Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BART & Muni: 16th St Health Menace Needs Sanitizing

As a person with a compromised immune system, I alerted BART, SFMTA, DPW and DPH leaders two years ago to the filthy conditions of the plazas at 16th and Mission Streets. Pigeon poop was coated on too many surfaces.

My lobbying these public agencies produced rapid cleansing of the transit hub, making the public spaces more inviting to all stakeholders. Unfortunately, regular power-washings have not occurred. Looking at my campaign video, you'll likely agree that it's been a while since the BART plazas were sanitized.

It's hard to believe what SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said this week about regular maintenance at the 16th Street plazas, after I alerted him to the current situation:

"As required in the contract, each Muni shelter is cleaned twice a week, plus whenever a request is made through 3-1-1."

I've followed up asking for proof the contractor has washed these plazas twice a week recently, and also filed a request for service via 311.

Good public health sanitary practices need to be a high priority for the next BART director for District 9. It's clearly not been of deep concern for the incumbent Tom Radulovich.

Check out the video and I'd be honored to have your vote in November.

UN Rights President Recommends Thai Man as LGBT Envoy

The latest word from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association about the selection process for a United Nations special envoy on queer issues is that we are one big step closer to the establishment of this position.

A longtime highly regarded international advocate and expert on human rights, Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn, who hails from Thailand, is the top choice of the leader of the UN's human rights body in Geneva.

There is no indication in the public record that I can locate regarding his sexual orientation. I've emailed Muntarbhorn and when I hear from him, I'll share his response.

While it's not critical to have an LGBTI person as the special envoy, it is important to know how he or she identifies. My previous reporting on the envoy is herehere, here and here.

I've cobbled together the pertinent sections of the UN HRC president's letter into one image and here is the note today from ILGA:

Dear All,

After consulting with the various regions, yesterday the President of the United Nations HRC issued his own list of proposed candidates for the five vacancies of special procedures mandate holders to be appointed at the Human Rights Council in September.

He has decided to propose the candidates recommended and ranked first by the Consultative Group in 4 out of the 5 cases, and this includes for the position of the Independent Expert on SOGI, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Mr. Vitit MUNTARBHORN of Thailand.

In his letter, the President does highlight the challenges faced by the Consultative Group, the Secretariat and himself in meeting the deadlines prescribed by the Council, stressing that it has impacted on the time for his consultations, and encourages the States to revisit such deadlines in the future.

The next formal step in the process will be the adoption by the HRC of the list of candidates, likely to be on the last day of the 33rd session of the Council: i.e. 30 September 2016. States have historically confirmed the candidates as a whole by consensus.

Best wishes
André du Plessis
UN Programme and Advocacy Manager

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

POTUS Debates = No Corp Sponsors, ED's Pay & $117K Revenue?

This registered Green Party voter who's backing Jill Stein for president has a few facts to share about the Commission on Presidential Debates, all gleaned from the public record. Let's put aside for the moment the exclusion of the Green Party candidate and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and only scrutinize who funds the debates and their transparency practices.

As of today, the CPD's web site does not list a single corporate sponsor of this year's debates.

These are the firms that contributed to either or of the 2008 and 2012 debates: Anheuser-Busch Companies, BBH New York, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, EDS, an HP Company, Sheldon S. Cohen, Esq., Crowell & Moring LLP, the International Bottled Water Association, the Kovler Fund, Southwest Airlines and the YWCA USA organization.

No disclosure of how much each entity gave is made available for the public and voters.

The CPD is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization but the fail to adhere to the generally accepted nonprofit practice of voluntarily posting their three most recent IRS 990 reports. The commission must immediately include their tax filings on their site.

The most current IRS 990, for FY 2014, shows the commission took in only $117,000 in revenue last year and had $3.2 million in assets. Very to know what the project revenue stream is for this year and estimated budget for the debates in the fall.

What about the executive director Janet H. Brown's most recent pay package? It came to $371,000. She's the only employee listed.

If there are corporate sponsors for 2016, I see no reason to assume otherwise, the commission needs to share this information, both the names and amounts contributed. I'd also like to see the agreement between the parties.

