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    In the News: 9.07.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Local LGBT Organizations React to Trump Rescinding DACA

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions on September 5 announced that the Trump administration has rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Congress was urged to replace it before March 5, 2018. Numerous Bay Area LGBT organizations, such as the SF LGBT Center, issued statements in response. Roberto Isaac Ordeñana, Interim Executive Director of the Center, said: “Today Donald J. Trump continued his immoral and cowardly attacks on the most vulnerable members of our communities. By rescinding DACA, Mr. Trump has put the futures of 800,000 young people who are achieving the American Dream at risk. His callous action today demonstrates his lack of leadership and continues his pandering to intolerant and hateful factions of the conservative movement. The SF LGBT Center will continue to work with national and local partners to ensure that all immigrants have access to all available resources by providing information, connecting them to legal aid, and supporting local and national legislative action to protect them.” Bay Area lawmakers and CEOs also blasted the announced decision to end DACA. 

    San Francisco 49ers Hire First Openly LGBT Coach in the NFL

    Full-time assistant coach Katie Sowers of the 49ers is not only the first female coach ever hired by the team, but she is also the first openly LGBT coach in the entire NFL. Additionally, she is just the second woman hired by an NFL team as a full-time coach. “No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are,” Sowers, openly lesbian, told Outsports when asked why she is discussing her sexual orientation publicly for the first time. “There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation. The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.”

    LGBT Senior Bill of Rights Heads to Assembly for Final Vote

    Senate Bill 219 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which creates an LGBT Senior Bill of Rights for seniors living in long-term care facilities, is awaiting a final vote on the Assembly floor. That could happen as early as this week. Last Friday, SB 219 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations committee. According to Senator Wiener and other supporters of the bill, SB 219 protects LGBT seniors from discrimination in long-term care facilities, such as a facility refusing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronoun, denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring a resident within a facility or to another facility based on anti-LGBT attitudes of other residents, or evicting or involuntarily discharging a resident from a facility, on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status. In addition, the bill requires that all long-term care facilities post a notice regarding this form of discrimination where its current non-discrimination policy is posted.

    Bill That Would Extend Alcohol Service Hours Gutted in Appropriations Committee

    Another bill by Senator Wiener, Senate Bill 384, which would allow local communities to choose to extend alcohol service hours to 4 am, was gutted in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and replaced with language to create a task force to study the issue. “There’s no need to study anything. There’s nothing radical about letting local communities decide for themselves whether to let their bars and nightclubs go later,” said Senator Wiener in response. “It’s embarrassing that California shuts down its nightlife so early. We’re not going to give up. Nightlife matters to our economy and culture, and California’s one-size-fits-all approach to closing time needs to be reformed.”

    Several Restaurants Close in the Castro

    In recent weeks, at least four restaurants have closed in the Castro: Zapata Mexican Grill, Mekong Kitchen, House of Chen and Café UB. Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac wrote, “There were various personal and business reasons for each closure, but we will miss them all.” Takeout from the House of Chen fueled many a late-night work session for the Bay Times team. (Their Sesame Chicken was fantastic!) The owners wrote that they are retiring, and we wish them well.  On the upside, hopes are high for the former Patio Café space at 531 Castro Street, as previously reported. Larry Metzger is working with Les Natali on the new Hamburger Mary’s there. Deccan Spice at 468 Castro and a German-themed spot at 17th and Church are also moving forward.

    Castro Smash-and-Grab Crimes Spike

    Take care if you park in the Castro, as members of our team have been victims of multiple smash-and-grab crimes, as well as other damage to vehicles. In a single month, one member of our team had two car break-ins that, due to extensive damage to the vehicle, cost thousands to repair. Such crimes have also increased in other parts of San Francisco, leading SFPD to increase police officers walking neighborhoods. Previously, a citywide task force was supposed to curb the problem, but that group has since been disbanded. Please not only watch out for your own vehicles, but also those of your friends and neighbors, by reporting any observed break-ins.

    Alegre Home Care Returns to the Castro

    Alegre Home Care, an in-home care company, will open at 2253 Market Street and 16th by the third week of September. The business, which has caregivers who provide a range of in-home services—such as light housekeeping, meal preparation and companionship—has the goal of helping seniors and disabled individuals to stay independent. If Alegre Home Care sounds familiar, it is because the business used to be in the medical building at 18th and Collingwood Streets about a decade ago.

    Three Former Military Secretaries Are Helping the Suit Against Trump’s Military Ban

    Recently we reported that the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s directive to reinstate the ban on transgenders in military service. Now former Army secretary Eric Fanning, former Navy secretary Raymond Mabus, Jr., and former Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James have filed declarations in this lawsuit to support transgender service members. Fanning was the first openly gay secretary of a service branch. Lambda Legal and the ACLU have also filed lawsuits against the ban.

    City’s 5th Navigation Center Opens at SF General

    The Hummingbird Psychiatric Respite Navigation Center has just opened at San Francisco General Hospital, offering help to those suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. This center is the first dedicated to helping this particular segment of the homeless population. “As we’ve been able to expand Navigation Centers in the city, we’ve been able to articulate different needs that our system has, and this is clearly an important gap to be filled in our system, one around behavioral health and providing care to people in that kind of crisis,” Sam Dodge, a deputy director at the city’s homelessness department, told the SF Chronicle. There are four overnight beds at present for eligible adults who can be 

    referred from city health agencies and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Another 11 beds will become available in December. It remains unclear if the new center will help to ease those at the growing homeless encampment in the Castro.