Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tez Anderson and His SF AIDS Vanity Charity

Many are the approaches to assist ageing men and women living with HIV maintain wellness and even thrive, for the over 50 crowd which I'm proudly a part of and also amazed at the number of brothers in their 70s in this cohort.

With the onset of my latest health challenge of celluilitis and two antibiotics added to my cocktail for the week, I needed camaraderie with other people with AIDS. Btw, the cellulitis is much improved and diminished. Hope to be back at the Embarcadero Y on Monday.

One group that was of no succor whatsoever was Tez Anderson's vanity charity known as Let's Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome), either online or in real time off-line. He founded this group about two years ago, with the juvenile name (hardly suitable for a senior constituency), decided all members were suffering ASS and advocated for wounded warriors.

The LKA site is updated only by Tez, with practically every post about Tez, or a link to a story that features Tez, or a report on his travels to an AIDS junket in Palm Springs (how that benefits SF PWAs is unknown), and there's the tear-jerking PSA starring Tez who, of course, is the first face shown.

If that's not enough Tez for you, check out LKA's press room page where he shares a mix of old and new TV and print media of, well, Tez. He averages two posts a month. Not exactly much online engagement there.

Tez runs an office on 18th Street near Castro, and haven't a clue why it's needed, how much the rent is or who pays. LKA has a 501c3 tax exempt status but it's so new they haven't filed an IRS 990 yet. I made public info requests withe Ryan White CARE Council and SF Department of Public Health and neither has funded Tez's operation.

Except for a Saturday morning cafe chat (which I attended one of last year and witnessed The Tez Show live on a small scale but with his big ego dominating) and a weekly stretching class led by someone other than Tez (shocker!).

For May's listing of events, there's a single item. On May 1, Tez is going on a junket to an AIDS and ageing confab in Austin, Texas.

Tez held incredibly well-attended forums in 2013, harvested lots of names and emails, and met the needs of hundreds of gays of a certain age, poz and negative, and he established his bona fides as a superior control queen, with a following. More power to him if he's helping PWAs sharing so much of his ego with the world.

I took care of my camaraderie needs, not to mention also meeting a gay PWA older than I who had worse cellulitis and the bonding btwn us was very healing for me, by attending the 50 Plus group on Wednesday hosted by Vince Crisostomoo of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. (Whoever thought I'd turn to them for assistance, after decades of criticism. lol.)

It was just what the Goddess ordered for me. About fifty guys around small tables, nibbling food and kibbitzing, a few friends among the beautiful faces and new acquaintances met. Lotta excellent ideas suggested for future chat topics or outings. Felt a vibe of "let's take care of our ageing asses" without a jargon-heavy overview or much of an agenda beyond getting enjoyable psycho/social support.

When I left the get-together, I was more educated and empowered and ready to attend again. Yes, I am blessed that services exist to benefit me and want to give a shout out to all among my AIDS support network pals who lessened my burdens to bear in the past ten days.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Proof Progressive Poobah Tim Redmond is a Peabrain?

For many of us San Francisco's political animals who live in the realty-based world, we long ago learned to look upon Tim Redmond for comedic relief and to consider doing the opposite of whatever he was proposing. He's so stuck in a 1970s hippie-think time warp.

Redmond now operates the 48 Hills blog and a few times each week, he serves as the trusted mouthpiece of the lazy and inept David Campos. He actually thinks Campos matters for anything other than a few laughs or as the target to vent frustration over the decimation of Latinos in the Mission and the disfigurement of the district.

Here's some silliness from Redmond dated Dec. 22, 2014:

"Supervisor David Campos has an idea that could revolutionize electoral politics in San Francisco – and it’s so simple that I’m amazed none of us thought of it before. Campos told me last week he wants to explore legislation to direct the Department of Elections to mail an absentee ballot to every registered voter in the city, every election. [...] This one could be fascinating. Watch for it in the new year."

The political landscape is so littered with examples of Campos supposedly exploring or drafting legislation he should be cited for polluting the political environment.

The absentee ballot idea may have merit, but this simple and potentially revolutionary suggestion as Redmond puts it is the 439th such time Campos had an idea pop into his head, yakked it up with someone who uses social media, it goes nowhere and progressives fail repeatedly to hold Campos accountable.

