Monday, October 31, 2016

In Memory of Mary Merrigan

My deepest condolences and love go out to my husband Mike and his family on the loss of their loving matriarch Mary Merrigan. She died earlier today in Vermillion, South Dakota. Mother Mary was a treasure and now rests in peace.

'AIDS Plague' Book: 'Mobster' Petrelis vs NY Times Editor

Before there was ACT UP, there was the Lavender Hill Mob. A small and diverse grassroots affinity group, from 1985 through 1987, that put AIDS and queer issue on the political and media maps.

I was a proud member and now, a new book titled "How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS," by journalist and filmmaker David France soon comes out and our advocacy is included in its pages.

From an Oscar-nominated documentary of the same name, to his latest book, David sure is milking the ACT UP archive and history.

Many queer writers, painters and artists, Ivy League academics and former activists turned nonprofit executives have profited from ACT UP's legacy, but David is the highest profile mainstream chronicler of the group.

He also has a development deal in the works for an ABC Network presentation of a dramatic adaption of his film.

A friend with a copy of the "How to Survive a Plague" book shared a photo of one passage where I'm mentioned, which I've keyed in.

The time frame is February 1987, one month after the Mob confronted a top editor of the Gray Lady a month before the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power began a crusade to save queer lives and make the world a better place.

Btw, I want an apology from the New York Times for prohibiting use of the words gay and lesbian until 1987. The moral and political costs of that prohibition have yet to be fully calculated. It's not too late for the paper to issue a mea culpa.

From "How to Survive a Plague":

"In the few days he had for planning, [ACT UP instigator and angry prophet Larry Kramer] called and visited key people in the city.

"One was Michael Petrelis, a leading member of the [Lavender Hill] Mob -- its youngest and perhaps its most shrill. A boxy man with curly hair sliced into a mullet, Petrelis had a voice that was as powerful as it was grating, and an outsized personality that him easy to admire but hard to love.

"The New York Native had taken to calling him 'an adamant and abrasive young man.'

"I first saw Petrels in the audience for a panel discussion where he attacked a New York Times editor for the paper's editorial ban on the words 'gay' and 'lesbian.'

"When the editor began to speak, Petrelis started bellowing, 'Call us gay! Call us gay!' over and over, until the event could no longer proceeed. Kramer needed him on his side."

I never had a mullet; just big hair back then. Happy to say I've kept the first issue of the Lavender Hill News, written by veteran activist Bill Bahlman, and share a snippet from his story about the zap against the New York Times editor.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Borden Raises How Much Cash for Her BART Campaign?

The ever-efficient and productive public servant in the form of Gregory P. Slocum at the Department of Elections, sent me the Form 460 filing from Gwyneth Borden on Friday.

Took him mere hours to provide a copy for public inspection. All custodians of records in City government should give requesters such service.

I've posted Gwyneth filing, in full, here.

She's raised $66,000, has spent $55,000 and the bulk of the expenses was for printing services totaling $25,000. Follow the money!

Sonia Braga & 'Aquarius': Standing Ovation at the Clay Theater

An outstanding new film from Brazil, "Aquarius," is generating controversy because the country's Oscar nominating committee refused to submit it for the best foreign language Academy award, objecting to its leftist politics.

It opened on Friday at the Clay Theater and leading actress Sonia Braga, screen goddess and political activist, who deserves an Oscar nomination for her brave and terrific performance, roused the packed house to its feet.

Braga sat for a short interview after we saw the film, took a few questions from the audience and strongly condemned the coup that removed Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

This was cinema in its most living, breathing and thriving beauty. An engaging and satisfying movie, a star present to talk about it, a diverse and appreciative collection of fabulous folks watching it on the big screen. Who could ask for anything more?

Check out my short video:


SF Ex: Petrelis' BART Positive Pledge, Vote for Jane Kim

To her credit, Supervisor Jane Kim attempted to get her state senate opponent Supervisor Scott Wiener to sign a positive pledge, avoiding negative or malicious attacks by the candidates and their surrogates with a focus on issues. Wiener rejected Kim's request to jointly put their names on the pledge.

I was inspired by Kim and reached out to my two opponents for the BART board seat in District 9, asking them to sign a positive pledge. My hubby has voted-by-mail for Jane and I will do the same on November 8. Vote for Jane Kim for state senate and reject the politics of her competitor.

Today's SF Examiner printed a letter from longtime sunshine advocate Patrick Monette-Shaw touching on some of these facts. I'm happy he wrote this and that the paper ran it, if only because it's more attention for the BART race and gives my campaign mainstream media attention.

Vote for zealous Petrelis for BART board! Thanks.

