I am surprised and saddened by Supervisor Dufty’s unilateral decision to stop Halloween in the Castro.
I agree that we must put an end to the threats to the community and the property damage that occurs every year. But people will continue to congregate for this long standing and community-inspired event, even if the city “cancels” the party. It is a gathering that has happened for decades, with or without official involvement. Stopping the annual Halloween gathering would take an army of police in riot gear – I shudder at the thought.
What we need is creative leadership, not alarmist policies. Let’s use better policing and imaginative event management, including more and varied entertainment sources, and volunteers gathering donations at the gate. So as to deter spectators, the entrance “fee” should be discounted for costumed guests, and free for the community residents and merchants.
Supervisor Dufty’s plan to offer a substitute event could be a disaster. Withdrawing the City’s management of the Castro event could become very dangerous for those who continue to attend. Holding an alternative event would stretch our emergency services too thin on Halloween night.
Halloween in the Castro symbolizes what many of us love about San Francisco: diversity, creativity, and freedom of expression. Yet every year City officials become more hostile to large cultural events that express San Francisco’s unique character, like the North Beach festivals, Reggae in the Park, and the How Weird Street Fair.
Canceling Halloween would not be an isolated neighborhood decision, it is a significant act that makes San Francisco a less fun, less interesting and less tolerant place to live.
Candidate for District 8 Supervisor
Rob Black is a joke. There is no way in hell I will believe that Chris Daly would ever turn his back on any of his constituents. The Sentinel article never quotes the residents directly, but what Black says they said, heresay. Just what we need in D6 – Fiona Jr.
Thank you for Casey Mills’ article on the value of public transit. One interesting wrinkle from the recent spate of Spare the Air Days, with their free rides, has been the chorus of complaints from regular riders about the “criminals and riff-raff” on trains and buses that typically haul only sad-faced commuters off to their fate. BART regulars, especially, sounded like they were having truly a new experience.
This unwillingness to rub elbows with people from different classes and races has long been the bane of public transportation, but it rarely gets mentioned when funding time comes around and new traffic lanes are built at the expense of more buses. Suburbanites who think they would just die if some smelly homeless person sat next to them are only an extreme example of a common, unfortunate sentiment. These riders and drivers fail to see mass transit as an opportunity to get in touch (literally!) with people you might not see otherwise. The bus is the anti-gated community, and it should be celebrated as such. Attitudes of exclusiveness need to be challenged head-on.
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