The government has appointed a commercial lawyer t

first_imgThe government has appointed a commercial lawyer to chair the equality and human rights watchdog, despite MPs raising serious concerns about a potential conflict of interest caused by his firm’s work for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).The Government Equalities Office (GEO) announced this week that David Isaac (pictured) had been chosen to be the next chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), just days after two parliamentary committees refused to approve his appointment.The joint committee on human rights and the Commons women and equalities committee said last week that there was a “serious potential conflict of interest” relating to Isaac’s role as a partner at the law firm Pinsent Masons, which has a “significant amount of business with the government”, including DWP.They also warned that appointing Isaac – a former chair of the gay rights charity Stonewall – as EHRC’s chair could put at risk the commission’s prestigious “A” status as a national human rights institution.As a result of their concerns, and following a hearing at which Isaac gave evidence, the two committees said they were “unable to recommend that this appointment should proceed”.Despite that conclusion, the education secretary Nicky Morgan, who is also minister for women and equalities, this week confirmed her decision to appoint Isaac as EHRC’s new chair, following what she described as a “rigorous appointment process”.Earlier this month, Disability News Service (DNS) reported concerns at the government links of both Isaac and EHRC’s disability commissioner, the disabled Tory peer Lord [Chris] Holmes, as the commission prepared to investigate whether Conservative welfare reforms have breached the human rights of disabled people.Isaac has specialised in his work at Pinsent Masons on providing advice on “major public and private sector UK and global commercial and outsourcing projects”, but the company has refused to tell DNS which outsourcing projects he has worked on for DWP, leading to the possibility that he could have been involved in some of the reforms EHRC will now be investigating.In a letter to the chairs of the two committees this week, Morgan said she was “satisfied that any potential conflicts can and will be addressed”, that Isaac would not receive any profits as an equity partner from work carried out by Pinsent Masons on behalf of the government, and that he would not be involved in advising the firm’s government clients while he remained as EHRC chair.Morgan said in a statement: “I’m thrilled to offer David Isaac the position of chair of the EHRC.“David Isaac has an impressive track record and brings a range of experience both from his work on LGBT issues and human rights and as an experienced lawyer.“We are confident that in his role as chair of the EHRC he will be a strong and effective advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.”Isaac said in a statement: “I am delighted to have been offered this important role which is fundamental to driving equality and human rights in England, Scotland and Wales.“I look forward to further discussions with the EHRC with the intention of accepting the role in due course.”The two committees will now publish a report following the evidence hearing and the exchange of letters, and were not able to comment this week about Morgan’s decision to proceed with Isaac’s appointment.GEO declined to comment on the decision to ignore the committees’ concerns and appoint Isaac.EHRC also declined to comment on the decision to appoint Isaac, despite the concerns about conflict of interest.But the commission’s interim chair Caroline Waters said in a statement that she was “confident that David Isaac has all the skills, experience, commitment and integrity needed to lead the commission”.last_img read more