Of course, I don't like how this nonprofit wields tremendous influence over a key component to American democracy in the form of presidential  debate and holds no public meetings, its co-chairs are from only the Democratic and Republic parties, third parties are excluded and fiscal sunshine is lacking.

No only are more accountability and transparency desperately needed from the commission, so is fuller democratic participation from other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Pick A Favorite Film Poster from the FraenkelLab Show

A satellite art space run by the Fraenkel Gallery on Market near Rose Street, a few steps away from Cafe Zuni, opened in the past year designated the FraenkelLab.

Their latest show is a collection of movie posters curated by Ralph DeLuca, featuring posters from a variety of film genres, from glossy Hollywood productions to edgy art-house fare.

It's such an eye-pleasing exhibit, I plan to return and see the posters again. Which of these selections tickles your fancy?

Showing off my #BART campaign tee shirt yesterday. Took the train to Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive to catch "Dragon Inn" and "Rear Window" in the early evening. Distributed about 50 palm cards while in transit.

Monday, August 29, 2016

McCoppin Hub Anti-Homeless Fence Update from DPW

Last month, Rachel Gordon from the Department of Public Works explained the City hoped to begin work in September on erecting a fence at the McCoppin Hub. I define it as an anti-homeless fence, which Gordon and many neighbors dispute is such.

I was in touch with Gordon last week about this barrier. Here's the latest news about the project:

"I would not characterize the fence as anti-homeless; it is targeting anti-neighborhood behavior, such as open drug use, loud partying at night and vandalism. The project is out to bid. Completion is expected early next year, though a temporary fence during construction will be going up during construction. And the Pit Stop is good at the new site; it was nearer the skate park and not getting much usage."

We'll see when the fence eventually goes up. As far I know, no homeless advocacy groups are actively working to stop this project which is in progressive Supervisor Jane Kim's district.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

BART: Sanitize 24th St Entrance: Pigeon Poop = Disease!

This video captures the incredibly unhealthy situation at the eastern entrance to BART's 24th Street station in the Mission, which is part of the District 9 seat I am running for.

After inspecting the areas at the top of the entrance where BART riders put their hands, risking contagion with diseases in the layers of pigeon poop encrusted on surfaces, I'm calling on BART leaders to immediately deal with this public health menace.

Serious pigeon abatement is needed now at this location. It is not ok pigeons are nesting on both sides of the entrance and the spiked wires along the fence top on the edge of the BART plaza are so worn down the birds roost there.

I believe the BART D9 incumbent director, Tom Radulovich, must take responsibility for the conditions at the 24th Street station, which are quite deplorable.

If elected, I promise to routinely inspect this station and all of them in District 9 to make sure BART is properly maintaining best practices regarding sanitation. This post and video have been emailed to various BART officials. I'll keep you posted on their actions to address my concerns.

Do you agree BART must send a cleaning crew to power-wash the bird poop off the entrance?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Number of Needle Disposal Boxes on San Francisco's Streets?

Two homeless folks were shooting up, sitting on the sidewalk and against the wall of the main library on Hyde Street near Market a few weeks back as I walked to the farmers' market at UN Plaza.

Near them were about fifteen used needles, most not capped, strewn about the Muni bus shelter under the thick and leafy branches of large trees.

Concerned about the potential of someone or a dog getting jabbed and maybe infected with HIV or hepatitis from stepping on a syringe point, I called 311 and requested a Department of Public Works crew come out and properly dispose of the needles.

I also got in touch with my friend Eileen Loughran, who runs the needle exchange program for the Department of Public Works, to ask for the locations of permanent disposal syringe boxes on the streets.

Were any located at the library or near it? Turns out the answer is no and there are only 11, eleven, such boxes in San Francisco.

That is not enough to aid drug users to properly dispose of their works after injecting themselves with white powders.

Of course, I'd like the City to open injection rooms as one method of reducing the number of syringes on the streets and decreasing overdoses and other health complications, while also engaging with drug users and working with them on harm reduction.

Is San Francisco ready to end the denial about injection drug users and their habits? Can we move toward opening safe injection sites and install more disposal boxes around town?

