Monday, November 30, 2015

Complaint Filed Over SFPD Withholding 'Hot-Cop's Mugshot

Earlier this month, I got the runaround from San Francisco Police Department spokesman Albie Esparza, pictured, trying to get answers about their written policy for sharing mugshots of arrestees on Twitter.

It took a public records request to Briseida Banuelos of the legal division for social media policies to learn there are no such written regulation. Banuelos said "release of mugshots is discretionary."

After almost 24-hours of news accounts regarding the arrest of Chris Kohrs, known as the "Hot Cop of the Castro" for his well-developed and many times photographed body, for a hit-and-run accident he caused in the early morning hours of Nov. 29th, no mugshot of the arrestee has been distributed to the public. Two individuals were transported to the hospital and Kohrs allegedly left the scene of his accident.

Since all I'm getting is radio silence outta the department, I've today lodged a request for an investigation with the Office of Citizen Complaints for the following reasons:

"1. Withholding the mugshot of arrested officer Chris Kohrs, who was booked on two felony accounts on Nov 29th, for a hit-and-run accident he caused that sent two persons to the hospital with serious injuries in the early morning hours yesterday. Despite numerous pleas to the Twitter accounts of @SFPD, @OfficerAlbie, @OfficerGrace and @SFPDChiefSuhr from my account @MichaelPetrelis over yesterday and today, the department has failed to acknowledge receipt of my request and has no provided me with the mugshot.

"2. As of this writing, on Nov 30th around 2:25 pm, the SFPD's archived news site contains no info about Kohrs' arrest: In other high-profile arrests involving suspects who are not cops, the SFPD has quickly posted news of their arrests and mugshots either on the department's site or via social media. Why is Kohrs' being treated differently by the public info division?

"3. According to the report about Kohrs' arrest, the SFPD release stated in part, "due to pending identification matters, no booking photo will be released at this time." I have no idea why Kohrs' was arrested and a mugshot taken if a pending identification matter is still open. Your office needs to investigate exactly what this vague phraseology means and why the alleged matter is reason to withhold Kohrs' mugshot."

To end the special privileges of cops in San Francisco, it's going to take many citizens and institutions demanding the police department once and for all develop written mugshot policies that apply to all arrestees.

No more of this discretionary posting on social media of only certain persons arrested and the b.s. of saying unknown and supposed identification issues need to be cleared up first.

The special treatment it appears Kohrs is receiving from his SFPD colleagues does tremendous harm to community policing.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Schindler's Killer on Facebook & Divorced With Kids? 

A tipster named David Collins of Indianapolis, Indiana, contacted me this week about a Facebook page for Terry Helvey, the former U.S. Naval petty officer servicing a life sentence for brutally murdering gay sailor Allen Schindler in a Japanese men's room in 1992.

It appears to be a page operated by an associate of Helvey's on the outside of the Greenville, Illinois, federal correctional institution where he's currently incarcerated. I've emailed the public info addy on the institution's web site, asking the authorities to verify if the man who's the subject of the page is indeed the same person.

A side-by-side photo comparison of Helvey from 1993, left, during his trial and his 2013 Facebook profile pic with a goatee and tank top, to my eye, shows a remarkable resemblance but I still would like independent authentication that this is the same man.

When enlarged, the images clearly show the same clump of bushy eyebrows closer to the nose and thinner at the sides. The nostrils also share the same angular shape.

This may be Helvey's former wife and mother of his kids, in a picture posted in March 2013. A comment mentions how the children have grown, indicating the person is familiar with this family.

Looks as though Helvey sent a text in July 2013 on a smartphone to a Becky who may be his sister, as there is a Becky Helvey among the Facebook account's friends. Helvey must have had a parole hearing and his bid for freedom denied. Curious if he made another bid to get outta prison, as he promised, in 2015.