Disabled activists have welcomed the decision of t

first_imgDisabled activists have welcomed the decision of the equality watchdog’s disability commissioner not to seek a second four-year term.The decision of Lord [Chris] Holmes was only revealed after the Department for Education (DfE), the sponsor department of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), advertised for “one or more” new commissioners.The advert says that one of the successful candidates will be the new disability commissioner, and that – like the commission’s previous disability commissioners – they will be someone who is or has been a disabled person.The closing date for the appointment was on Tuesday this week (1 November), with interviews set to take place next month.As well as acting as an EHRC commissioner, the successful candidate will also chair the commission’s disability committee, although the committee is set to be disbanded in 2017 and replaced by an advisory group that will not have the same legal powers to make decisions on issues affecting disabled people.Concerns about the tenure of Lord Holmes (pictured) were first raised when he was made a Conservative peer, only seven months after his appointment as disability commissioner in 2013.These concerns resurfaced earlier this year when EHRC announced that it had commissioned a major piece of research into whether the government’s welfare reforms had harmed the human rights of disabled people and other minority groups.Disability Rights UK (DR UK) pointed out that Lord Holmes had voted in favour of many of those reforms after he joined the House of Lords, including cutting payments by £30 a week for some new employment and support allowance claimants, and it raised concerns over how disabled people could have confidence in the inquiry “whilst Lord Holmes has his position as a commissioner and chair of the EHRC’s disability committee”.The following week, a letter calling on him to resign as disability commissioner was sent to EHRC by disabled activist Susan Archibald, after being signed by several leading disabled people and campaigning organisations, including Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle, Pat’s Petition and the Spartacus online campaigning network.Several of the disabled activists who signed the letter have now welcomed his decision not to seek another term as disability commissioner.Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of the national service-user network Shaping Our Lives, said: “Lord Holmes’ decision not to seek to renew his miserable term as EHRC disability commissioner is important for only one thing.“It means that the government will be forced out into the open about its official attitude to disabled people’s human and civil rights by the kind of appointment it supports.“This is what we should be watching very carefully and doing all we can to raise the profile of the decision-making process.“We can expect little of this government given its record so far.“But we may be able shine some light onto the reality of the prime minister’s rhetoric of her support for people’s rights and freedoms.”Archibald said: “I am very happy he has decided to finally resign, as now disabled people in UK can get someone worthy of this title.“He gave up the right to be recognised as a disability leader when he decided to vote against the very people he should be representing in the House of Lords.”Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, added: “This early resignation shows how little commitment he had for the job and supports our view that he should never have been appointed.”Before that appointment, Lord Holmes had been director of Paralympic integration for the London 2012 organising committee LOCOG, and served as a commissioner with the Disability Rights Commission for more than five years.A commercial lawyer, he won nine Paralympic swimming gold medals, including six at the Barcelona Paralympics of 1992.Among his achievements as disability commissioner, he championed a new engagement strategy for the committee, with meetings each year in Scotland, Wales and in one of the English regions, when previously they were all held in London.He has spoken out on issues such as disability hate crime, the inaccessibility of many Premier League football stadiums, the safety of shared space street developments, and the “disappointing” number of disabled people on the boards of the country’s major disability sports organisations.He also criticised his own government for refusing to reopen the Access to Elected Office Fund, which provided financial support for disabled people who want to stand for election to parliament or local councils.But the commission has appointed non-disabled people to the disability committee for the first time under his leadership, while he has also been unable to prevent the government deciding to scrap the committee and replace it with an advisory group.Lord Holmes declined to talk to Disability News Service about his decision to quit the watchdog, but he said in a statement: “It has been an honour to serve as disability commissioner over the last four years, and I am very proud of the work we have done in this time across many issues which impact upon disabled people every day.“This has included inquiries into disability hate crime, ensuring access to Premier League football stadia, promoting greater diversity in broadcast media, and our continued work on improving access to public transport, to name a few recent examples. “We have also taken landmark legal cases, not least Stott versus Thomas Cook and Paulley versus First Bus.“We have an excellent group of experts around the table at the [EHRC’s] disability committee who I was privileged to bring on board. After four years, it feels like the right time to move on.“My commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion remains complete as demonstrated in much of my other work, not least in relation to shared space. “I wish the new disability commissioner, when they are appointed, every success.”last_img read more

The left took over the executive of Streatham Labo

first_imgThe left took over the executive of Streatham Labour at its latest annual general meeting on Thursday evening, winning almost every post.Dr Valerie Coultas was elected as chair of the local party by 197 votes to 183, while anti-Brexit campaigner Seema Syeda and lawyer Axel Landin were chosen as co-secretaries.In response to the results, ex-Labour MP Mike Gapes tweeted that Coultas had been a “leading member of the International Marxist Group in the NUS”. The new chair was active in the group in the 1970s, then a journalist for Socialist Action in the 1980s.Streatham Labour recently voted to adopt an all-member meeting (AMM) local party structure, which was key in helping the left to secure wins last night.Described as “the former south London heartland of Progress” by left-wing anti-Brexit activist Michael Chessum, Labour left members in Streatham are now looking forward to selecting a Corbynite candidate who may go up against The Independent Group’s Chuka Umunna.Ahead of the AGM, local London Assembly Member Florence Eshalomi sent out a letter and leaflet by post to all members. Providing a map and details of the meeting, the AM urged them to vote for the Corbynsceptic slate of candidates.Referring to the new AMM structure, Eshalomi’s letter read: “There are members of the local Labour Party who want to use this new system to as a mechanism to deselect local councillors and me… We need your help to stop that happening.”Eshalomi is expected to stand in the upcoming parliamentary selection in Streatham, which could be subject to an all-women shortlist.Tags:Chuka Umunna /Mike Gapes /Florence Eshalomi /Michael Chessum /Axel Landin /Streatham Labour /Seema Syeda /last_img read more