Only if our elected officials feel pressure from constituents. Until then, watch where you step around the main library and all of Civic Center.
Will SF Vice Mayor Kawa Vote for Me in the BART Race?

Steve Kawa has served as the chief of staff to mayors Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom, a position he still holds with Ed Lee. He's the second most powerful person at City Hall - the Vice Mayor.

I saw him at Market and Polk Streets on August 22 and asked if he would vote for me in the race for BART's District 9 director. Check out our exchange:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vote for My Best Official BART Campaign Photo

No registration required to cast a ballot and helping me to settle on the most fabulous official photo in my BART District 9 race.

Here are two of the best images snapped by my friend and longtime LGBT photo-documentarian Rick Gerharter. We staged the photo shoot at the 24th Street BART plaza in the Mission this afternoon.

I'm partial toward this picture with white iron spikes lining the entrance and pedestrians behind me and good placement for the BART sign.

If the blue tent weren't distracting to this image, it would get my vote. The green tie signals my status as a registered Green Party voter. Goes well with the purple text of my button.

Which photo do you choose as my official campaign photo? This poll closes on Friday, August 26 at midnight. Cast your ballot now!
Advocacy Led BART to Improve Toilet Access & Public Health

My track-record of engagement with BART and its partner public agencies directly benefited all stakeholders who use the 16th Street station and plaza, as demonstrated in numerous posts from 2014.

That is when I lobbied BART, the SF departments of public works and public health, to collaborate on improving sanitary conditions at this busy transit hub in the Mission.

As I ran for supervisor of District 8, where I came in second with 7% of the vote, the three public agencies at my urging power-washed all surfaces of the street level plazas, installed anti-bird spikes and fire hazardous paper waste in the stairwells was swept away.

Last year, I advocated for Pit Stop staffing at the toilet kiosk and placement of a porta-potty, both now operational, and better wayfinding signage to guide the disabled to the elevator.

I've gathered almost a dozen links showing my historic advocacy with BART, DPW and DPH, performed when I wasn't running for a BART board seat. I'm also sharing my video complaint from 2015 about signage needs at 16th Street.

A few reasons to vote for me in the November election:


June 13

June 14

June 19

June 24

June 30

July 2

July 12


April 8

May 14

June 2

June 7

Check out this video:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My DIY democracy campaign doesn't have the bandwidth to respond to all or even a few of the questionnaires coming my way.

But I replied to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and sent a headshot, because they publish all candidate answers on their site leading up to Election Day. Nice exposure.

 Check out the responses from Bevan Dufty and myself, on biking matters.
BART Candidates Do Lunch; Positive Campaign Pledge Next?

Early this afternoon, we three candidates for the BART District 9 seat on the board of directors, met at Kate's Kitchen on Haight Street for some food, campaign chatting and a good number of laughs.

Just getting to know each other was on the menu for Gwyneth Borden, Bevan Dufty and myself.

I nudged us last week to get together and to also consider agreeing to sign a positive campaign pledge, with everyone focused on BART matters. Avoiding personal attacks or negative campaigning, but still differentiating our views from opponents.

Bevan circulated a generic pledge from a good government, Gwyneth is not at all opposed to the idea and is still catching her breath having tossed her chapeau into the race barely a week ago. I'm on board, committed to the pledge for the duration of the campaign.

We smiled for a group photo in front of the cafe, a good time was had by all and thus began the official start of the BART D9 race. Only 77 days until Election Day.
Sen. Schumer: Refund Mylan EpiPen CEO's Donations Now!

Add my voice to the chorus of ordinary citizens, patients-in-need and consumer advocates deploring the greedy 400% price hike of life-saving EpiPens. People with allergies use the device to keep breathing when suffering an allergic attack.

EpiPens are manufactured by Mylan Labs and the chief executive officer, Heather Bresch, has an extensive history of donating money to politicians and PACs.

Bresch's most recent donations were in June, one for $2,300 and another for $2,700, and they went to Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer.

I call upon him to return the Bresch contributions to send her and other Big Pharma executives that he won't take their dollars when they endanger the lives of patients because of avarice.

