New District 8 Supevisor Jeff Sheehy poses with his husband, Bill Berry, and daughter Michelle. Sheehy is the first HIV-positive member of the Board of Supervisors in city history.

 

The New Face of District Eight

 

New Supervisor Seeks to Tackle Crime, Health Care

 

 

Last month, Mayor Lee appointed Jeff Sheehy to fill in for Scott Wiener as Supervisor of District 8. Wiener was elected State Senator for District 11 covering San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Sheehy will be the only LGBT member of the Board of Supervisors and will also be the first HIV-positive member of the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco’s history.

 

Sheehy, a long time LGBT activist and Glen Park resident, served as an advisor to former Mayor Gavin Newsom on HIV/AIDS and was a victim advocate in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Since 2000, he has led the communications team at UCSF AIDS Research Institute and was a founding member of the Steering Committee of San Francisco’s Getting to Zero Consortium, which worked to make the city the first municipality to achieve the UNAIDS goals of zero new infections.

 

Sheehy inherited many challenges that faced the city and district, and one of his first concerns will be addressing crime.

 

“We’ve seen a rash of car break-ins and home burglaries,” he said. “Public safety looms large.”

 

The new supervisor said he is engaging with Captain Daniel Perea of the Police Department’s Mission Station, which oversees the Castro area. A supporter of pre-trial diversion, Sheehy states that better follow-up is also needed for criminal offenders.

 

“I’ve called for a hearing so that we can bring everybody together and work and see how we can be more effective.”

 

He also wants to improve the levels of police academy recruitment and increase local warrant enforcement. He believes that increased visibility may also assist in public safety. “Part of what deters crime is having officers around,” he said.

 

Sheehy is starting discussions for the library to provide police service at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Library near Pond and 16th streets. The Main Library has this protection and Sheehy states there are issues at the smaller branch.

 

“It’s great to have longer hours, but if people don’t feel safe for the hours that they’re open, then the benefit of using the resources for longer hours is kind of negated,” he said.

 

Sheehy also touched on transportation, housing, and health care.

 

“We have to build more housing and part of that mix has to be workforce housing,” he said, “I’m a pro housing person.”

 

Sheehy is adamant with regard to the issue of health care for residents. “I’m the first openly HIV positive supervisor, so that is an important issue for me,” he said.

 

Because of his personal connection to healthcare and HIV, Sheehy wants to address the needs of some of the Castro’s residents. “I’m also focused on the needs of long term survivors—people with HIV who are living with a great number of challenges, and their needs have not received the emphasis they should have,” he said. “There’s a lived reality that I have that makes those issues important to me.”

 

Sheehy also wants to place an emphasis on family. “I’m a parent,” he said, “There’s a history strong neighborhood focus that goes back to Mark Leno. I intend to keep the strong focus on making sure that the needs of my neighborhood and district are met.”

 

Photo courtesy of Jeff Sheehy

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • • 

 

Mission Police Turn to Twitter to Curb Area Bike Thefts

Bikes vanish in San Francisco at an alarming rate: one bike every three hours. According to a report by the Board of Supervisors, the city estimates more than $4.6 million worth of bikes are stolen each year. Most of them are never recovered because they immediately get sold on the black market or get disassembled in chop shops.

 

Under the freeway in the Mission District, there are dozens of chop shops where bikes and parts are piled up. The San Francisco Police Department called for a crackdown on chop shops last August. While police frequently sweep these camps, they pop back up in a different location a few days later. Other chop shop hotspots are the UN Civic Center Plaza, 6th and Mission and Division.

 

“We get a lot of complaints of chop shops within homeless encampments,” said Mission Station Captain Daniel Perea. “The challenge we find ourselves up against is that a bike only has one serial number. We run checks on that number, but if they don’t come back as stolen, we can’t legally do anything.”

 

According to the SF Data website, 455 bicycles were reported stolen in San Francisco in 2016. The data shows that 85 of those were reported to the Mission Station, which covers the Castro, during that time. Perea believes the actual number of stolen bikes is much higher due to failure to report missing bikes. He encourages people to register their bikes at SFSafe.org and to report their bikes stolen.

 

Officer Matthew Friedman, known as the city’s bike theft guru, started fighting bike theft on the streets as well as on social media in 2013. He started the Twitter account @SFPDBikeTheft to post and receive tweets on stolen bikes. It serves as a place to log stolen bikes and place to post photos of crimes in progress. Friedman has since been transferred to another assignment and is no longer running the Twitter account. The SFPD Media Relations unit has now taken over the account. The bad news is that they do not post as avidly as Friedman did. The good news is that private citizens are tweeting about bike theft on a daily basis.