Rosario Anaya Community Advocate and Leader Dies at 70

first_imgEn Español.When budget issues plagued the San Francisco Unified School District in the early-80s, former San Francisco Board of Education member Rosario Anaya’s vote would decide one of two things –  across-the-board salary cuts for members of the teacher’s union, or eight teachers would lose their jobs.“The union was very powerful – you knew better than to go against them,” said Ray Sloan-Zayotti, a former public policy advisor and the Acting Chair on the board of the Mission Language and Vocational School (MLVS). He remembers Anaya as a ‘beacon of truth and justice,’ explaining that back then, she voted to protect the eight jobs at the expense of the well-organized union – a move that not only jeopardized her popularity, but also cost her the union’s backing.“It was her principle–she saw that it was the right move, knowing very well the heavy burden she was going to carry as a result of it,” said Sloan-Zayotti. Tags: obituary Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Compassionate and firm in her convictions – Anaya’s life is marked by such stories. The longtime leader in education and immigrant advocacy died of lung cancer on August 5, at the age of 70. Hand-appointed to the San Francisco Board of Education by former Mayor George Moscone in 1977, Anaya left a legacy that was fondly recalled by those who witnessed her efforts to improve the lives of immigrants, children, and the poor, through education.“She was a constant flame perking in the community day and night, giving hope and guidance and a sense that things will work out,” said Sandy Close, executive director at New America Media and a longtime friend to Anaya. “People trusted her — not exactly a characteristic widely shared (in politics) at this point.”An immigrant from Bolivia, Anaya was born in 1944 in the old Andean city of Cochabamba and immigrated to the United States with her family in her late teens. She did not speak English when she arrived in Oakland — a struggle that would shape her life’s work and became one of the links that she had with the community. “She understood what that meant to come from a different Latin American country, to learn English, to figure out how to work and live here successfully and to demonstrate courage within that struggle,” said Daniel Brajkovich, interim director at MLVS, the vocational institution that she oversaw as executive director for over four decades – up until her death. “Rosario was not dissimilar in that way to the community she served.”As the first Latina to serve on the San Francisco Board of Education and also the first Latina elected to public office, Anaya entered the city’s political landscape at a contentious time. It was 1978 and voters approved California Proposition 13, the statewide proposition that limited the District’s capacity to secure locally generated funds.  Already, students scored alarmingly low on achievement surveys and over her 12-year tenure on the board Anaya, who also served for two terms as its president, did her best to raise scores.“It was always 4-3,” said Carlos Cornejo, who served as San Francisco Unified School District’s interim superintendent in 1985-86, referring to the board’s division at that time.  “What she wanted were additional services – computers, after school programs, tutoring services. She was the one asking question after question to make sure what we were proposing was going to be workable for all kids – but especially for the poor children, because they didn’t have that leveled playing field.”Those questions included why certain communities and schools weren’t making it. Cornejo remembers a time when Anaya questioned why qualified teachers were being assigned to the outer periphery of the city instead of the inner city, where expert educators were desperately needed.“Most politicians and members of the board were talking favors only,“ said Cornejo. “She was misunderstood because they thought she favored bilingual education – they were not sold on the concept and tried to brush her aside and make other deals.”But Anaya proved unwilling to cave to political propositions that did not align with her vision of improving education for the disadvantaged.  “‘I’m sorry you can’t see it, but I see it,’ she would say,” added Cornejo.Her positions often left her alienated from City Hall.Jill Wynns, commissioner on the Board of Education and former president of the San Francisco Parents’ Lobby, recounted that Anaya was not afraid to go against her political alignment in order to “do the right thing.”A strong supporter of Robert Alioto, SFUSD superintendent from 1980-85, Anaya acted on concerns from the Parents’ Lobby, which discovered that SFUSD was one of the few big school districts that did not require an evaluation of its superintendent.“The superintendent completely opposed the Parents’ Lobby, and he asked his supporters – including Rosario – not to vote for an evaluation,” said Wynns. “But she broke with him on that and voted for it, because that was the professional thing to do.” After losing the election to the School Board in 1990 for what would have been her fourth term, Anaya focused her full attention on the Mission Language Vocational School (MLVS), where she served as executive director since 1973.It was there that Anaya focused on offering a foundation for thousands of immigrants and non-native English speakers to learn the vocational and language skills needed to enter the workforce.“Rosario was one of those people that opened doors for people like me – if she could get elected and do what she was doing in the 70s, before anybody else was doing it – then it was possible for someone like me to be successful today,” said District 9 Supervisor David Campos, who worked with her on securing funding for MLVS over the years.The as executive director, the school became Anaya’s life’s work – she hustled for funding, challenged her staff to push themselves beyond their own capabilities, personally counseled her students and strived to create programs that would ensure employment in an ever-changing job market.  “Rosario was a visionary who felt that education with a purpose was a great equalizer. She had the ability to believe in people more than they believed in themselves,” said Brajkovich, who referred to her leadership methodology as “the Rosario mindlock.” “She had the unique ability to ask in a very everyday tone to accomplish and unreasonable request – she knew in her mind that she asked you to do something that maybe you didn’t think you could do,” he said. “It was accountability. She saw something in each of us and had the courage to ask.” The school’s philosophy, cultivated by Anaya, includes teaching immigrants several subjects at one time, implementing language training that focuses on a vocation, not just language.Moreover, Close pointed out that Anaya – who on the board of New America Media for 20 years –  “was really one of the first in the Mission’s predominantly Hispanic community to … really reach out to the Asian and African American communities.”“I think that her experience on the School Board gave her a sense of connection with the entire city,” added Close.Some of Anaya’s accomplishments include establishing the Latino Cuisine Culinary Academy, which has educated about 8,000 students since it started in 1998 – some of whom are now spread out as instructors and trainers in other vocational programs. In addition, she implemented training programs in the clerical and medical assisting fields. Some 300 students enroll at the vocational school every year.“The ripple effect of Rosario’s work is felt in the tens and thousands of lives she touched over a 40 plus-year span,” said Brajkovich. “It’s multi-generational, and when you talk about building a Latino middle class here in San Francisco’s Mission District, who could possibly have had a greater empowerment factor than Rosario?”A public memorial service is scheduled to be held on September 19,  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mission Dolores, 3321 16th St., San Francisco. center_img 0%last_img read more

