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News Briefs: Henderson sworn in as DPA head

by Cynthia Laird

Paul Henderson, left, was sworn in by Mayor Mark Farrell as the permanent head of the Department of Police Accountability. Photo: Courtesy Facebook
Paul Henderson, left, was sworn in by Mayor Mark Farrell as the permanent head of the Department of Police Accountability. Photo: Courtesy Facebook  

Paul Henderson, a gay African-American man who was nominated by San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell to head the Department of Police Accountability, was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors to the position.

DPA investigates complaints against the police department.

Henderson, 50, had been leading the agency on an interim basis since July 2017. The board voted on his appointment March 20.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter, Henderson said his top priorities are to ensure that the department "expands its reach to empower all communities that are touched by police and actively promote inclusive reforms."

"Civilian oversight is meant to address community concerns about officer misconduct, and when it works well, it can help hold police accountable and increase trust with local residents," Henderson wrote.

Prior to his post at the DPA, Henderson served as deputy chief of staff and public safety liaison for former mayor Ed Lee, who died in December. In 2016 he ran unsuccessfully for Superior Court judge.

Henderson also has, for the past several years, appeared as a commentator on various news outlets on different subjects. He said that he will likely continue to do so.

"I've always thought that it's important that audiences get analysis from diverse perspectives," he wrote. "Moreover, I'm actually proud of the point of view that I am able to provide that reflects broader community perspectives and insights not typically seen in most media outlets."

He added that conversations about public safety, "in particular, need to be discussed and addressed with a more inclusive perspective."

"I think we need more voices, not fewer, from the LGBT community and communities of color as we are informed about news," Henderson wrote.

According to the mayor's office, the salary for Henderson's position ranges from $155,952-$198,978. The new salary will need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors in June.

Meeting on Harvey Milk Plaza redesign
The Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza will have a community meeting on the redesign for the plaza Saturday, April 7, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 100 Diamond Street in San Francisco.

Members of the design team and the Friends group will talk about what has been discussed at the previous meetings and are expected to unveil new drawings.

For more information, visit

Interfaith service of remembrance
Hospice by the Bay will hold its annual Service of Remembrance Sunday, April 8, at 4 p.m. at Saint Aidan's Episcopal Church, 101 Gold Mine Drive in San Francisco.

The community is invited to participate in music, prayers, a flower ceremony, and messages from a variety of spiritual traditions. Attendees are encouraged to bring photographs of loved ones or objects of remembrance for the altar of memories. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

Hospice by the Bay provides compassionate end-of-life care for patients and offers grief counseling for those coping with loss in the counties of Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Sonoma, and the cities of Napa, American Canyon, and Vallejo.

For more information, visit

Immigration forum in San Jose
Several South Bay organizations will hold an immigration and know your rights forum for the LGBT community Saturday, April 14, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center, 938 The Alameda in San Jose.

The event is sponsored by the Asian Law Alliance in partnership with Pars Equality Center and Center for Employment Training, and the Santa Clara County offices of immigrant and LGBTQ affairs.

Organizers said the event will include presentations about available free and low-cost immigration services, how same-sex marriage impacts immigration relief, immigration relief for undocumented victims of violence, removal defense and humanitarian claims for relief with an LGBTQ nexus, and immigrant rights.

Free legal consultations will be provided at the end of the event.

For more information, visit

Choral society offers scholarships
The Mayflower Choral Society is offering scholarships for northern California candidates age 16 or older in vocal performance, composing/arranging, and choral directing.

The society is the parent organization to Mayflower Chorus, whose members and supporters make the scholarships possible.

The scholarships are for $250 or more and can pay for voice lessons, performance coaching, audition fees, and song-writing lessons.

The application deadline is April 24. In-person auditions will be Saturday, May 19, in San Rafael.

For more information and an application packet, contact or (415) 883-4078.

San Mateo transportation panel seeks volunteers
The San Mateo County Transportation Authority is soliciting applications for its citizens advisory committee. The committee is a 15-member volunteer group that serves in an advisory capacity to the transportation authority's board of directors, and provides input on the projects and programs in the county's Transportation Expenditure Plan. The plan includes Caltrain improvements, highway and street projects, allocations to cities and the county for local undertakings, paratransit service for people with disabilities, and pedestrian and bike upgrades.

Five committee members term out at the end of May, and there is also a vacant position. Committee members are asked to serve a three-year term. The group meets the Tuesday before the first Thursday of the month at 4:30 p.m. in San Carlos. Members of the advisory committee must be residents of San Mateo County.

Interested people can download an application or apply online at www.smcta/cac or call (650) 508-6223 for more information.

The deadline for submitting applications is May 4.

SF civil grand jury seeks applicants
The San Francisco Superior Court is accepting applications for civil grand jury service for the 2018-19 term.

"As chair of the court's civil grand jury committee, I would like to encourage all San Franciscans who are interested in city government and want to make a difference in this vibrant city to apply to become a member of the civil grand jury," Judge Susan Breall said in news release. "The civil grand jury offers a unique and exciting opportunity to investigate city government, address inefficiencies, and hold the city accountable. This is a remarkable way to become intimately involved in city affairs."

The application deadline is May 18. In order to serve, volunteers must be U.S. citizens; at least 18 years of age; have lived in San Francisco for at least the past 12 months; have no felony convictions; and be able to effectively communicate in English.

The civil grand jury is an independent body and selects its own topics for investigation. Members interview city officials, department heads, staff, and others who have relevant information. The body also has the authority to request data, reports, statistics, and other records to assist in its work.

The term runs from July 1 through June 30, 2019. Interested volunteers should be able to commit time consistently throughout the one-year term. The civil grand jury usually meets once a week, with additional meetings and interviews scheduled as necessary.

Breall said that a combination of diverse backgrounds, skills, and interests makes for the most effective grand jury.

Applications and more detailed information are available at

Cynthia Laird can be reached at


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