 

Bryan Hance runs the SF Twitter feed for Bike Index. Fed up with bike theft, Hance started a stolen bike registry where people could check a serial number. He later teamed up with Bike Index, a site where people can register their bikes before they get stolen. The biggest registry in the nation, Bike Index has over 100,000 registered bikes. Twitter is their main form of announcement. With more than 2,600 followers in San Francisco, they have a lot of eyes out looking for stolen bikes.

 

“We run it because it is a system we think needs to exist,” he said. “We make it real easy for bike shops and cops to try to recover bikes. Some bikes cost up to $6,000 dollars.”

 

Bike Index only recovers three percent of their stolen bikes back. Hance said that the SFPD has been helpful by escorting people to recover their stolen bike that they find for sale online on Craigslist or apps like Let Go. However, if a bike is stolen at 9 a.m. and sold by 1 p.m, by the time an officer responds to a call, it’s too late. Bike Index has published information on their website about what to do if your bike gets stolen, as well as how not to buy a stolen bike online.

 

Bike messenger Randall Dietel has personally gotten six bikes back for people through non-aggressive interactions and is an active Twitter presence on bike theft. He thinks chop shops are just a small part of the larger bike theft epidemic.

 

According to Dietel, once a bike is stolen, the thieves aim to get rid of it as soon as possible. Their goal is to offload the bikes to a fence, a person who buys stolen merchandise from thieves. He said fences only want bikes that are valued above $1,000 while others get sold for $10 on the street or get trickled down into chop shops. Then bikes just become a piece of currency for bartering.

 

“The chop shops may be run by a mentally ill person living on the street,” he explained. “They take bikes apart all day long and then maybe trade a wheel for speakers or $30 worth of crack. This gives them 20 things to trade instead of one whole bike.”

 

He thinks that a more aggressive approach by the police may have an effect on the cycle.

 

“Once a bike is into a chop shop environment, spending police resources is pointless,” Dietel said. “They’ve got to get to the root of the issue. There should be no chop shops allowed at all. If you knock out bikes, you take away an abstract currency for people to buy drugs with.”

 

John O’Sullivan is another social media hero when it comes to bike theft. After witnessing bikes stolen from the valet parking lot at his office on Market Street, O’Sullivan decided to get a folding bike that he can store under his desk at work. There is a chop shop directly below his office window. He often sees people spray-painting bikes and breaking them apart into smaller pieces. He spies on the bike thieves and takes photos of the crimes through a telescope. He then tweets the photos out to the SFPD and tags others involved in recovering stolen bikes in the city.

 

Captain Perea expressed gratitude towards the online Twitter community helping police officers combat bike theft.

 

“It’s our job to catch people and we will keep doing our best to do that,” he said. “If people can get the word out, it helps. All of us working together have a greater chance of resolving the issue at hand.”

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • •

 

 

Units at Duboce are going for $899,000 to $2.1 million, according to GreyStar. Photo: Jessica Webb

New Lux Apartment Building in Duboce Triangle Raises Concerns

 

 

Duboce. This is the name of the latest of mid-rise condominiums being built in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood set for an official opening on the first of February.

 

Duboce seeks to offer high-end luxury amenities usually reserved for the residential skyscrapers of Mission Bay and South Beach. Inside the apartments, the interiors are expectedly sleek. The kitchen appliances are unsurprisingly all stainless steel, and the tiles of the bathrooms are, without a doubt, brilliant polished porcelain. The amenities, endless as the cosmos, seem to offer the resident a carefree living experience where everything is offered from car rentals to dry cleaning. Even retail within the apartment complex will be offered along with underground private parking leaving the resident little purpose to visit neighborhood businesses.

 

This is what prospective buyers want, and expect, when arriving in a post-gentrified Duboce Triangle world. GreyStar, the project’s South Carolina-developer, emphasized the company’s targeting of buyers looking to buy brand-new condos that have never before been lived in.

 

But many see Duboce as nothing more than part of a larger trend in the Castro/Upper Market brought forth by gentrification. Duboce Triangle neighborhood activist Peter Cohen is one of these people.