Do you agree refunding the donations are the first step he should take as part of his agenda to put people before profits?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BART Platform: Disband Police, Reopen Toilets, Night Meetings

Hello. I'm Michael Petrelis and I'm running as a registered Green Party voter for the BART Board District 9 seat. Let me explain why.


First, I am a longtime regular user of this critical Bay Area public transportation system. My deep organizing experience as a social justice activist spans four-decades successfully bringing lasting change for LGBT and HIV positive persons locally and globally, non-profit accountability, government transparency and human rights for all.

My lifetime commitment to public transportation started in grammar school. When not taking BART or Muni, I ride my Breezer Euro-Style bike daily, bringing home produce from the farmers' market for my husband Mike Merrigan and I, or getting to political and cultural happens. I've never learned to drive a car. Part of my life-plan to keep my carbon footprint small.

I pledge to keep to keeping BART system efficiently operated, maximally transparent and accountable and clean.


For Mike and I, our closest BART station is located at 16th and Mission Streets.

I am a practitioner of do-it-yourself democracy. In June of 2014, I felt the need to address unsanitary conditions at this station's plazas. I alerted BART and its partner agencies, the San Francisco Department of Public Works and Department of Public Health. The result of my advocacy led to regular power-washings, removal of fire hazardous debris and the installation of anti-pigeon spiked wires. Yes, less bird poop on public seating made this Mission BART Plaza better.


Last July, I contacted  BART about better support for the disabled. I pointed out the inadequate signage for the elevator at the 16th Street Plaza. Promises were made by BART leaders to improve wayfinding signage. Unfortunately, BART didn't keep its word.

We require improved signage identifying the elevator's location. For the disabled, yes. But also for bicyclists, parents with kids and large strollers - even travelers toting heavy luggage. BART must also provide consistent maintenance of the elevator and escalators to ensure they are fully operational at all times.


BART can do better to accommodate bicyclists. I joined other bicyclists to urge BART to create a policy that allowed us to bring our bikes on trains and at all hours. Plus create more space to lean them while in transit. As your District 9 representative, I would institute a pilot program of an all-bike caboose at the end of rush-hour trains. This would free up standing spaces in other cars, making it easier for more bikers to use BART.

I call for pop-up bike maintenance crews at station corrals once a week, offering free or low-cost repairs. At the corrals, we need more racks, better lighting. Plus a guarantee from BART that surveillance cameras are perpetually functioning properly. 


As your District 9 representative, I propose disbanding the BART police force. Until then, we need saner BART police policies. Is there really any reason for them to have guns and bullets? We have local law enforcement agencies to deal with crime on BART property. There are too many instance of excessive use of force by BART's officers. This can be reduced through better de-escalation training. I call for increased oversight of police personnel and better practices to ensure cops who harm riders are held to account with appropriate penalties.


There is no logic to keeping public toilets closed. My platform fully supports reopening BART bathrooms at every station between 9 am to 8 pm during the workweek. And staffing them. SF DPW's wildly successful Pit Stop toilet kiosks is the model for BART to duplicate. Like SF DPW, let's staff the bathrooms with formerly homeless individuals.

We'd feed two birds with one seed. Give riders a place to pee and poop, and assist people reentering the workforce.


BART meetings are only held on weekday mornings. The result? Too many people are unable to attend. That means less engagement with the riding public. As your District 9 representative, I would propose holdings meetings also in the evenings. Plus offer casual listening sessions at stations. Written monthly reports from directors must be implemented. And be posted online for accessibility and to allow public feedback. I suggest we institute term limits for directors.


Greater transparency over the general manager and other managers is needed. Salary information of top 10 managers must be posted on BART's web site. Same goes for sharing their monthly calendars and activities reports online.


We must create a new procedure for public feedback. That's the best way to improve services. BART must provide users with a single person to handle suggestions and complaints. Create a paid Rider's Representative to direct comments to the appropriate manager, process complaints and compliments. And finally, maintain a blog to guarantee transparency and how problems are resolved.


Let's plan for overnight hourly service on weekends to better meet the needs of our diverse communities. I further want limited round-the-clock trains considered for weeknights. 

A good funding source for BART would be to expand long-term and pop-up retailing opportunities at stations.  

