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LGBTQ+ Trailblazers of San Francisco

LGBTQ+ Trailblazers of San Francisco
By Dr. William Lipsky

About the Book

From Charles Warren Stoddard, the first openly gay San Franciscan, to Felicia “Flames” Elizondo, the exuberant transgender rights advocate, the LGBTQ+ community is integrally woven into the fabric of the city’s history. Household names like Queen Califia, Charley Parkhurst, Elsa Gidlow, José Sarria and Harvey Milk are celebrated worldwide, while Bert LaRose, Mabel Edison and Clarence Lockett are now largely forgotten. Whether forty-niners, bohemians, beatniks, boomers, hippies, clones or conformists, their fascinating stories contributed to the development of a vibrant community, many simply by being themselves. Join Dr. William Lipsky as he recounts their struggles and achievements in the City by the Bay.

About the Author

Bill Lipsky received his doctorate in history from Carnegie Mellon University. He has been a Visiting Assistant Professor of Education at Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, and a curriculum specialist with the Graduate School of Education, UCLA. He is the author of Gay and Lesbian San Francisco, a docent at the GLBT Museum and a member of the board of directors of the Rainbow Honor Walk. His monthly column, “Faces from Our LGBT Past,” appears in the San Francisco Bay Times

For digital or hard copies for review, contact


  • Title: LGBTQ+ Trailblazers of San Francisco
  • By Dr. William Lipsky
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 9781467151863
  • Price: $23.99
  • On Sale Date: 5/29/2023

About Arcadia Publishing

As the nation’s leading publisher of books of local nonfiction and rarely explored pockets of history, Arcadia’s mission is to connect people with their past, with their communities and with one another. Arcadia has an extraordinary catalog of 17,000 titles exploring the story of America one city, state, or county at a time, including titles from Arcadia Children’s Books and the 100-year-old stalwart publisher, Pelican Publishing. 



Tuesday, June 6, 2023  

Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications,   



Proposed legislation will make over 100 changes to the Planning Code to improve the small business permitting process and reduce restrictions on ground floor commercial spaces   

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed today joined Supervisors Joel Engardio, Matt Dorsey, and Myrna Melgar to introduce legislation to facilitate easier permitting for small businesses, encourage economic recovery and growth, and fill commercial vacancies in San Francisco. This new legislation builds on the work that Mayor Breed has led over the last three years to change how San Francisco supports the ability of small businesses to open and operate, including passing ballot measures and opening a new one-stop shop Permit Center.    

Under the legislation, over 100 changes to the Planning Code will serve to ease restrictions across six main categories:  

  • Allow more business uses on the ground floor  
  • Lift restrictions on bars and restaurants  
  • Incorporate new liquor license for music venues  
  • Ease legalization process for existing outdoor patios  
  • Remove certain public notice requirements  
  • Enable priority processing for nighttime entertainment, bars, and restaurants  

“The success of our recovery requires us to keep making changes to how we support small business in this City,” said Mayor Breed. “Small business owners are some of our most creative people and we want our City to work in concert to get them to ‘yes’ when it comes to bringing their ideas to life. We must change our system of burdensome regulation, taxes, and fees. This legislation is a major milestone towards this effort.”    

In addition to this legislative proposal, Mayor Breed’s proposed budget extends First Year Free, which waives the cost of initial registration fees, initial license fees, first-year permit, and other applicable fees for qualifying businesses. Since the First Year Free program started in 2021, approximately 3,910 businesses have enrolled in the program, with 2,494 of these completely new, and the remainder are existing businesses adding a new location. The City has waived more than $1.37 million in fees since the program started.  

This legislation and extension of the First Year Free program are integral to Mayor Breed’s Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future. One of the nine strategies is to make it easier to start and grow a business. Simplifying City processes while reducing cost will encourage more businesses to start and remain in San Francisco.    

“We aim for San Francisco to be an attractive City for small businesses to begin, evolve, and thrive,” said Small Business Commission President Cynthia Huie. “The Commission is very enthusiastic about the proposed extension of First Year Free and greater flexibility and ease in the Planning Code and what it will mean for our city’s entrepreneurs.”   

Legislative Details  

Allow more business uses on the ground floor and as principally permitted  
Under the legislation “Flexible Retail” would be principally permitted and expanded to all neighborhoods on the ground floor across the City’s commercial corridors. An example of Flexible Retail includes a business that sells both plants and coffee, and then later shifts to selling plants and making small production bags on site. The proposed ordinance will also clarify that multiple uses are allowed in the same business space. Additionally, the legislation will allow “Professional Services” such as accounting, consulting or co-working spaces on the ground floor as principally permitted, opening up ground floor spaces to more opportunities to fill commercial vacancies.   