SF Supervisors Call for Federal Investigations of Mission Police Shootings

first_img 0% The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution declaring July 22 as a ‘day of remembrance’ for Mario Woods, whose December 2 shooting by police officers could have been prevented, some board members said, if the city had taken action to reform police policies sooner.  While this resolution called for an official apology to Woods’ mother, a second resolution that was also unanimously adopted by the board during the January 26 meeting demands an independent investigation into the shooting. It also calls on the federal government to re-examine the cases of Alex Nieto and Amilcar Perez Lopez – contradicting police and witness testimonies have raised questions in both officer-involved shootings.“What makes the pain and trauma of losing young people even worse is when we don’t get the truth,” said Father Richard Smith, who organized behind the Justice for Alex Nieto Coalition. “There are so many unanswered questions in the killing of Alex Nieto and Amilcar Perez Lopez. We are not getting the truth out of our police department.”  Woods, whose birthday falls on July 22, was the most recent victim of a fatal police confrontation in the Bayview – cell phone footage that captured the 26-year-old’s shooting by five officers went viral, sparking local protests and resulting in San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s call for reform to police policy as well as an independent, federal investigation. At the meeting, Lee said that policy reforms are “no easy task,” but that he has taken steps to rebuild the broken relationship between police and communities of color, including his request of the U.S. General Attorney for a full investigation into Woods’ death, and a “top to bottom” review of police officers’ training and use of force policies. But organizers and city leaders agreed that Woods’ case is not the only officer-involved shooting that warrants federal scrutiny. District 11 Supervisor John Avalos described the circumstances of Nieto’s death, who was shot on Bernal Hill by four officers in March 2014, and Perez Lopez, shot by plain clothes officers in the Mission in March 2015, as “dubious.”Dubbed by some organizers as ‘Resolution 51’, the last item on the agenda was a resolution that Avalos re-introduced after it had been tabled for the past year. In December 2014, following a nationwide outcry against police brutality, Avalos introduced the first version of the resolution aiming to address reforms to local police protocol regarding racial discrimination. The board faced opposition from the police union and voted against the original resolution. This time, Avalos garnered full support from his colleagues and community members for reviving – and passing – the amended resolution that he said affirms a “commitment to police accountability and racial justice” within the police force.“Its about acknowledging that our country is in an actual crisis of officer-involved killings,” he said. “We need to improve conditions for people of color in this city.”Facing an audience of organizers, family and supports of both Woods and Nieto, Campos took responsibility for the city’s initial inaction on this resolution, stating that as an elected official, he could have done more to address the discrimination and flawed police protocol that came to light in the wake of Nieto’s death. “I made the mistake with Alex Nieto. I made the mistake with Amilcar again … I did not do enough following (the shootings) to get to the bottom of what happened.” said Campos. “If we had gotten it right the first time, maybe we wouldn’t be here.Woods’ mother accepted the board’s resolution and apology, and spoke out against “bullying tactics” that the board has somewhat publically experienced in its efforts of standing up to the influential Police Officer’s Association. On Monday, the association took to social media to voice its disdain for designating a day in Woods’ memory, calling the slain man a “validated gang member” while accusing Campos and other board members of glorifying him.  Woods was the suspect of a stabbing and carrying a knife while confronted by the officers who shot him. “Sometimes you have to stand up and look life in the eye,” said Gwen Woods, addressing the board. “Not everyone can be bullied.”“Mario Woods is a symbol for all of those who don’t have a place in history, who may have died nameless,” said Bayview Supervisor Malia Cohen. Campos added that the day of remembrance is symbolically intended to also honor others who have lost their lives in police confrontations.Applause erupted in the packed City Hall chamber as Campos acknowledged Nieto’s parents, who sat in for the entirety of the four-hour meeting.  “This day of remembrance is for them the [Nietos] too, it is for the family of Amilcar Perez Lopez, and I will note that while we welcome that the mayor is calling for a federal investigation, it shouldn’t be just limited to this one case. It should be to these cases [too].”Protestors and activists in the Bayview, Mission, and other communities have been demanding such  investigations for months. Several Justice for Alex Nieto Coalition organizers called the board’s decision on both resolutions “historic.” Oscar Salinas, an organizer for the coalition, said that Campos’ admission of fault is key.“Whenever you admit your mistakes and you are willing to learn from it, it’s important to the family, for healing,” said Salinas.  “And for the mayor to be in agreement with the federal investigation is another huge step forward. This will be positive for the whole city, for future generations.” center_img Tags: alex nieto • Amilcar López-Pérez • Board of Supervisors • David Campos • John Avalos • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Developments in Development Demand for affordable

