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Archive for the ‘San Francisco mayor’ Category

Still no plan

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on October 10, 2007

There’s still no plan for how the city hopes to deal with Halloween in the Castro. It’s like watching a train wreck, in slow motion. You know it’s going to be mayhem, yet you can’t help but watch the disaster unfold.

Posted in Bay Area, Castro Street, Citizens for Halloween, Gavin Newsom, Halloween in the Castro, Halloween party, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco mayor, SFPD, The Castro | 1 Comment »

Recipe for disaster or party organizing opportunity

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 9, 2007

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This report in the SF Chronicle details the ongoing trainwreck of city government efforts to deal with the infamous Halloween party in the Castro. After last year’s shootings and stabbing, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Bevan Dufty promised to convene a task force to look into how to make the Castro party safer this year. But the task force never met because the consensus in city government was to cancel the event altogether. Then, an effort was made to set up a diversionary event on the waterfront to draw people away from the Castro and give them a party to go to on Halloween. The promoter for that event cancelled however, and now the city insists that there will be no Halloween party in the Castro, and no alternative party anywhere else.

The problem with this, of course, is that people are going to show up in the Castro on Halloween anyway. Many of those who attend might even be a little pissed off at Newsom’s and Dufty’s bad faith in all of this. The police won’t block off the streets or provide porta-potties for the Halloween party, but that won’t stop thousands of people from showing up and taking over the streets. The perfect scenario for a riot.

I propose that people consider this the perfect opportunity to organize Halloween in the Castro against the wishes of San Francisco’s city government instead. Here’s how it could be done:

1) Get together all the pro-party/pro-entertainment forces in the city, from folks like SF Party Party to promoters of other SF events shut down or hassled by the city (How Weird Street Fair, Haight-Ashbury Street Fair, etc.) to like-minded individuals and organizations in the LGBT community. Put together a statement openly defying Newsom and Dufty that calls for people to come to the Castro on Halloween to celebrate. Publicize this statement, and the ongoing debate about Halloween in the Castro, in sympathetic local media like the SF Bay Guardian. Maybe get a few of the mayoral candidates (Josh Wolf, Chicken John, Chris Daly) to endorse the statement.

2) Organize outreach to businesses in the Castro asking them to defy Newsom and Dufty, and to stay open late on Halloween. Reward them with increased patronage before, during, and after Halloween.

3) Use sympathetic local media, email, websites, word-of-mouth, etc. to publicize that there will indeed be a party on Halloween in the Castro, and give those who wish to attend suggestions on how to deal with problems, to include gang and police violence.

4) Ask for volunteers to help with security on Halloween, then have a number of training sessions to organize and prepare these volunteers. Give them something distinctive to wear, and make sure they can cope, not just with crowd problems, but with a potentially hostile police force.

5) Organize alternative entertainment for Halloween in the Castro. This might require highly mobile, guerrilla events that stay one step ahead of the police. It also might involve enlisting willing local merchants to provide venues for acts and events. From portable streetcorner stages to roving DJs, all of this entertainment will be strictly DIY.

The only way people are going to be able to save Halloween in the Castro is to take it away from SF city officials and the SFPD and run it themselves.

———

PS — Here‘s SF Party Party’s take on Newsom cancelling Halloween in the Castro. A touch rabid, but a voice worth listening to nevertheless.

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Posted in anti-suburbanization, Bay Area, Bevan Dufty, Carnaval, Castro Street, Chicken John, Chris Daly, City Living, Eureka Valley, Fillmore Jazz Festival, Gavin Newsom, gay, gentrification, Giulianism, Haight Street Fair, Haight-Ashbury, Halloween in the Castro, How Weird Street Fair, Josh Wolf, LGBT, Matt Gonzalez, NIMBY, NIMBYism, police, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco mayor, San Francisco Party Party, SFPD, The Castro, Tom Ammiano, yuppie | 1 Comment »

Mayor Josh Wolf?

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 7, 2007

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Josh Wolf, the journalist who refused to hand over DVR outtakes of a 2005 anti-G8 riot in SF to a grand jury and was jailed for his efforts, announced on July 4 that he’s running for mayor. He attended the Progressive Convention last month and was apparently dismayed that no major SF progressive stepped forward to take on Gavin Newsom. Without further comment, here is his platform:

1) Open Government: As mayor I will wear a mounted streaming camera while working on all official business so that the public can take part in a truly open and transparent government. It may be possible that city codes dictate that certain meetings be confidential, in which case I will have a notice posted explaining why I am offline.

2) Crime: The homicide rate in San Francisco is out of control, and the Board’s plan for neighborhood policing is vital towards staving off this deplorable trend. I would like to adopt the Board’s plan and will work to expand it further to make foot patrols the dominant form of policing in the city and county of San Francisco.

3) Homelessness: There are far too many people in this city living without permanent shelter and something must be done to support these residents as they struggle to put their lives back together. As mayor I will work to develop a series of city beautification and beatification programs which will provide employment for those able to work. Unfortunately some significant portion of the homeless population is not physically or psychologically fit to join the work force, and I will be calling for the scores of homeless support organizations in San Francisco to join me and The City for a caucus to discuss how we can best work together to solve homelessness in San Francisco.

4) Public Transportation: Muni needs to be free for city residents, and I would like to see it free for visitors as well. I will look into passing on the additional cost to downtown business interests as well as exploring possible approaches towards taxing those who elect to use automobiles in The City. This could be done by establishing a fee for driving into the city or perhaps attaching fees to all vehicles registered within San Francisco.

5) Federal Funding: I will work to establish a ten-year plan to sever all federal funding from the city budget. While this is obviously an economically uncertain approach, the federal government’s money creates an unfortunate means for the Feds to intervene in all sorts of city business. My own incarceration is one such example, but far more pressing concerns include the mandates established under No Child Left Behind.

6) Gay Marriage: It is a shame that San Francisco is no longer offering marriage license’s to gay and lesbian couples. I propose that San Francisco look into offering a county marriage license to supplement the state documents The City now provides. Although the state of California refuses to support and honor gay marriage, the city and county of San Francisco should provide a way for people who love each other to formalize that love through marriage.

7) Medicinal Marijuana: The people of San Francisco have come out in support of medicinal marijuana in previous elections and it is of critical importance that The City continue to respect the voters’ wishes. San Francisco must make every effort to prevent Federal Law enforcement from interfering with state and local law and work to stop the harassment and intimidation of patients, their caregivers, and the dispensaries that serve our community.

8 ) Biking: I will partner with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to see that bike lanes are constructed on all major traffic thoroughfares.

9) Halloween: The annual Castro celebration has grown too large to safely accommodate the partygoers who gather each year. I will propose a plan to encourage every neighborhood that’s interested to host their own Halloween celebration. Doing so will decrease the massive crowds in the Castro and allow each neighborhood to develop an event that fits its own character. While this approach will certainly increase the demand on police resources I am convinced that it will actually result in safer and more enjoyable revelry for all.

10) Independence: As an avid supporter of a free and independent San Francisco, I will introduce a city ballot measure to provide an opportunity for the people of San Francisco to attain city sovereignty which I hope to derive from the ballot measure I helped draft three years ago. The residents of our city have united around at least three issues that are in direct contradiction with US policy (Iraq, gay marriage, and medical marijuana) and we should be given the opportunity to divorce ourselves from federal intervention on these and other issues of vital importance to our community.

His blog can be found here.

Posted in Gavin Newsom, Josh Wolf, politics, progressives, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco mayor | 1 Comment »