Lift restrictions on restaurants and bars  
Currently, several commercial corridors have restrictions in place for restaurants and bars, such as not permitting them, imposing a cap on the number of restaurants that can be established, or requiring a Conditional Use Authorization (CUA). Conditional Use Authorization is a lengthy process for businesses to be granted approval for their plans, including providing public notice and attending hearings – CUA can add months to the process of opening a business.   

Under the legislation, those restrictions will be lifted in Chinatown, along Haight Street, Jackson Square, and Taraval Street. Likewise, restrictions on new bars will be lifted along Haight Street, Jackson Square, Pacific Ave, Sacramento Street, and Union Street.   

Incorporate new liquor license for music venues  
The ordinance will incorporate into local Planning Code a new liquor license, Type 90, which was adopted by the State in 2022. This new liquor license type gives venues more options as it allows a music venue to serve beer, wine, and liquor without excluding minors from the business.   

Ease legalization process for existing outdoor patios  
Some of the City’s businesses have long-standing patios that were never permitted. Under the legislation, businesses with unpermitted patios that are at least 10 years old can legalize them without undergoing a Conditional Use Authorization process.   

Remove the public notice requirement in Eastern Neighborhoods Mixed Use Districts for business changes  
In November 2020, voters adopted the “Save our Small Business Initiative” (Proposition H), which reduced the steps a business owner needed to take when they change their business use. Before this, if a clothing store, for example, were to become a café, the change would require that the general public be provided notice about the change for at least 30 days and the business could not receive their Planning Department approvals over-the-counter, even though both types of businesses are permitted in the neighborhood. Under the legislation, these benefits will be expanded to the commercial corridors in the eastern portion of the City.  

Enable nighttime entertainment, bars, and restaurants to benefit from priority processing at Planning Department/Commission  
Currently, nighttime entertainment venues, bars, and restaurants with full liquor licenses are excluded from participation in the Planning Department’s Community Benefit Priority Processing Program (CB3P). Under the legislation, nighttime entertainment venues, bars, and restaurants with full liquor licenses will benefit from expedited Conditional Use Authorization review, which can save a new business from months of waiting for a hearing at the Planning Commission.  

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the city,” said Mike Zwiefelhofer, owner of the Z. Cioccolato fudge shop and Legacy Business in North Beach. “Thriving commercial districts improve our quality of life. Changing the system of burdensome regulation and removing barriers helps creative entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.”   

Previous Efforts to Support Small Business  

This legislation builds on the significant small business reforms Mayor Breed has advanced over the last three years including the passage of Prop H in 2020 and the passage of the Small Business Recovery Act. Since the City began implementing Proposition H in January 2021, over 3,500 businesses have benefited from the program, which allows more commercial projects to be processed within a shorter timeframe, in what’s known as “over-the-counter,” when permits applications are processed immediately upon submission.     

The City also opened the Permit Center in 2021, which offers 23 distinct service areas through the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection, Department of Public Health, Department of Public Works, among others. By centralizing services in one place, customers can move between permitting departments efficiently, resulting in a better experience and improved government function. Since the start of this year, the Permit Center has served an average of 191 customers per day and provides on average 531 services daily.      

More information about San Francisco’s First Year Free program may be found on this page


First Transwoman to Sing National Anthem at a Professional Sporting Event Repeats Performance for SF Giants June 2 in San Francisco

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

First Transwoman to Sing National Anthem at a Professional Sporting Event Repeats Performance for SF Giants June 2 in San Francisco

International Pride Orchestra Debut on June 22
Features Performance by Sinclairé

Breanna Sinclairé
(photo by Spencer Aldworth Brown)

27 May 2023  — San Francisco, CA: Breanna Sinclairé (, the first transgender woman to sing the American national anthem at a professional sporting event, will perform twice in June, celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month. On June 2, Sinclairé will sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the invitation of the San Francisco Giants before their game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oracle Park.  Sinclairé, a native of Baltimore, said she feels honored to kick off Pride Month like this in the face of recent LGBTQ+ attacks. On June 22 Sinclairé will take part in the inaugural concert for the International Pride Orchestra, at the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall  (50 Oak Street, San Francisco). 

