The Homes They’ve Haunted

I remember raspberry jelly and dead fish all over the kitchen floor. I remember feeling the earth shake like a wet dog and watching the air around it vibrate into particles like water lifting off its coarse surface. A month later we carried what was left in bags from Los Angeles, the city of riots and earthquakes, of fungus and fever chewing the smog bitten air, to Cornwall, on the south west tip of the English island, where the air looked like a wool sweater.

Days there at Goonwinnow Farm started for me when our mother released us children into the lush, moist landscape. Above us the the sky was drooping gray everywhere down to the horizon and illuminated within by a strange tone of sunlight trying to break through it. The hills were green, rolling and dipping one after another as far as I could see in one direction, and as far as the edge of a deep forest in the other direction. Continue reading “The Homes They’ve Haunted”


How To Survive

We rode into Oakland on a warm day, keeping the windows down all the way across the bridge. Everything there had the feeling of unfinished plywood, so refreshing and new to me after so long in the increasingly refined San Francisco. The buildings in Oakland were low and the skyline opened up a view of hills all the way across town. The air was turning copper. When the car stopped at a red light a bespeckled Chinese man in a chocolate colored suite crossed the street, his fingers pinched a smoldering cigarette. We parked along an empty lot near Lake Merritt. Rachel cut off the car engine and I filled the silence with, “I think I like it here”.

“I think I prefer it,” she said. Continue reading “How To Survive”

San Francisco’s Years of Terror

The early morning hour, August 28, 1971: Sergeant George Kowalski, a clear faced young man, with big owl like eyes, and a firm neck, is working the midnight watch for Mission Station. He stops his cruiser at a red light, at 16th and Folsom Streets. Today marks about five weeks for him as Sergeant in the San Francisco Police Department. The day also falls in the middle of one of the most violent periods the City has ever lived through.

Ahead, Kowalski sees the headlights of a speeding car coming towards him, furiously sparkling like the eyes of a hungry animal. The car switches lanes and crosses the intersection, stopping about twenty feet away from the young Kowalski- a Mission high graduate, born in Chicago. Kowalski looks over. He can see two men in the neighboring car through their open window. Then he sees something else, pointing at him like a mocking tongue. It is the barrel of a sub machine gun. Continue reading “San Francisco’s Years of Terror”

The Saga of the Gold Dust Lounge


“Lowbrow culture and contrarian politics in the capital of the west coast. This issue features fiction by Robert Mailer Anderson and his uncle, Bruce Anderson, some history by founder David Talbot, a heartbreaking story about the artist S. Clay Wilson (foreword by Ron Turner) and wicked political insights,” writes Argonaut Editor-in-Chief, the late Warren Hinckle

I worked for Warren as the associate editor on this issue and wrote the cover story on “the Gold Dust extraction.” 

New HRC Prez Visits the Castro

Starting his new job a day early and outside of Washington, D.C., Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin made a quick stop in San Francisco last weekend, where he met with friends of the late Supervisor Harvey Milk and toured Milk’s former camera store, now the site of HRC’s store and action center.

While in the Castro Sunday, June 10, Griffin offered a glimpse of his agenda as he starts his tenure at the country’s largest LGBT rights organization and has made it clear that LGBT youth will be near the top of the list.

I covered San Francisco news and politics for the Bay Area Reporter from the end of 2011 to 2013. Read the full article here.

D5 Candidates Square Off At Debate

The first of what is likely to be many forums among the candidates for District 5 supervisor was held Wednesday, August 8, at the public library’s Park Branch. If nothing else came from the evening, which was more about candidates introducing themselves to voters and jockeying for the District 5 Democratic Club endorsement than heated discussion on the issues, a few of them inadvertently came up with some great campaign slogans.

They could go something like this, and be posted on fliers and posters from the far corner of Lincoln Way to the end of Geary and in the Haight: John Rizzo, he’s been caught on Muni in the tunnel for half an hour. Julian Davis keeps it real. And finally, Christina Olague is thrilled and excited to be serving the community as District 5 supervisor.

Though running to maintain her seat in City Hall, Olague is just like the other candidates in that she has never been elected to the Board of Supervisors.

I covered San Francisco news and politics for the Bay Area Reporter from the end of 2011 to 2013. Read the full article here.

City College Feels the Heat After Stinging Report

It was not a hot night. But before speakers began to address the crowd packed into the Rainbow Room at the LGBT Community Center Monday for an emergency town hall meeting on the fate of City College of San Francisco, one man in the front row stood up, sweat soaking the back of his gray polo shirt.

No question, for CCSF, the heat is on.

Its future as an accredited community college, the largest of all accredited colleges in California with about 90,000 students, many of them part of the LGBT community, has been in question since early June, after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges issued a blistering report saying CCSF would need to “show cause why its accreditation should not be terminated” by October 15, according to a report sent to interim Chancellor Pamila Fisher on July 2, or lose its accreditation.

I covered San Francisco news and politics for the Bay Area Reporter from the end of 2011 to 2013. Read the full article here.