 

“The problem isn’t with Duboce, or condos like the Duboce. These luxury condos are just the result of the larger housing issue,” he said. “This is about gentrification displacing the residents who are already here. We can’t control who decides to move into the Castro/Upper Market area, but we can help fight to keep the people already living here from eviction based on rising rents and greedy landlords.”

 

Gentrification is broadly understood in being meant to revitalize neighborhoods that have been either forgotten, or overlooked, by city-dwellers who are typically attracted to the cheap rent along with the neighborhood’s possible untapped potential. However what gentrification actually means by definition is, “the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.” Can gentrification be guided and directed to where all residents of the Duboce Triangle benefit from their neighborhood’s development, or is this fantasy?

 

Tommi Avicolli Mecca, director of counseling programs for the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco offers a solution to the spread of gentrification, and warns of its pending dangers.

 

“Gentrification is coming, if not already arrived in the Castro/Upper Market. The fight is not against gentrification, but in making sure the residents who already live here aren’t at risk of being displaced,” Mecca said. “Aside from displacement and evictions from greedy landlords, there is another underlying issue that many never discuss. When a neighborhood’s original inhabitants are forced out, due to gentrification, the neighborhood’s identity changes.”

 

The Castro wasn’t a gay neighborhood first before the LGBT community arrived. It became gay when gays and lesbians, mostly gay men, began to arrive in the predominantly working-class neighborhood during the late 1960s in what began as a search for cheaper housing...oddly enough. Though the Castro remains proudly gay, the socioeconomic backgrounds of the LGBT locals have become more affluent in recent years.

 

San Francisco is becoming a city of modern architectural glass condominiums and overpriced vapid boutique shops that masquerade as the “Ma & Pop” shops that once occupied those very spaces. This may be the type of city foreign investors find appealing, but for the longtime San Franciscan, the city is becoming unrecognizable.

 

But in the end, if people in the city are willing to pay high costs for sterile stainless steel appliance, granite counter-topped all stuffed compactly inside a 900-square-foot, two-bedroom unit, then the minimalist glass buildings will continue to rise in the neighborhood.

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • •

Super Duper Burger Expansion on Market Street Now Underway

 

 

Castro’s Super Duper Burgers flagship location is getting super sized.

 

In January, the San Francisco Planning Commission approved a project to expand its original location at 2304 Market St., a plan that has been nearly a year in the making. Previously occupied by California Check Cashing, the space has been empty since September 2015.

 

Super Duper’s 48-seat location, opened in April 2010, is owned by Adriano Paganini of Back of the House Restaurant Group. The restauranteur is also behind some of San Francisco’s favorite neighborhood spots like Starbelly at 3583 16th Street, as well as El Techo, Lolinda and Beretta, which was the company’s debut venture in 2008.

 

The existing Super Duper Burgers location measures approximately 1,285 square feet. After construction, the space will total 2,119 square feet.

 

“The Department received two written communications in support of the proposal, as well as a petition with four signatures in support,” said Candace SooHoo of San Francisco Planning Commission.

 

Construction will entail the reconfiguring of a non-structural wall, interior tenant improvements and minor alterations to the existing storefront.

 

The department did not receive any other applications for the 2300 Market St. address, according to SooHoo.

 

Although there are no plans for additional outdoor seating, Gary Weiss of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, welcomes the idea.

 

“We love sidewalk seating,” said Weiss, the chair of DTNA’s Land Use committee. “It livens up the neighborhood. That was one of the great things about Castro’s sidewalk widening.”

 

With 10 Bay Area Super Duper Burgers locations, six of them in San Francisco, it comes in just under San Francisco’s formula-retail rules, which in certain neighborhoods, like the Castro, would impede any new or expanded locations.

 

“The fact that [Paganini] is a neighborhood guy, with several locations in the neighborhood makes the expansion an ok thing,” Weiss added.

 

Commonly referred to as “chain stores,” retail stores with 11 or more locations and a recognizable “look” or appearance are considered formula retail according to the Planning Department.

 

The 11th and 12th Super Duper Burgers locations are slated to open in 2017.

 

First, a Berkeley location at 2355 Telegraph Avenue is planned for April. Then, as part of Concord’s new retail development The Veranda, a location will open on Diamond Boulevard this autumn.

 

In early 2018, Super Duper Burger plans to open at San Francisco International Airport’s upcoming $2.4 million Terminal 1 renovation.

 

Construction at 2300 Market Street is scheduled to begin in spring.