How about the death of playing by the rules?
Stuart Schuffman’s column about the end of civility was terrific, reporting that Supervisor Scott Wiener refused Supervisor Jane Kim’s call for a pledge not to run negative attack ads in their state Senate race. “Who does that?” Schuffman wondered.
Stuart, meet Gwyneth Borden, candidate in the BART District 9 election.
BART candidate Michael Petrelis called for a similar pledge, which he and Bevan Dufty signed. Borden refused, saying she was politely declining signing. Her rationale? “Ultimately, history is not on the side of African-American women who play by the rules.”
Borden quoted a character from the movie Working Girl: “You can bend the rules plenty once you get to the top, but not while you’re
trying to get there. And if you’re someone like me, you can’t get there without bending the rules.”
Is no-negative-ads civility any skin off Borden’s nose? Along with the death of civility, is playing by the rules also now dead?
Patrick Monette-Shaw

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Comey's Donations to Republicans

As a registered Green Party voter who will cast a ballot for Jill Stein for president, I deplore the unprecedented and strange move by FBI James Comey yesterday regarding alleged emails on Anthony Weiner smartphone that _may_ relate to Hillary Clinton.

I wish to point out that according to FEC records, Comey has donated to Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney. Tells me a lot about his GOP leanings.

The donations are just more reasons to believe he's acting in a partisan manner, just eleven days out before the presidential election. Follow the money is always good advice.
Poz Inmate Michael Johnson's New Postcard 

The latest communication from my prison pen-pal is a postcard. Michael Johnson dated it earlier this month from his penitentiary in Missouri, but it took a while to reach me in San Francisco.

Getting any mail from him is a good thing and I write to him often. Sent him two news clippings I hope are of interest to him. Just trying to brighten his day with letters and articles.

I don't know if Michael is out of the hole and back in the general population.

Our friend seems to be taking care of himself, as well as can be expected. Let's hope his HIV and other blood tests went well.

Meet a Zealous Petrelis For BART Board Voter!

Say a gracious hello to Dee Dee. We met up near the Civic Center Plaza this week. He's a voter who's cast his ballot for me and agreed to be in this promotional video on my behalf. Remember to vote for zealous Petrelis and spread the word via shares and likes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs and all forms of social media. Thanks!


Friday, October 28, 2016

Dufty Raises How Much Cash for His BART Campaign?

I recently erred when I said the Department of Elections was sharing disclosure forms on their site from my opponents. In fact, the department's site only mentions that the forms are on file and how to obtain them.

That is why, after making a request for Bevan Dufty and Gwyneth Borden's Form 460 disclosures today and receiving them quickly from the department's campaign services director, the terrific public servant Gregory P. Slocum, I've posted Bevan's filing here.

Gwyneth hasn't submitted her Form 460 yet. When she does, I'll share it.

Bevan has raked in $85,000 so far and spent $39,000, the largest expense was for the consulting services of Terris, Barnes & Walter.

That's a nice chunk of change to raise for a position that pays nothing, but each BART director receives a monthly stipend of $1,500.

There is no Form 460 for my campaign since I'm not raising funds. Vote for zealous Petrelis!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

KQED, SF Chronicle: Petrelis Running for BART Board

The race for BART's District 9 seat generated some minor mainstream media attention this week. First up, KQED mainly focused on the East Bay seats on the ballot but gave passing reference to the San Francisco race, in a story from Dan Brekke:

"The two other board seats to be filled are in District 3, in which incumbent Rebecca Saltzman is running against former Moraga City Councilman Ken Chew and two other challengers, and District 9, a seat vacated by BART Board President Tom Radulovich. Bevan Dufty, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and former chief of the city’s homeless initiatives, is running against Gwyneth Borden, a member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board, and longtime community activist Michael Petrelis."

The second bit of coverage comes from Michael Cabanautan in the SF Chronicle and his cursory look at all of the BART seats for voters to decide:

"Radulovich, who has served five terms, decided not to seek re-election to the District Nine seat, which represents much of the central part of San Francisco. Three candidates — Bevan Dufty, a former San Francisco supervisor and homeless czar; Gwyneth Borden, a Municipal Transportation Agency board member and head of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association; and political activist Michael Petrelis — are seeking to replace Radulovich."

It's nice to get free media as voting-by-mail and in-person ballot casting at City Hall are underway, and only 11 days left until the election.

Vote for zealous Petrelis!
Police Commission President Loftus Endorses Pro-Cop Chiu

There isn't much of a race for San Francisco's District 17 state assembly seat. Incumbent, and recipient of the SF Police Officers Association's backing, David Chiu, a Democrati, is not a fighter to reform lack of police accountability and prosecutions. His challenger is Republican Matthew Del Carlo.