Should we break the news to Redmond that the first quarter of the new year is closing and there's nothing to watch out for from Team Campos?

Changing SFO's name to Harvey Milk Airport. Opening the Tamale Lady cafe in the Mission. A 24-bed queer homeless shelter in District 9 is taking more than 4 years to open. Maybe drafting fire prevention legislation. Perhaps writing a new market rate housing construction moratorium law.

An effective elected official Campos ain't, but he's the bee's knees to Redmond

And the beat goes on . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Housing Authority Meetings Must Air on SFGovTV

Here's a real head-scratcher. Housing, the lack or high price or construction or maintenance of, has been a top concern of many in San Francisco for quite some time, yet the Housing Authority meetings are not broadcast on SFGovTV's various media platforms.

As part of my learning curve up about Mission and Citywide housing matters, I wanted to watch the SFHA meetings and get up to speed on their agenda and discovered the meetings are not aired on TV, the web or archived for video-on-demand viewing at SFGovTV's site.

According to a distressingly snarky February column in the SF Chronicle by Heather Knight, the SFHA's budget is around $45 million and she recounts numerous problems with past executives, failures to maintain City-owned housing including keeping elevators operating, lawsuits and thousands of tenant complaints. Knight shed light on lack of transparency:

"What happened to the plan to televise Housing Authority Commission meetings like so many other rarely watched government get-togethers on SFGTV? [sic] Nothing. The commission meets in a room at City Hall that doesn’t have the wiring. So, sadly, the agency remains less transparent than it could be and you still cannot watch the meetings from the comfort of your (hopefully cockroach-free) home."

First of all, can Knight back up her claim of rarely watched hearings? Second, regardless of Nielsen ratings and online viewing, government transparency isn't about entertaining the masses.

Third, how about the Chronicle and housing rights, tenant and homeless advocacy groups, the Harvey Milk and Alice B. Toklas Democratic Clubs, members of the Board of Supervisors pressure the SFHA to take the radical step of simply getting another room at City Hall with cameras?

If the issue is scheduling of rooms with wiring and there not being enough such rooms, how about the Supervisors and Mayor allocate funds, maybe solicit underwriting from Tech Inc, and make _every_ City Hall meeting room camera-equipped?

Seems like a no-brainer for The City That Knows How to make 2015 the year in which _every_ City commission and body hold their meetings at City Hall and that they air on SFGovTV.

If SFGovTV is able to broadcast and archive the Entertainment Commission, the Commission on the Environment, the Disaster Council, the Mayor's Disability Council, the Transportation Authority Vision Zero Committee and other panels, and practically every photo-op of the Mayor's when he's cutting ribbons, then our elected official must endeavor to air Housing Authority meetings also.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

City Attorney Withholds Campos' Housing Moratorium Emails

On Feb. 12, Supervisor David Campos began running his mouth about potentially drafting legislation that might enact a market rate housing construction moratorium in select areas of the Mission. It was his typical method of releasing a (lead) trial balloon with no text of a new law to examine and no timeline of when he possibly take concrete steps to back up his words.

The moratorium was one subject of my public records request this week to the City Attorney Dennis Herrera, which generated this response explaining the withholding of govt documents:

"This email is in response to your Immediate Disclosure Request, which our Office received on March 23, 2015. In your IDR, you seek: 

"[C]opies of any and all emails sent to or received from Supervisor David Campos or anyone in his office to anyone in the City Attorney's Office related in any fashion to a market rate housing moratorium, condo development or affordable housing either in the Mission District or Citywide, from October 1, 2014 through March 22, 2015."   

"Our Office has now completed a search for records falling within the scope of your request.  After reviewing the records, we have determined that all email messages responsive to your request are exempt from disclosure under the Sunshine Ordinance and Public Records Act because they contain privileged attorney-client communications and/or constitute protected attorney work product. [...]" 

Of course, if Campos were a transparent and accountable legislator, we'd have a few real clues about if and when he's going to move on the moratorium idea, six weeks after he first broached it.

How many more low income folks have to be evicted or displaced, and new luxury condos and market rate apartments, and community crisis meetings held, before Campos either shows us his draft legislation or drops the idea?