In August 2013, Helvey or someone on the outside acting on his behalf, shared this info:

"I haven't written anything in a while, so I suppose this is a good time to do so:) As you can see by my new 'single' status, the divorce went through. Pretty easy process thankfully. It was the best decision for us to make and I feel very comfortable with it. So, that chapter is closed. I am still doing the prison thing, which kind of sucks, but hey, that chapter will close soon too. Just have to be patient."

Yeah, I don't imagine doing the prison thing is anything other than something that sucks, which won't be over for a number of years.

When I hear from the authorities at the Greenville federal penitentiary, I'll share their response.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Top Write-In Vote-Getter in San Francisco Mayor's Race!

The Department of Elections recently certified the vote counts for San Francisco's November 3rd races and I'm gratified to report receiving the highest total of votes among all write-in candidates.

I was the only candidate to break into the double-digits and registered 0.02% of all votes cast.

Not bad for a campaign with a budget of zero! This was my second race for office and I'm proud to have participated as a candidate before the voters two years running.

Many thanks to all who supported my campaign and who engaged with me, as I distributed business cards and gathered signatures to become a qualified write-in challenger.

Feels great to have played a small role in this election, in which 44 percent of those who voted said no to Mayor Ed Lee.

Let's feed two birds with one seed and celebrate the thirty-six votes that came my way and the fact that those votes didn't go to the incumbent.

What office will I run for next year?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Delightful Mummenschanz Entertains in Berkeley

One my cultural highlights in the late 1970s was twice seeing the Swiss mask-oriented Mummenschanz troupe unleash their original props and surrealist visions on the audience. Some of their work was trippy but no drugs were necessary to see visionary and humorous movement on the Mummenschanz stage

Decades later, I can still recall with clarity and much bemusement some scenes from those shows in the 1970s, and it's with tremendous pleasure that I will soon introduce Mike to the wonders of the troupe.

Mummenschanz is playing at Zellerbach Hall on the Cal campus for two remaining shows, on Saturday, Nov. 28th at 2 pm and also Sunday, Nov. 29th at 3 pm. For more info and to order tickets, click here.

Mike and I are catching the Sunday performance and we're making plans to enjoy a good meal in Berkeley afterward, and taking in the sights and forest smells of the Cal campus beforehand.

Don't miss out on seeing the hugely talented and delightful Mummenschanz folks before the weekend is over! Your inner child and funny bone will thank you.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving With Family & Love

Greetings to all! Mike and I have enjoyed today with my brother John visiting from Miami, hanging out along the wharves of San Francisco. It was a brisk but not too chilly day along the Bay. Being with family was terrific. Wishing everyone an enjoyable and loving Thanksgiving weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Truck Hits Hydrant, Wasting Water from Gorgeous Geyser

Remember my post and video from May about a truck knocking over the fire hydrant on our block, creating a river in the street as the water flowed into the sewers?

Well, on Tuesday, November 17th, another truck hit the same hydrant and the result was similar to what happened in May.

A geyser of water shot up into the air on Clinton Park, for about ten minutes before fire fighters arrived to cap the gusher.

The problem appears to be truckers park their vehicles half on the sidewalk and half on the street, a few feet above the hydrant on the sloped section of our block, and when they shift gears and their trucks lurch forward by accident, the hydrant gets knocked over with ease. Too much ease!

Yes, the geyser was a gorgeous thing for the eye to behold but the thousands of gallons of water wasted, especially during this horrible drought, was thankfully stopped by the fire fighters in a relatively short amount of time.

Maybe it's time for the City to erect a barrier around the hydrant or find other means of preventing another geyser. Check out this video:

Monday, November 16, 2015

PC Problems & 1,700 Write-Ins Uncounted

My desktop computer experienced terrible problems last week, after an automatic Windows Vista updating on my system caused trouble. Had to bring my PC into the repair shop and the small problem was solved but I need to upgrade my system.

With the troubles and shop repair, I took a bit of a break from the web.

Regarding the write-in tally for votes cast almost two weeks ago, the San Francisco Elections Department has accumulated about 1,700 write-ins of which only 59 have been counted.

My vote total stands at 36 and all other write-in candidates are below 10 votes each, so far.