A mailer for Chiu arrived today featuring Suzy Loftus, who's identified as president of the San Francisco Police Commission. There's an asterisk but the actual disclosure is on another flap of the mailer. Even if the caveat that Loftus' organizational affiliation is for identification purposes only were under her name and endorsement, I'd still have an issue with her prominent endorsement.

It's one thing for a president of an appointed City board with great influence over life-and-death law enforcement matters to support a candidate and vote or donate to him or her. But it's a big deal when that president allows her mug shot, name and affiliated organization to be featured in partisan campaign materials.

I look at Loftus' embrace of Chiu this way as detrimental to her duties on the commission and directly links via text the commission to the candidate.

A reminder. Chiu was no police reformer when on the Board of Supervisors, has remained silent and aloof about the 18 civilians killed by cops since George Gascon was appointed to be district attorney, and not a single indictment of any officer in death-by-SFPD fatality.

I've railed at commission hearings against Chiu's assembly tenure as one sorely lacking with any visible or verbal actions to strip California cops of their Bill of Rights protections. Those protections are key to why we have practically nil accountability of cops-who-kill and no transparency of the disciplinary process, weak as it is.

Loftus undermines my trust in her leadership and oversight of the local police force, with her high-profile embrace of Chiu.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dozens of Petrelis Campaign Signs Up in the Mission

The latest act of get-out-the-vote for my DYI democracy campaign for the BART board involved getting dozens of my signs in windows. Most are in the Mission with a few in the Civic Center area. I've campaigned twice at the 16th Street BART plaza, displaying my enormous poster everyone sees as they step off the up escalator, handing out a hundred cards.

Check out my fotos. In the first, I'm with Ali who's the owner of Truly Mediterranean on 16th Street near the Roxie Theater. He's an appealing to the queer eye straight man with a handsome teen son, who's voted for me. Says his wife did also. Thanks, friends and voters.

Before the foto was snapped, he flexed his muscular left bicep with my fingers wrapped around his hard bod. And folks wonder why I like pressing the flesh on the campaign trail!

Vote for zealous Petrelis.

Milk Plaza Revamp Delayed for 1-Yr; Public Meeting When?

The hugely important public space at Castro and Market Streets and the City's plans to redesign the plaza in coming years deserved an open meeting months ago. It hasn't happened, but stakeholders have met amongst themselves and decided a good number of areas of agreement - for them.

For those of us who weren't in the room when the decisions were made, we need to insist on full transparency. Here are the exchanges I've had recently with the CBD and SFMTA:

Tues Oct 25 at 8:32 PM:

Hi Michael,
I understand that you think we should hold a community meeting as soon as possible. At this point, if we did that, it would be a waste of everyone's time because we don't have very much to present to the community to respond to. I will share your concern about control of the flag with the planning committee. I imagine this will be an item on the CBD's November 10th meeting, just because the CBD board doesn't know what is happening either and they need to be updated. I will let you know if it is on the agenda or of course you can just check our website.

Thanks for your efforts Michael.

-----Original Message-----
From: mpetrelis
To: andrea
Sent: Tue, Oct 25, 2016 12:26 pm
Subject: Re: No public meetings yet - Re: Elevator for Milk Plaza?

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for all this info. There is quite a lot you and others have been up to, all of it probably with good intentions. However, the lack of a single community meeting at this point is a blot of poor engagement. 

There's even a planning group and the CBD in lead roles here, but as far as I know the group has not held a meeting and your has not had the plaza redesigns on your agenda for discussion.

Also, and you knew this was coming, I think there should be public discussions where the flagpole and who controls it are part of the conversation from the start, well, actually the start has long been happening. 

As we all know, there's never been an open meeting in the Castro by any of the controlling City and private organizations about the flagpole. 

Can we once and for all just have an open meeting or two about the public space at Castro and Market, and soon too and now more putting off the discussion until you have all your ducks in a row?

You mention wanting a few more meetings, please make them open. Include the wider community now and take lack of meetings off the list of complaints against the project.

Do you agree?

From Andrea on October 24th:

Hi Michael,
I'll jump in here to update you. As I posted on the CBD Facebook page on October 5th. 
Like you, the planning group was very concerned about the short timeline given to us by MTA. We believe this is an incredible opportunity to make significant improvements to Harvey Milk Plaza, on top of the ADA improvements that MTA is making. The overall vision the planning group is currently working under is to create a more fitting tribute to Harvey Milk and the LGBT Civil Rights Movement. 

Supervisor Wiener was able to negotiate with MTA to give the community a 12 month extension on this project. Since then the planning group has met once. We plan on meeting twice a month over the next couple of months to get some plans moving forward. We will be coming to the community at several points along the way with visioning exercises, artist/art selection, etc. We are also working on putting together a fundraising campaign.