Monday, March 23, 2015

With Plaza 16 Coalition, Maximus Has Nothing to Fear

Since June of 2014, the effort to stop a condo development at 16th and Mission Streets has been on my radar and it's time to assess the lead organization attempting to halt the project.

The Plaza 16 Coalition touts itself as a community-based and community-led organization, but after several intense weeks of seeing how aloof and opaque the steering committee is and attending their March 18 meeting, I know the grip of Mission and Latino nonprofits is strangling genuine democracy and transparency for the group.

Let's go over some key deficits. The steering committee is stacked with a majority of nonprofit community organizers who have been PC-processed to death and lacks a basic plan to simply keeping tabs on the developer Maximus Partners. Folks monitoring Planning Commission meetings and reports, or mobilizing folks to use public comment at those meetings? No.

The March 18 steering committee meeting was the first time Plaza 16 had any assessment of its action two-weeks prior disrupting Maximus' community meeting. With disfigurement of the Mission marching on every day and no curbing of developers' hunger, it's shameful it took two-weeks (two-months equivalent in the web-age) to hold a followup gathering.

Build on the energy of the March 4 disruption? That would require advance thinking, something sorely lacking. No general membership followup or steering committee meeting, no plans to picket the Mayor's ribbon cutting on March 5 at the homeless navigation center opposite the site of the Maximus condos (where dozens of electeds and people with power over planning and the media were in attendance), no clues of what to do after March 4.

What were some of the items on the committee's agenda last week? Potentially endorsing a request from Sup. Jane Kim about the Planning Commission's analysis of Prop K, the symbolic policy statement passed by voters in November wishing for more affordable housing. There was nothing in writing laying out precisely what the supervisor was pushing and even there had been it would have been one more thing to divert the committee's attention away from the dearth of a guiding agenda for Plaza 16.

Let Kim fight her own battles at the commission and City Hall and get Plaza 16 to develop and focus on its own agenda free of influence from electeds.

A central figure in Plaza 16 is Oakland resident Maria Zamudio of Causa Justa, a truly inept organizer. During the steering meeting, as we discussed moving these meetings and those of the dysfunctional work groups from Wednesdays at noon to early evening hours, she again showed her true colors opposing a change because it would mean more folks could attend and organize for change.

"It's really hard to have good meetings with 30 or 40 people," Zamudio said. Effective organizers would welcome such high numbers at activists' planning meetings, when taking on a wealthy developer and their myriad buddies at City Hall, because it's going to take a lot of folks to stop or radically change the project. The last thing she and other steering members think of is how to engage more folks to do more monitoring and activism of all sorts because it would mean more scrutiny of their poor leadership and less control for them.

It's not rocket science to see there are no minutes or agendas from the past 18 months, since Plaza 16 was formed, on their site. Yes, the administrator Andy Blue shared a report back from the February monthly community meeting, but if you're a Mission resident or business person and want to get up to speed on where the group has been, such info is omitted.

No, it's not enough to share photos from fun and powerful action, and quote and highlight only the voices of nonprofit reps, as the primary source of engagement with the general membership and public.

Then there's the detriment of Plaza 16's closeness to Sup. David Campos. As far as I can determine, there's not been of peep of protest against him. In his press release before the March 4 forum and then report back, Blue cited Campos' complaining about being misidentified as a co-sponsor. Blue didn't point out that Campos has been spineless on Maximus and gentrification in his district.

For the sake of the Mission and 16th Street BART Plaza area, it would a wise step if Plaza 16 folded and a new, truly democratic and transparent organization were to form in its place. The current incarnation of the coalition gives Maximus no reason to fear them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ER + Cellulitis = Keflex & Bactrim: Yummy!

Lemme start off expressing deep gratitude I have public health insurance that covers visits to the emergency room, practically all of the fab folks at the SutterHealth Davies Campus ER I engaged with today have treated me in the past and my husbear Mike has kindly been laffing at my weak jokes.

My right ankle and lower calf muscle are infected with cellulitis. The swelling, pain level of 4 outta 10, and warmth of the problem area are a bit diminished after a few doses of the antibiotics I have to take week, keflex and bactrim.

The ER said an infection got under my skin and their first fear that my problem was a blood clot, were thankfully unfounded. The doctor treating me was the same woman who was on duty when I had that episode of Bell's palsy.

