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    In the News

    By Dennis McMillan

     

    Kaiser Permanente to Significantly Increase Cost of HIV Drugs for Patients

    As part of a growing trend for insurance companies to move certain drugs, including HIV drugs, to a specialty tier, the result is that patients may have to pay hundreds of dollars a month for their HIV medication. Supervisor Scott Wiener finds this troubling “at a time when we are working hard to increase access and improve community health.” This cost increase for HIV-positive Kaiser members will be a burden that some patients won’t be able to bear. Wiener will be meeting with representatives from Kaiser and calling for an oversight hearing at the Board of Supervisors to address this decision.

     

    Activists Gather at City Hall in Die-In and Protest Against Transgender Violence

    More than 200 people met at the steps of City Hall in a die-in and protest calling out the City for falling behind when it comes to aiding transgender people who are too often targets of violence. When Taja DeJesus’ body was found on the steps of a building in the Bayview on Feb. 1, her stabbing death was a rallying cry against transgender violence. The nonviolent and angry demonstration ended inside City Hall when protesters marched to the Board of Supervisors meeting.

     

    HRC Report Shows Elevated Violence in the LGBTQ Community

    A new report entitled “Violence Prevention Needs Assessment” determined that crimes against queers have risen over the past several months. The report, prepared by the SF Human Rights Commission, the SF LGBT Center and Learning for Action, focused on four main areas: experiences of violence, perceptions of community safety and connectedness, services for survivors of violence, and violence prevention. The report notes that violent crimes against transgender individuals and LGBT people of color have been particularly high recently. To read a full copy of the report, visit: sfcenter.org/violencereport

     

    Assemblyman Tom Ammiano Hurt by Hit-and-Run Driver; Suspect Arrested

    Former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and a police officer recently became the victims of a hit-and-run driving suspect. Police said it started when officers tried to arrest a man for aggravated assault, but he instead fled the scene, trying to run over an officer during the getaway. Ammiano was not hurt, but was visibly shaken. The officer was treated for minor injuries. Police were able to take the suspect into custody.

     

    Leather Park Proposed in SoMa

    Plans are taking shape to install a parklet/plaza on the block of 12th Street outside the Eagle Tavern in SoMa that would recognize the neighborhood’s history in the gay leather community. The decor will be in the colors of the leather pride flag (blue, black, white, and red). The idea is to have commemorative plaques about the history of the neighborhood, spaces for performances and food trucks, and the ability to drive emergency vehicles through the middle of it, if necessary, by using modular roadblock elements.

     

    San Francisco Coalition to Underground Utilities Needs Help

    The San Francisco Coalition to Underground Utilities is trying to reach out to all of San Francisco to build up support and show the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors that the citizens of San Francisco want no longer to see the mess of utility wires throughout the city, and no longer to fear downed power lines as well as phone and cable outages in case of high winds or earthquakes. Half of the City’s utility poles have been put underground, but the City has halted the work due to funding restriction. SFCUU is pressuring the City’s government to resume these efforts and finish the work, but it needs citizens’ help to convince the supervisors that this is an important effort. sfcuu.org

     

    Problems in Jane Warner Plaza Cause Parklet to Close

    At the invitation of Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (CBD), approximately 50 neighborhood residents and others with an interest in the Castro crowded into Eureka Valley Recreation Center to discuss ideas on how to fix problems associated with Jane Warner Plaza. The meeting was facilitated by CBD Executive Director Andrea Aiello, Captain Perea of the Mission Station, and District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who spoke and answered questions. Wiener emphasized the distinction between being homeless and exhibiting bad behavior. A few homeless activists expressed concerns that the homeless not be marginalized or scapegoated for lack of sales or tourists in the Castro. The result is the temporary closure of Jane Warner Plaza for “redesign.”

     

    San Francisco Celebrated Sylvester with Mighty Real Day

    The City of San Francisco honored the legendary disco singer Sylvester, along with the opening of Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical—the acclaimed celebration of the life and music of the original 1970s “Queen of Disco”—with San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner presenting a proclamation for “Mighty Real Day: Honoring Sylvester & His Music” on Friday February 13, at Sylvester’s star on the Castro Rainbow Honor Walk. Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical began performances at the Brava Theater Center on February 11 and will run through Sunday, March 1.

     

    California Faith for Equality to Become Part of EQCA

    Equality California and California Faith for Equality announced a historic new collaboration that will advance faith-based LGBT equality initiatives in California and across the country. As a result, CFE’s renowned work will become a cornerstone initiative of EQCA and EQCA Institute, and CFE will become a special program within EQCA. Founded in 2006, California Faith for Equality has been dedicated to educating and mobilizing California’s faith communities to promote LGBT equality and safeguard religious freedom. From helping to enact one of California’s most comprehensive safer schools initiatives for the San Diego Unified School District, to marshaling support for marriage equality in California and building a national network of leaders from the faith community, CFE’s work advancing LGBT equality in faith communities has been unparalleled.

     

    Incidents of Home Invasions Up in the Castro and Other Neighborhoods

    Statistics of home invasion robberies are up, and there have been quite a few in the past few weeks in a variety of San Francisco neighborhoods, including the Castro. They can be particularly dangerous as the suspects may be high on drugs and thus unpredictable. Castro Community on Patrol (CCOP) training director Ken Craig has added a post to the CCOP website with advice on protecting your home from this type of robbery and burglaries in general (castropatrol.org/bulletins/home). Greg Carey, Chief of Patrol, CCOP, warns that, unlike the movies that show burglars working in the dark of night, most home burglaries occur during the day when most people are at work. Be sure your home and garage are secure whenever you are away.

     

    Giants to Present ‘Until There’s a Cure Day’

    The world champion San Francisco Giants and Until There’s A Cure Foundation invite fans to join them at the annual “Until There’s A Cure Day,” raising awareness of prevention education, care and services, in an effort to help find a cure for AIDS. The special event ticket package includes a ticket to the Wednesday May 20 evening game to watch the Giants take on the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, with a portion of ticket proceeds going directly back to the Until There’s A Cure Foundation. Fans are encouraged to come help the Giants support a great cause. sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com

     

    Spectrum LGBT Center and Marin AIDS Project to Merge

    The Boards of Directors of Spectrum LGBT Center (Spectrum) and Marin AIDS Project (MAP) have confirmed news reported here earlier, that the two longstanding Marin County human services agencies will merge under a common nonprofit umbrella organization, while maintaining their separate programs and services. By combining at the organizational level, they will streamline administrative costs, enhance the services of both agencies and leverage their programmatic impact in the community. The merger can be seen as a reunion. Spectrum and MAP were each born from the vision of their shared founder, the openly lesbian Rev. Janie Spahr.