The department has until December 1st to certify the San Francisco results, as required by state law, and then the numbers are turned over to the Secretary of State in Sacramento.

Until that date, the department will release the latest counts every work day at 4 pm at City Hall and on the elections web site.

Will the San Francisco write-ins for mayor be more fully counted today or tomorrow?

Photo snapped by Bill Wilson.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

978 Write-In Votes Need Counting by Elections Dept
It was quite a low turnout for last week's election in San Francisco and the underwhelming number of voters had no impact on the Elections Department, in terms of counting the 978 mayoral write-in ballots.
Today's new numbers show 32 write-ins tallied with yours truly in the lead, wow, with 16 votes which equals to 0.01% of total ballots cast. Should it take more than a week for our local election officials to determine write-ins?
I don't think so and now is a good time for the department to develop a sub-group of counters, solely for write-ins, and better practices that would give candidates and voters answers more quickly.

Bach's Brandenburgs Played This Week Around SF Bay Area

It's a bit embarrassing to confess I've never had the pleasure of hearing these concertos performed live, after decades of listening to Bach's music played in concert halls here and abroad. That's soon changing. I'm attending the Thursday, November 12 performance by this orchestra of well-earned renown at the Herbst Theater. What better venue to give the ears a treat from dear old Johann Sebastian than this newly, and fabulously, restored and spiffed up hall? Excepts from the orchestra's release:

In November, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra welcomes acclaimed conductor and harpsichordist from the Academy of Ancient Music, Richard Egarr, pictured, to guest conduct the orchestra in historically informed performances of Bach’s popular Brandenburg Concertos.

Egarr is listed as both conductor and harpsichordist for these concerts as he will perform as part of the ensemble. “This repertoire is really big chamber music and it’s important, I feel, not to be conducting something like the Brandenburgs” says Egarr.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra music director, Nicholas McGegan – who is celebrating his 30th season with the orchestra – selected the repertoire as the second concert set of the 2015/2016 season. “[The Brandenburgs] are some of the most wonderful of all Baroque music. Bach wrote them in the teens of the 18th century. They are wonderful for Philharmonia because they feature so many of the musicians in a solo role” says McGegan.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos 1, 3, 5 and 4 with Richard Egarr throughout the San Francisco Bay Area starting November 12 at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco followed by a sold-out performance at Bing Concert Hall in Palo Alto on November 13 and at Berkeley's First Congregational Church on Saturday, November 14 and Sunday November 15. Tickets start at $25. For more information about the concerts and tickets, click here:

Monday, November 09, 2015

Navy's File Reveals Truth Behind Gay Sailor Schindler's Murder

Many thanks to my longtime, dear friend and comrade in the struggle Jay Blotcher for his editorial assistance in creating this package of info. We both advocated for justice on behalf of Allen Schindler and this week, as the nation marks Veterans Day, we're here to bear witness to the U.S. military's complicity in Schindler's demise and honor this fallen gay youth. Read on.

SAN FRANCISCO – The truth behind the 1992 gay-bashing murder of US Navy serviceman Allen Schindler has finally been uncovered.

The 900-page file from the United States Navy has only been made public now, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request made by veteran gay activist Michael Petrelis of San Francisco. Buried in these pages are eight startling facts previously not made public.

Schindler, a young U.S. sailor, was stationed in Sasebo, Japan. After numerous episodes of harassment and beatings, Schindler sought to get out of the military. However, on October 27, 1992, Schindler was brutally beaten and killed by two fellow sailors. The murder took place in a men's restroom on the grounds of a public park. His head was bashed repeatedly against a urinal so violently that the porcelain broke. Schindler’s own mother, Dorothy Hadjys, was unable to identify the mutilated and disfigured corpse.

The murder took place during a time when President Bill Clinton was reviewing the military’s policy of excluding gay and lesbian people from the military, and the decades of abuse – and killings – inflicted upon suspected homosexuals while serving their country.

The Navy covered up the Schindler killing, granting a sweetheart immunity plea bargain to one of the suspects, Charles Vins, and convicting the other, Terry Helvey. But gay friends of Schindler's demanded that justice be served; they shared information about the miscarriage of justice with the Stars & Stripes newspaper, which wrote the first news story about the murder.

Lawyers for the killer attempted to use a gay-panic defense, with their client erroneously claiming Schindler had tried to entice the suspects into sex inside the restroom. Even though two sailors admitted causing bodily harm on Schindler, only one received an appropriate sentence.

Activist Michael Petrelis, a member of the direct-action organization Queer Nation, traveled twice to Japan to research the case. His travel was sponsored by many LGBT activists. Petrelis lobbied energetically on behalf of justice for Schindler, and to hold the Navy accountable.

“Allen Schindler was destined to become yet another gay man killed and forgotten,” said Michael Petrelis. “Now, 23 years after his death, we finally share the full details of his murder. In doing so, we honor his memory on Veterans Day 2015. People must know the role that governmental homophobia played in his murder and the subsequent cover-up.”

Mr. Petrelis is sharing the Allen Schindler file here with reporters who plan to file a story on the case. He has highlighted eight salient facts about the gay-bashing murder that have never been shared before with the media or public.

The U.S. Navy’s Gay Witch Hunt: 8 Facts About the Schindler Murder

Here are the major revelations in the Allen Schindler file, unveiled for the first time:

1. A Sodomy Witch Hunt: During its wide-ranging and comprehensive criminal investigation, the Naval Investigative Service questioned Schindler's acquaintances in the service. However, telling the truth about Schindler made his colleagues vulnerable to persecution under the military’s archaic anti-sodomy laws. (Pages 286 - 297)

2. Constant Anti-Gay Harassment: Allen Schindler's berthing area on his ship, the USS Belleau Wood, was defaced with the words "ball-gazer" – just one part of a constant and escalating campaign of homophobic harassment he faced from fellow sailors. (Page 729)

3. A Diary of Persecution: Allen Schindler meticulously chronicled the anguish and abuse he experienced in a diary he kept in the weeks leading up to his murder. The entire diary, part of the evidence at trial, is now available to the media. (Pages 379-412)

4. Public Humiliation: Radioman Petty Officer Schindler filed for a discharge because of his homosexuality and requesting a closed and private hearing. Instead, sadistically, the ship's captain discussed the matter in front of other shipmates, accelerating the climate of danger that led to Schindler’s brutal killing. (Page 133)

5. Private Humiliation: Medical examiners performed post-mortem rape protocol tests on Schindler’s corpse by taking a rectal swab and mouth smear. (Page 570)

6. Perjury: Terry Helvey, the convicted killer now serving a life sentence at the Ft. Leavenworth Penitentiary, initially made a bogus confession to naval authorities. Later, it was amended in his own hand-writing and presented to the judge, including honest details of the fatal beating and killing of Allen Schindler. (Page 608)

7. Beaten to Death: Accomplice Charles Vins, who served only four-months in the brig in exchange for testimony against Helvey, confessed to kicking and stomping Schindler as he lay dying on the public restroom floor. Vins also admitted guilt to a sodomy charge, but did not name his sexual partner. Because of his sweetheart deal, Vins was protected from the typical punishment for servicemen convicted for sodomy. He was ultimately given an honorable discharge in June, 1993. (Pages 27, 753-761)

8. Gay Media Watchdogs: The Navy closely monitored the gay media's coverage of the investigation and trial, paying particular attention to stories in San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter, Chicago’s Windy City Times and San Diego’s Update. (Pages 133, 182 - 186)

9. The Murder Scene: Local Japanese police in Sasebo took extensive photographs of the crime scene within hours of Schindler's brutal death. These graphic images were shared with the Naval investigators, who nonetheless covered up the facts. (Pages 516-562)

ATTENTION MEDIA: Michael Petrelis is available for interviews about his years of investigation into the Allen Schindler murder case. He can also make available three additional files in connection with the Schindler case. Call (415) 621-6267 or email