The CBD did use the Castro St. Fair as an opportunity to reach out to the community. Everything was happening so quickly, we got the notice that the community had a 12 month extension just before the Fair, so the morning of the Fair the CBD just decided, "Oh, we can use the Fair to begin outreach, let's put out a flip chart at our booth and ask people for their ideas."

We have not put out a formal press release yet, because we are not quite ready. We absolutely do want community input, we are not hiding anything, we just need a few meetings to get more organized.

I hope you understand. 

Thank you,

 Andrea AielloCBD Logo  Executive Director
 Castro/Upper Market CBD

On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 12:22 PM, <> wrote:
Hello Paul Rose,

I am following up on this promise of the SFMTA's to hold general public meetings about changes coming to Milk Plaza. Never received a meeting schedule from you. Did the meetings take place and are more scheduled? How exactly are you reaching out the public regarding these meetings? No one has told me about any and I've not seen info before they take place in either the Castro Courier or BAR. Both papers have covered the changes planned and community input. When are these meeting taking place this month and for the rest of the year? Please advise today. Thanks.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rose, Paul <>
To: mpetrelis <>
Sent: Tue, Aug 2, 2016 5:22 pm
Subject: RE: Elevator for Milk Plaza?

Up to now we have been meeting with the supervisor’s office and leadership of the Castro Merchants Assoc and the Castro CBD.
The team met with the Streets & Landscaping subcommittee of the Castro Merchants Assoc. and the Harvey MilK Plaza Improvement group in July.
We are meeting with the full membership of the Castro Merchants Assoc this coming Thursday morning.
Full community meetings open to the general public will be scheduled for late August/early September.
A project website is going online this week at that will post upcoming meeting dates and times.
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2016 1:46 PM
To: Rose, Paul <>
Subject: Re: Elevator for Milk Plaza?

Hi Paul,
What's the latest news on the Milk Plaza project since we last were in touch.
Lemme know if any meetings took place in July or are scheduled for August.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rose, Paul <

To: mpetrelis <>
Sent: Tue, Jun 28, 2016 12:40 pm
Subject: RE: Elevator for Milk Plaza?
We are currently in the very early stages for a new elevator at Castro station. See attached.
The scope of the project includes a new elevator on the south side of the station. As part of the project we will be adding other accessibility improvements including re-grading the path of travel to the new elevator,
Relocating a curb ramp to improve access, replacing sidewalk paving on the street and mezzanine levels, improving lighting along the path of travel, plus other misc improvements.
We have just begun meeting with community groups and will continue reaching out as we move forward.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Handsome Mormon Boys Out Recruiting Are Fun!

I can't remember the last time I encounter two young and handsome Mormon boys on the streets of the Mission. Saw these guys on Monday night at the 24th Street BART plaza.

Like every attractive male Mormon recruiter sent to San Francisco, these fellas are trained and primed to chat with any and all folks, in the name of Christ and a religious lifestyle.

Sometimes, I've in jest tried to recruit them to the gay lifestyle. Haven't succeeded yet, but I keep trying. See pics of the Mormon boys that caught my queer eye, around San Francisco and heard my recruitment speech.

ACT UP Reunion at Sarah Schulman's SF Book Reading

There were so many folks in Alley Cat Books last night in the Mission folks were standing in the aisles stretching almost at the cash register. We were there for writer and activist Sarah Schulman's public conversation about her latest book "Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair," hosted by RADAR Productions.

I shared a few moments with Sarah for a photo-op, as I held my BART board campaign sign. Fyi, Sarah never endorses any folks for political office but was okay with the sign in my hand for old time's sake. We were in ACT UP/New York together during the AIDS plague years. The image doesn't equal an endorsement.

Sarah spoke at one point about how social change in America always comes from folks on the margins. Words that totally resonated with me, still here and staking out an activist position for myself outside the mainstream.

She also referenced the different approaches that were embraced in ACT UP. At a time of an epidemic, the street radicals and academics and everyone in-between who made ACT UP the force that it was in its heyday, sure as hell didn't agree on everything.

But the structure was such that affinity groups, and independents, coalesced around core health, political and social crises and the activist work got done to effect lasting, life-extending and life-saving change.

For me, it was an enlightening evening, I heard a lot of new and diverse ideas, great to see Sarah, and keep on with my BART campaign and activism in general.

Before leaving Alley Cat Books, bought a copy of Book Forum magazine to support this shop on 24th Street. Here are a few fotos from last night.

Monday, October 24, 2016

SOTF: Supes Peskin & Wiener Violated Open Govt Laws

When it comes to adhering to San Francisco's public records statutes, the leading liberal and conservative members of the Board of Supervisors are political peas from the same pod.

