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    In the News: March 10, 2016

    By Dennis McMillan

    Supervisor David Campos Declares State of Emergency Concerning SF Homelessness

    On Tuesday, Supervisor David Campos asked his colleagues on the board to quickly activate a provision in state law, usually reserved for disasters like floods and earthquakes, to allow the city to take emergency action to build additional Navigation Centers on city-owned property to house and support the homeless. He said that in the next few weeks, he would introduce legislation requiring the executive branch to build six additional Navigation Centers in a year, three of which would have to be built within the next four months. The Ordinance would also require a funding plan that would activate emergency reserve funds and streamline and cut current spending in San Francisco’s budget to build these Navigation Centers without additional cost to residents. “We can’t wait any longer,” Supervisor Campos said. “San Franciscans are demanding that we act now and keep working until this crisis is solved and that’s exactly what I plan to do.” Detractors point out that many within the homeless population refuse to use such shelters, like the 150-bed Pier 80 shelter that was underutillized, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report. Jason Loomis, a homeless man, said he prefers life in a tent on the street to the communal nature of a shelter. “Why sacrifice privacy?” Loomis told “That’s basically all we have.”


    Longtime LGBT Movement Leader and Attorney Joins NCLR

    Ruth McFarlane, an LGBT community leader and attorney, has joined the National Center for Lesbian Rights as its Director of Development & Community Engagement. She will oversee the cultivation and mobilization of support from individual donors, corporations, foundations and other organizations that share NCLR’s vision. Prior to joining NCLR, McFarlane was the Director of Programs at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, where she was responsible for a wide spectrum of direct service and community programming. She also served as Director of Community Engagement and Co-Principal Investigator for The PRIDE Study, a national, participant-powered, longitudinal study of the health experience of LGBTQ people conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. She additionally spent several years providing direct services to LGBTQ and underserved youth, including managing a residential program for homeless youth living with HIV and providing clinical therapeutic services for youth with severe behavioral and mental health challenges. NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said, “Ruth is a tireless and fierce LGBT advocate and we are thrilled to have her join our team.”


    Sacramento Equality Awards Honor Four LGBT Equality Heroes

    On Monday, Equality California honored Assemblymember Rich Gordon, Mario Guerrero of SEIU, Nancy McFadden (Executive Secretary to Governor Brown), and Dana Williamson (former Cabinet Secretary to Governor Brown and Principal of Grace Public Affairs), for their steadfast support of the LGBT community. Each year, Equality California recognizes individuals and organizations who have made an impact on the movement to secure full and lasting equality for LGBT people at its annual Equality Awards via a series of formal events held in San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Sacramento.


    U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Alabama’s Refusal to Recognize Same-Sex Parent Adoption

    In other NCLR news, the United States Supreme Court has reversed an Alabama Supreme Court decision refusing to recognize a lesbian mother’s prior adoption of her three children in Georgia. The summary reversal restores NCLR’s client’s full rights as an adoptive parent. Monday’s decision—on the heels of the Supreme Court marriage win in June—is a victory not only for NCLR’s client, but also for thousands of adopted families throughout the country.


    Board of Supervisors Unanimously Passes Supervisor Wiener’s Legislation Raising Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

    The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Supervisor Scott Wiener’s legislation to raise the tobacco purchasing age in San Francisco from 18 to 21. San Francisco becomes the second largest city in the country, after New York City, to set the tobacco purchasing age at 21. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people each year and costing the United States as much as $170 billion in health care expenditures.


    Free Castro Patrol Training Offered

    Castro Community on Patrol will be training new volunteers on Tuesday, March 15, starting at 7 pm. There is no cost for the training. For the past 10 years, Castro Community on Patrol has improved the safety of the Castro and Duboce Triangle neighborhoods through a combination of walking patrols and education of the public through self-defense seminars, literature and safety whistles. For more information and to reserve a seat at this training:


    Muni Stations Defaced With Burning Pride Flag Photos, Anti-LGBT Text

    Castro-area Muni riders were hit with a disturbing message when they were confronted with fliers depicting a burning Rainbow Pride flag as they passed through two area stations. According to SFist, the fliers were pasted up during an overnight period at the Castro and Church Muni stations. Though some effort was made to remove them, they remained largely in place the next morning. SFist noted both the burning Pride flag imagery as well as “a bunch of anti-LGBT messaging” in the fliers’


    Scott Wiener Wins Official Endorsement of the Democratic Party

    Supervisor Scott Wiener earned the official State Senate endorsement of the Democratic Party at the Party’s statewide convention in San Jose. Wiener is now the official party standard-bearer in the race. The Democratic Party endorsement is a key win and important strategic factor in the race for State Senate District 11 (San Francisco and Northern San Mateo County).


    Anti-Gay Stickers Flood Southern California High School

    Administrators say students at a Southern California high school have the right to wear anti-gay stickers on their school ID badges, just as other students have the right to wear stickers supporting gay rights. The anti-gay stickers had a rainbow inside a circle with a line through it. Shadow Hills High School administrators in Indio said both protests were okay, as long as they didn’t escalate. Photos have been shared on Twitter and Facebook condemning the homophobic symbols, and they have been re-shared dozens of times. The same students who were distributing the anti-gay symbol on campus also placed one on the window of the Gay Straight Alliance coordinator’s classroom. A teacher argued that some students and staff objected because they felt the gay and lesbian community had been targeted.


    Mayor & City Administrator Swear In Catherine Stefani as County Clerk

    Mayor Edwin M. Lee and City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly have appointed and sworn in Catherine Stefani as the County Clerk. Mayor Lee noted that Stefani had served as Legislative Aide for the Board of Supervisors for nine years. The County Clerk’s Office provides a wide range of crucial government services in five broad categories: Marriage Licenses and Domestic Partnerships; Fictitious Business Names; SF City ID Cards; Birth and Death Certificates; and other duties.


    Transgender Law Center and Equality California Commend California Democratic Party for Supporting Transgender Californians

    Transgender Law Center (TLC) and Equality California (EQCA) applaud the California Democratic Party for its vote to incorporate a plank in the party platform affirming the rights and dignity of transgender people. The addition to the party’s platform was officially adopted at the California Democratic Party Convention. EQCA executive director Rick Zbur said, “We are pleased to see the party affirm what we have long known: that transgender people are our family members, friends and neighbors, and a part of every community in California.”


    Castro Community Benefit District Celebrates 10th Year

    The Castro Community Benefit District is celebrating its 10th year with a star-studded party on March 13 at the Patio Cafe showcasing some of the newest restaurants and long time favorites. This event is a fundraiser for the Castro Cares program and is donation based. Donna Sachet will emcee the evening’s festivities. Castro Cares is a coalition of neighborhood groups, businesses and social service and city programs coming together to improve the quality of life for both those living on the street and those who live, work, shop and play in the Castro/Upper Market district.


    Social Security Beneficiaries Receive No Cost of Living Adjustment; CEO Pay Continues to Skyrocket

    Millions of Americans rely on Social Security for most of their income, but this year beneficiaries will not get a cost of living adjustment. In response, Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act) to give seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and surviving spouses who rely on Social Security a one-time payment of $580 to help make ends meet. It would be paid for by closing a loophole that subsidizes excessive CEO pay.