Develop a program that brings a diverse array of musicians and genres to concourses on a regular basis. One-seed, two birds. Performers reach an audience, riders' time using BART is more pleasurable.

Our BART system's current infrastructure is eroding. Its technology is old and outmoded; it needs updating. There is a bond measure on the ballot this fall, known as Prop RR, that would solve these problems. I fully support it.

Finally, we know the mentally ill and homeless people tend to congregate at stations. Let's beef up outreach and assistance for them throughout the system, partnering with government and nonprofit agencies.

I ask for your vote this November. Thank you.
Unisex Toilet Access Begins at SF Opera War Memorial in Sept

The San Francisco War Memorial Performing Arts Center Board of Trustees at their August 11 meeting received an update on implementation of a new law requiring gender-neutral bathrooms in all public buildings. 

The Trustees oversee the homes of the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Symphony, the War Memorial Opera House and the Davies Symphony Hall, along with the Herbst Theater inside the Veteran's Building.

There's a lot of toilets in all of the venues that comprise these jewels of performance venues and I wonder if they're the first of their kind to have unisex bathrooms.

Here's the note I received from Elizabeth Murray, the managing director, of the center's buildings:

"Thank you for your inquiry. The War Memorial will be implementing the Board of Supervisors’ ordinance regarding all-gender toilet facilities at the Performing Arts Center. 

"In accordance with the ordinance we will be re-designating single-user toilet facilities as all-gender facilities by September 23, 2016.

"We will then be re-designating certain multiple-user toilet facilities as all-gender facilities by November 23, 2016. We are currently in the planning stage so I cannot yet advise you on specific restroom re-designations.

"Upon completion of this process I will be happy to let you know our plans."

Here's the video of the discussion at the August 11 trustees' meeting:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Zealous Petrelis, Proud Green Voter, for BART Board D9

The BART board of director seats are nonpartisan elective offices and none of us three candidates for the District 9 seat will be listed with a party affiliation. The ballots will state our names and a three-word identification. Nothing else.

That said, I switched from being a Democratic Party voter and today again became a Green Party voter. Why? A few reasons.

It allows me to say I'm running as a registered Green voter, who by the way is not seeking the SF Green Party endorsement but that is a story for another day. Feeding two birds with one seed here.

Showing my support for Green Party principles and standing against the stultifying sleaze and incestuous underhandedness of the local Democratic County Central Committee.

A vote for me, Zealous Petrelis, sends a whole bunch of messages so make sure you're registered and then cast your ballot for me by the close of Election Day on November 8.

Before my mother Rose and father James got hitched, they enjoyed an evening out at Bill Miller's Riviera nightclub in the 1950s.

It was located in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and was self-proclaimed as "The Showplace of America."

This fabulous black-and-white photo of them all gussied up and smiling, and I'm pleased and surprised it has survived over the decades.

Nice to think of my parents having a good time, especially my mom, before their marriage and bringing their four children into the world.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Are there debt size queens? Most likely. They must agree with me that GOP-wrecking nightmare #DonaldTrump's debt, as reported by the New York Times today, is yuge. Only 79 days until Election Day. Make sure you're registered to vote.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Are You a Voter in BART's District 9 Race?

The boundaries for BART's District 9 overlap with several San Francisco supervisorial districts and many voters don't know if they're eligible to cast a ballot in the race for this seat.

If you're a voter in the Castro, Mission, South of Market or Tenderloin areas, you probably can vote in this race. Enlarge the map and see if your residence is within the purple area.

The district includes the following stations: 16th Street Mission, 24th Street Mission, Glen Park, Civic Center, Powell Street and part of Balboa Park.

To vote in this race, you have until October 24 to register to vote or correct any mistakes with your eligibility status. Early voting in the November election begins on October 11 at the Department of Elections inside City Hall.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Who says the New York Times' lead story is never good news? Today's national edition was all about #DonaldTrump's decline in the polls and other problems equals a threat to the GOP's control of the U.S. Senate. Oh, and Republican voters may be too demoralized to show up in the fall and vote. Sounds like great news suitable for front-page and above-the-fold attention from the Gray Lady!
Free Media Week: 3 Candidates Run for BART District 9 Seat

The deadline to qualify for getting on the ballot for BART's District 9 seat was on Wednesday at 5 pm and a black female transportation advocate currently serving on the SF MTA board, Gwyneth Borden is running. She joins Bevan Dufty and I in the race.