Aaron Peskin and Scott Wiener were both found guilty by the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force of violating open government laws when they failed to produced files I had requested.

For Peskin and his legislative aide Lee Hepner, a leader of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, they simply refused to either identify any responsive records found and adamantly opposed providing any files or assistance to comply with my request. So much for Peskin and Hepner practicing sunshine principles.

On the other hand, Wiener just took his sweet old time locating and producing responsive records.

It says a lot about how these supervisors have common anti-transparency ground, not all that different from some of their board colleagues and other public servants at City Hall.

I extend deep thanks to the volunteer citizens who sit on the SOTF for their service to local democracy and govt transparency. We need all supervisors to respond, as required by law, to all immediate requests for public records.

Black Poz Inmate Johnson's New AIDS Drug Cocktail

Dated September 15th, but arriving on Saturday, the latest letter from my poz prisoner pen-pal Michael Johnson indicates he's still in the hole and not in the general population.

Sure wish the authorities would return him to normal inmate status and end his solitary confinement.

Michael writes that his HIV medications have changed. He used to take Atripla, containing a few drugs in one pill, but is now is on Sustiva, Viread and Epivir. Names I know well.

As long as Michael is receiving his drugs and tests monitoring his viral load and other vital immune system markers, showing benefits, that is important to him and all of us on the outside concerned for his wellness.

Here's his new letter.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Who's Moderating the 10/27 BART Candidate's Debate?

Rachel Gordon is Public Works' communications chief and a long time ago worked as a City Hall reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. She's providing facilator services this Thursday for the second and last debate for us candidates vying to be the next BART board director for District 9. Here's the info from an organizer of the forum. Come participate!

Hi Michael, Yes, the forum is still taking place, please details and agenda below. We expect the forum to start after 8 pm. Rachael Gordon will be the moderator.

Glen Park Association Quarterly Meeting
October 27, 2016 - 7:00 pm
San Francisco Police Academy Community Room
350 Amber Drive

Candidates will have 2 or 3 minutes for introduction. There will be questions from the GPA and moderator, and written questions from the audience. Ending with closing statements from the candidates.

Glen Canyon Park Recreation Center Construction.
Progress report from Park and Recreation staff on the construction.

BART Director Candidate Forum:
Forum with the candidates for the Bart Board of Directors from District 9: Gwyneth Borden, Bevin Dufty and Michael Petrelis

Let us know if you have any questions.
We look forward to having you at the forum.

Best, Carolyn Deacy
SF Ethics Cmte Shreds 1st Amendment; Bans Signs

Last week, I mentioned the San Francisco Ethics Commission developed Meeting Decorum rules prohibiting paper signs and other forms of free expression. For the commissioners, the First Amendment be damned for the ex-judge Quentin Kopp, law professor Peter Keane and lawyer-to-the-powerful Paul Renne, husband of Louise, the former City Attorney.

Without any public debate and despite directing the current City Attorney Dennis Herrera to present an opinion regarding my contention that signage of all sorts is allowed at this and all commissions meeting at City Hall, the ban is in effect. Herrera failed to produce the opinion at the commissioners didn't agendize their new rules.

Before and during the meeting, Eileen Hirst, the sheriff's chief of staff, and four deputies were tasked to keep tabs on me. When I held up a paper sign, Renne summoned the deputies and I was intimidated to put the sign away.

However, during public comment I wore my vest backwards because it has a Petrelis for BART Board sign pinned on at the back. Cloth signage is allowed, as you'll see in the video.

One other radical change from last month's contentious meeting, where the commissioners interrupted myself and other taxpayers during what was supposed to be our public comment time, was no commissioners disrupted our speeches. They waited till we were finished to asked questions or opine on our comments.

It's a sad state of affairs that liberal San Francisco in 2016 blatantly violated free expression protections of the First Amendment and not one member of the Board of Supervisors, progressive or moderate, nor any Democratic club, raises a peep of protest.

This. Must. Change.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

City Won't Repaint Faded Yellow 16th Street Crosswalks

San Francisco's Vision Zero campaign to eliminate all traffic and pedestrian deaths on our streets needs to consider overturning the decision to not apply a fresh coat of paint to the darkened, faded or totally erased yellow crosswalk stripes at 16th and Mission Streets.

My service request for repainting the stripes at this busy intersection was rejected this week. The SF311 Twitter account, where I sent my request a few weeks ago, informed me recently that my request was denied.

To my eyes, pedestrians, car drivers and bicyclists all need a clear visual demarcation of where the crosswalks began and end at 16th and Mission Streets, to prevent harm and improve public safety.