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • •

Cafe Flore to Become Cannabis Lounge

 

 

It’s highly likely that anyone living in the Castro has a soft spot in their heart for Flore, formerly Cafe Flore, on the corner of Noe and Market Streets. It’s a place where friendships and memories are made and continued within the neighborhood, not to mention its super cozy, inviting atmosphere and reliably good food. Alone or with a group of friends, inside or outside, the cafe always feels right. Of course it was a cause for concern when news came in early January that Flore had been sold, although long time owners Stu Gerry and J.D. Petras will stay on as minority owners. New owners Terrance Alan, whose name will be instantly recognizable to many in the community, and Aaron Silverman are super excited to bring their vision and dedication to the Flore. They were good enough to answer some questions about their plans for the cafe and also to invite the community’s input at an upcoming “makeover party.”

 

Wendy: You met because of your mutual involvement within the cannabis community. What prompted your initial conversation to go into the restaurant business together?

 

Terrance: What brought us together was our mutual interest in creating a new kind of cannabis business. One where socialization, friends and community were at the front and cannabis was just like any other thing people use to enhance their socialization experience. We typically think of restaurants and bars as meeting places; what happens when we add cannabis to society? We think it belongs as an option where people gather and socialize. Now that we are venturing into adult use, legal cannabis and consumption lounges are going to be permitted by the state. Shouldn’t the first and hopefully best socialization space in SF be at the Flore? We think so.

 

Wendy: Cafe Flore, now Flore, is an invaluable asset to the Castro community, and is the favorite cafe of many San Franciscans. What drew you to it in particular aside from how obviously iconic and wonderful it is?

 

Terrance: When I first came to SF in the late 1970s, Café Hairdo, as I remember it being called, was the place to go, see what was happening and be seen. As a guy from the Midwest, seeing the diversity of the community: gay, straight, hippies, and everything in between cruising and hanging out together at the same place was magnetic. Then it was a stop on the AIDS drug underground railroad where those of us diagnosed could get together, share trial drugs, and keep each other from going completely insane. The desire to say alive is in our DNA and when all hope is yanked away, it is your community that keeps you alive. Flore was a place for that community to find each other. After the horror faded, I, like many others in the community, got busy, moved around and lost sight of what an asset the Flore should continue to be. When I heard it may be sold and turned into an Italian restaurant, I was jolted into the reality that if someone didn’t step forward to evolve the Flore, not change it into an unrecognizable place, 40 years of socializing and history would fade to black. It is like asking, “Why continue the Stud or the Eagle?” Icons should evolve, stay relevant by embracing the cutting edge of culture, and be a place to show it off to the rest of the world. The Flore is one of those places and we will do our best to be its stewards until someone better comes along.

 

Wendy: What will happen at Flore in terms of events? There has been a history of regular parties and meetings in the space. Will they continue or be added to?

 

Aaron: Oh yes, they will continue and we will to do more of them.

 

Terrance: Give us time to polish up the Flore and one of a kind events will be the next story you write.

 

Wendy: What will your menu look like? I understand you’ll be serving more shared plates, like tapas.

 

Aaron: We will be renewing the menu to be sharing inspired, keeping community favorites and adding new variety.

 

Terrance: We will give you a plate of food designed to pass around, stimulating real time sharing. Add specialty cocktails with multiple straws and you have a setting for personal interaction and social media sharing.

 

Wendy: What will your beverage menu look like?

 

Aaron: In addition to some new wines, we will introduce some signature cocktails along with rotating local craft beers.

 

Terrance: Yes, we are currently working with one of SF’s premier mixologists to divine unique additions to the cocktail menu which you won’t get anywhere else. Let’s leave it at that for now and check back in a month when you can come sample our ideas.

 

Wendy: The word is that in the future you will be looking to add cannabis food and beverage items to your menu, since smoking in cafes isn’t legal.

 

Terrance: Without being able to see into the future, I can’t tell you exactly what it will look like but setting the model for vibrant, community oriented, cannabis consumption lounges is in our long term vision. Starting today, we are reinvigorating this iconic neighborhood establishment where everyone will feel welcome. One day that will mean cannabis will be infused everywhere it tastes good as an option for those friends who want to ingest or imbibe. Just like wine with food or beer with wings, some want it and some don’t. Flore will provide just that kind of opportunity and option.

 

Wendy: What are your plans for community involvement?