Let's go over some relevant media about the candidates and race from the past week.

The week began with a good story from Diego Aguilar Canabal of SF YIMBY News on Monday noting that Dufty and I were the only candidates at that time. This article contained my favorite headline: "Mutual Respect, Admiration Dominate BART Director Race."

How often do you read a headline like that about a political race?

The Examiner didn't wait for the deadline and ran a story on Wednesday stating only two men were vying for the seat. They noted Borden's entry in a followup article.

Matthew Bajko of the Bay Area Reporter had this roundup of fact to share in Thursday's paper:

"In the race for the District 9 seat on BART's board of directors, gay former District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty appears headed for an easy victory to succeed Tom Radulovich , who is stepping down after two decades on the regional transit agency's board. Since the incumbent opted not to run, candidates had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to file for the race.

"As of the Bay Area Reporter's press deadline that afternoon, the only other person to have entered the race was gay activist Michael Petrelis.

"Lisa Feldstein, who is bisexual and a former city planning commissioner, had been expected to run and had secured Radulovich's endorsement. But she announced via Twitter last Friday, August 12 that she had decided against it.

"'I am withdrawing from the BART Bd race. My opponent's name recognition will be too $$ to overcome. Thank you for your support!' wrote Feldstein, apparently in reference to Dufty, who most recently served as Mayor Ed Lee's adviser on homelessness."

Over at the the Bay Area News Group's transportation reporter Eric Baldassari noted there are 15 persons vying for the five open BART seats, including District 9. All three candidates were mentioned.

Nice free media attention, wouldn't you say? Yes, indeed.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

SFPD Sent How Many Cops to GOP & Dems' Conventions?

After reading a number of blogs reporting on the presence of police officers at the GOP and Democratic Party convention from beyond Cleveland and Philadelphia, I grew curious to learn if San Francisco sent any cops to either or both conventions.

A public records request to the SFPD for the names, ranks, badge numbers and costs of sending personnel to the conventions that were incurred by taxpayers, produced this note:

"The San Francisco Police Department reviewed your request and determined that the records requested are exempt pursuant to Cal. Govt. Code § 6254(f), which exempts from disclosure records of complaints to, investigations conducted by, intelligence information or security procedures of, and investigatory or security files compiled by local police agencies. The information you requested would reveal security procedures, which if disclosed would compromise security and officer safety. This information are records [sic] of security procedures compiled by SFPD for law enforcement purposes."

Attempts via email and telephone to get clarification from the department confirming or denying they sent any officers to the conventions didn't elicit a verbal or written response.

Just last month, another public records request of mine produced all the names and related info about SFPD cops who traveled to the funerals of Dallas, Texas, officers killed in the line of duty. Why can't the same info be released related to the political parties?

It's safe to assume SFPD sent officers to the conventions, hence, records were created otherwise there would be nothing to release. If I'm wrong about this, then the department's legal and public info divisions can supply me with correct info and I'll write a new post.

Bottom line, the cops aren't being transparent about how many of them were paid by San Francisco taxpayers to be on duty in Cleveland and Philadelphia. That needs to change.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wiener & DA Criticism at Democratic Meeting Elicits Applause

(After the meeting, I posed with two signs and my bike.)

Tonight's meeting of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee had a packed agenda and each member of the public was given only sixty-seconds to speak, which I protested calling for a full two-minutes for everyone.

Short speaking time aside, kudos to the DCCC for being that rare local body where public comment is scheduled at the start of the meeting, so folks know when to show up to give testimony. Unlike the Board of Supervisors where public comment could come forty minutes or four hours into the meeting, but I digress.

After announcing myself as a candidate for BART's District 9 seat, I used my one-minute to recount how Supervisor Scott Wiener was given special attention by District Attorney George Gascon when he prosecuted me for an inappropriate picture, and the greasy DA's machinery worked to grind me down.