A little bit of paint would go a long way to make us all safer at this four-way intersection.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Young Voters Support My BART Campaign

Two of my signs in a storefront on Valencia Street attracted the attention of this young couple. Both said they've early-voted for me and for Jane Kim. I hope their ballots are soon counted by the Department of Elections. A reminder that Monday is the last day to register to vote in San Francisco. Vote for zealous Petrelis for BART board!

'Ugetsu' Highlight of SFMOMA's 'Modern Cinema' Weekend

This is the final weekend of the San Francisco Film Society and SFMOMA's inaugural month of their "Modern Cinema" series, and ghosts are the theme of the selections.

On tap tonight is "Pitfall" from Japan and the American "Carnival of Souls," both in black and white.

My top choice for this weekend is the exhilerating Kenji Mizoguchi classic "Ugetsu," which I've seen only once is on many all-time greatest movies lists.

Don't miss the rare opportunity to see it on the big screen at the Phyllis Wattis Theater. "Ugetsu" screens on Saturday at 8:00 pm.

Also earlier tomorrow is Peter Wier's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" from Australia and the Maysles Brothers' landmark doc "Grey Gardens" from its own special weird place in the universe.

Closing out the weekend is Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" from Thailand's contemporary master auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul. It screens on Sunday afternoon.

Brush up on your classic cinema and catch one these films!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

BART Boss Crunican's Tour of 16th St. Plaza Confirmed?

This is the latest information regarding my effort to have BART's general manager, Grace Crunican, take a walk-through with me at their 16th and Mission station and public spaces so I can show her my concerns and explain a few ideas I have for continued betterment of the plazas.

The emails from her aides confirm a tour takes place in November and I look forward to engaging with Crunican and other BART managers.

Allow me to note BART's leaders have used the agency's personnel resources and infrastructure to actively campaign for the $3.5 billion bond measure on the ballot. So, for them to claim my candidacy for the BART board's District 9 seat is reason to avoid a tour in October is quite amusing.

The bottom line is the general manager and others are soon enough coming to 16th and Mission Streets to start their engagement with me. Pretty impressive for one activist to accomplish, on top of the tour last week with 11 folks from six public agencies.

Vote for zealous Petrelis!

-----Original Message-----
From: Anjelica Dill-James <>
To: mpetrelis <>
Cc: Paula Fraser <>; Roy Aguilera <>
Sent: Wed, Oct 19, 2016 5:02 pm
Subject: RE: Tour

Hello Mr. Petrelis,
I hope your day is well.
I understand our Assistant General Manager of External Affairs, Kerry Hamill, addressed your concerns and request for a tour in the email below. I was simultaneously in the process of working with the GM on the possibility of arranging a tour. As promised, I wanted to get back to you today and let you know that we also determined that a tour with our staff would not be possible for the reason Mrs. Hamill indicated. I apologize for any misunderstanding and hope that we can accommodate the tour after the election as she suggested. In arranging this tour please contact Paula Fraser, cc’d on this email, in mid-November.
Best Regards,
Anjelica Dill James
Assistant to the General Manager
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)
300 Lakeside Drive, 23rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 464-6065 office
From: Kerry Hamill
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:39 PM
Cc: Alicia Trost <>; Anjelica Dill-James <>; Kenneth Duron <>
Subject: Tour
Mr. Petrelis,
BART was not able to send a representative to your tour for a few reasons:
The date didn’t work for our staff. We mentioned we would be able to do it mid-November.
You are a candidate on the ballot and it wouldn’t be appropriate to send staff to what could be a campaign event. We don’t do this for any candidates.
Our Customer Services staff have responded to your concerns – just as we would with any member of the public. Customer Services requested cleaning and maintenance staff to go out to the station to correct any issues. This work is on-going. Any other issues may be sent in and we will have staff respond appropriately.
Thank You.
Kerry Hamill
Asst General Manager, OEA
Black Poz Inmate Michael Johnson's New Letter

It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming to read the August letter, recently arrived, from my prisoner pen-pal Michael Johnson. He's the young gay, black and HIV poz Missouri student serving an unjust and outrageous 30-year sentence for criminal transmission of the virus.

I don't know why it took so long for the letter to be mailed but as with any correspondence from Michael, it's always good to hear from him.

What breaks my heart is reading how much he appreciates receiving my letters and cards to him, because it's a link to a person on the outside who hasn't forgotten about and cares for his well-being.

When Michael writes about finding the good in people, having no shame about being gay and living with HIV, cheers me up a bit about his life inside the criminal justice system.

I send him mail often, either letters or news clippings of articles that may be of interest to him or friendship cards, regardless of knowing if it all reaches him. The important thing is to keep paper flowing to him.