 

Aaron:We are excited to be here and we invite the community to experience and contribute to the evolution of Flore. We’ve already upgraded the safety element of the neighborhood by installing cameras overlooking the streets and sidewalks.

 

Terrance: So, we could have closed, changed everything and then reopened hoping to get it right, but both of us believe a hangout has to be inspired and reflective of the community in it. An example is our “make-over party” coming soon, where we will invite folks to come in and vote with their taste buds about what we should do next. It is our job to decide, but for us, it is cool to hear what people want in a real direct way. We’ll have several options and people can decide what they like best. We’re going for curated community fabulousness.

 

Wendy: What brought you, personally, to this new venture; what was the journey that led you here?

 

Aaron: The journey getting here is a long one that is far from over. This is an opportunity to work with someone whom I admire and respect that shares my vision and my passion to do something great like this. We believe in what were doing and why we are doing it.

 

Terrance: A journey with a dose of healthy nostalgia, a lot of feet on the ground, making people happy every time they come in, and a crazy visionary belief that when it comes to doing Flore, well. the name says it all.

 

Photo: Jessica Webb

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • •

Photo by Gerard Koskovich/Courtesy 48hills.org

 

Hitting Home: AIDS Housing Alliance Looks to Replace Its Lost Funds

 

 

It’s easy to see why Brian Basinger (aka Saint Ruby Slippers) was sainted recently by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. His work as Founder and Executive Director of the AIDS Housing Alliance has been a godsend to many of the most vulnerable among us who have found themselves faced with a housing crisis. AHA’s programs range from emergency hotel vouchers, to move-in deposits, to back rent assistance, to short term rental subsidies, to ongoing rental subsidies for seniors, disabled, and families, most from the LGBTQ community. To them, Brian is not only a saint but a wizard whose magic helped them to secure a home or to stay in their home, oftentimes their home of many years.

 

His work has by no means gone unnoticed by city officials, including the mayor’s office, who had AHA in line to receive funding for an additional 250 senior and disabled rental subsidies, as well as 50 family rental subsidies. Great news for Brian Basinger, his small dedicated staff, and those they serve, but unfortunately when Prop K failed the promise of those funds disappeared. Says the mayor’s office, “Proposition K, the proposed increase in sales tax which would have funded increased spending on homeless services, failed to garner 50 percent of the vote November 2016. As a result the proposed increase in funding of an additional 50 million per year for homelessness spending included in the budget did not have a funding source, however, the mayor is planning to continue at least 20 million of additional spending, despite of the loss of the sales tax revenue.” As per Basinger, “It’s a 10 billion dollar budget and we think that protecting vulnerable seniors, disabled, people with AIDS, and families, especially immigrant families who need to stay in San Francisco for the sanctuary city protections are priorities. For our program, the senior disabled subsidy program, it costs less than 23 dollars a night to keep somebody in their home, and that is less expensive than a shelter. Preventing people’s evictions is smart money and I think we can find it somewhere in that budget.”

 

Ever resourceful, Brian turned to the Board of Supervisors for help and, championed by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, it looks as though the AIDS Housing Alliance may still receive some additional rental subsidy funding. “Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer is taking on our cause as her first effort as a new supervisor,” he said. “Supervisor Avalos just termed out of office but before he left he introduced a supplemental appropriation to restore funding for part of all of these subsidies that the Board of Supervisors approved last year. They’re putting forward a proposal to fund all of the family subsidies and half of the lost senior or disabled subsidies.” Those receiving funding currently via AHA’s subsidy program will not be affected, Brian affirmed, “The Mayor did [continue] the funding that we had for the existing subsidies, so we need to credit him and thank him for that.”

 

The city is working towards establishing more affordable housing but, as Brian explained, people sometimes still do need just a little bit of extra help in rder to find themselves eligible for those homes. “Overwhelmingly, senior and disabled San Franciscans don’t even qualify for affordable housing. The average retirement or the average disability payment is just over 1000 dollars a month. The BMRs, the affordable housing that’s going up, they typically want you to have an income of about 1900 dollars a month, so overwhelmingly senior and disabled people can’t even qualify for these units. We absolutely have to invest in keeping people in the housing that they already have; it’s the best use of money.”

 

Homelessness is on the minds of everybody in San Francisco, whether they are at risk themselves or whether they see the increase in the homeless population that is so obviously growing around them in the Bay Area, one of the wealthiest places in the world.

