Guardian Intelligence

Virgil's Sea Room, queer education in schools, Ron Lanza memorial, Sean Parker's nuptials ... what you need to know this week



We had lunch this week with a Silicon Valley insider who had an interesting take on the tech boom in SF. The way we heard it, the established Valley crowd isn't all that happy with the upstarts up the Peninsula: All this social media stuff (and all the money that's gone with it) has eclipsed the role of the companies that actually make something. The silicon chip — that little sliver of material that makes all of the rest of this possible — isn't sexy any more. When it comes to VC money, it's all about the next Twitter, not the next Intel. Those uppity kids; no respect for their elders.


Friends and admirers of the late impresario Ron Lanza — and there are plenty — will gather Saturday/15 at El Rio to celebrate his life and legacy. Lanza was one of the giants of the early LGBT movement in the Bay Area and the founder of Valencia Rose and Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint. He helped launch the careers of Whoopie Goldberg, Marga Gomez, and Margaret Cho, kept queer arts alive and lively through the worst of the AIDS pandemic, and created the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center. The memorial is from 11am — 1pm, and features an open mic, where it's safe to say you'll hear some amazing, funny, and poignant stories.


Wow, Sean Parker! We haven't heard so much about a wedding since Kate Middleton and Prince William! The Napster founder and Facebook billionaire has now embarrassed a growing list of state politicians and industry leaders who showed up at a nice ceremony in the redwoods to discover that the place had been bulldozed, built up with concrete, and turned into something of a Lord of the Rings set that violated state coastal protection laws. Lite Guv Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris were reportedly there, and are ducking comment. Newark Mayor Cory Booker was also there, and the guest list, according to the British tabs, included Sting and his wife Trudie, Allison Williams, Emma Watson, Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, Perry and Etty Farrell and Lucian Grainge.

A year from now, most of the celebs will deny ever showing up.


Simon Snellgrove, the developer who wants to build ultra-luxury condos at 8 Washington, appears to be getting desperate. He's facing a November referendum that would overturn the Board of Supervisors vote approving an exemption from the waterfront height limits, and polls show that most voters don't like highrise buildings on the water. So he's spent $850,000 collecting signatures for a competing ballot measure that would approve the project, state records show. And he's resorted to a highly unusual tactic: He's trying to sic the Internal Revenue Service on project opponents. Kevin Heneghan, attorney for Snellgrove's group, has asked the feds (who are already in a bit of trouble for investigating political groups) to look into whether Friends of Golden Gateway illegally used tax-deductible contributions to lobby against the project. (The evidence for that is pretty darn thin.)

It's pretty common in this town to file complaints against your opponents with the Ethics Commission and the Fair Political Practices Commission (oh, and by the way, the FPPC has already nailed Snellgrove for a prior campaign violation). But bringing in the IRS? That's a pretty new one. "How politically tone deaf can you be?" asked project foe Jon Golinger.

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