And now, Wiener is again the victim of minor crime, this time his phone was robbed, and Gascon originally brought a felony kidnapping charge along with felonious thievery, extortion and grand theft, showing again how the maximum power of the DA is brought to bear against Wiener's perpetrators.

I cited that case against a poor black woman who's faced homeless, time in jail and addiction named LaSonya Wells, quickly stating in two instances that Wiener received extra attention from the DA.

In closing, I said there have been 20 civilians killed by police officers since Gascon became DA and zero charges brought against the cops. This must change.

Thank you, to the folks who applauded my denunciations. Watch the short video:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

3 UN LGBT Expert Candidates Shortlisted: Who Are They?

Thanks to the good people at ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and their office in Geneva where the UN Human Rights Council is located, I can share with you the latest update on creating the UN Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Independent Expert.

My previous reporting on the UN SOGI IE is here, here and here.

The monitoring of and community engagement about getting this queer expert operational by ILGA are reminders of the valuable work they do generally, and as our advocates at the United Nations with Observer Status. This is their update:

Dear All

Things have moved very fast over the last week. As mentioned, the Consultative Group scored the various candidates to create an interview shortlist (none of the specificities of this is public). The candidates were interviewed last week and the Consultative Group has now issued its recommendation to the President of the Human Rights Council. The President himself has circulated this to Member States this morning.

The Consultative Group stated as follows: "There were 21 eligible candidates for this vacancy. Five of them were shortlisted and interviewed and the following three candidates were recommended as best qualified to fulfill the mandate, ranked in the order of preference below.

1. Mr. Vitit MUNTARBHORN (Thailand)
2. Mr. Victor MADRIGAL-BORLOZ (Costa Rica)
3. Mr. Michael KIRBY (Australia)"

The full report (which includes more on the process overall and their recommendations for other mandates to be filled at the 33rd session) is attached and can also be found here.

The speed with which this happened appears to be to have been to comply with a request by the President of the HRC to the Consultative Group in mid-July to ensure that the process complied with the dates proposed in the rules. Certainly this list issued very close indeed to the deadline.

Now that the CG report is out, the next steps are for the President to consult with the five Regional Groups, formally led by the following ambassadors:

Ms. Nozipho Joyce MXAKATO-DISEKO, South Africa
Mr. Zahid RASTAM, Malaysia
Mr. Vaqif SADIQOV, Azerbaijan
Mr. Giampaolo Carmelo RIZZO ALVARADO, Honduras
Mr. Keith M. HARPER, USA

Other groups such as the OIC and EU are also consulted, I believe. The President then should issue his own list two weeks before the HRC starts: i.e. by 30 August and if he does not follow the order proposed by the Consultative Group he must explain his reasons.

Finally, it appears that the Egyptian ambassador – a member of the Consultative Group – removed himself from the considerations on the SOGI IE mandate holder in a letter sent to the President of the HRC that is also attached (and available publicly on the HRC extranet:

Best wishes to all,
André André du Plessis
UN Programme and Advocacy Manager

Monday, August 15, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: BART Candidate Drops Out

Word came today that Lisa Feldstein, the woman who received the blessing of incumbent BART board director for District 9 Tom Radulovich to succeed him, won't be running for the seat in November.

She never pulled papers at the San Francisco Department of Elections and she spoke with local blog today stating she couldn't compete with the name recognition and money-raising prowess of Bevan Dufty.

He and I are the only candidates, as of this writing, vying for the BART seat and the deadline to file papers for the race is this Wednesday, August 17, at 5 pm. We'll see if anyone else enters the race.

My home-printed signs are starting to go up in a few windows, including over at Box Dog Bikes where I snapped a photo of my friend Angus after he put sign on display.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tonight's offline reading included the August issue of #Harpers magazine. Contains best article on any subject I've read this summer, "The Origins of Speech: In the Beginning was Noah Chomsky" by Tom Wolfe.

Understood 90% of the essay, actually an excerpt from Wolfe's new book. Also a terrific piece by Martin Amis on #Trump's babblings!