You may recall she and I got into friendly argument, so she knew my condition then with the droopy face and speech impediment was not stroke, and today we picked up where we left off. Needless to say, I like her personality and she's helped me twice now with health challenges.

When I came home and told Mike about the cellulitis, he mockingly congratulated me on racking up yet another weird disease out of the blue. After almost 19-years together, he still brightens my every day.

So, I'm resting, drinking a lot of water, had two naps, skipped the double-feature film noir program at the Roxie Theater. Yeah, life is sure strange and I'm incredibly happy to still be alive experiencing one more health challenge.

And how was your Sunday?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

DPH Prescribing Anti-OD Drug Naloxone to Save Lives

In a very laudable move to prevent deaths from opiate drug overdoses, the Department of Public Health recently began a project to get more naloxone out to the at-risk population. Naloxone reverses the effects of opiates and is an important tool to save the lives of drug users.

At the March 3 meeting of the health commission, DPH chief Barbara Garcia reported on the department's latest efforts to provide this life-saving drug to patients who use or abuse opiates. Here's her report:

"The Substance Use Research Unit received funding from the California Healthcare Foundation to conduct 'academic detailing' of community primary care providers in San Francisco to encourage co-prescribing naloxone to patients who use opioids.

"Part of a larger effort by DPH to address opioid overdose in San Francisco, this project dovetails with successful naloxone prescribing efforts within the CHN.

"Phillip Coffin and Emily Behar lead the pilot, which has led to production of user-friendly, visually-stimulating materials for patients and providers, and are reaching out directly, in one-on-one meetings, to 40 community providers."

If you or someone you know injects or uses street drugs or prescribes painkillers, please make sure they are aware of naloxone and have access to it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Campos Expanded SF Police Activity at BART's Plaza 16

What, if anything, he doing now about these plazas?

Strange as it seems, Mission Supervisor David Campos, generally missing-in-action on most crucial issues of the district, took action to address several public safety and public health concerns at the 16th Street BART Plazas more than a year-and-a-half ago. He was gearing up his campaign for state assembly at the time.

According to the last newsletter from Campos and his three paid aides, which came out in October 2013, they reported on several actions involving various City departments to clean up the plazas. Everything from getting more police officers on patrol to getting BART to power-clean the surfaces to helping SRO residents.

He also promised a public hearing. Assuming it took place and wasn't just another hot air idea from Campos, if you know info about the hearing, lemme know. Same goes for other big promises he makes here. Excerpts from his last newsletter to constituents. Note that expanded police presence is his number one item:

"Here is a list of some of our accomplishments and works-in-progress: 
"1)      Increasing community policing in the area: We have secured 2 additional food beat [sic] police officers who are in the plaza daily, as well as two additional police radio cars who work along the mission corridor during high crime hours. SFPD is also now increasing the foot patrol of Capp Street and along Mission Street towards 17th since receiving reports that drug activity is moving to these areas.
"2)      Ensuring regular cleaning of the plaza. We have been in regular communication with BART to ensure that steam and power cleaning occurs at the BART Plaza daily. DPW is also cleaning 16th street daily. 
"3)      Improving the climate and bathroom access at the plaza.  We are working with Mission Neighborhood Center to create two stipended positions for peer navigators to monitor the use of the public bathroom in the plaza and help de-escalate conflicts.
"4)      Increasing services and housing access for homeless and disabled people who spend time in the plaza. We are working with Bevan Dufty, the director of The Mayor's Housing Opportunity, Partnerships & Engagement (HOPE) to increase the engagement of SF HOT Team workers in this area, and to secure at least 15 stabilization rooms for homeless people who spend time at 16th and Mission.
"5)      Improving conditions in the surrounding SROs.  We are working with the City Attorney's office, HOPE and SRO advocates to develop strategies to improve conditions in the surrounding SROs."

Did any of this really happen? Who in the Mission community has demanded accountability from Team Campos regarding his promises. Enlighten me, please, if you have facts to share.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

KGO's Dan Noyes Behaves Badly in Bike Lane

Move over, hunky big bear TV scold Stanley Roberts of KRON. There's competition from me in the filming of people behaving badly on the streets of San Francisco.