 

Brian Basinger agrees, “The psychic cost is all of us see the degradation of our society. We built a great society here in San Francisco and just to see it fraying like this is an emotional and a psychological cost to all of us.”

 

Asked about what he thought might be the financial responsibilities of the super wealthy companies who have taken up residence in San Francisco, in terms of housing, Brian replied, “Housing is a human right; it’s enumerated in the universal declaration of human rights that was signed here in San Francisco, and so our city’s commitment to human rights is deep. The responsibility of government is to protect, affirm, and promote the human rights of it’s residents, and so making sure that the housing market functions in a way where everyone has a home is the responsibility of our government.”

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • •

The Castro Loves You on Valentine’s Day with Deals, Treats

 

Valentine’s Day isn’t what it used to be. Maybe that’s just how it appears as the holiday lands on a Tuesday this year amidst seemingly little fanfare. Despite less obvious romance-pandering deals, the Castro still has a number of opportunities for you and your loved one (or you and yourself) to pamper with wines, dines and refinery.

 

Notably, the Castro Theatre is hosting a double feature of the always romantic (if not outdated) Clark Gable in “It Happened One Night” paired with “Sullivan’s Travels.” These are not the rom coms that Gary Marshall (RIP) might have been doling out in recent years, but there is a certain romanticism to the black-and-white films and snuggling with your loved one with a giant popcorn for four hours in a dark theater. If you choose to channel your high school self in the back row of theater seats, all the better.

 

If you’re looking for some fine dining, Starbelly has a top-secret special night for V-Day Tuesday all planned out. The menu, which will be served in addition to their usual menu, features grilled cod, steak frites, carpaccio, bread pudding and a classic crème brûlée as well as an extended sparkling wine menu.

 

Speaking of dining, Sweet Inspiration on Market Street will be leaning into the holiday with all pink items all day on Valentine’s. Pick out something for your honey or drown your sorrows in carbs and sugar.

 

And then, of course, there’s wine—a classic pairing with romance. Blush Wine Bar will be hosting a special menu for lovebirds this Valentine’s Day. Along with their usual half off all wines from 4-6 p.m., Blush will also be hosting free admission live jazz and all-night half-off their Cava rose because everyone knows pink is the color of love. Your date will appreciate how frugal you and won’t feel like their palate got cheated out of a perfect night out.

 

On the topic of drinking, if you’re involved in the love affair with beer that is SF Beer Week, the Brewcade is having a My Sour Valentine special that will go great with the love in your life who isn’t a sour loser but loves sour beer.

 

As usual, the Castro will be lit up with revelers and lovers, and taking a stroll on the main thoroughfare is the perfect way to enjoy the company of a loved one. The chill in the air gives you a perfect reason to share your body heat. If you’d rather be warmed up you could join in the dancing throngs at the likes of Beaux, Toad Hall, Q Bar, or Hi-Tops for good ol’ drinking.

 

Depending on what your heart desires, the Castro can always be a good place to enjoy love and to love your neighborhood—no matter what the calendar date says.

 

Several neighborhood businesses are getting ready for Valentine’s Day promotions such as Blush, Starbelly and Sweet Inspiration. Above, the Brewcade is hosting “My Sour Valentine” with a number of special sour beers and arcade games.

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • •

 

New Laws for 2017: How Aware are You?

 

With the New Year celebrations, the swearing-in of a new administration in Washington and new local politicos taking office, you may have missed the advisement of all of the new laws that took effect on January 1.

 

First is the new law regarding cellphone use while driving in a vehicle. While is has been against the law for several years to talk without using a hands free device in your car, the new law (aimed at those who text) takes it one step farther; Californians are no longer allowed to use a handheld wireless telephone or wireless electronic device while driving, unless the device is mounted on the vehicle dashboard or windshield in a way that doesn’t inhibit the driver’s view of the road. Drivers are only allowed to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device with a single swipe or tap and cannot do that while holding the device. Hold your phone in your lap and look down at the screen at your peril. The fines are high (exceeding $200) and are being strictly enforced, according to the CHP.

 

Senate Bill 491 also affect drivers as it prohibits them from wearing headsets, earplugs or ear buds in or over both ears while operating a vehicle or bicycle.

 

Another new law affecting you and your car is SB 838, which increases the vehicle registration fee from $43 to $53 beginning on April 1.

 

The Assault Weapon law requires all Californians who own gun magazines with more than 10 rounds to give them up, starting July 1.