Glad to know at the time of the August letter, Michael was in good health and spirits.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bright BART Sign Lights Up the Plaza Again

About three weeks back, I made a service request for electric sign at the western plaza at 16th and Mission Streets.

In recent days, BART has delivered current to the sign and this evening, I was very pleased to see it lit again.

I believe it wasn't functioning for nearly two months. One more improvement at this BART plaza thanks to my advocacy.

Vote for zealous Petrelis for the BART board!

Mission Local: Petrelis' Pigeon Poop Cleanup & BART Campaign

A huge shout-out to reporter Joe Rivano Barros, who snapped the photo, for this fabulous story. He writes for the Mission Local news site and came on the tour of the plazas last week.

I find it quite ironic that BART's spokeswoman Alicia Trost says they couldn't send a rep because the walk-through was a campaign event. Um, BART managers have been staging plenty of their own campaign functions in order to get voters to approve their $3.5 billion bond measure.

Last weekend, at least one track at the MacArthur BART station was out of service so BART officials could show off their "Fleet of the Future" and plenty of reps were on hand to answer questions. So much for not engaging in political activities during election season.

That said, BART needs to step up regular maintenance services at this transit hub and the sooner the better. Excerpts from Barros' story:

"Michael Petrelis, the political gadfly and a candidate running to represent part of San Francisco on BART’s Board of Directors, is tired of pigeon crap. Its cleanup has in fact become a rallying cry for Petrelis’s campaign for the BART Board of Directors, in which he is running to represent District 9, which includes the seven BART stations from Montgomery Street to Balboa Park.

"But, he’s hardly waiting until Election Day. Last Thursday, he convened 11 representatives from five city agencies and walked them through the 16th Street BART Station — the Mission District’s dirtiest transit terminal — pointing to roosting pigeons, trashed corners, and urine-smelling pavement.

"The group — which included members of the Department of Public Works, Department of Public Health, the Municipal Transit Agency, Clear Channel, and the Police Department — listened to Petrelis and his solutions. They gave their own as well. A solar reflector, for instance, could use blinding light to prevent pigeons from roosting, said a police officer. [...]

"In the meantime, a representative from Public Works pledged to redouble efforts by clean-up crews to steam-clean the plaza. [...]

"'The pigeons are really a result of people who are congregating and making food available,' said Dr. Tomás Aragon, a health officer with the Department of Public Health. He called the preponderance of feces and trash a 'public health nuisance.' [...]
"'It’s an issue of poverty, it’s an issue of some of whom are homeless or marginally housed,' said Dr. Aragon. 'We’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to work with them, to reach out to them, to figure out a way so that they’re not feeding the birds.'

"Petrelis, a victim of pigeon poop, is adamant that his clean-up campaign is not intended to remove anyone from the plaza. The 57-year-old activist and blogger has been urging city agencies to take a keener interest in cleaning up the 16th Street BART Plaza since 2014, two years after he had an unfortunate incident there. That happened in June 2012, when Petrelis was using the downward escalator into the transit station when he put his hand on the rail and plopped it into a pile of pigeon droppings. [...]

"For Petrelis, the pigeon poop problem deserves a technical solution, one that won’t displace the regulars on the plaza but will selectively target the birds who feast on their leftovers. As a thrice-weekly user of the station, he wants the pigeon poop, dirty pavement, and trashed corners cleaned up. [...]

"Step one would be working with BART, a particular and longstanding problem, Petrelis said.

"The transit agency — along with Pacific Gas and Electric, which owns some of the wires where the pigeons perch — was not present at Petrelis’s walking tour. [...]

"Alicia Trost, a spokesperson from BART, said that there were no staff available to meet with Petrelis until mid-November. Furthermore, she said, it would be inappropriate to send staff to the walking tour since it “could be a campaign event.” Indeed, Petrelis pinned cloth reading “Vote Petrelis BART Board District 9” to his jacket and handed out business cards with the same slogan. [...]

"By the end of the hour-long tour, Darryl Dilworth from Public Works said he would look into additional funding for regular clean-up crews, funding he said Public Works was receiving from BART until a few months ago. The money, he said, allowed for daily steam-cleaning of the plaza. Petrelis, for his part, was hopeful and generally ecstatic that a citizen with a loud enough voice could assemble a half-dozen city agencies and demand they pay attention."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Election Dept Win: Online BART Pols Disclosures 29 Days Out

Who says you can't lobby City Hall and score a major open govt victory, and within hours too? Not to mention 29 days before Election Day. Pretty amazing turnaround in the midst of the election.

Me to John Arntz, pictured, the head of the San Francisco Department of Elections, emailed this morning:

"I am formally requesting that you immediately include info on your web site telling voters how to access the Form 460 for BART candidates Bevan Dufty and Gwyenth Borden.