“I’m very grateful to the Giants for inviting me back to their stadium and for their support of the LGBTQ+ community,” Sinclairé said. “It’s especially meaningful for me to sing for my hometown team as they play my other hometown team, the Orioles, and to show them that I’m proud of who I am and where I come from.”

Sinclairé made history in June 2015 when she sang the national anthem at the Oakland Athletics Stadium to a crowd of 30,000 for a game between the A’s and the San Diego Padres.  She has since performed the anthem at other sporting events, including for the SF Giants and the San Francisco Deltas. On Memorial May 2021, for an international TV audience,  Sinclairé performed the anthem on CNN’s United Shades of America with W. Kamau BellAn acclaimed professional soprano, Sinclairé has performed with notable classical artists and orchestras at prestigious venues across the United States and in Europe. A graduate of CalArts and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she was the first transwoman of the opera program and has performed in productions of Carmen, The Magic Flute, La Calisto, and more.  In 2022, Sinclairé was featured in the world premiere opera-film Bound produced by Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre.  In June 2022, Sinclairé was one of the stars of the first-ever nationally televised Pride Concert on PBS, True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs.   In 2021, Sinclairé was honored by the San Francisco Business Times with one of its Outstanding Voices awards.

This June 22, Sinclairé will perform for the inaugural concert with the International Pride Orchestra, the world’s first international LGBTQ+ orchestra. The concert will feature works by LGBTQ+ composers and allies, such as Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, Copland, Barber, and Higdon. Tickets are available at

“I’m thrilled to be part of this historic orchestra and to share the stage with talented musicians from all over the world,” said Sinclairé. “Music is a universal language that can unite us and inspire us to celebrate our diversity and our humanity.”

Sinclairé is also the subject of a documentary film, Mezzo, which screened at the 2016 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. She has been featured in Out Magazine’s 2015 “OUT100” list of LGBT Heroes and in San Francisco Magazine’s “The Making of a Diva” article in addition to feature press in The New York Times, National Public Radioand numerous TV appearances. Sinclairé makes her home in San Francisco.

7th Annual Women in Leadership Forum Returns June 23  at the Westin St. Francis

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

7th Annual Women in Leadership Forum Returns
 June 23  at the Westin St. Francis

Hotel Council of San Francisco Event
Aims to Empower Women in the Hospitality Field

Featuring California’s Highest-Ranking Stateswoman

Keynote Address by Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor of California

25 May 2023 – San Francisco, CA: The widely anticipated and wildly popular Women in Leadership Forum from the Hotel Council of San Francisco (, is back for its seventh year – live and in person —  with a half-day program of networking and inspirational speakers. The event will take place Friday, June 23 (8am – 2pm) at The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco with an opening keynote address from Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor of California. Sponsored by Alaska Airlines, the event features a “who’s who” of California leaders from the world of hospitality, travel, government, and tech. Tickets are on sale now at

The program will feature a special lunchtime chat with LinkedIn Career Expert, Catherine Fisher. Moderating this year’s sessions is Ella Sogomonian of KRON 4, with featured speakers and participants including Brooke Jenkins, San Francisco District Attorney; Marisa Rodriguez of Union Square Alliance; Papia Gambelin of United Airlines; Jyoti Sarolia of Ellis Hospitality; Carla Murray and Keri Robinson of Marriott International.

“Every year, we strive to create a platform for women to connect, learn, and grow professionally,” said Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “In 2023, we’re focusing on critical issues like health, well-being, and balance in the workplace. We believe that these are essential elements for women to thrive in their careers, and we’re excited to delve into these topics.”

The event will feature keynote speeches, fireside chats, panel discussions on topics such as combatting imposter syndrome, creating a healthy work-life balance, understanding and leveraging one’s network, broadening communication and negotiation skills, and finding passion and clarifying career goals. A full detailed schedule of panels, honorees and keynote speakers will follow in the coming days.

This year, the Women in Leadership Forum will collaborate with Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco in support of their mission to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. 

Each year, this gathering brings together a diverse group of professionals from various levels within the workplace and from a wide array of backgrounds,” said Bastian.  “Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from an array of curated leaders, who will share their insights, advice, and data supporting women’s career advancement and wage equality.”

Presenting sponsor for the 7th Annual Women in Leadership is Alaska Airlines with additional support from sponsors Expedia Group, United Airlines, and Big Bus San Francisco. 

Tickets and tables for the 7th Annual Women in Leadership Forum are on sale now at

About the Hotel Council of San Francisco:
The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit membership-based organization advocating for the economic and social vitality of the hospitality industry in San Francisco. Their membership roster includes over 200 hotels, allied members, and partner organizations. The Hotel Council is dedicated to protecting the San Francisco hospitality industry and connecting its members to support the growth and success of the industry.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023  

Contact: Mayor’s Communications Office,   



Major legislative changes, administrative reforms, new programs to transform and activate Downtown’s corridor, and other work moving forward as part of plan to revitalize Downtown   

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed today provided a three-month update on the Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future, which is the City’s plan to transform Downtown into a stronger, resilient, economic and global destination.   

Mayor Breed set out her vision for a revitalized Downtown at her State of the City address earlier this year on February 9th when she announced the launch of the Roadmap, along with five key priorities:   

  • An economically diverse and resilient job engine   
  • A welcoming clean and safe environment  
  • A dynamic destination active at all hours, every day   
  • A world class transportation experience   
  • An equitable economy that supports full participation by all     

In the Roadmap’s first three months, the City has reached major milestones that will improve the future of Downtown and San Francisco as a whole, while attracting tourists, workers, and businesses to this important economic corridor.  

“I am proud of the aggressive first steps we’ve taken to support Downtown, but we have a lot more work to do,” said Mayor London Breed. “Reimagining Downtown is going to require long and hard work, and it’s going to require us to have the vision to set our future. It’s in our DNA as San Franciscans to think bigger always and dream of the possibilities of what our City can be, and that’s what the Roadmap is all about.” 

 In May 2023, the key quarterly milestones for the Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future include: 

Strategy 1: Ensure Downtown is clean, safe, and inviting with smart and strategic investments that increase public safety and improve street conditions in a coordinated, efficient, and effective manner.      


  • Passed legislation providing $25 million for police overtime to maintain an adequate level of public safety response and approving a new police contract to improve officer attraction and retention.   
  • Extended contracts for Mid-Market Safety Ambassadors to provide non-police responses to urgent street conditions and Downtown Welcome Ambassadors to help visitors throughout the Financial District, Union Square, and the waterfront.   
  • Announced the Home by the Bay Plan to reduce unsheltered homelessness by half over the next five years.    

“Safe and Clean streets are of the utmost importance when looking at the future of Downtown,” said Wade Rose, President of Advance SF. “This is only the beginning, but we applaud Mayor Breed and City Hall for focusing on this issue and for their execution of initiatives that aim to make Downtown a welcoming neighborhood for all.”  

Strategy 2: Attract and retain a diverse range of industries and employers by identifying and recruiting strategic sectors that support San Francisco’s resilience.   


  • Introduced new tax policy legislation to pause previously scheduled business tax increases for struggling businesses and create an Office Attraction Tax Credit for new office-based businesses through 2028.   
  • Initiated a business tax reform process to make the City’s tax structure more resilient and attractive.    

“I share Mayor Breed’s vision that we must attract and retain a diverse range of businesses and industries to revitalize our downtown,” said Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. “Today’s update to the Roadmap for Downtown San Francisco’s Future is another step towards a safer, cleaner, and more vibrant downtown where residents, visitors, and workers all want to spend time.”  

Strategy 3: Facilitate new uses and flexibility in buildings by maximizing the ability to update and adapt office buildings to meet the needs of new interested tenants.   


  • Introduced Downtown zoning legislation to allow new uses and activities, support new businesses in Union Square, and create an Adaptive Reuse Program for the conversion of underutilized office buildings to housing. This legislation is actively underway and will be heard by the Board of Supervisors in June.  

“The Mayor’s Downtown Roadmap presents a comprehensive vision for the future of downtown, transforming it from a single-use workplace to a vibrant, 24/7, mixed-use district where people from all walks of life feel they belong,” said Sujata Srivastava, San Francisco Director, SPUR. “Office-to-residential conversion projects activate vacant downtown buildings and create much-needed workforce housing in San Francisco. The legislation introduced by the Mayor and President Peskin will remove regulatory hurdles to adapt vacant office spaces into housing and facilitated the adaptation of downtown buildings into diverse businesses. SPUR looks forward to working in partnership with the City to implement additional policies that foster a more resilient and diverse downtown.”  

Strategy 4: Make it easier to start and grow a business by creating transparency, streamlining processes, and building out systems to support new businesses opening in San Francisco.   


  • Launched the Vacant to Vibrant program to match aspiring entrepreneurs and artists with vacant ground floor space Downtown, star-up grants, and permitting assistance.      
  • Announced legislation to simplify small business permitting by removing barriers and allowing more flexibility.  

