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

Sunday, November 08, 2015

SF Mayoral Candidates Caught in Compromising Photo!

On my way to Rainbow Grocery yesterday, a lovely Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, I spent a few moments on the Folsom Street sidewalk chatting with Broke Ass Stuart Schuffman. Like me, he was a candidate for mayor and was on ballot, while I was a write-in hopeful.

Collectively, all challengers to Ron Conway's puppet-mayor Ed Lee garner 43 percent of the vote. This achievement happened without any help from slimy Tim Redmond, formerly of the dead Bay Guardian rag and now providing stenography PR for his small circle of buddies.

Redmond gave scant pre-election attention to Schuffman, Green Party candidate Francisco Herrera and Amy Weiss who together waged a successful "1-2-3: Anyone But Ed Lee" strategy, which he very begrudgingly, after knocking each of the three, sorta endorsed with caveats. But I digress.

I asked Schuffman why he wasn't identified by his alias Broke-Ass Stuart on election materials, as was write-in challenger Karla Gottschalk. As shown on the preliminary vote totals, she got an "a.k.a Belle Starr" identification after he name.

Schuffman was unaware she had this privilege and he said Gregory P. Slocum of the Elections Department told him aliases weren't not allow by law, and he wondered if there were different ballot listing requirements for those on the ballot versus write-ins.

Not sure and mentioned that Slocum told me, after I inquired about Gottschalk's alias at least on the results, that Schuffman hadn't requested being identified as Broke Ass Stuart. He could have racked up a few more votes with that well-known designation of his.

Here's hoping Schuffman uses his status as a mayoral candidate to stay engaged with the San Francisco political world.

Lastly, John Arntz, the director of the Elections Department informed me on Friday that he hopes on Monday to have preliminary breakdown figures for the 453 write-in votes cast. Who knew San Francisco officials need almost a full week to count write-ins?

Friday, November 06, 2015

SF Election Dept: No Write-In Tally 2-Days After Voting

Friends and family have asked how many write-in votes I got in the mayoral race. On Twitter, my critics have crowed that, based on info from the San Francisco Election Department, I didn't vote for myself because the department's site shows zeroes for all write-in candidates.

Yes, two-days after only 30% of registered voters cast ballots, the department was unable to produce a breakdown of the 453 write-ins cast in the mayoral race.

Why can't the San Francisco Election Department count and release the tally of a few hundred write-ins, in two-and-half-days?

I've emailed and left vmail for department chief John Arntz, seeking answers about this ridiculous delay and when his staff will finally have counted the write-ins. When he gets back to me, I'll share his reply.

The latest numbers, maybe even for write-ins, will be released today, Friday, November 6, at 4 pm both at City Hall and online. Will the department finally provide voters and the public with the write-in figures?

Finally, big congrats to the alternative on-ballot candidates who received 43% of the vote!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Vote Tally Today from SF Election Department?

At 4 pm yesterday, Wednesday, November 4th, the San Francisco Election Department was supposed to release the write-in vote tally in the mayoral race. However, poll workers were too busy counting regular ballots and didn't have time to sort and count write-in ballots.

So, today and every day until all the ballots are counted for all race and propositions, the department will release the latest numbers at 4 pm. Let's hope we get our write-in figure later today.

Regardless of our write-in figure, we're very pleased to have participated in the electoral process as a candidate in San Francisco two-years running!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Will UK's Cameron & Foreign Office Release LGBT Jamaica Emails?

On October 5th, I submitted the same basic Freedom of Information Act request with the United Kingdom's Prime Minister David Cameron and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for copies of files related to gays in Jamaica.

Cameron was preparing for an official visit to the former colony and questions were asked by British journalists and gays if he would broach the topic of LGBT human rights. I was curious to learn what emails and letters may have flowed from the UK embassy in Kingston to 10 Downing Street pertaining in any way to Jamaica's gay community.

Today, both the PM's office and the FCO emailed official replies to my FOIA request. Cameron's office claims they would need a large amount of time, costing them a tidy sum, to search for the requested files:

"Our records are managed by broad subject area, and we do not hold a single file relating to LGBT issues in Jamaica in which the information you request could be easily and swiftly located. We would therefore in this instance have to ask all members of staff to search through their records going back over 10 months to identify and provide relevant information, as well as make a search of our official records.