I'm a slow biker who hews to the right in bike lakes, always wears a helmet, has endured too many scrapes with cars on Valencia Street because of people standing in the bike lane pushing me into vehicular traffic and avoids fast bikers.

I was in no mood this afternoon for going around a TV reporter, his cameraman and an interview subject as they colonized the bike lane in front of Fourbarrels Coffee. When I stopped to asked what they were doing blocking the bike lanes, we all quickly got into an argument. They wanted me to go around them, said they were shooting footage for a bike theft story (I had my hearing aids in but pretended I heard them say "bike _safety_ story", lol) and I began filming them.

The reporter was Dan Noyes of KGO, in my vid you see him acting chivalrously and in fine drama queen form, placing himself in jeopardy and closer to the oncoming traffic and giving me a wide berth, while his camerama extends his hand as if commanding me to ride on. Dude!

You hear Dan on the other side of the camera saying my name then laughing, I guess realizing it was me was reason to giggle. He came over and said "I read your blog!" We shook hands, enjoying the sunshine and goofing on each other, and I was on my way.

Thirty-minutes later, helmet-less KQED reporter Bryan Goebel ride his bike near me and stopped to ask, "What was Dan Noyes doing a story about on Valencia Street?" How the hell did Bryan know what had gone down?

He was riding on the opposite of Valencia and thought he heard Dan say, "I love your blog!" Nope, not what he said but still I was impressed Bryan heard anything Dan said from across three lanes of pavement. I should have snagged footage of Bryan without his helmet on and scold him too.

I'm just glad my biking today didn't involve coming across a homeless druggie pissing on Market Street and drinking his urine in the middle of afternoon. Enjoy the vid:

Vid Excerpts From Mission Housing Meeting on Monday

A robust crowd turned out on March 16 at the Galeria de la Raza on 24th Street in the Mission, after longtime Latino advocate Roberto Hernandez organized the community meeting to discuss his plans to address development and lack of affordable housing in the area.

Over at the Mission Local site, writer Daniel Hirsch has a good recap of the evening along with the list of demands and a may of major developments in the Mission created by the Anti Eviction Mapping Project.

On the positive, it was a good turnout and there was plenty of energy in the room. It was also great that Roberto had a printed agenda, names and contact info for Planning Department employees responsible for certain big developments, the same for members of the Board of Supervisors and plan to protest inside City Hall on Friday, May 1.

The down side was that many of the presenters and folks who spoke were the same folks saying the same things we've heard for quite a while. There was very little time for open discussion, during the time I was in the room. Due to an allergic reaction from folks wearing fragrances, I stepped out on to the sidewalk for 25 minutes.

Former planning commission member and member of the Board of Supervisors Christina Olague spoke at length about organizing a crew to regularly attend commission meetings, but unfortunately had no plans to be at their weekly meeting tomorrow, Thursday.

However, on Tuesday, we exchanged emails and it turns out she and a few others are attending the commission hearing because data will be presented about Prop K, the policy statement voters approved in November about affordable housing goals.

Seems to me this was an excellent organizing hook to get folks to City Hall tomorrow to feed two birds with one seed. Speak during general public comment about items not on the agenda, an example includes curbing market rate condo development in the Mission, and address the commissioners a second time after the Prop K findings are presented.

The 800-pound elephant in the room that needed attention was the abysmal failures of Supervisor David Campos to have _any_ plan for _any_ housing problems in his district. Many times, people spoke about a moratorium on market rate housing construction, yet no one talked about where exactly Campos' language for it was and what his legislative plan is. How much longer will Mission activists wait for Campos to get his act together?

There was one man who called out, "Campos, take a stand!" and his aide Hillary Ronen was in attendance for about an hour. Big whoop.

Frankly, instead of applying pressure to dozens of planning commissioners and planning department employees and the Supervisors and their staff, pick just a single politician who needs his butt kicked: Campos. Get him to do his job and have _him_ pressure the planning folks and other Supervisors and the Mayor and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Finally, wife-beater Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the man who's in charge of the department that carries out evictions and who is up for re-election in the fall, made an appearance and didn't speak. One woman presenter rambled on about creating an eviction free zone and it would have been a step forward if Mirkarimi had heard folks tell him to stop the evictions -- if he wants our votes.

Here's a video of excerpts from the meeting: