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    In the News: 2.22.2018

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Mayor Mark Farrell Speaks Out About Florida High School Shooting

    “We cannot accept gun violence anymore. We cannot allow Republicans in Congress to stick their heads in the sand while people die in our schools, businesses and homes. We cannot continue to elect officials who are beholden to special interests, not the public,” said San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell. He continued, “We cannot follow a hypocritical President who blames this issue on behavioral issues, while simultaneously rolling back regulations on mental health background checks.” He said he was angry, as are people across America. “We need to demand change to fundamentally flawed laws that allow these acts to occur. In our City, we will continue to champion common sense gun control law that keep our public safe.” Farrell concluded, “We hope Congress follows our lead—because we need action now!”

    Supervisor Stefani Introduces Free Speech Protection Act

    In light of so many mass shootings in America, it seems especially prescient that at a February 13 meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Catherine Stefani introduced the “Free Speech Protection Act” that would ban firearms at publicly-owned parks, public gatherings and similar First Amendment related events in San Francisco. “The Second Amendment doesn’t Trump the First Amendment,” said Supervisor Stefani. “Your right to free speech should not be endangered by people carrying guns.” While State law prohibits the open carrying of firearms within San Francisco, concealed weapons present a significant public safety risk at public events, protests, parades and rallies, she said. Publicly carrying firearms while people are engaged in first amendment activity can intimidate others and chill, or suppress, free speech. Stefani says her law seeks to promote the public health and safety of all San Franciscans by reducing the presence of firearms and the potential for gun violence, injuries and death. She noted her law would help to increase expressive activity and civic engagement because it would drastically reduce the chances of people being intimidated by the presence of concealed firearms at public events.

    Mayor Farrell and Supervisor Ronen Announce Ordinance Requiring All Gender Bathrooms in SROs

    Mayor Mark Farrell, the Board of Supervisors, and the Office of Transgender Initiatives have passed a City ordinance that requires all-gender, single-stall bathrooms be made available in Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels. Many transgender and nonconforming individuals live in SRO hotels in San Francisco. Providing all-gender bathrooms creates a comfortable and safe environment in these facilities. According to a national study, 59 percent of transgender respondents said they avoided gender-specific bathrooms—for fear of harassment. On February 13, the Board of Supervisors passed the all-gender restroom ordinance, which requires that single-stall bathrooms facilities be available for every resident, regardless of their gender identity. Additionally, the ordinance requires that signage be posted indicating the new requirements. On February 14, Mayor Farrell, who co-sponsored the bill, signed the ordinance into law.

    San Francisco Pride Announces Public Voting for 2018 Community Grand Marshals

    The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee has announced the 2018 slate of nominees for public vote for Community Grand Marshal. Annually, the general public votes for both an individual and an organization to be honored at the parade and celebration, which are held the last weekend in June. Voting is live and will continue until 12 noon on Wednesday, March 7. The 2018 nominees for Community Grand Marshal represent a diverse group of individuals and organizations that have, through their work, art, advocacy, and volunteerism, contributed to the strength and vitality of LGBTQ communities in the Bay Area. “We are lucky to live in a time and place where we are surrounded by so many impressive, inspirational individuals and organizations,” said SF Pride Executive Director, George F. Ridgely, Jr. “Every year it is challenging to narrow the ballot to 15 candidates.” There are two ways the public can cast ballots: in person at the SF Pride office, 30 Pearl Street, 4th Floor, or online at

    Rally Held After CA Sues SF for Discriminating Against Transgender Woman

    The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit alleging that the City of San Francisco discriminated against Transgender Law Center (TLC) client Tanesh Nutall when a City employee unlawfully denied her access to the women’s restroom and called her offensive slurs because she is transgender. An employee of the City’s Office of Citizen Complaints, an agency supposed to advocate for City residents, blocked Nutall from using the women’s bathroom, calling her a “f—ing man” and a “f—ing freak.” She came to Transgender Law Center for support. TLC filed discrimination complaints on her behalf with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Recently, after two years of trying to get justice from the City and dealing with the emotional fallout from the harassment and discrimination she faced, the State of California brought a lawsuit on her behalf against the City of San Francisco. At a rally for her on February 20 in front of City Hall, spokespersons noted that the lawsuit is a huge step, but there is still a long road ahead for Nutall. TLC said they will be there all the way supporting her. Demonstrators sent messages of love for Nutall.

    Former Patio Cafe in Castro to Reopen as Hamburger Mary’s

    This March, the space that used to be the Patio Cafe at 531 Castro Street will become Hamburger Mary’s. The original Hamburger Mary’s used to be located at 1586 Folsom Street from 1972–2001. The very most original was a chain in Hawaii. All of these have been advertised as LGBTQ-friendly restaurants. Property owner Les Natali had closed the Patio Cafe in 1999. Natali is also owner of Toad Hall and Badlands—both gay bars in the Castro neighborhood.

    GGBA President Meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

    Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) and LGBT community leaders, worked with key members of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus’s team when they were preparing for his recent whirlwind trip to San Francisco. GGBA President Dawn Ackerman was invited to attend a meeting with key business leaders on Friday, February 9, with one of the world’s most respected sitting Heads of State at the iconic Fairmont Hotel. “The experience was remarkable, ” said Ackerman. “He is unbelievably inspiring, thoughtful and a true visionary. When I first heard his speech to the Canadian Parliament on November 28, 2017, where he addressed, head on, the discrimination of LGBTQ individuals at the hands of the Canadian government, I knew that this was a man of amazing integrity.” She said meeting the Prime Minister was “a truly significant experience for me. As I looked him in the eyes and thanked him for his apology on behalf of the United States’ LGBTQ community, my eyes began to tear and so did his.” Ackerman concluded, “He is the kind of leader our community and the world needs at a time when the entire globe is facing unprecedented challenges. We look forward to expanding upon this interaction in the near future for the benefit of all.”

    Harvey Milk Plaza Community Feedback Scheduled

    The Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP) is a Castro neighborhood organization with the stated purpose of “maintaining and improving the public space named in honor of the civil rights icon.” The organization invites the public to join the conversation concerning the plaza’s future. Its website is informative, providing the latest information from the architects, Perkins Eastman, who won FHMP’s Design Competition. The next community meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, from 3–4:30 pm at Most Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in the Castro at 100 Diamond Street. A second meeting will be offered April 7.

    Castro Hotel to Replace Bite Me Sandwich Shop

    On March 1, a proposal will be made to the SF Planning Commission to tear down the location of Bite Me Sandwiches on 4230 18th Street and Diamond and turn it into a 4-story, 12-room edifice to be known as Hotel Castro with a restaurant on the ground floor. In a recent meeting, Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac said he approved of the plans as an excellent tourist draw. But some have shown concern that, because the planned boutique hotel has no off-street parking or loading zones, there is a potential impact on parking in an already over-crowded parking situation. Sponsors counter-argue that most customers would arrive by public transportation, taxis or car-hailing services.

    Beer Garden Planned for Castro Neighborhood

    Black Hammer Brewing, a South of Market based brewery and tasting room founded in 2012, plans to open an indoor beer garden in the Castro at the Duboce apartment building located at Sanchez and Market Streets. Next to a Public Notice of Application to Sell Alcoholic Beverages, the owners have taped up a sign saying “Willkommen,” which translates in German to “Welcome!” The friendly sign is appropriate for an establishment that intends to be a German biergarten selling their crafted beers, wine, and food.