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News Briefs: Harvey Milk Plaza redesign meetings announced

by Cynthia Laird

The Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza is entering the next phase of the project to re-imagine the space above the Castro Muni station named for the gay slain supervisor and has announced dates for community meetings.

Last year, the Friends group conducted a design competition, and an architectural team led by Perkins Eastman of San Francisco was announced as the winner and selected as the firm to partner with as the project enters its next phase.

While the Perkins Eastman design was the top choice by people who voted in an online survey, others have questioned the firm's initial design and some people have expressed in letters to the Bay Area Reporter whether the plaza needs to be redesigned at all. One of the main points of contention is that the Muni entrance is relocated to the west of its present location in the Perkins Eastman rendering, though Friends officials have said the plaza design likely will change from those initial illustrations.

The upcoming meetings are an opportunity for community members to explore and share their thoughts with others, including folks from Perkins Eastman and the Friends group.

The first meeting will be held Saturday, January 27, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 100 Diamond Street. Additional meetings will be held March 3, and April 7, at the same time and location.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime to acknowledge Harvey Milk Plaza for the sacred place it is and the role it has played in the history of the LGBT civil rights movement," Greg Cassin, a longtime AIDS activist, said in a news release from the Friends group, where he volunteers on the steering committee.

The plaza redesign project has been scheduled in tandem with the city's already-planned accessibility construction that is expected to greatly reduce the expense. The Friends group is in the process of a fundraising effort to secure private donations. A $500,000 donation was received last year from a gay California man.

For more information, visit

SF library celebrates black history
Black History Month begins in February but the San Francisco Public Library is getting a head start with "More Than A Month," a series of programs to emphasize that open dialogue, education, and shared advocacy takes place in communities every month.

Beginning this week and throughout February, the library will be showcasing black history, culture, and heritage with special music, dance, crafts, and storytelling events at every branch.

People can visit the African American Center in the main library, 100 Larkin Street, to learn about historical, political, and cultural experiences of African-Americans in California and beyond.

Other special events include "Talking with Kids About Race: Nurturing Justice," that takes place Saturday, January 27, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium at the main library. The Oscar-winning film "Moonlight" will be screened January 27, at 3 p.m. at the Western Addition branch, 1550 Scott Street. The exhibit, "If Superpowers Could Save My Community," is now up at the main library.

All programs and exhibits are free and open to the public.

Download a full schedule of activities at

Not too late for a flu shot
San Francisco public health officials said that flu season is off to an early statewide start, with the California Department of Public Health reporting widespread flu activity in the state. San Franciscans can protect themselves by getting a flu shot and taking other steps to prevent getting sick or spreading illness, officials stated in a news release.

Health officials advise people to cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; wash your hands often and thoroughly; and stay home when you're sick.

While this season's flu shot is not as effective against the strain of flu that is often seen (H3N2), experts still advise people to get a flu shot as it may make the virus milder if they do get sick, according to Business Insider.

People should contact their doctor or primary care clinic for a flu shot, or they are also offered at many pharmacies on a walk-in basis for a fee.

For more information about the flu, visit

CA tax office to hold seminar for small biz
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration will have a free small business tax seminar in Oakland Tuesday, January 23, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Elihu Harris State Building, 1515 Clay Street (in the auditorium).

Small business owners looking for assistance with state and federal tax issues, as well as those who want to expand their business knowledge, are welcome to attend. Topics include avoiding common sales and use tax problems, employee versus independent contractor, better business through better records, and forms of ownership.

Representatives will be on hand from the Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board, and the Internal Revenue Service.

To register, call 1-888-847-9652 or visit

Volunteer fair at Tenderloin Museum
The Tenderloin Museum will hold its annual volunteer fair Tuesday, January 23, at 398 Eddy Street in San Francisco.

The event is being held so that people can meet and connect with representatives from several of the Tenderloin's nonprofit service agencies and learn about how they can help. The gathering is intended to be inclusive and engaging for both first time and seasoned volunteers.

The volunteer fair begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by short presentations from local organizations. Participants include Glide United Methodist Church, 826 Valencia (the Writing Center), Larkin Street Youth Services, Coalition on Homelessness, Code Tenderloin, Project Open Hand, the St. Anthony Foundation, Skywatchers, and the Shanti Project.

There is no cost to attend. For more information, visit

D8 crime and safety forum
The San Francisco Police Officers Association, the Community Alliance for Jobs and Housing, and local law enforcement leaders will hold a community conversation focusing on crime in District 8 (Castro, Noe Valley, Glen Park, and other neighborhoods) Wednesday, January 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Rainbow Room at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.

To RSVP or for more information, contact (415) 598-8348 or

ALRP set to receive legacy status
The San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission was expected to recommend legacy business status for the AIDS Legal Referral Project at its meeting Wednesday, January 17.

A report by the commission found that ALRP has served the HIV/AIDS community in the Castro neighborhood for 35 years. ALRP also provides services to clients in other parts of the city.

In an email Bill Hirsh said he was "appreciative" for the city's recognition.

"ALRP is proud of its many years of service to the HIV/AIDS community in San Francisco and we are deeply appreciative of the city's recognition of our work and the difference we have made in the lives of our clients."

The next step is for the city's Small Business Commission to give final approval.

Meyer to be honored at SFSP gala
Eve Meyer, the longtime former executive director of San Francisco Suicide Prevention, will be honored at the organization's Heroes of Nonprofit luncheon Friday, February 9, from noon to 2 p.m. at the City Club of San Francisco, 155 Sansome Street.

Meyer, who recently retired, led the agency for more than 20 years, and worked there for a decade before that. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of suicide prevention. Other honorees include Kavoos Chane Bassiri, with the San Francisco Department of Public Health; Kurt Melchoir, former SFSP board member; and Rudy Corpus and United Playaz.

Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at

Chiu seeks ideas for laws
With the beginning of the 2018 legislative session, Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) has announced his third annual "There Ought to be a Law" program, which offers constituents the opportunity to propose new state legislation for the upcoming year.

In an email to supporters, Chiu said that some of the best ideas come from constituents "who are seeing problems in their neighborhoods firsthand." He has worked with past program winners to pass the Student Voting Act (2015) and a bill that ensured CalFresh (food stamp) recipients have access to job training and employment services with social enterprises.

Chiu said that proposals can vary from local community improvements to statewide reforms and can be new policies or revisions to existing laws. For more information, visit


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