“I started my jewelry business as a way to share my culture with others, said Superna Grover, owner of local small business, Suvarn Jewels. “The programs the City has put forward now are incredibly helpful for small businesses like mine – the Bhangra and Beats Night Market activation downtown where we were able to have a booth recently as well as the Vacant to Vibrant Pop-Up Small Business program that we’ve applied to, provide much needed exposure for us. We’re so grateful for all of these programs and the policy reforms the Mayor has made around permitting. It’s a great time to start a business in San Francisco!”  

Strategy 5: Grow and prepare our workforce by preparing San Franciscans for growing industry sectors, as well as new ways to unlock housing production and ensure the city has adequate housing to meet the demands of a growing labor force.   


  • Implementing the Mayor’s Housing for All plan by creating new infrastructure financing tools, announcing site permit process reforms, and introducing comprehensive housing streamlining legislation.   
  • Expanding outreach to grow our workforce with hospitality sector, small business, and City job fairs.   

“In the last three months, we have seen Mayor Breed and her team investing in public safety, working with us to recruit and expand our workforce, and leaning into our city’s strengths as an international leader on arts and culture through activations,” said Alex Bastian, President and CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “These activations include the Yerba Buena Art & Makers Market, Union Square in Bloom, Bhangra & Beats Night Market in the Financial District, and the Our Place in the Park AAPI film festival in SOMA. We need to work together to support these actions, as well as other forthcoming investments, that our Mayor is making on behalf of our city.”   

Strategy 6: Transform Downtown into a leading arts, culture, and nightlife destination by creating an entertainment zone and seeding new businesses, events, activities, and experiences for a more vibrant Downtown.   


  • Supporting activations and events including the Yerba Buena Art & Makers Market, Union Square in Bloom, Bhangra & Beats Night Market in the Financial District and the Our Place in the Park AAPI film festival in SOMA.  

“Downtown is the heart of the city and where most visitors choose to stay,” said Joe D’Allesandro, President and CEO of SF Travel. “New reoccurring activations like the Bhangra & Beats Night Market and Yerba Buena Art & Makers Market add incredible vibrancy to Downtown and make San Francisco an even more compelling destination. These types of events, along with annual ones such as the Pride Parade march down Market Street, showcase what makes San Francisco so exciting—its diversity, innovative spirit and positive energy—and help attract visitors from across the globe.”  

Strategy 7: Enhance public spaces to showcase Downtown by investing in enhancing and expanding plazas, alleyways, and other public space to improve people’s experience of Downtown.   


  • Funding the Powell Street Promenade to refresh a key gateway to Union Square and help fill retail vacancies.   
  • Completed the transition of the emergency Shared Spaces program to a permanent tool for street activation.    

“Union Square stands as our crown jewel, a beacon of pride for all San Franciscans and residents of the Bay Area,” said Marisa Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Union Square Alliance. “It is where we gather to work, celebrate life’s moments, and find inspiration. This significant investment by Mayor Breed and Board President Peskin to transform Powell Street will help make an unforgettable first impression for many visitors that sets the tone for the entire city. By attracting businesses and re-establishing a vibrant atmosphere, we lay the foundation for a prosperous future.”  

Strategy 8: Invest in transportation connections to maintain access to Downtown by every mode of transportation available while continuing to improve the reliability, efficiency, and quality of service.   


  • Launched the 1X California Express pilot connecting the Outer Richmond to the Financial District.    
  • Completed protected bike lanes on Battery and Sansome between Market and Broadway.  

“Clean, reliable, and safe transit options are an absolute necessity when it comes to bringing folks back into our cities centers and keeping them thriving,” said Jim Wunderman, CEO and President of Bay Area Council. “For folks to return to San Francisco’s offices, shops, restaurants and more, they must be as accessible as possible. We applaud the Mayor on her work to improve transit to downtown San Francisco and are excited for the investment to come.”  

Strategy 9: Tell our story through proactive marketing to emphasize our strengths and reclaim our brand.   


  • Partnered with SF Travel to launch a national Always San Francisco campaign in May to remind visitors of our unique allure.
  • Released the Make Your Future San Francisco campaign to invite entrepreneurs and innovators Downtown. 

“As the Executive Director of OEWD which is focused on the Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future, I’m thrilled to see the City making such great progress in just three months,” said Kate Sofis, Executive Director of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “The Mayor has set forward a powerful agenda that will bring Downtown, our business community, the arts, and innovation roaring back here in San Francisco — and we’re just getting started.”  

To learn more about Mayor Breed’s vision for San Francisco’s Downtown future, please visit