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    In the News: February 25, 2016

    By Dennis McMillan

    Mayor Lee Announces Police Department Reforms

    Mayor Ed Lee this week announced a package of police reforms to increase public safety, build greater trust between police officers and the community and make the department more responsive, transparent and accountable. The reforms include the creation of a new Bureau of Professional Standards & Principled Policing, major expansions to the Crisis Intervention Team network, new prohibitions on the use of firearms in specific circumstances, and a new Community Safety Initiative to recruit young people from San Francisco neighborhoods most impacted by violence to work with the Department to improve community trust.

    Joe Hollendoner Appointed New SFAF Chief Executive Officer

    Joe Hollendoner, MSW, has been appointed CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, bringing more than 15 years of leadership experience to the role, most recently as First Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the nation’s third largest health department. Prior to his work in the public sector, Hollendoner was in executive leadership roles at Chicago’s two largest private HIV services providers: as Senior Vice President at AIDS Foundation of Chicago and as Vice President/Chief Program Officer at Howard Brown Health Center.

    Openly Lesbian BART Board Member to Run for Reelection

    Openly lesbian Rebecca Saltzman has announced she is running for reelection to the BART Board in this November’s election. “BART is now focused on reinvesting in our core system, to ensure that it is reliable and can continue to serve a growing Bay Area,” said Saltzman. “Through the leadership of the BART-AC Transit Interagency Liaison Committee, which I co-chair, BART and AC Transit have made significant progress towards improving the rider experience between the two agencies. And recently, the BART Board passed an affordable housing policy that I fought for, in order to ensure that development at BART helps all members of our communities.”

    After More Than 90 Years, Sullivan’s Funeral Home Says Goodbye to The Castro

    At the end of this month, longtime Market Street staple Sullivan’s Funeral Home will close its doors and relocate to Daly City. Established in 1924, the business had been one of a handful of funeral homes left within city limits. It was also known as one of the few funeral homes in the city that would handle the funerals of victims during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. In its place will be a new mixed-use development that will include underground parking, 45 residential units and a unique plan to retain the funeral home structure, considered a historical resource that will likely be used for retail space.

    Longtime Castro Travel Agent Peter Greene Dies

    Peter Greene, the longtime owner of the Castro travel agency Now, Voyager, died in Palm Springs at the age of 61. A year ago, he had reopened in a new location after both the business and its owners were evicted from the former location on 18th Street near Douglass several years ago. Greene launched Now, Voyager in 1983 with Jonathan Klein, but after the eviction, Klein took his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Greene moved to a trailer in Palm Springs, but continued to hope to return to San Francisco. He had been living with AIDS for decades, and passed away from what one friend said was liver failure from hepatitis B.

    Equality California Sponsors Two Bills Combating Anti-LGBT Discrimination

    Equality California is sponsoring two bills authored by openly gay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) that would prohibit the use of state funds to support entities that allow discrimination by creating exemptions based on religious beliefs. AB 1887 would ban state-funded travel to any state with a law in effect that sanctions or requires discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. AB 1888 would require all institutions receiving CalGrant dollars to certify to the California Student Aid Commission that they do not discriminate on the basis of, among other things, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. These institutions also would be prohibited from seeking a Title IX waiver from the U.S. Department of Education as a condition of receiving state funds.

    Openly Lesbian Rebecca Kaplan Elected as Chair of Alameda CTC

    The Alameda County Transportation Commission board unanimously elected Oakland Vice Mayor and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Rebecca Kaplan as Alameda CTC’s new Chairperson. The 22-member Alameda CTC is comprised of elected leaders throughout Alameda County, with the cities, the county, BART and AC Transit, working to plan, fund and deliver transportation projects that create jobs, improve the quality of life and improve transportation access and sustainability throughout the region. Kaplan has served on the Alameda CTC since it was created, and served on the merger committee as well. Combining the two previous county-wide agencies into one strengthens transportation planning and also saving taxpayers money.

    Supervisor Wiener Calls for Raising Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

    The Land Use and Transportation Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week voted to raise the tobacco purchasing age in the city from 18 to 21. The legislation, proposed by Supervisor Scott Wiener, follows similar efforts in New York and Hawaii. The legislation, which has received support from The American Heart Association and other health advocacy groups, will now be voted upon by the full Board of Supervisors next Tuesday, March 2.

    EQCA and Trevor Project Sponsor Bill Mandating Suicide Prevention Plans in California Schools

    Equality California and The Trevor Project are sponsoring a bill introduced by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) that would require local school districts statewide to adopt plans to prevent teen suicides. AB 2246 would require local school boards to adopt plans on suicide prevention for students attending grades 7 to 12. These plans would be developed together with suicide prevention experts, parents, student advocates and school mental health professionals. The bill also would require the state Department of Education to develop a model plan to serve as a guide for local districts. The adoption of such plans is especially crucial to LGBTQ teens, who face bullying, harassment and a general lack of acceptance that may often lead to depression. Research shows that queer youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.

    Attorney General, Others Endorse Rebecca Prozan for SFDCCC

    Attorney General Kamala Harris has endorsed openly gay Rebecca Prozan for the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee. Having served as her campaign manager on her successful campaign for District Attorney in 2003, Harris knows her commitment to San Francisco. Janitors Local 87 and Supervisors London Breed, Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, Katy Tang, and Norman Yee have also endorsed her this year. Described as the local arm of the Democratic Party, this committee directs local policy and field activities such as registering voters, endorsing local candidates and initiatives, educating the public on endorsements, and getting out the vote. All are with the shared mission of making sure the party and our local government embody San Francisco values.

    President Obama’s Proposed Federal Budget Funds Ending Homelessness

    The homeless investments included in President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal request nearly $6 billion to fund targeted homelessness assistance programs that support evidence-based solutions that San Francisco has effectively demonstrated can be successful in ending homelessness. This includes permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, and requests an additional $11 billion over 10 years for short and long-term rental assistance in mandatory funding to prioritize ending homelessness among families with children. This proposed homeless funding will greatly support San Francisco’s goal of ending homelessness for 8,000 San Franciscans by 2020. Statistics find 29% of the City’s homeless are LGBTQ.

    HRC Highlights California’s LGBT Protections, Laws and Legislative Proposals in New National Report

    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in partnership with the Equality Federation, released its second annual national report assessing the status of state legislation affecting LGBT equality across America, including in California. The State Equality Index (SEI) reveals that, even with historic progress on marriage equality, there are extraordinary state-to-state disparities in LGBT nondiscrimination protections, including in the workplace, and efforts continue by equality opponents to pass state-level legislation that would sanction discrimination and undermine even minimal existing protections. Though a number of states are expanding access to nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people and their families, a majority of states are still struggling to reach even a basic level of equality for LGBT people.