attorney Herrera and District Attorney Gascon.

Excerpts from the Chronicle piece:

Steve Kawa, chief of staff to Mayor Ed Lee, has the right to delete his calendar on a rolling basis, the city attorney’s office asserted this week as it criticized a proposal before a city committee that Kawa be charged with an ethics violation for willfully skirting public records laws. 

In a seven-page memo to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office said Kawa was not governed by the same rules as elected officials — namely that they must maintain calendars listing who meets with them and the topic of the meeting. 

“The purpose of a staffer’s individual calendar is not to serve an historical function or inform the public, but rather is to allow the staffer prospectively to keep track of or schedule upcoming meetings, tasks, deadlines or events,” Deputy City Attorney Burke Delventhal wrote in the memo dated Wednesday. 

The subtext to the dispute is that Kawa is not just any staffer. He is one of the most powerful men in City Hall — some would say the most powerful. Before Lee became mayor, Kawa served as chief of staff to Mayor Gavin Newsom and was a top aide to Mayor Willie Brown. 

City Hall public records devotee — some would say gadfly — Michael Petrelis requested Kawa’s calendar and was told his staff regularly deleted calendar entries more than two weeks old. 

“It was one of the more egregious violations we have seen,” Sunshine Ordinance Task Force ChairAllyson Washburn said Thursday. “Anyone who keeps a calendar doesn’t destroy it after two weeks unless you mean to hide what you are doing.” 

Another Sunshine Ordinance Task Force member, Mark Rumold, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, drafted an order that says Kawa’s actions constituted a willful violation of two provisions of the city’s Sunshine Ordinance — that the mayor and all department heads “maintain appropriate records in a businesslike manner” and that the custodians of a public record permit its inspection and copying. 

The proposed order also recommends that Kawa be referred to the Ethics Commission for willfully violating public records laws. The city attorney’s memo is a forceful defense of Kawa. It says the Sunshine Ordinance refers to how records be maintained and not what records must be maintained. 

It also says because Kawa had already deleted parts of his calendar at the time of Petrelis’ request, Kawa no longer had custody of it and therefore complied with the Sunshine Ordinance. The Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, which exists to protect the public’s interest in open government and public records laws, will vote on the matter April 6. 

Kawa, however, has already abandoned his practice of deleting his calendar, mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey said.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Funders of & Amounts to DA's SFPD Panel Revealed

Corrupt San Francisco district attorney George Gascon a year ago, established a power-less panel ostensibly to look at accountability and transparency within the police department.

It's a joke, considering the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force castigated Gascon for failing to respond to any referring of open govt violations including not providing any, um, accountability as to why he take no action. Gascon has several times been found non-compliant with transparency statutes, so it's hypocritical of him to control this panel.

In keeping with being a foe of open govt, Gascon has not released any info about who is paying for the panel and what amounts are being raised for its work. Quite telling that Gascon refuses to indict any SFPD officer for killing Alex Nieto or Mario Woods or any other civilian fatally shot by a cop, but he's a panel to buff up his resume.

Current state attorney general Kamala Harris hasn't been elected to the U.S. Senate yet, and Gascon is already laying the p.r. groundwork to lobby Gov. Brown to appoint him to replace her, if she's on her way to Washington after November.

My public records request to Gascon produced this February 9, 2016, email between staffers at the PolicyLink nonprofit in Oakland showing they received $86,000 from a Denise Foderaro for their work with the panel.

According to a 2003 SF Chronicle story, Foderaro is a lawyer and she and her investment banker husband faced criminal charges over alleged shady real estate and tax dealings on several luxury properties they owned.

How much of a say does Foderaro have over Gascon's panel in exchange for her $86,000 donation?

According to the San Francisco Ethics Commission and the California Secretary of State's political donations' online records, she has deep pockets and likes Democratic pols and PACs. No donations from her to Gascon's official political campaigns, have turned up.

The PolicyLink group, which is profiting handsomely in terms of grants coming in and glowing media attention, received a check for $100,000 in October from global financial powerhouse George Soros's Foundation to Promote Open Society.

A PolicyLink memo reveals they didn't disclose the Soros foundation's donations until December. Lack of transparency karma coming back to kick Gascon's butt!

As I blogged about last week, Gascon refused to scan 15,000 pages of records responsive to my open govt request, and he wouldn't separate the document by subject - funders, contracts, SFPD emails, etc - so I don't know if Foderaro and Soros are the only funders of his panel. I've not read every page of what was released.

For now, we know that Gascon's panel has taken in $186,000 for its work. It's incumbent upon the corrupt and foe of sunshine district attorney to get accountable and transparent and disclose exactly how much money has come, name the sources and explain what the money is to be used for.

Think Gascon will do that?

Friday, April 01, 2016

SF Chronicle's Nevius Hired as Wiener's Media Director

This news from the Hearst-owned newspaper hit my inbox this morning. I know many progressives and liberals will be happy with this news. Maybe now the Chron will hire a lefty columnist to counter all the convservative ones still writing for the rag! Read this memo from the paper's managing editor:

From: Audrey Cooper
Sent: Fri 04/01/2016 7:32 AM
To: SFC-Metro
Subject: Chuck Nevius is Moving On

Dear Newsroom Colleagues and Friends,

As you have no doubt heard by now, our brightest marquee columnist Chuck Nevius is leaving our diverse and provocative stable of must-read opinion writers to take a long-sought job with his friend Supervisor Scott Wiener.

Chuck begins his new job on May 1 as Director of Media Relations for Scott's state Senate campaign. They'll make a great political team ready to engage voters, journalists and bloggers and challenge progressive leaders in local and state civic arenas.

Many of our readers across the Bay Area and beyond, remember that Chuck has a large online following beyond our local borders, will sorely miss his delightfully crusty and pointed shake-'em-up pieces.

They need not worry about no longer keeping up-to-date on their collaboration.

Nothing will change in how we're dedicated to covering Scott's political rise and legislative proposals, except I commit us fully to always disclosing that our soon-to-be former colleague is employed by the Supervisor.

Please join me in thanking Chuck for his years of dedicated journalistic service to our cherished publication and wishing him all the best in his exciting new adventure -- some would say bromance -- with Scott. 

We'll miss you, Chuck!