"After much hunting, I learned yesterday that your agency received the forms but doesn't post them online, nor do you inform folks at your site that the forms at your office and how to obtain them.

"Govt transparency requires action on your part now to make this info widely known. When can you post a notice telling folks the Form 460's are at your office? Please reply by the close of business today. Thanks."

The excellent news, making it possible for voters and others to follow the money of BART candidates, from Arntz sent this afternoon:

"I appreciate your sending this message regarding these forms. I think you make a good point about providing notice that the forms are available in this office. I agree that we can place a notice on our website tomorrow, although I don’t know the specific time by which this will be done. Thanks."

A reminder. I'm not raising funds for this race so there is no need for me to file a Form 460. Very curious to learn tomorrow how much my opponents have raised and from whom.

Heaps of gratitude to John Arntz, Gregory P. Slocum and Matthew Selby for such rapid expansion of transparency at City Hall!
The Birdman of BART Plaza

Burt Lancaster, he ain't. I've seen this homeless dude for years feeding the pigeons at BART's 16th Street plazas. He is major source of food for the birds. Even if he were to cease offering crumbs to them, which would be a good development for public health, we'd still have the creatures at the plazas.

I'm told his name is Swan. Every time I've tried to chat with him, he ignores me and I bear in mind he also has a few mental challenges.

We're never going to get the birds to migrate away but we can use all available tools to reduce their roosting areas at this transit hub. At the same time, making sure all agencies are regularly cleaning away the pigeon poop.

Don't feed the birds!
SF Chron: Clinton = Stanwyck, Trump = Mussolini: Films for Petrelis 

Did you see my letter the Sunday entertainment section of the San Francisco Chronicle? Probably not so I'm sharing a pic of the print edition. It appeared in film critic Mick LaSalle's column.

My letter, edited for space reasons, mentioned I had recently again seen Preston Sturges' classic acerbic 1940 comedy about the rise of a crooked politician on Turner Classic Movies. The rest of the letter is below as is LaSalle's witty response:

"Hi Movie Meister Mick: I’m trying my best this crazy election season, with that scoundrel Donald Trump scaring the bejesus out of me, to stay sane and retain my sense of humor. What political flicks should I see before Nov. 8, as I await the end of our long national nightmare? Michael Petrelis, San Francisco"

From LaSalle:

"Hi Movie Meister Michael: You put me in an awkward position, because I’d really rather not reveal my political preferences. So let me advise you in this way. You should use the time before the election to get used to the possibility of either one of these people becoming president. Movies can help in this, by serving as something like previews of historical coming attractions.

"For example, in anticipation of one possible scenario, I’d see a few Barbara Stanwyck movies, such as 'Baby Face' and 'Night Nurse,' or maybe some episodes of her old TV show, “The Big Valley.” Stanwyck had an unflappable gaze, and her tougher-than-any-man quality feels right in this case.

"As for the other possible scenario, I’d seek out Bob Hoskins in the 1985 miniseries 'Mussolini and I,' George C. Scott in the miniseries 'Mussolini: The Untold Story' (1985), Rod Steiger in 'The Last Days of Mussolini' (1974), and, just to liven things up, Giovanna Mezzogiorno in 'Vincere' (2009), a searing portrait of one of Mussolini’s early lovers. It’s best to be prepared."

On our way to the Berkeley Rep on Sunday afternoon, Mike and I checked out BART's "Fleet of the Future" at the MacArthur Station. We give thumbs up to the sleek and modern new cars. Remember that after you vote for zealous Petrelis, cast a yes ballot for Measure RR, the BART bond measure.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Which BART Hopeful's Biggest Donor = 'Dark Money' Conway?

How's this for lack of govt transparency? There apparently is no San Francisco or state law requiring candidates for BART's board of directors make their financial disclosures available online.

Local election finance laws mandate BART candidates file disclosures with the San Francisco Board Elections and that agency makes the information available on paper at their City Hall office. 

That's where I obtained my opponent Gwyneth Borden's California Form 460, containing her donors' info up to September 24th. There were no disclosures available from Bevan Dufty's campaign.

What caught my eye in Borden's papers was the $2,500 contribution from tech titan and City Hall influence-wielder Ron Conway. He is her largest individual donor and lists his address, presumably where he also will be voting this election season, in Belvedere-Tiburon.

There needs to be a law enacted forcing the Department of Elections and the Secretary of State to post all financial disclosures of San Francisco BART candidates on their sites.

It says much about what is wrong with City Hall and Sacramento, maybe BART too, that we cannot follow the money online of the District 9 race.

Here the page from Borden's disclosures documenting Conway's gift: