Author: Alfredo Casuso


Media Contact:  DP&A, Inc. / David Perry (415) 676-7007 / 


WHO: The Union Square Alliance 

WHAT: Strategic Plan Unveiling for Union Square Economic Recovery

WHEN: Tuesday, November 22: 11am


  • Marisa Rodriguez, Union Square Alliance
  • Mayor London N. Breed
  • Kate Sofis, Office of Economic and Workforce Development

In Attendance: San Francisco Police Chief Scott; Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation and Parks; Rich Hillis, San Francisco Planning Department; Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA; Laurie Thomas, Golden Gate Restaurant Association; Alex Bastian, Hotel Council of San Francisco; Cassandra Costello, SF Travel; Representative, SF Chamber; John Sparks, Macy’s Union Square

WHERE: Union Square Plaza Stage


WHY: The nonprofit Union Square Alliance has developed an in-depth strategic plan for the area’s economic recovery and continued sustainable development. Intended to be a critical forward-looking document, the plan seeks to understand, as specifically as possible, how the Union Square District must evolve in order to continue to be an economic engine for the rest of the city.  The plan was developed by the Alliance, working closely with City staff from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), The San Francisco Department of Planning and the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority (SFMTA). 

About the Union Square Alliance:
The Union Square Alliance serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the district’s future success. Union Square is the vibrant heart of San Francisco and an international destination where visitors come to enjoy exceptional retail experiences, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, and great public spaces found only in the City by the Bay. A lively 27-block community surrounding Union Square Park in the heart of San Francisco makes up the Union Square Alliance. It is bordered on the north by Bush Street, on the east by Kearny Street, on the south by Market Street and on the west Taylor Street. For more information on the Alliance, go to 

San Francisco’s Union Square Alliance Presents “Winter Wanderland”

Media Contact: 
DP&A, Inc. / David Perry (415) 676-7007 / 

San Francisco’s Union Square Alliance Presents
“Winter Wanderland” 
November 25 – December 24 

An Enchanting Holiday Village with local merchants, artists, and performers to brighten and revitalize the Heart of the City  

Opening Celebration on Friday, November 25 at 4 pm 

18 November 2022 – San Francisco, CA. San Francisco’s Union Square leans into old-world meets new-world traditions this holiday season with its new Holiday Campaign: Winter Wanderland in Union Square, presented by Union Square Alliance ( “Winter Wanderland” invites visitors to explore the first Holiday Village in Union Square en route to The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink Presented by Kaiser Permanente, Macy’s Great Tree, San Francisco SPCA and Macy’s Union Square 36th annual Holiday Windows, and the Bill Graham Menorah. “Winter Wanderland” encourages locals and tourists alike to “wander” throughout the district, exploring all the holiday activations, old and new, while re-discovering the heart of the City, Union Square, this holiday season.  

The Winter Wanderland’s Holiday Village at Hallidie Plaza (Powell & Market Streets) will open to the public from 12pm-7pm on “Black Friday,” November 25 through Saturday, December 24, with a kick-off opening ceremony at 4 pm on Friday, November 25.

“Winter Wanderland will transform Hallidie Plaza into a festive holiday village,” says Marisa Rodriguez, Executive Director of Union Square Alliance. “Local, handmade gifts, holiday tree decorations, snow flurries, sweets, and warming drinks enhance the space, along with live family-friendly entertainment like magicians and carolers, and a larger-than-life Snow Globe photo opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy”. 

There’s no place like Union Square for the holidays, and this year is even grander than years past. Three years after COVID, our spirit of optimism and renewal will bring new visitors and Bay Area natives to the area’s hotels, restaurants, cocktail lounges, art galleries, theaters, and world-class retail destinations. 

Through November and December, events and promotions throughout Union Square will be updated regularly at and on our popular Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Hashtags: #WinterWanderlandSF #WinterWanderlandinUnionSquare #UnionSquareSF

“The more, the merrier is more than a cliché; it’s a proven activation strategy,” notes Rodriguez, whose efforts over the last year have led to increased foot traffic, and sales, in the area. Additionally, a resolute commitment to and resources for public safety has brought a palpable appreciation from visitors and area businesses. “The activation of public spaces is one of the best ways to restore and reimagine the heart of San Francisco. This is a part of our strategic plan to revitalize the downtown core.” 

Concurrent with and an important part of “Winter Wanderland” is the annual illumination and Holiday decorations throughout the district, including twinkling lights, snowflakes, and oversized ornaments, each uniquely painted by local artists, displayed along the Cable Car Powell Street line. This “Ornament Trail” includes a QR coded scavenger hunt with prizes for participants.

The “Winter Wanderland” holiday village is a pilot program in collaboration between Willy Bietak Productions, owner and operator of The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink presented by Kaiser Permanente, and the Union Square Alliance. “Ice skating is a celebrated holiday tradition in Union Square,” said Willy Bietak of Willy Bietak Productions. “We are so thrilled to be back on the ice for our 15th season. In collaboration with the Alliance, we are looking forward to making the combination of the rink and the Holiday Village a captivating annual event.”  

Safety continues to be a top priority. 24/7 private security will be in place within the Holiday Village, in addition to the popular retired Police Officers Program, augmented by active-duty members of the SFPD, SF Travel Welcome Ambassadors, and Union Square Ambassadors throughout the district team-up to support a welcoming outdoor environment for all to enjoy. 

Hours for the “Winter Wanderland” Holiday Village are:  

  • November 25 – December 24*: 12 pm – 7 pm, daily

*Closed on 11/28, 11/29, 12/5, 12/6 and hours are subject to change  

About Union Square Alliance
The Union Square Alliance serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the district’s future success. Union Square is the vibrant heart of San Francisco, an international destination where visitors enjoy exceptional retail experiences, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, and great public spaces found only in the City by the Bay. A lively 27-block community surrounding Union Square Park in the heart of San Francisco makes up the Union Square Alliance. It is bordered on the north by Bush Street, on the east by Kearny Street, on the south by Market Street, and on the west by Taylor Street. For more information on the Alliance, go to

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Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications,

The public safety initiative will focus on Union Square and other key tourist areas to support the City’s economic recovery, building on the recent expansion of community ambassadors. 

San Francisco, CA – Today Mayor London N. Breed joined Police Chief William Scott, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, and business and community leaders to kick off the 2022 Safe Shopper initiative in and around Union Square for the holiday season. The City will again deploy additional police and community ambassadors to the area for enhanced public safety to maintain a safe shopping experience for visitors, workers and residents.

“The safety of our residents, workers, and visitors is the City’s top priority, and I want to thank our public safety partners for taking every precautionary measure to ensure a successful holiday season,” said Mayor London Breed. “We are taking lessons learned from last year to inform this year’s safety strategy in Union Square and the surrounding areas. As we continue to work on our economic recovery, our public safety staff and community partners are focused on making sure everyone has a welcoming and positive experience supporting our local businesses.”

Following the 2021 mass organized retail theft incident in Union Square that brought felony charges to multiple people, Mayor Breed announced a new safety initiative in tandem with the San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) rollout of the Community Ambassador program, which is comprised of civilian retired police officers hired for their training and experience in community engagement. After the launch of this effort last year, SFPD reported a significant decrease in crime from November 20 through December 6 compared to the preceding 16-day period:

67% decrease in assault
91% decrease in burglary
82% decrease in larceny/theft
100% decrease in motor vehicle theft
Compared to last year the City has not seen the same elevation in crime going into this holiday season, largely attributed to a scaled-up presence in the Union Square area which has helped deter criminal activity. The goal of the Safe Shopper initiative is to continue these efforts.

“The San Francisco Police Department is committed to public safety. We want everyone in our city to have a safe and happy holiday season,” said Police Chief Bill Scott. “Our department is committed to working collaboratively with our elected officials, city agencies, the business community, SF travel, and residents of our community to ensure the safety of everyone living in and visiting San Francisco. Whether you’re coming here to shop, to dine, or visit one of our many historical landmarks, we are committed to keeping everyone in San Francisco safe.”

“I am proud to join Mayor Breed, the San Francisco Police Department and our many community and business partners to ensure a safe holiday experience for our residents, workers and visitors,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “I look forward to visiting Union Square every year with my family during the holidays, for the great shopping, amazing lights, ice skating and so much more. Keeping each other safe is important all the time, everywhere, but especially important during the holidays. Addressing crimes against retailers and businesses is essential to restoring public safety. While the goal is to prevent crime, we stand ready to prosecute criminal behavior.”

Similar to last year, the City will work with SFPD to limit points of entry on Union Square with some street closures to automobile traffic as added safety measures. In addition to a ramped-up police presence in and around Union Square, the City plans to increase patrol in Union Square parking garages by SFPD, the Park Rangers, and security personnel. More SFPD Community Ambassadors will be deployed to Union Square as part of the Safe Shopper initiative.

Last month, Mayor Breed announced the expansion of the City’s community ambassador program throughout downtown BART/MUNI stations and key tourist areas, to include hiring more SFPD Community Ambassadors as part of ongoing work to address public safety incidents and revive San Francisco’s economic core. The expansion will also include an increase to Ambassador presence throughout Union Square with an emphasis on adding posts to Market Street between 4th and 5th streets by Thanksgiving.

“San Francisco has planned an exciting, innovative, and welcoming holiday shopping season with special events and activities lined up for the entire family. As we kick our holidays into gear, we want to make this special time of the year is easy and fun for the thousands of visitors that will visit Union Square and spend local this season,” said Kate Sofis, Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “We proud of the collective efforts of our public safety agencies and community ambassadors working in collaboration to create a festive environment for guests and businesses alike and I am grateful for their commitment to the Safe Shopper Initiative which is essential to our economic recovery.”

“San Francisco’s Union Square is synonymous with the holidays for San Franciscans, Bay Area residents, and visitors alike,” said Marisa Rodriguez, Executive Director of Union Square Alliance. “As such, safety continues to be a top priority this holiday season. We want to thank our Mayor London Breed, Police Chief Scott, new District Attorney Brook Jenkins, and our City leaders for ensuring a safe and welcoming holiday experience for all to enjoy.”

Union Square is a worldwide destination for tourists offering over 3 million square feet of retail space to include 37 hotels, which is essential to the City’s economic recovery and core to retail and tourism sectors. The area will transform into the epicenter of San Francisco’s holiday programming.

Earlier this month, Mayor Breed joined Macy’s for the official Holiday Tree lighting signaling the official start of the season. The newly opened Safeway Ice Skating Rink will complement the Holiday Market at Hallidie Plaza, designed to offer a festive environment featuring handmade gifts, food and beverages, and live entertainment by local vendors. The seasonal programming will help culminate the “Winter Wanderland” Campaign led by the Union Square Alliance.

The City will also offer free viewing parties for the upcoming World Cup games in Union Square on November, 25, 26, and 27th. For more information, please visit


BuildOUT CA and L.A. Metro to Host Event at L.A. Union Station to Discuss LGBTQ+ Contractors Participation in Metro Contract Opportunities

Media Contact:

David Perry & Associates, Inc. / (415) 676-7007 /

Jose Ubaldo, Metro Media Relations (213) 922-3087 

BuildOUT CA and L.A. Metro to Host Event at L.A. Union Station to Discuss LGBTQ+ Contractors Participation in Metro Contract Opportunities

3 November 2022 –  Los Angeles, CA: BuildOUT CA and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will convene an event – today, Thursday, November 3, 2022 –  at Los Angeles Union Station to discuss a historic invitation for LGBTQ+ contractors to do business with Metro. 

BuildOUT CA, the nation’s premier LGBTQ+ construction industry association and Metro, one the nation’s largest transportation agencies, will collaborate for the first time to increase the pool of qualified LGBTQ+ contractors, consultants, and material suppliers bidding on design, construction and maintenance contract opportunities issued by the agency.

“This collaboration is historic on a number of levels,” stated Paul Pendergast, President of BuildOUT California. “In addition to safely moving over 800,000 passengers a day, Metro is one of California’s largest economic engines with an annual budget of over $8 billion, which generates thousands of jobs within the design and construction industry,” he stated.  “Until recently, the contributions of LGBTQ+ businesses and workers within the construction industry have been invisible. This collaboration is going to be a ‘game-changer’ on the statewide, national, and international level.”

The event to launch this landmark collaboration will take place on Thursday, November 3, 2022, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Union Station’s Ticket Concourse Room. Interested parties wishing to attend this event must register at

“At Metro, we are always looking to establish new partnerships with small, disadvantaged and veteran business enterprises,” said Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. “BuildOUT CA provides us with another opportunity for us to partner with qualified firms, especially women seeking Metro contract opportunities.”   

Metro will invite BuildOUT California’s LGBTQ+ & Allied Associates to participate in technical assistance training programs, small business support services and events focused on building relationships with new, and future, prime contractors who are building competitive teams to pursue contracts in the competitive bidding process at Metro. Metro and BuildOUT California will also distribute materials related to contract opportunities in planning, design, engineering, construction and program management, cost controls, construction services, material supplies, and maintenance.  

“One of the ways we’re focused on inclusion and belonging is by ensuring our contractors are reflective of the communities we serve, and that includes LGBTQ+, minority, women-owned and other small business enterprises. Metro is working with BuildOUT California to ensure that all communities have access to the multitude of opportunities available through contracting with Metro,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins.

“My construction and project management firm has grown substantially as a result of Metro’s SBE Prime programs and their commitment to small and disadvantaged firms,” stated Marcy Szarama, President of Los Angeles-based corporation Destination Enterprises. “As a woman, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, we have been able to break through some of the concrete ceilings found within the construction industry, but we have a long way to go,” she added.  “Metro has so much construction work coming up as we prepare for the 2028 Olympics that we need to continue building the pool of qualified firms bidding on these projects and LGBTQ+ firms bring great talent, innovation and cost-effective services to the construction industry.”

Metro serves as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder, and operator for Los Angeles County and BuildOUT California ( is the world’s largest industry association dedicated to the sustainable development of LGBTQ+ & Allied businesses in Architecture, Engineering, Construction-services, and Real Estate Development.

Metro’s Diversity & Economic Opportunity Department (DEOD) is a unit of Vendor/Contract Management. DEOD is responsible for all of Metro’s small business programs, including MetroConnect.  Its role is to champion ingenuity, commitment and can-do spirit within Metro and to the larger community. It does this by notifying about contract opportunities, promoting transparency in our procurement processes, advocating for a level-playing field and fostering improved communications. For more information about DEOD, visit:

Interviews Scheduled Upon Request:

Paul Pendergast, President, BuildOUT California  

Marcy Szarama, President, Destination Enterprises & Co-Chair, BuildOUT California Transportation Working Group (TWG)

About Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is building the most ambitious transportation infrastructure program in the United States and is working to greatly improve mobility through its Vision 2028 Plan. Metro is the lead transportation planning and funding agency for L.A. County and carries about 800,000 boardings daily on a fleet of 2,200 low-emission buses and six rail lines.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at,, and and

About BuildOUT California

BuildOUT California is the world’s first LGBTQ+ Industry Association dedicated to the sustainable growth of LGBTQ+-owned & certified businesses, and our allies, in the fields of Architecture, Engineering, Construction Services, Real Estate Development, and Related Industries.

“Queer the Vote” Ads Aim to Increase Voting Among LGBTQ+ Community Members Younger than 30

Media Contact: David Perry / (415) 676-7007 /
Frank Rodriguez: (213) 793-1244 /

“Queer the Vote” Ads Aim to Increase Voting Among LGBTQ+ Community Members Younger than 30

31 October 2022 — San Francisco, CA: Queer the Vote is a series of 8 online ads aimed at getting under-30 LGBTQ+ to vote on November 8th.

With a conservative wave threatening our rights, photographer Blake Little, graphic artist Sean Adams and copywriters Jeffrey Hilbert and Frank Rodriguez felt compelled to do something.

Blake Little explains, “If every single young LGBTQ+ American voted, this could make the crucial difference in tight elections around the country. I want queer youth to know they have a powerful voice in our political arena.” 

The group is hoping people will repost and retweet the ads to get the message out before the election. The diverse group of individuals pictured in the ads were happy to approve the use o their images for our little grassroots campaign.

Why is this effort important? Many midterm races are going to be close and we need every vote to safe LGBTQ+ rights and our Democracy.

According to a 2022 HRC study, in the 2022 Midterm election, “LGBTQ+ identified people account for one-in ten (11.3%) people in the voting eligible population (adults age 18+) in the United States. Younger generations are much more likely to identify as LGBTQ+, including 27% of Generation Z (born 1997-2003) 15.6% of Millennials (born 1981 – 1996)”