first_img Tags: Affordable Housing • development • Developments in Development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.Bubblewatch: VCs are apparently throwing money at an app that pays people to drive tanker trucks to big parking lots and pump gas for car owners who believe their time is more valuable. So…that’s where we’re at.Meanwhile I got several reminders this week that the housing crisis we see in this neighborhood and this city is reflected nationally. Sure, you don’t necessarily see one-bedrooms go for $3000 a month in other cities, but things are still bad. According to a United for Homes report (brought to my attention via this 48Hills story), “there is no jurisdiction in the United States where a full-time worker earning the prevailing minimum wage can afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment.”  Not necessarily surprising given that the prevailing minimum wage has been low for decades.  Maybe this is just my millennial showing, but it almost seems like a ridiculous measurement to see whether a single person can rent a two-bedroom working at a minimum wage job. (A cursory Google session indicates that yes, perhaps it was once possible, but 50-70 years ago.) So density advocates continue to push for more infill housing, more development, and faster, often citing our neighbor to the north, Seattle, which has built twice as much as we have in “recent decades.” According to SPUR, Seattle gives developers a “license to build” that San Francisco has withheld.It’s a popular refrain, but sometimes it almost seems like condos, rentals, and BMRS are separate markets, particularly when you see headlines like this one in Socketsite – for the third time in a row, a unit at V-20 has been listed at a $197,000 loss. Perhaps because a lot of what does get built is exactly that, condos. So that supply we’re doing okay on – though, how much supply in all three of these areas would it take to bring rents down to something reasonable?Another example: Curbed writes about a building in South Beach where 304 people applied for seven below-market-rate units, even as the sellers reportedly had to find ways to entice prospective buyers to market-rate condos, according to a realtor’s email promising a price drop to get the units sold. A spokesperson for the firm now denies entirely that unit prices were being dropped for the market-rate condos. Nonetheless, demand for the BMRs is reliably at that level: In the same story Curbed hits us with the stat that 4,126 households applied for 97 units of affordable housing in a building in the Bayview. Others are calling for for state-level legislation to make entirely affordable buildings come together faster. Mission Housing Development Corporation Executive Director Sam Moss, for example, was at the Balboa Park Upper Yard this week to support affordable housing funding that was recently sidelined from the budget, but is expected to be considered later by the state legislature. That legislation, he said, could speed up the groundbreaking at that project by as much as six months.Our local bureaucratic machine has been grinding ahead too, with some local projects that could have big impacts getting underway. For one, as a tipster pointed out, demolition permits have been issued for 2000 Bryant street, the massive development that, after years of backlash and negotiation, was approved by the city, then survived an appeal, in September. The compromise there ended up being a land grant from the developer to the city to add an entirely below-market-rate portion of 136 units to the project. The next step is to demolish almost an entire block of buildings that, while now vacant, used to house CELLSpace, Inner Mission and other arts organizations. The permits can still be appealed until August 11.And for those of you that have been following the recent uproar about the tangle of freeway ramps known as the Hairball and the frustrations there about homeless encampments, Supervisor Hillary Ronen has a kind of radical fix proposal: Put some of these roads underground instead. More at the Chronicle. Meanwhile, permits are also being sought to move ahead with the Garfield Square Pool and Clubhouse renovations, with applications filed to demolish the clubhouse and replace it with a new one that will be attached to the existing pool building, renovate that pool building, and repair sidewalks, pathways and benches. Oh, and the basketball court will move to the west. The pool renovation itself, which would shorten some lap-swimming lanes has caused a little disagreement in the past – read about that here – but planners told residents the project would likely move forward and construction would begin in early 2018. No building permits have been issued yet. Here’s an interesting one to finish off with: Apparently an office building owner at 2567 Mission St.  is applying for plans to open up the office cafe in that building to the public. If memory serves, that’s the bright red building owned by ex-Facebook exec Owen Van Natta. Wonder how that will go down with Mission Street observers. Then again, Van Natta was also planning to turn the 18th and Mission Street building into a brewpub, but that didn’t happen – the building remains a wreck and it is again up for sale. last_img read more

