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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Jun 12 1996
Pepper Report
A San Francisco coroner's report released on May 31 concludes that a cocaine overdose killed Mark Garcia, the Milbrae resident who died in custody after being pepper sprayed during a confrontation with San Francisco police officers in April (see "Dead Heat," May 15). The report also listed obesity and heart enlargement as contributing factors. But Chief Medical Examiner Boyd Stephens left open the possibility that pepper spray and "positional asphyxia" may have played undetermined roles in Garcia's death. Witnesses say that the 331-pound Garcia was transported in a police van to S.F. General Hospital on his stomach -- a clear violation of SFPD guidelines on the use of pepper spray.

Frederick Remer, the Hayward attorney representing Garcia's family, called the coroner's report and separate SFPD investigations a "whitewash." Remer promised a civil lawsuit against the Police Department within two months.

A Lesson in Labor
City library administrators, desperately needing to reshelve their newly enlarged collection of books, thought it might be a good summer job for high-schoolers. Not so fast, said the Librarians Guild. The union reportedly balked, worried that a low-pay classification for the youths might eventually put more than summer teens in those $5- and $6-an-hour jobs. This prompted a series of negotiations -- which might just conclude by the end of July ... in time for school to start again.

Tinseltown Tizzy
It was apparently a scene out of The Greatest Story Ever Told. Or maybe it was The Silence of the Lambs.

"Sad? Yes. A man has had part of his life taken away because he was made to be the sacrificial lamb." That's the voice of Scott R. Watson, from a recent letter to Willie Brown. Watson is an assistant movie producer. People think Hollywood doesn't care. But it does, and right now it's in a tizzy about the Brown-ordered transfer -- after 16 years -- of Lt. Dennis Schardt from the post of commander of the SFPD's Movie Detail. "It's devastating to me," says Schardt.

Did Schardt look cross-eyed at Sean Connery during the filming of The Rock? Apparently not. The industry loves him. At least a dozen ponytail-and-Lexus types have called the mayor, Don Johnson among them, says Schardt. Line producer/production manager Robert Mendelsohn added his pen to the campaign: "I intend to wait before I bring a feature or T.V. project to San Francisco until the climate toward the Film Industry has [sic] found to be favorable, efficient and knowledgeable."

Dog Bites says let them film the cable cars in L.A.

Good Show
Days after SF Weekly reported on the lack of health benefits for the domestic partners of some Fine Arts Museums employees (see "The Art of Discrimination," Bay View, May 29), the museums' board of directors voted to extend the benefits to domestic partners.

The board's vote not only gives domestic partners access to the Fine Arts Museums' benefits packages, but pays for the insurance as well. That's a perk that legal spouses have enjoyed for years, but that domestic partners rarely, if ever, get to enjoy.

"We are trying to do the right thing," Harry Parker, director of the Fine Arts Museums, said Tuesday.

"It's a whole new precedent," art world watchdog Jeff Jones says, admiringly. "It demands that if you have a benefits package treating straight people one way it should have benefits treating gay people the same way. Harry Parker just stepped right over the barrier."

Gordon Young, Lisa Davis, Bill Wyman, Ellen McGarrahan


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