I never got the "print is dead" memo.
BART's 16th St. Station Signs Need Lights; My Trip to BAMPFA

The platform at BART's 16th Street station in the Mission has nearly impossible-to-read signage indicating what station it is.

I used BART to get to the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive yesterday for two films. Finally saw Max Ophuls' opulent "From Mayerling to Sarajevo" and Alfred Hitchcock's classic man-on-the-run "North by Northwest" in a theater. Don't think I've has the pleasure of seeing it with an audience and what a pleasure it was to see all the masterful set pieces with Cary Grant on 35mm film.

If you can read the 16th and Mission sign directly over my head, you've got fantastic eyesight. The ad behind my thumb is well-lighted and I'd like BART management to install lighting that illuminates the station's signs equal to ads on the walls or station-stop signage above the ads.

Standing outside the entrance to the Downtown Berkeley station, for a photo-op flashing the peace sign and enjoying the East Bay sunshine.

Speaking of signage, I heartily approve of this promotional banner adorning the facade of BAMPFA on Center Street and the title of the "Cinema Mon Amour" series, not to mention the black-and-white image, perfectly entices folks to visit the film archive.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Remembering My Mom With Roses, Love & Smiles

I've had my late mother Rose on my mind this week, because Mike and I have roses in the house, so I dug out a few her mementos and a photo of us together to better feel her spirit.

I miss you, Mom, think of you tons of times and cherish the gift of life you gave me. Much love to you!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Answers to SF Bike Coalition's BART Endorsement Questionnaire

The Department of Elections, as of this writing, has certified only one candidate for BART's board of directors in District 9, yours truly.

Two announced competitors, Bevan Dufty and Lisa Feldstein, have not been qualified yet for the ballot. Bevan's listed as a potential candidate while Lisa's name does not appear on the department's list of interested candidates.

How their lack of qualification by the department impacts the endorsement process of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is something I hope to find out when a representative from the advocacy group calls me back. They consider only certified candidates and I may be the only such candidate by the questionnaire's deadline of 5 pm today.

Here is the questionnaire I returned to the coalition earlier today.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trump's Largest Expenditure?

Over at the site, they report dangerous-to-democracy Donald Trump's biggest expenditure has been for media and worth a good giggle.

Huh? Could that really be his largest expense during the campaign? Well, first off, he's spent only $20.1 million on media and it's a mere pittance compared to what previous GOP presidential hopefuls have paid out on TV ads in a month.

Trump enjoys copious amounts of free media but it does not appear to be helping him in the polls, which for him are plummeting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Milk Plaza Plans Move Forward; Still No Public SF MTA Meetings

Since I heard nothing from the SF Municipal Transportation Agency after I wrote my post in late June about the major revamp of Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, a public space of deep and long concern to me, I reached out last week to spokesman Paul Rose for the latest info about community meetings.

Sorry to report there have been none. Rose writes:

"Up to now we have been meeting with [Supervisor Wiener'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 [August 4]. Full community meetings open to the general public will be scheduled for late August/early September."

Translation? A lot of decisions are being made behind closed doors and lack any public scrutiny. I have no issue with SF MTA officials holding a meeting or two to discuss basics with a few stakeholders, but it's clear several meetings have occurred with Wiener, two private civic group, and new organization I've never heard of called the Harvey Milk Improvement Group.

Spokesman Rose shares no details about that group or when the first public meeting about this public plaza, being redesigned with a lot of public dollars, will take place.

Can you say the system on the hyper-local level is rigged? I can and will say this about the Milk Plaza project. It's not open government when we have no idea how many meetings have already happened, who's attended, what's been discussed and agreed to, and is no way to engage the public for community buy-in.

As I've noted over the years, the Castro Merchants does not allow public participation at their meetings and Wiener is loathe to hold any public forums about the plaza and the rainbow flagpole and control of it.

The SF MTA has established a web page for the Milk Plaza effort where the planners state things are in the conceptual phase. Too bad the public has not been allowed any input up to this point and the community should be engaged, beyond a web page, at this initial phase.

My fear is that when the SF MTA and its partners finally get around to a public forum, many aspects of the project will be presented as a done deal. This no way to engage all stakeholders about this vital piece of public queer space.