Supervisor hopes to craft clear path for new cultural districts

first_imgSay there’s a part of a neighborhood that has a strong cultural identity and wants to preserve it – how do they go about becoming a recognized cultural district?The Mission’s Calle 24 has already forged its own pathway to being recognized formally as a cultural asset, but now Supervisor Hillary Ronen has introduced legislation that would codify a specific process for creating cultural districts and laying out a plan for how the city should support them.“Up until this point, the response to gentrification has been to say ‘no’ – communities have been trying to stop new businesses and residents from moving in. But it hasn’t been all that successful,” Ronen said at the Board as she introduced the legislation Tuesday.Her measure, she said, “says ‘yes’ to protecting cultures, arts and residents.” The proposal lays out a specific procedure for creating a cultural district – any supervisor, the mayor, or city department can propose an ordinance creating a cultural district. Previously, the process started with a resolution. Hearings at three Commissions would come next: Planning, Historic Preservation, and Small Business. The Board of Supervisors would approve the ordinance.After that, several other government bodies would weigh in on the proposal in the form of reports detailing what kinds of arts the cultural district is known for and should be promoted, what kind of public infrastructure and signage might help it thrive, what kind of demographic changes have been happening in the district and whether and how those could be addressed, and so on.Up until now, said Ronen’s aide Carolina Morales, “we would kind of have to start from scratch” if a neighborhood group came to legislators wanting to establish a cultural district.Of course any kind of preservation efforts take resources, and the legislation aims to formalize financing for cultural districts by establishing a fund for each district. Money could be allocated to those by the city, but they could also accept donations from private entities.For those concerned about oversight, there’s also an element in the proposal to allow for the establishment of a five-member advisory committee for each district, which would help direct funds and be a venue for public input. “What’s great about the advisory committee is that the public can come to those meetings and be able to weigh in,” Morales said.The legislation will next go to a yet-to-be-determined committee of the Board. 0%center_img Tags: Calle 24 • culture Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

