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Open Forum>>

January 5-11, 2017 • BAY AREA REPORTER • 7

4 priorities seen for new D8 supervisor by Andrea Aiello

Editor’s note: The Bay Area Reporter asked community leaders to weigh in on what they think the new District 8 supervisor should focus on in 2017.

from those on Divisadero or in the Tenderloin. The local Castro Cares program is trying to develop solutions, and the new supervisor must be knowledgeable about the issues and support community groups to develop local solutions.

he Castro/Upper Market Community Economic vitality Benefit District was a pretty amazing idea The current commercial/retail vacancy rate Rick Gerharter when it started more than 10 years ago: local in the Castro is about 7 percent. New conproperty owners voted to pay an additional fee struction will bring about 9,000 square feet of CBD Executive to develop services to make the neighborhood Director commercial space to the neighborhood. clean, safe, and vital. Yes, they, in essence, taxed Andrea Aiello So we have the available space, but it’s inthemselves to improve the Castro. So with that credibly challenging to open a small business commitment in mind, here are some of the in San Francisco. The wheels at City Hall move priorities the CBD sees for the next supervisor. very slowly when it comes to approving new businesses. It’s unacceptable when it takes a popular local restaurant, Affordability and housing supply with no opposition, nearly a year to expand its dinTo maintain a vibrant and thriving neighboring room into an empty adjacent storefront. hood a mix of housing needs to be mainAnd it took more than a year for a small busitained. That’s why we’d prefer to have the ness with neighborhood support to replace a city’s required affordable housing units in blighted lot with outdoor seating. This can’t new developments built on site and includkeep happening. ed in any new buildings in the neighborIt’s also wrong for long-term commercial hood, rather than outsourced elsewhere. vacancies to be allowed to persist for years At the same time, the city needs to look and years. Empty storefronts cause blight at why so many existing housing units are and hurt the neighborhood, and the new kept empty, rather than rented out. By some supervisor should get involved and help estimates, thousands of apartments citywide expedite plans for businesses that will help are purposely left vacant because landlords believe there are keep the Castro thriving. disincentives to renting them out. Let’s finally deal with that so people can have homes in buildings that already exist. Public safety It’s also astonishing how slowly the system works, even Recently there have been officers in the Castro on foot when everyone agrees that a vacant lot or underused proppatrol, and this needs to continue. San Francisco Police erty should be developed for much-needed housing. One Department Captain Daniel Perea, who leads the Misexample is 2100 Market Street, site of the long defunct sion Station, which has the responsibility for the Castro, Home restaurant. It has taken three and half years for a is in the neighborhood often, and he knows the imporplan for housing there to move forward. That’s too long. tance of this type of community policing. But the Castro has to compete for attention with the Mission, one of the Quality of life issues busiest districts for the SFPD. And by many accounts, the No one in San Francisco should step out of their station is understaffed. homes onto dirty needles, clean up human feces, or be The new supervisor should look at whether Mission afraid to walk their neighborhood in fear of being acStation has adequate resources to continue to serve both costed by a meth-crazed individual or by someone in the the Mission and the Castro. depths of psychosis. Likewise, it is inhumane for us to let Housing, homelessness, local business development, people suffer on the streets without immediate access to and public safety are all complex challenges. If there were treatment and resources. simple, easy solutions, they would have been found by Each neighborhood has different challenges related to now. The CBD’s commitment is to help the new supervisor homelessness and under-housed individuals. Regional with any insight we can offer to tackle these priorities.t and citywide solutions must be developed, but neighborhood solutions should also be created. The population Andrea Aiello is the executive director of the Castro/ Upper Market Community Benefit District. of un-housed individuals in the Castro is very different


Letters>> Don’t blame Putin

“U.S. intelligence services and President Barack Obama,” states the Bay Area Reporter, “have confirmed Russia’s meddling in this year’s presidential election – with the knowledge of top officials, possibly including President Vladimir Putin ... Putin is also virulently anti-gay ...” [“Don’t fall for flawed Calexit plan,” Editorial, December 22]. Has the meddling really been confirmed? Not according to the Intercept: “[T]he refrain of Russian attribution has been repeated so regularly and so emphatically that it’s become easy to forget that no one has ever truly proven the claim. ... The U.S. intelligence community must make its evidence against Russia public if they want us to believe their claims.” (, December 14.) It’s not known whether the Democratic Party information released was a hack from outside, or a leak from within. Former British Ambassador Craig Murray said a Democratic insider, whom Murray met, leaked the documents. Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks published the material, denies that it came from Russia. No one denies the documents are genuine. They show Democratic officials favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders and the Clinton Foundation taking large


Health Trust

From page 1

“It would be a mistake to change that commitment,” Ferrer said. In response to emailed questions, Charlie Bullock, Ph.D., the Health Trust’s board chair since 2014 and now its interim CEO, said it’s not accurate that the board told Ferrer it wanted to move in a new direction and was looking for new leadership. “The board remains wholeheartedly committed to the important work currently underway in its three important initiatives: healthy aging, healthy eating, and healthy living and other important programs,”

donations from corrupt monarchies like Saudi Arabia and Morocco, “even as Hillary helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.” (New York Times, April 23, 2015.) Blaming Russia and Putin for Clinton’s loss lets her party off the hook, and continues a pattern of blaming him for failed U.S. policies. After Putin blocked U.S. plans for regime change in parts of Ukraine, Clinton likened him to Hitler. When the U.S., having armed the rebels, failed to topple Syria’s Assad, Putin was blamed for killings in Aleppo. Putin rejects Washington’s claim to rule the world. For this the U.S. casts him as an aggressor, though U.S. bases range along Russia’s border from Poland to Afghanistan. And don’t imagine our government hates Putin because it loves gays. Washington remains the ally of countries like Bahrain, where a pending law plans “to instruct children’s teachers in apparent warning signs of homosexuality or cross-dressing, so that the children can be punished” (Wikipedia) and Saudi Arabia, where the “crime” of homosexuality earns a public beheading.

Bullock said. “The organization is not changing direction.” He also said the board doesn’t want to do less work in LGBT issues, HIV/AIDS, and homelessness. “The Health Trust has strong programs and partnerships in housing, homelessness, aging, early childhood, health care and HIV/ AIDS Services that have benefited our entire community,” Bullock said. “The board remains committed to these programs, initiatives and partnerships.” Asked whether anyone on the board had a disagreement with Ferrer that had led to him being asked to leave, Bullock said, “I am not at

Jay Lyon San Francisco

liberty to disclose confidential conversations between Fred and the board. What I can say is that his departure was a mutual decision between Fred and the board.” Bullock, a straight ally, is 67. His salary as interim CEO is $240,000. Ken Yeager, a gay man who is a Santa Clara County supervisor and who has worked closely with Ferrer, said of his departure, “It’s all quite a mystery. ... No one quite knows what this new mysterious direction is supposed to be for the Health Trust, and we all are looking for an explanation.” See page 15 >>

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January 5, 2017 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter  

The undisputed newspaper of record for the San Francisco Bay Area LGBT community and the oldest continuously-published gay newspaper in the...

January 5, 2017 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter  

The undisputed newspaper of record for the San Francisco Bay Area LGBT community and the oldest continuously-published gay newspaper in the...