 

AB53, passed in 2015 but just now going into effect requires that all children under the age of 2 be fastened into rear-facing child safety seats. There is an exception for children who weigh at least 40 pounds or are at least 40 inches tall. Children under the age of 8 are required to ride in the back seat.

 

SB3 raised the California minimum wage from $10 per hour to $10.50 per hour for all businesses that have over 26 employees. Of course it is already higher in San Francisco.

 

Per SB 819, alcohol in a powdered form is now illegal to possess, sell, manufacture or use. It includes powdered alcohol that can be combined with water or other liquids to be reconstituted but does not cover “vaporized” alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, beginning on January 1, it is now legal for beauty salons and barbershops to serve free wine and beer to their clients until 10 p.m.

 

Voter registration and mail-in balloting: AB1436, passed in 2012, but just now taking effect allows people to register to vote on Election Day, with county election HQ serving as election hubs starting two weeks prior to Election Day. It allows for “conditional voter registration” which means the ballots aren’t counted until officials verify that the voter is eligible and hasn’t cast a ballot elsewhere. Current law cuts off voter registration 15 days prior to an election. SB450 also make casting a ballot much easier, as voters can now return mail-in ballots to any county elections office in the state, not just in the county that issued the ballot.

 

AB 1386 allows businesses to stock “EpiPens” in case there is a need to treat people suffering from life-threatening allergic reactions. The law allows pharmacies to give the devices to colleges, private businesses and other venues that have a plan in place for using them.

 

AB1732 requires that all single-user toilet facilities in any business or public place to be “all-gender” facilities.

 

Homeless students at Community Colleges: Under AB 1995, all community college campuses with shower facilities on campus must allow homeless students who are enrolled, paid, and in good standing to use the facilities. Another law, AB 1747, requires public and private institutions that offer food services, to apply for a state-funded program that provides food for homeless students.

 

Assault Weapon law: Voters passed a law that will require all Californians who own gun magazines with more than 10 rounds to give them up, starting July 1. Buyers must undergo a background check before buying ammunition and will be barred from buying new weapons that have a “bullet button, “ which were developed by manufacturers to circumvent the state’s assault weapons ban. A bullet button allows a gun user to quickly dislodge the gun magazine using the tip of a bullet.

 

AB 30 bans use of the name “Redskins” from all CA public school teams.

 

Sexual assault clarification: A person who sexually assaults an unconscious or severely intoxicated person will become a crime that is ineligible for probation, under SB 2888.

 

Right-to-die legislation: Terminally ill patients in California will now be allowed to use experimental drugs, which do not have full regulatory approval, to decide when they want to end their lives.

 

These are just a few of the 898 laws that were passed.

 

 

• • • Also in the February Issue • • •

 

 

February Calendar

 

February 3-5

 

21st Berlin & Beyond

 

Film Festival

 

Castro Theatre / 429 Castro St.

 

The Goethe-Institut San Francisco presents America’s largest festival of new cinema from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, celebrating 21 years at the Castro! The festival will open with Scrappin’, the feature debut of Academy Award-nominated director Max Zähle. Featuring rare appearances by: 2017 Career Achievement Award honoree Maria Schrader at the Centerpiece screening of Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, and Spotlight Award in Acting honoree Julia Jentsch with the controversial late-abortion drama 24 Weeks. Other highlights: François Ozon’s 11-time César Award-nominated Frantz, Swiss box office hit and new vision of Heidi starring Bruno Ganz, Original Bliss starring Martina Gedeck and Ulrich Tukur, Doris Dörrie’s timely Fukushima, mon Amour on Closing Night, and the World Premiere of Jan Tenhaven’s Silicon Valley Revolution, about Bay Area personal computer pioneers. Join us for three sensational days and nights, highlighted with cinematic works adapted from novels, films by and about women, and captivating stories of familial bonds and social realism. All foreign-language films will be presented with English subtitles. Visit BerlinBeyond.com for film descriptions, trailers and online advance tickets.

 

February 4

 

The LGBT Center’s free citizenship workshop and fee waiver assistant

 

9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. / 1355 Market Street, 3rd Floor (415) 662-8901

 

Come get free assistance with:

 

Step-by-step review of the naturalization process, assessment of your eligibility to naturalize, application preparation and documentation, packaging, if eligible to naturalize, application review by an immigration attorney or qualified legal representative, accessing financial assistance and community resources.

