Category Archives: State Senator Scott Wiener

No More Gun Shows At SF’s Cow Palace If CA Sen. Scott Wiener Gets His Way

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – A new California senate bill would put an end to gun shows at the Cow Palace, an issue that has been the subject of debate for years. Known as SB281, the measure would also transfer ownership of the event space to a new board made up of local representatives.

The Cow Palace has been a fixture in the Bay Area since it opened almost 80 years ago, and one group says if the bill passes, it would effectively lead to the arena being torn down.

A local cheerleading competition occupied the main amphitheater at the Cow Palace on Saturday, as cheers and pop music echoed through the concrete hallways. It’s one of hundreds of small community events held her every year.

“It promotes shows here that can’t afford Oracle arena. This cheerleading event can’t afford the Chase Arena because it’s a cheerleading event, not the Warriors,” says Kevin Patterson. He is the Executive Director of the Coalition to Save the Cow Palace. He also organizes the Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace every year.

Patterson is concerned for the future of the Cow Palace because of SB 281.

The measure was introduced by state Senator Scott Wiener, last month. It would transfer ownership of the Cow Palace from the State Department of Agriculture to a joint-powers authority, made up of representatives from San Francisco, Daly City and San Mateo County.

Wiener says the Cow Palace has outlived its usefulness. He says the site needs millions of dollars of maintenance and repairs to be a viable events space moving forward, adding there are plenty of alternative locations for these types of community events.

“This is about making sure that the local community can actually have a say in what happens at the Cow Palace and what the future holds,” said Sen. Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco.

One of the main reasons there is so much interest in the property is its size. Almost 70 acres, the Cow Palace has 250,000 square feet of events space and a 14,000-seat amphitheater.

“It’s right now being very under-utilized. The community has wanted something to happen with that property for a long time. Housing, mixed use development,” said Wiener.

Patterson worries if a local board takes control, they will only look at the value of the real estate. He thinks the board may not consider the importance of the Cow Palace as an affordable community events space. Each year it hosts everything from the Grand National Rodeo, to dog shows, to the Christmas Fair.

He also points out the history of the Cow Palace. There are dozens of signatures on the box office wall from some of the greatest artists of our time, like Elvis Presley, who performed at the Cow Palace in 1970.

“It’s not the place to solve the housing crisis, that’s for sure. There are lots of other places to build houses. You don’t need to bulldoze history and an important community asset,” said Patterson.

Senator Wiener says the bill does not dictate what happens with the property. That will be up to you he newly created joint powers authority board. He said there could be a compromise.

“You can have the Cow Palace there, and also take a portion of this mega-massive parking lot and turn it into housing and retail,” said Wiener.

If the SB281 passes, it would pass ownership of the Cow Palace to the local board on January 1, 2021.

There is a sub-committee hearing scheduled next Wednesday to discuss the bill.

California Bill Would Limit Genitalia Surgery For Children

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California doctors would be barred from treating or performing surgery on children born with genitals that don’t fit a single gender or are otherwise atypical unless it’s medically necessary or the child consents, under a bill unveiled Monday.

It’s the latest effort by state legislators to give minors more control over their bodies and gender identities.

“The fundamental premise of the legislation is that people should make decisions about their own bodies,” said Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, the bill’s sponsor. “In California we strongly believe that people are who they are and that we shouldn’t be telling people who they are supposed to be.”

Doctors, though, said the bill may go too far in restricting how they can treat patients. The California Medical Association hasn’t taken a formal position on the bill but has “very serious concerns” that include the bill’s lack of a definition around when a minor is old enough to consent.

“Our concern is that the approach in this bill may be being overly prescriptive and not give families and medical professionals the ability to take the specifics of each case into account,” Janus Norman, senior vice president for governmental relations, said in a statement.

The bill focuses on intersex minors, defined as someone who is born with atypical physical sex characteristics, which could include genitals or internal organs that don’t conform to a single gender.

InterACT, a nonprofit working to expand rights for intersex youth, estimates just less than 2 percent of the U.S. population has some type of intersex characteristic. That includes a broad range of characteristics ranging from an enlarged clitoris or a misplaced urethra opening on the penis to genitalia that don’t clearly match one gender.

About one in 2,000 babies are estimated to have visible genital differences putting them at risk of early surgery, said Kimberly Zieselman, the group’s executive director. Unnecessary surgeries could mistakenly identify a child’s preferred gender or, in cases unrelated to gender, leave scarring or affect future fertility, she said.

“It’s not just a gender issue,” Zieselman said. “There are a lot of other harms that happen to many intersex people as a result of the interventions that are psychological and physical.”

Under Wiener’s bill, doctors and parents wouldn’t be allowed to move ahead with treatment or surgery unless it is medically necessary, such as something that would prevent a child from urinating. Treatments or surgeries outlined in the bill include removal or reduction of the clitoris or removal of the ovaries or testis. It could also bar additional procedures not specifically outlined in the bill.

If a doctor considers surgery medically necessary, he or she would need parental consent. If the treatment isn’t necessary, the doctor and parents would have to wait until the child is old enough to give consent and obtain approval for any procedures.

The bill doesn’t define when a minor can give consent. It is intentionally vague, Wiener’s office said, and would rely on guidelines already in state law around when a child is able to consent on certain medical procedures. The California Medical Association cited that as a reason for concern.

“There are also serious questions about the nature and legal threshold for informed consent as used in the bill,” Norman said.

Under current medical guidelines, doctors form teams of experts, including psychologists or urologists, to evaluate each individual circumstance. Considering the physical and emotional health of the future child is a key piece of the evaluation, Norman said.

Under the bill, doctors could not be criminally held responsible if they violate the law but could be disciplined by the state’s medical board.

Wiener said his office will work with the medical association if it has constructive feedback.