A changed city a changed world Assessing the legacies of Harvey Milk

first_imgOn Nov. 27, 1978, Cleve Jones screwed up. The young lieutenant to Supervisor Harvey Milk arrived bright and early at City Hall; he wanted to show his boss just how diligent he could be. Instead, he left an important file at his apartment, annoying Milk. Jones was sent home to retrieve it. “See you in the afternoon,” Milk told him. Those were the last words they’d ever exchange. On his way back to City Hall, Jones heard a woman scream from a bus that someone had shot Mayor George Moscone. He high-tailed it back to City Hall, and ran up the steps to the second floor, screaming “Harvey! Harvey!” He found him. Milk’s prone legs and feet were protruding from his office. And Jones’ heart fell, because he knew it was Milk: Harvey only had the one pair of second-hand dress shoes. His work clothes were worn and ill-fitting artifacts obtained from a former campaign manager’s dead lover, Milk’s for the mere price of redeeming a dry-cleaning ticket. In happier times, Milk enjoyed making his board colleagues squirm by putting those very shoes up on his desk in chambers, revealing a hole in the sole. The first openly gay supervisor’s staff used to laugh about that. But not now. “All I could think,” Jones the crowd at a City Hall memorial today — 40 years later, to the day — “was, ‘How can we move forward? He was our leader.’ “‘It’s all over now.’”Former Mayor Willie Brown, flanked by Sen. Scott Wiener, Mayor London Breed, and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, recalls the legacies of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Moscone was Brown’s law school classmate at UC Hastings, and a fellow after-hours janitor. Photo by Bill Wilson, used with permission.On Nov. 27, 1978, San Francisco witnessed the coup de grâce of bizarre and horrific acts in a decade marked by its bizarre and horrific acts. This city, in the 1970s, is almost unfathomable for those who weren’t here. There was not one serial killer but teams of serial killers. Radicals and terrorists exchanged gunfire, blew up bombs, abducted one another, killed one another, and knocked over banks. Astroturf was installed at Candlestick Park. Crime and violence were recorded at levels rendering today’s downright quaint — and the stuff they weren’t recording was at nightmare levels as well. Activists in the Mission and Harvey Milk’s Castro, for one, had a mutual alliance cemented by both communities being preyed upon by violent cops (Mission lifer Roberto Hernandez, 22 in ’78, recalls weeping apoplectically when he heard of the deaths of Moscone and Milk. He and others organized an impromptu vigil at 24th Street Plaza). It was a nasty and brutish time, and Milk had good reason to fear for his life. You’ve all seen the photos of him laughing and hoisting the “I’m from Woodmere NY” sign during the ’78 Gay Freedom Day parade. What you didn’t see was him asking his driver if she knew how to get to San Francisco General in case of an assassination attempt. And yet, like a horror movie, when the call came, it came from inside the building. White, a disgruntled former supervisor, shot Milk in his City Hall office after shooting the mayor. White would serve less time in jail than the shelf life of a Twinkie. In 1985, he would asphyxiate himself in the same garage where he once stored his Chiefs Special.* On Nov. 23, 1978, Harvey Milk told a reporter friend that he would run for president in 1980 in a kamikaze quest in which he would serve as a “vessel for gay liberation.” Four days later he was dead. And yet, and yet, and yet — he did not fail. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter On Nov. 27, 1978, Dan White called his former legislative aide and asked her to drive him to the job he no longer had. He emerged not from his Excelsior district front door, but the garage. Clandestinely strapped into his belt was the .38 Smith and Wesson Chiefs Special five-shot revolver he kept downstairs, a remnant of his days as a San Francisco police officer. Ten more bullets were tucked into his shirt pocket, purportedly wrapped in a handkerchief so they wouldn’t rattle.They didn’t. City Hall was on high alert. Only nine days earlier, the Rev. Jim Jones had coerced some 900 of his followers into mass suicide; San Francisco officials feared People’s Temple acolytes would strike again. Security, however, was not airtight. Rather than pass through a metal detector at the front door, White clambered through a basement window. When stopped by a confused city worker, he calmly said, “I’m Supervisor Dan White.” And that was true. So off he went. “If a bullet should enter my brain,” Milk said prophetically, “let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country.” That legacy — the legacy of George Moscone and Harvey Milk — was on full display today at City Hall during a memorial celebration. People talked about it. But you didn’t even need to listen. You could just look. There was the African American female mayor and the African American female board president and the openly gay district supervisor and the African American former mayor and, far in the background, an ongoing conga line of oblivious couples of all gender combinations getting married on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. “George Moscone appointed African Americans and women and LGBT people to city commissions — that was significant at the time and we take it for granted today,” said Mayor London Breed. Rafael Mandelman, the board’s only gay supervisor, noted that part of the recent “Blue Wave” was 150 LGBTQ officials elected nationwide. That all started somewhere. And that’s a hell of a legacy to have. Harvey Milk dines in 1978 at Guadalajara de la Noche restaurant in the current location of Precita Eyes on 24th Street. Photo courtesy of Michael Nolan (who is at left).Of course, there’s another legacy. One that wasn’t mentioned today in front of Milk and Moscone’s contemporaries, successors, and families. Not only did these men transform San Francisco through their presence, they transformed it through their absence. On Nov. 27, 1978, at the very moment that Dan White was motoring downtown with a pistol strapped to his hip and 10 extra bullets nestled over his heart, Supervisor Dianne Feinstein let it be known she was done. The two-time mayoral loser informed the City Hall press corps that, when her term expired in 1982, she’d move on to other things. That plan changed. So did San Francisco. Under Mayor Feinstein — and the appointees she put on city commissions and bureaucrats she placed at the controls of the city’s engine room — San Francisco went from being what it was to what it is. The past determines the present and the present determines the future. And yet, sometimes the future is hard to predict. On Nov. 27, 1978 — and every Nov. 27 since, including tonight, at 7 p.m. — marchers honoring the legacies of Milk and Moscone gathered in the Castro and proceeded to City Hall. And on that day, 40 years ago, they were so great in number that, Cleve Jones recalls, they illuminated Civic Center Plaza. “And at that moment,” he said today, “I knew I was wrong. “It wasn’t over. It was just beginning.”*This is incorrect. The White family moved while he was in prison, so it was not the same garage. Apologies for the error.  Email Addresslast_img read more