 

February 2-16

 

SF Indie Fest 16

 

Roxie Theatre / 3117 16th St.

 

SF IndieFest’s lineup starts off with TEENAGE an arty hybrid doc/drama that explores the mid 20th Century explosion of the teenager. DOOMSDAYS is a self-proclaimed “pre-apocalyptic comedy” and ASPHALT WATCHES a psychedelic animated road movie and TIFF prizewinner from underground comix darlings Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman while COHERENCE is a cerebral low-budget sci fi that dives quickly into quantum mechanics and theoretical physics while ratcheting up some tension and mystery. And for the adults in the room Joe Berlinger’s HANK: FIVE YEARS FROM THE BRINK is a riveting portrait of Hank Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury and architect of the recent bank bailouts. And that’s just 5 of the 45 programs in this year’s festival. PLUS there are the usual IndieFest road side attractions: Roller Disco on Fri Feb 7, Bad Art Gallery is back Sat Feb 8, our Anti Valentines Day 80s Power Ballad Sing A Long is Fri Feb 14 and the 11th annual Big Lebowski Party is on Sat Feb 15. Go to sfindie.com for full line up, trailers, tickets and more info.

 

February 9

 

LGBT Rights are human rights

 

Hi-Tops

 

6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. / 2247 Market St.

 

Come out and join the Castro neighborhood community in supporting LGBTIQ global equality. Hear about OutRight Action International as well as the weekly travel brief GAYography, all to promote the mission to protect those most vulnerable: LGBTIQ people around the world. It’s these folks who will be suffering the most over the coming years - if the U.S. doesn’t stand up to staunchly protect human rights.

 

February 15

 

Brokeback Mountain

 

2:30 p.m., 7 p.m.

 

Castro Theatre / 429 Castro St.

 

Two ranch hands, earnestly played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, conceive a secret love for each other as they struggle over the decades to find meaning in their respective domestic lives. Featuring nuanced performances by Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway, director Ang Lee won the Oscar for this groundbreaking drama. (2005, 134 min, 35mm).

 

February 25

 

Ninth Annual LGBTQIA Health Forum featuring Bamby Salcedo

 

9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. / 505 Parnassus Avnue, UCSF Parnassus Campus, Cole Hall

 

Join us at our 9th Annual LGBTQIA+ Health Forum at UCSF. This conference will feature interactive workshops, patient and professional panels, research posters focusing on LGBTQIA health, and a keynote address by transgender activist and founder/CEO of Translatin@ Coalition - Bamby Salcedo. Registration fees: $20 for community members. Registration includes breakfast and lunch. Contact Klint Jaramillo (Klint.jaramillo@ucsf.edu) for discounted/group rates.

 

February 17-23

 

The Lure

 

Roxie Theatre / 3117 16th St.

 

Polish Electric Disco Mermaid Musical: In this bold, genre-defying horror-musical mashup – the playful and confident debut of Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska – a pair of carnivorous mermaid sisters are drawn ashore in an alternate ’80s Poland to explore the wonders and temptations of life on land. (2015, 92 min.)

 

February 18, 19, 25

 

Oscar-nominated Short Documentaries 2017

 

Come see this year’s field of short docs, featuring two pieces by Bay Area directors: UC Berkeley Journalism instructor Dan Krauss and his graduate student Daphne Matziaraki.

 

EXTREMIS

At the Intensive Care Unit at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, palliative care specialist Dr. Jessica Zitter treats terminally ill patients. As she and her team provide the best possible care, they try to help the patients and their loved ones make critical, often heartbreaking decisions. 24 mins.

 

Directed by Dan Krauss.

 

4.1 MILES

Kyriakos Papadopoulos, a captain in the Greek Coast Guard, is caught in the struggle of refugees fleeing the Middle East and traveling the short distance from the coast of Turkey to the island of Lesbos. Despite having limited resources, the captain and his crew attempt to save lives during the immense humanitarian crisis. 22 mins.

 

Directed by Daphne Matziaraki.

 

 

New Face of District Eight

 

New Supervisor Seeks to Tackle Crime, Health Care

 

Mission Police Turn to Twitter to Curb Area Bike Thefts

 

New Lux Apartment Building in Duboce Triangle Raises Concerns

 

New Super Duper Burger Expansion on Market Street Now Underway

 

Cafe Flore gets new owners

 

Anti-Valentine’s Day in the Castro

 

Crime Beat

 

Money Matters

 

Calendar

 

 

 

 

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