"Should you wish to submit a refined request, for example by narrowing the date range of your request, it might be that we could comply with that request within the appropriate limit, although I cannot guarantee that this will be the case. I should add that even if you do refine your request and the information is held one or more exemptions specified within the Act may apply."

Yes, I am submitting an amended request and will see how the prime minister's FOIA officer responds, and I'm surprised they claim not to maintain a file just on LGBT concerns in Jamaica. Surely, the PM's officers have files on single topics such as Jamaican reparations' demands, immigration, trade and prisons, so why no file on the gays?

Here's the FCO's response confirming they have information I am seeking, but there's further review needed:

"I can confirm that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does hold information falling within the terms of your request.

"The FOI Act obliges us to respond to requests promptly, and in any case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request. However, when a qualified exemption applies to the information and the public interest test is engaged, the Act allows the time for response to be longer than 20 working days, and a full response must be provided within such time as is reasonable in all circumstances of the case. We do, of course, aim to make all decisions within 20 working days, including in cases where we need to consider where the public interest lies in respect of a request for exempt information. In this case, however, we have not yet reached a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies.

"In your case we estimate that it will take an additional 20 days to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies Therefore, we plan to let you have a response by 30 November 2015. If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed."

Updates will be shared, as new letters come from London in the coming weeks.

PM's letter:

FCO letter:

Monday, November 02, 2015


What's SFPD's Twitter-Sharing Mugshot Policy?

After seeing a mugshot of an arrestee posted by the San Francisco Police Department on their Twitter feed, I tweeted to their spokesman Albie Esparza about what criteria the department used when deciding which mugshots to share online.

The mugshot and SFPD tweet of it are in the comments.

I asked him simple questions. Does the SFPD post all mugshots? Only a select few? Instead of giving me direct answers, Esparza engaged in spin and grandly opined he had answered my questions when all he did was spin and deflect.

See the image below in the comments of our back-and-forth.

So, I filed a public records request for any files about departmental policy regarding mugshots shared on Twitter. Here's the response from Briseida Banuelos of the legal division of the SFPD:

"In response to your request, please be advised that there are no responsive records to your request. The department does not have a written policy, and the decision to release mugshots is discretionary."

IMHO, the police need to develop some standards about whose mugshot gets posted on Twitter and other social media. If they release all mugshots regardless of news value, state that, but if the whims of the public info officers is to post mugshots of arrestees generating media attention or whom department officials don't like for whatever reason, then that needs to be scrutinized.

Sunday, November 01, 2015


Lead Paint From Private Murals Closes SF Mission Park

I've received a substantive response from the Recreation and Parks Department about the closure of a park in the Mission, after asking the City questions about the closing and reasons behind it. Glad to have this info and share it with folks. Here is the email in full:

Hi Mr. Petrelis,

Apologies for any confusion you may have experienced. 24th and York mini Park has been closed due to an initial complaint from a patron regarding peeling paint falling into the park from some of the ageing murals surrounding the park.

Karen Yu from the Department of Health assessed the situation and found traces of lead present in the paint and on the ground. As soon as this was reported to me I closed the park until further information was apparent or until the situation could be addressed.

The issue is complicated in that the murals surrounding the park are in fact on private property. Additionally as artworks the murals have some protection and artists have had to be contacted.

Karen Yu has been sorting through these difficulties and I believe has indeed contacted most if not all affected parties and artists. I am expecting notice from DPH that they are ready to have the work begin but I have not heard definitively from DPH at this time.

I hope this explains the current situation, please let me know if you have further questions.

Thank You, Adrian Field
Park Services Manager
San Francisco Recreation and Parks Dept.
Park Service Area 6 Mission and Bernal Heights Neighborhoods

DPH, Rec & Parks Clueless: Why is SF Mission Park Closed?

Since Wednesday, October 28, I've emailed the Department of Public Health for info about why the 24th and York Streets mini park is closed. Phone calls to the listed DPH number on the closed noticed have not been returned.

Various replies over three days from DPH: "We will follow up on this question and get back to you . . . The Rec and Park Department has more information and will be responding to you shortly to explain the closure of 24th and York mini park . . . They will contact you, but if you don’t hear back from them today, let me know."

Here's the word from Rec and Parks today: "I have passed this on to the area manager who will be in touch."

Anyone near the mini park have a clue as to why it's closed, when it was no longer available for public use and when it might reopen?