SCOTT Moore and Tom Armstrong return to Saints 19

first_imgSCOTT Moore and Tom Armstrong return to Saints’ 19-man squad for Friday’s Engage Super League clash with Warrington.Michael Shenton misses out with an ankle injury whilst Matty Ashurst has been omitted.The squad is:1. Paul Wellens, 4. Sia Soliola, 5. Francis Meli, 7. Kyle Eastmond, 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby (pictured), 10. James Graham, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Chris Flannery, 14. Scott Moore, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 19. Andrew Dixon, 20. Jonny Lomax, 21. Shaun Magennis, 22. Jamie Foster, 24. Tom Armstrong, 25. Lee Gaskell, 28. Thomas Makinson.Tony Smith, Warrington’s Head Coach will choose from:1. Brett Hodgson, 3. Matt King, 4. Chris Bridge, 6. Lee Briers, 7. Richie Myler, 8. Adrian Morley, 9. Michael Monaghan, 10. Gareth Carvell, 12. Ben Westwood, 13. Ben Harrison, 14. Mickey Higham, 15. Jon Clarke, 16. Paul Wood, 17. Simon Grix, 18. Mike Cooper, 20. Matty Blythe, 22. Rhys Williams, 23. Ryan Atkins, 26. David Solomona.The match kicks off at 8pm and the referee is Richard Silverwood.If you can’t make the match, it will be covered extensively in the Match Centre as well as on Saints’ Official Twitter and Facebook sites.Tickets for the match are still on sale at the Saints Superstore in St Helens Town Centre, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on to www.saintssuperstore.comStats: Warrington are seeking their first ever Halliwell Jones Stadium win against St Helens on Friday night. The Saints have won all eleven of their away games at Warrington since the stadium opened in 2004.The Saints have won all but four of their Super League matches against Warrington, with the Wolves’ two wins coming at Wilderspool (56-22 on 20 April, 2001) and Widnes’ Stobart Stadium in February.Last ten meetings:St Helens 18 Warrington 25 (SLR3, 25/2/11)St Helens 28 Warrington 12 (SLQPO, 10/9/10)Warrington 24 St Helens 26 (SLR24, 31/7/10)St Helens 28 Warrington 18 (SLR7, 19/3/10)Warrington 26 St Helens 40 (SLR20, 11/7/09)St Helens 26 Warrington 14 (SLR1, 13/2/09)St Helens 17 Warrington 16 (SLR24, 9/8/08)St Helens 40 Warrington 34 (CCR5, 10/5/08)Warrington 22 St Helens 30 (SLR12, 25/4/08)St Helens 30 Warrington 22 (SLR2, 15/2/08)Super League Summary:Warrington won 2St Helens won 35 (including 1 win in 2010 play-offs)2 drawsWarrington highest score: 56-22 (H, 2001) (also widest margin)St Helens highest score: 72-2 (H, 2002) (also widest margin)last_img read more

LANCE Hohaia has no doubt Saints will regain the f

first_imgLANCE Hohaia has no doubt Saints will regain the form that has eluded them so far this season.The 28-year-old utility back says they’ve been unlucky at times over the last few weeks but they haven’t played anywhere near as well as he expects.“We’ve played well in parts over our last three games but I don’t think our form has been great all year,” he said. “We didn’t play well in our trial game either. Perhaps there are a few doubts after the Grand Final? Five losses in five years can be tough to get over mentally.“Huddersfield was a tough game and it won’t get easier this week. We were off our best and we know we have 20 odd games to fix that up. We are training very hard.“In the end they handled the pressure better than we did; Danny Brough took hold of the game late on and we needed to do that. The onus is on everyone in the team to take ownership of that. We had a huge lead against Catalans and defensively we let it go. That’s one area we can do better.“One thing I have noticed about St Helens is that we are expected to win every week – and that’s a pressure everyone has – and rightly so. We have a great squad here. We are only five games into the season but we know we need to string some performances together.“Yes, we’ve lost by one or two points, and they have been close games… but that makes no difference. You’re not going to win games if you leak 34 points.”Lance agreed a four-year deal to join the Saints after a successful career at New Zealand Warriors.He signed as a half-back but hasn’t had much chance to show the fans what he can do in that position.“It’s going well on and off the field for me and I’m reasonably happy with my form. I have spoken to Royce and he wants to play me in the halves but we have other guys who are going well and I need to do what’s best for the team.“Over the next few weeks that will be me playing at hooker. In the end I’ve been in the 17 each week and I’m happy.“When I fired signed I watched a lot of games so I well aware of the calibre of talent here with Lee Gaskell, Jonny Lomax and Gary Wheeler as well as the outside backs like Tommy Makinson. They are all pushing for places and it’s good for competition and no different from what I am used to. That is what pro sports is all about.“I’m here for four years and what happens in the future depends on all sorts of factors. I am patient and know I need to be confident and play well. At this stage I am happy to play hooker, standoff, wherever. As long as I am in the team I’m happy. We have a very professional team and a great facility so I am looking forward to my time here.”Off the field Lance is expecting another arrival soon – his partner is pregnant.“I’ll be a dad I three months, it’s my first child and all adds to the challenge. I’ve come here; we’re having a baby and experiencing a whole new culture. The baby will have a Kiwi Dad, American Mum and will be born in Britain!”last_img read more